Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Mid Day E-mail
(Daily News)
Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Some members of a Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel are urging EPA to expand its controversial proposal clarifying when waters are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) oversight to indicate that groundwater in many cases should be considered jurisdictional and subject to regulation, a plan that if adopted would increase opposition to the plan.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Preliminary findings from an upcoming EPA study suggest automakers could significantly reduce light truck weight -- though at a cost -- while more modest weight reductions could actually save manufacturers money, conclusions that could help the agency defend its vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) rules during an upcoming mid-term review.

(Daily News)
Monday, 18 August 2014

EPA plans to develop a Superfund strategy for addressing contaminated mining sites to improve the effectiveness of those cleanups and lower costs such as through innovative treatment methods, due to the agency's continuing long-term costs at mining sites that are undercutting its limited Superfund budget, according to a key EPA Superfund official.

(Daily News)
Monday, 18 August 2014

Industry and some states are hoping that EPA advisors will use their upcoming review of the agency's proposed rule clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to help apply its call for the agency to adopt a "graded" approach for determining if smaller isolated waters have a "significant" nexus to larger waters, an effort the sources hope will narrow the proposal's reach.

(Daily News)
Friday, 15 August 2014

Industry plaintiffs are preparing to file a new complaint in an ongoing suit where a federal judge will consider claims that the Due Process Clause of the Constitution allows pre-enforcement review of administrative determinations that waterbodies are "jurisdictional" and subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA) -- an argument courts, including the Supreme Court, have thus far sidestepped.

(Daily News)
Friday, 15 August 2014

A federal court is ordering EPA to respond to a claim by California environmentalists trying to block issuance of a Clean Air Act permit for a power plant they say will endanger the future of a rare butterfly species -- a novel use of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to try and block an air permit, which could set a precedent if it succeeds.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 14 August 2014

EPA might be legally obliged to create a national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for greenhouse gases (GHGs) and be precluded from its plan to issue GHG performance standards for utilities because climate rules EPA has already issued satisfy the criteria for setting a NAAQS, a North Carolina official says.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 14 August 2014

New York state is signaling in new comments that it may join environmentalists in a likely suit against EPA over the recently finalized Clean Water Act (CWA) rule for cooling water intake structures at power plants and other industrial facilities -- action that could come soon as the agency is poised to publish the rule in the Federal Register Aug. 15.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Environmentalists are celebrating the defeat of a draft House bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), saying it is "dead" and crediting the public health concerns cited by its opponents about the draft provisions, but other sources say negotiations are continuing in the Senate over a companion bill.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has scrapped a permit EPA issued for the Avenal Power natural gas utility in California that "grandfathered" the plant from having to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) and stricter conventional pollutant limits finalized during the permitting process, saying EPA lacked power to waive the limits.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Environmentalists have entered a legal settlement with the Kemper coal utility pioneering carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology that will see advocates drop all suits over the plant -- potentially securing its future and boosting EPA's climate rule for new power plants that relies in part on the coal plant proving CCS is achievable.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A federal judge cast doubt on environmentalists' suit seeking to force EPA to review the effects of scores of pesticides on more than 100 endangered species, suggesting in a recent hearing he may dismiss the case, a ruling advocates say would limit similar Endangered Species Act (ESA) challenges in the future to individual registration decisions.

(Daily News)
Monday, 11 August 2014

New Clean Water Act (CWA) settlements between environmentalists and the power industry highlight the groups' strategy of stepping up lawsuits against coal-fired power plants to force broader use of more protective waste treatment technology, part of their effort to demonstrate the feasibility of strict controls that they hope will set a bar for EPA's long-awaited rule governing power plant effluent.

(Daily News)
Monday, 11 August 2014

A national power industry group is rejecting environmentalists' suggestions that EPA embrace a novel theory that would allow regulation of "legacy" coal ash sites under its upcoming Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) disposal rule, framing what may be one of the last major battles over the pending measure.

(Daily News)
Friday, 08 August 2014

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in a new report is backing conclusions by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) that formaldehyde is a human carcinogen, bolstering EPA efforts to advance its stalled assessment that could drive strict new rules for energy drilling, natural gas turbines and other emissions sources.

