EPA is deferring specific decisions on what types of biomass are carbon neutral and can be used as a compliance mechanism under its newly finalized greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants, punting a tricky issue until after its Science Advisory Board (SAB) has completed a review of the agency's methods for estimating emissions.
EPA is already facing litigation invoking recent Supreme Court decisions that denied judicial deference to the administration's positions on power plant air emissions standards and on health care to bolster claims that lower courts should not defer to the agency's other rules, beginning with its Clean Water Act (CWA) policy on water transfers.
The Obama administration is unveiling final greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for the existing power fleet Aug. 3 that are expected to cut emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, a steeper decline than the 30 percent cut envisioned by the proposed version, due largely to a larger decline in coal use and greater use of renewables.
Related Story: EPA Strengthens Final ESPS And Sees Coal Generation Taking A Bigger Hit
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is criticizing a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) facility security program, faulting the agency's assessment of and enforcement against facilities that pose risks -- shortcomings that advocates say buttress their long-standing calls for EPA to use Clean Air Act authority to impose strict process safety requirements.
Senators critical of EPA's landmark power plant greenhouse gas (GHG) rules are planning an environment committee markup later this week of legislation that would largely block the regulations.
EPA appears to be moving toward creating a more formalized and rigorous process for assessing the human health risks of chemicals and their applications through its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) work plan risk assessments, as the agency has added another step to their development and created a new advisory committee to peer review them.
EPA is expected to release its greenhouse gas existing source performance standards (ESPS) for power plants as early as Aug. 3 and the White House is vowing to strongly defend the rule.
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