Sunday, April 20, 2014
Mid Day E-mail
(Daily News)
Friday, 18 April 2014

State opponents of a novel EPA water infrastructure funding pilot are conceding that they are not likely to block Congress from creating the program in a pending Army Corps of Engineers authorization bill but they are urging lawmakers to preserve states' role in the funding process, including by requiring municipalities to give states a novel "right of first refusal" before seeking new project financing.

(Daily News)
Friday, 18 April 2014

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has scrapped EPA's use of a novel "affirmative defense" in a cement air toxics rule that exempted emissions spikes due to equipment malfunctions from Clean Air Act penalties, which could force the agency to overhaul several other regulations that included the contested defense.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 17 April 2014

EPA has found that many states lack adequate regulatory programs for managing solid waste from oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P) activities and is proposing voluntary measures to address it, but environmentalists say the findings show the agency should subject the disposal to strict hazardous waste rules or at least mandate stricter solid waste requirements.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 17 April 2014

Environmentalists are suing the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in a bid to force release of the final version of its long-pending guidance, first proposed in 2010, on how federal agencies should consider greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change impacts as part of their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews of their actions.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A long-awaited joint advisory from EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to include not only the maximum amount of fish that women of child-bearing age should consume to avoid harm from mercury exposure but also a first-time minimum to gain the health benefits of the lean protein source.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A key federal appeals court is questioning the administration's stance that provisions in the federal Superfund law allow for an open-ended delay in remedial actions and related judicial review of cleanup decisions and is recommending that Congress consider clarifying the law to narrow the prohibition on judicial review.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 15 April 2014

EPA plans to release next month draft water quality criteria for selenium that will set both a numeric fish-tissue value as well as a water column measure, an approach that appears aimed at addressing concerns that tissue-based values like the controversial approach EPA recently approved in Kentucky are difficult to implement -- though the dual approach could impose burdensome new compliance requirements on dischargers and regulators.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a 2-1 order has upheld EPA's utility maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule, rejecting a slew of legal challenges filed by environmentalists, industry, states and others, after finding EPA's justification for the rule is reasonable.

(Daily News)
Monday, 14 April 2014

EPA's fiscal year 2015 budget request seeks to bolster funding for the creation of a congressionally authorized hazardous waste electronic manifest (e-Manifest) system but the move will divert funds from several rulemakings, forcing the agency to delay efforts to revise emissions rules for hazardous waste combustors and respond to industry requests to ease emissions rules for combustion of treated wood and paper recycling residuals.

(Daily News)
Monday, 14 April 2014

A federal district court's rejection of environmentalists' suit against a Texas utility over alleged Clean Air Act violations highlights the hurdles advocates face in their bid to fill what they claim is a gap in air law enforcement by EPA and state officials, sources say, as it shows the high legal burden of proof advocates must satisfy.

(Daily News)
Friday, 11 April 2014

EPA is evaluating why the actual number of facilities that have applied for greenhouse gas (GHG) permits is far below the estimates the agency used to justify elevating GHG permitting thresholds, and the results of the review could inform the agency's pending rulemaking that could lower the thresholds to require permits at more facilities.

(Daily News)
Friday, 11 April 2014

Leaders of EPA's computational toxicology program, known as CompTox, are looking for new regulatory programs that may be able to use its data to help prioritize actions and make other decisions, expanding its use in the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) and considering piloting its use possibly in the Superfund program.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 10 April 2014

EPA scientists are faulting plans by Science Advisor Glenn Paulson to issue a policy statement reiterating officials' commitment to conduct cumulative risk assessments (CRAs), a key approach for assessing potential environmental justice impacts, saying the plan is premature because they still lack guidance for how to conduct such assessments.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 10 April 2014

A recent House hearing on the benefits of trading as a means of addressing water quality threats highlighted widespread disputes between point and nonpoint sources, with the nonpoint sector saying that the regulatory burdens are often too steep for it to easily enter markets while point source officials say without strict rules, they are unable to easily verify credits from nonpoint sources.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 09 April 2014

EPA is vowing to release two major air toxics assessments that are years behind schedule in part because of the agency's resource limits, but the agency's promise to finally issue the studies is failing to quell state air regulators' long-running concerns about an inadequate federal air toxics program budget.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 09 April 2014

Vermont regulators say EPA has overstated the impacts of climate change on phosphorous loads in Lake Champlain, opening the door to a potentially precedential debate over how stringently the agency assesses water quality impairments due to climate change and calculates some regulatory limits to address potential concerns.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 08 April 2014

Faced with concerns from industry, lawmakers and its science advisors, Deputy EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe says federal officials will have to come up with a way to determine whether smaller waters have a "significant" nexus to larger navigable waters, a key test for determining whether they are jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 08 April 2014

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reportedly decided that the value of green infrastructure that is funded by municipalities on private property to control stormwater runoff can be considered "taxable income" subject to federal tax levies, creating another hurdle for proponents of the technology just as EPA is scaling back its regulatory efforts to advance the practice.