(Daily News)
Friday, 08 August 2014

Industry is pressing three appeals courts to limit the impact of a recent decision narrowing the "shield" that protects holders of Clean Water Act (CWA) permits from liability for their discharges, urging two courts to disregard the ruling as they consider still-pending suits over the shield and seeking en banc reversal of the decision itself.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 07 August 2014

Several Western state officials say they are open to creating bilateral or regional agreements to help comply with EPA's landmark greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants, with talks focused on narrow "shared accounting" of efficiency and renewable programs instead of a broad GHG trading program that many political leaders oppose.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 07 August 2014

EPA late last month sent to the White House for review its long-stalled revisions to regulations governing the authorization of oil spill response agents such as dispersants, following a sustained push for changes from environmental groups that argue the existing rules are weak and fail to give responders adequate knowledge needed to weigh dispersants' use.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 06 August 2014

EPA standards for emissions from municipal waste combustors and a vacated rule governing mercury releases from power plants provide precedents to help EPA justify its proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for exiting power plants, one environmentalist says, including its controversial effort to set targets based on reductions achieved beyond a facility's fence line.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 06 August 2014

EPA is likely years away from deciding whether to require facilities use controversial safety measures, known as inherently safer technologies (IST), and has outlined a multi-step process for the decision, which will evaluate existing state and local government programs, past government research and several rounds of public comments.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 05 August 2014

Exelon Corp., one of the nation's largest utilities, is breaking from other players in the industry to urge EPA to tighten its proposed limit for new natural gas plants in its new source performance standard (NSPS) earlier this year, aligning itself with environmental groups also seeking a stricter limit than what the agency proposed.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 05 August 2014

Environmentalists and other groups are stepping up calls for regulators to clamp down on phosphorous releases from agriculture operations and other sources after local officials in Toledo, OH, were forced to issue a drinking water ban due to high levels of a toxin stemming from algal blooms that are stimulated by the nutrients.

(Daily News)
Monday, 04 August 2014

EPA is planning to craft a rule to clarify what types of waters are "assumable" under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in response to calls from states that clarity is needed for states to win authority to issue section 404 dredge-and-fill permits and to protect existing programs, particularly given confusion created by the agency's pending CWA jurisdiction rule.

(Daily News)
Monday, 04 August 2014

Agency science advisors remain split over the challenging question of whether EPA's existing risk-based decision making framework can be modified to incorporate environmental justice (EJ) considerations or whether the agency should instead shift to a newer framework, an approach that EPA staff is questioning.

(Daily News)
Friday, 01 August 2014

EPA is touting a novel appellate decision that narrowly reads the Supreme Court's landmark 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA requiring agencies to respond substantively to petitions, hoping to use the new decision -- which deals with livestock feed rules -- to support its dismissal of environmentalists' petition seeking stronger nutrient rules in the Mississippi River Basin.

(Daily News)
Friday, 01 August 2014

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a new report with first time "uniform scientific methods" for quantifying carbon sequestration and other changes in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture and forestry practices, an effort that could inform stalled EPA efforts to measure GHGs from biomass used as an energy source.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Obama administration is touting EPA's proposed climate existing source performance standards (ESPS) for utilities as part of talks with other countries on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals ahead of international climate negotiations slated for 2015, saying the rule shows the United States' commitment to cutting GHGs.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 31 July 2014

A prominent Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) attorney is questioning whether Congress and stakeholders should continue pushing long-stalled efforts to reform the 38-year-old statute, which many have long criticized for failing to adequately control industrial chemicals or instill confidence in its controls.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wisconsin policymakers are preparing to seek EPA approval on a potentially precedent-setting variance from its strict phosphorous limits, which requires point source dischargers that qualify for the waiver to pay fees to finance local county conservation programs aimed at reducing nutrient loads from nonpoint sources.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 30 July 2014

As EPA holds two days of hearings on its latest assessments of trichloroethylene (TCE), the chemical industry is pointing to newly acknowledged errors in a controversial study of the substance to bolster its opposition to two assessments, charging that the errors preclude adequate analysis and interpretation of study results needed to support a cardiac birth defects risk for TCE.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Members of a House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee panel are seeking to improve EPA's policy for integrating municipalities' wastewater and stormwater planning requirements but at a July 24 hearing the panel faced competing calls from municipal and utility officials who are pushing three different bills for how to address the issue.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 29 July 2014

As EPA begins a series of hearings on its proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants, top White House officials are pushing back against critics who say the administration should not have counted the global climate benefits of the proposal to justify it, with officials saying that doing so is appropriate due to the global nature of climate change.

(Daily News)
Monday, 28 July 2014

Even though Congress may not fund the recently enacted water infrastructure financing pilot program in the upcoming fiscal year, EPA officials are identifying a series of administrative challenges they face in implementing the program and are gathering input from municipal and utility officials on how to interpret the legislative language.