(Daily News)
Monday, 07 April 2014

Industry and other critics of EPA's recently released proposal for clarifying the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) say the measure appears likely to overcome "facial" challenges alleging constitutional or statutory violations, but they say that legal uncertainty about the definition of a host of key terms will likely drive site-specific, as-applied challenges.

(Daily News)
Monday, 07 April 2014

The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states is floating a draft plan for daily and hourly nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions limits on power plants as a model for a future EPA rule to reduce ozone-forming NOx emissions and help states achieve a potentially stricter ozone standard that the agency is considering.

(Daily News)
Friday, 04 April 2014

The Obama administration is dropping its opposition to environmentalists' ability to challenge the adequacy of environmental assessments conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on climate change grounds after a federal appellate court ruled last year that plaintiffs have standing to sue over inadequate assessment of an action's greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts even if they are only able to show local harms stemming from other adverse impacts.

(Daily News)
Friday, 04 April 2014

EPA Region I appears to be taking the lead among the agency's regions in its willingness to use novel Clean Water Act (CWA) powers to selectively subject existing commercial and industrial facilities to stormwater retrofit control requirements after several regions recently rejected environmentalists' calls to broadly exercise the authority.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 03 April 2014

SAUSALITO, CA -- Top EPA officials are raising doubts on whether the agency has authority to bring enforcement actions at coal ash disposal sites in the event the agency's upcoming coal ash waste rule delegates authority to states to implement disposal standards under the weaker "solid" waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which most states and industry groups favor.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 03 April 2014

Several states appear to be softening pending bills designed to provide for more lenient implementation of EPA's pending greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants, which observers say might be due to push-back from some utilities and others fearful the legislation could unintentionally create new regulatory burdens for facilities.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Early EPA application of its new draft methodology for assessing risks from pesticides' volatilization has found that 68 chemicals -- 15 percent of those assessed -- have failed an initial screening analysis, opening the door to heightened scrutiny of the substances during their next registration review and possibly additional regulatory controls.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Residents living near a North Carolina Superfund site are urging the Supreme Court to uphold an appellate decision that found the Superfund law broadly preempts state limits on toxic tort claims, arguing in part that despite the Department of Justice's (DOJ) current backing of a narrow preemption, the government has previously supported a more expansive reading of the law.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 01 April 2014

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is weighing a request from the Army to use a now abandoned state screening level for cleaning up perchlorate contaminated groundwater at a facility in Texas in a case that could test how strictly the agency will regulate scores of cleanups while officials struggle to craft a first-time enforceable drinking water standard for the contaminant.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 01 April 2014

EPA's fiscal year 2015 budget proposal leaves the fate of the agency's major nationwide assessment of risks from air toxics in doubt due to uncertainty over funding for the program, which could potentially mean another delay for EPA's latest version of the assessment after scrapping a planned update last year due to resource constraints.

(Daily News)
Monday, 31 March 2014

EPA is considering allowing states to use a two-step process for crafting plans to comply with its pending new source performance standards (NSPS) to curb greenhouse gases (GHG) at existing power plants as it faces heated criticism from officials that the proposed one-year deadline to submit the plans is too ambitious.

(Daily News)
Monday, 31 March 2014

In a stinging decision, a federal judge has overturned EPA's rule exempting some water transfers from Clean Water Act (CWA) permit requirements because the agency misinterpreted the law's requirements, a ruling that if not stayed could require new and ongoing transfer operations to seek permits or face enforcement actions.

(Daily News)
Monday, 31 March 2014

Democratic senators on the environment committee are poised to mark up a bill later this week creating a new EPA drinking water law program governing chemical releases from above ground storage tanks, despite fears from state drinking water regulators that they lack the resources and expertise to implement the bill's mandates, sources say.

(Daily News)
Friday, 28 March 2014

Residents and officials in Brady Township, PA, are challenging an EPA underground injection control (UIC) permit in a novel administrative suit that could provide a new legal basis to require the agency to consider potential seismic risks when permitting disposal of oil and gas wastewater on the grounds that it may threaten drinking water sources.

(Daily News)
Friday, 28 March 2014

Environmentalists are urging a federal appeals court to grant a broad remand of EPA's boiler and incinerator emissions rules and require the agency to take notice and comment on a host of provisions that relied on a controversial statistical approach the court has doubted, pushing back on the agency' bid for a much narrower remand.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 27 March 2014

An EPA Inspector General (IG) plan to assess whether the agency has adequately incorporated environmental justice in Clean Air Act air toxics inspections is spurring industry concern about whether shrinking enforcement resources and EPA's emphasis on equity will lead to targeting facilities based solely on their proximity to equity areas.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Obama administration has named a former top White House infrastructure security official to serve as EPA's deputy waste chief, highlighting the office's new emphasis on facility security as officials work to implement President Obama's executive orders to improve chemical safety and cyber security at industrial plants.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 26 March 2014

EPA is crafting two studies on the effects of deadly heat waves and potential increases in air pollution from climate change as part of an interagency review of climate-related health impacts aimed at improving local management decisions and quantifying the expected burden from not addressing the issue.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 26 March 2014

EPA is indicating it will only allow limited consideration of communities' Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) obligations in its upcoming framework for assessing their ability to pay for new infrastructure upgrades needed to comply with Clean Water Act (CWA) mandates, a move that is drawing criticism from municipal officials.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The White House is touting public-private partnerships (P3s) and other financing incentives for municipalities to encourage property owners to install green-infrastructure projects to control stormwater runoff even as EPA indicates that it is dropping plans for a federal stormwater-retention mandate and other regulatory drivers for the technology.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Administration officials working to implement President Obama's executive order on improving safety and security at industrial plants are considering strengthening local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) overseen by EPA but are not addressing calls to require controversial new safety requirements at facilities.

(Daily News)
Monday, 24 March 2014

EPA is asking an appellate court to narrowly interpret the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA that required agencies to respond substantively to regulatory petitions, while preparing for oral argument in another appeal where it is seeking to indefinitely defer such responses -- both questions which appellate courts have not yet addressed in the years since the high court's decision.

(Daily News)
Monday, 24 March 2014

EPA's upcoming revisions to its rule for mitigating oil spills in water could supersede a pending suit filed by environmentalists seeking to force the agency to collect data on the appropriate locations and quantities for using chemical dispersants in oil spills, depending on the scope of the agency's rulemaking.

(Daily News)
Friday, 21 March 2014

An American Bar Association (ABA) analysis is warning that the controversial state preemption language in the bipartisan Senate bill reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) contains a host of ambiguous language that will allow EPA and federal courts to decide key issues, potentially in ways not intended by its sponsors.

(Daily News)
Friday, 21 March 2014

A new American Petroleum Institute (API)-funded study casts doubts on the widespread view that exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone increases risks of death and cardiovascular disease, which could help industry make the case against EPA tightening its national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for the pollutants.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 20 March 2014

Republicans and industry representatives are targeting EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) in a bid to influence its review of the federal ozone standard, with a GOP lawmaker urging a halt to the review due to doubts about CASAC's independence and industry officials urging costs to be a factor in the review for the first time.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 20 March 2014

Three Miami-Dade County, FL, mayors are urging EPA to codify commitments government lawyers and county officials have made that will allow for various assessments of potential climate risks to sewer upgrades even though the agency and the country were able to stave off litigation seeking to require similar assessments as part of a consent decree requiring the upgrades.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The retail industry says the handling of aerosol can and pharmaceutical waste, as well as determinations on when a product becomes a waste, are among the critical issues it would like EPA to address as it researches how the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) should apply to potentially hazardous waste managed by the retail sector.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Five states along the upper Mississippi River have crafted an enhanced monitoring strategy that could help them coordinate and target Clean Water Act (CWA) management actions to address excess nutrient pollution and other issues, an effort that could help states respond to growing pressure from environmentalists to strictly regulate nutrients.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 18 March 2014

EPA is proposing to reduce fiscal year 2015 funding for core risk analysis programs including its influential Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) and research efforts for its ambient air standards, and says the cuts could hinder its regulatory agenda by delaying rules that depend on the research or reducing scientific support for some rules.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Manufacturers are warning an appellate ruling broadly interpreting Superfund law language preempting state limits on when plaintiffs can file toxic tort claims may have the unintended consequence of extending tort liability far beyond environmental cases, and are urging the Supreme Court to overturn it.

(Daily News)
Monday, 17 March 2014

EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has denied Sierra Club's first-time challenge to the greenhouse gas (GHG) limits in a permit for a proposed natural gas power plant, undercutting advocates' push to target the permits while giving regulators broad discretion to limit GHGs when conducting best available control technology (BACT) analyses.