(Daily News)
Monday, 28 July 2014

Energy industry groups are warning that EPA suggestions that it is considering crafting a federal implementation plan (FIP) for curbing emissions from existing minor sources at oil and gas sites on tribal lands -- largely in Western shale plays -- would be unlawful and EPA must instead address those sources on a case-by-case basis.

(Daily News)
Friday, 25 July 2014

A broad spectrum of environmental justice advocates are warning that EPA's landmark proposed rule to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants does not adequately protect economically disadvantaged communities and minorities.

(Daily News)
Friday, 25 July 2014

EPA has sent for White House pre-publication review its revised proposal responding to environmentalists' petition asking the agency to scrap provisions from 36 states' air quality plans that exempt industrial emissions violations during startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) periods from counting toward their Clean Air Act compliance.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 24 July 2014

EPA is facing doubts over whether its plan for limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at coal-fired power plants that undergo major modifications can serve as a "legal backstop" for its GHG regulatory program if its separate proposal for new plants falls to legal challenges.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 24 July 2014

EPA's Inspector General (IG) is pressing EPA to further strengthen its program for speeding state spending of unliquidated obligations (ULOs) from their drinking water state revolving fund (SRF) monies, a program officials created to prevent Congress from rescinding already appropriated funds because of slow spending by California and other states.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A top EPA research official says the agency will need three to five more years to fully integrate all National Academy of Sciences (NAS) advice for improving its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program, though a public interest official says prolonged reform efforts are depriving the public of crucial information on chemicals' risks.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 23 July 2014

EPA officials at the highest level will need to consider the recommendation in the latest National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report to EPA that its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program should report risk ranges, rather than point estimates of risk, an IRIS official said at a meeting of agency advisors.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Citing concerns from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), environmentalists are asking a federal court in Kentucky to add Endangered Species Act (ESA) claims to their suit challenging EPA's approval of the Bluegrass State's precedent-setting fish-tissue based water quality standard for selenium, as well as its revised nutrient standard.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

An industry coalition is urging EPA to overhaul its draft risk method for determining whether to regulate lead paint exposures from renovation of public and commercial buildings (P&CBs), charging it inappropriately skips steps that Congress requires before the agency issues new rules, though Georgia officials says further review would cause unnecessary delay.

(Daily News)
Monday, 21 July 2014

A key official with PJM Interconnection says that regional transmission organizations (RTOs) will likely press EPA to add a "safety valve" to its proposed existing source performance standards (ESPS) to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the existing power sector, noting that there is a need to have "insurance" to protect electric reliability and energy costs.

(Daily News)
Monday, 21 July 2014

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is agreeing to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) that analyzes the potential impacts from hydraulic fracturing at two disputed oil and gas well leases in California, in a legal settlement with environmentalists that could set a precedent for when and how BLM crafts such reviews in other cases.

(Daily News)
Friday, 18 July 2014

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) scientists have published a new toxicological study that finds a tie between very low exposures of arsenic and lung tumor formation, relying on an unusual study design and likely aiding EPA in its long-running assessment of arsenic's human health risks.

(Daily News)
Friday, 18 July 2014

The Justice Department (DOJ), former EPA air chief Jeff Holmstead and the power company for whom he is testifying all face risks in DOJ's bid to disqualify Holmstead's expert testimony in a pending new source review (NSR) enforcement case due to the alleged conflict of interest stemming from Holmstead's access to privileged data while at EPA, legal experts say.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 17 July 2014

DALLAS -- State energy regulators and industry lawyers are warning that EPA faces major legal hurdles if it is forced to impose federal requirements on states that fail to fully implement its landmark greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants, arguing such actions could infringe on state regulatory power and could invite conservative states to test the limits of EPA's authority.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 17 July 2014

EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, who served as acting administrator in 2013 after Lisa Jackson left the agency and who has played a key role in defending controversial agency policies, will depart in early August, EPA announced July 17 -- adding to the list of vacancies requiring Senate confirmation despite Democrats' inability to advance environmental nominees.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A handful of states are conducting their own assessments of the risks posed by the drycleaning solvent perchloroethylene (perc), a ubiquitous contaminant at hazardous waste sites, in part because of uncertainties stemming from EPA's two-year-old assessment, which contains two different inhalation cancer risk estimates.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 16 July 2014

EPA, water utility groups and private investment firms are boosting calls for municipalities to enter into public-private partnerships (P3s) as a new means of financing water infrastructure projects, with the agency's increasingly limited state revolving funds (SRFs) often being used as critical loan guarantees -- rather than direct loans -- to help limit project borrowing costs.