Saturday, September 20, 2014
Mid Day E-mail
(Daily News)
Friday, 19 September 2014

Environmentalists are seeking to use new Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suits that would force cleanups at older coal ash storage sites, including those linked to the recent Duke Energy spill in North Carolina, to set a high bar for future regulation of the waste, and are promising further suits unless states mandate remediation at "legacy" sites deemed likely to spill.

(Daily News)
Friday, 19 September 2014

Environmentalists are urging states to consider bans on treatment, disposal or storage of hydraulic fracturing wastewater or solid waste absent an EPA decision to re-examine a decades-old determination exempting such waste from Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste rules -- but some observers say such efforts could face constitutional challenges.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 18 September 2014

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) are backing away from their earlier support for EPA's proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for new natural gas combined-cycle (NGCC) units, filing late comments that seek to align the two groups with other industry interests that are also seeking to ease the limits.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 18 September 2014

SANTA FE, NM -- The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) has approved a resolution that urges EPA and Congress to reverse what the group of state environmental regulators sees as "inequitable apportionment" of federal funding to states that are struggling to find the resources to implement a growing number of EPA rules.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Environmentalists and industry groups are fighting over each others' legal challenges to EPA's rule classifying commercial secondary materials sent to combustion units, in particular sparring over whether the materials identified in the rule qualify as "solid waste" and should therefore trigger more stringent emissions controls.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Two of the largest grid operators are considering novel regional approaches for complying with EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants by setting a system-wide price on carbon dioxide (CO2) as opposed to state-by-state planning, an approach that agency officials and others have indicated could provide a more streamlined way of implementing the requirements while also better overseeing potential reliability concerns.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A federal district court judge's award of more than $6 million in litigation expenses to Texas utility Luminant following a Clean Air Act citizen suit could have a chilling effect on other advocate-filed litigation aiming to enforce the air law, sources say, as environmentalists might fear facing similar fees if they were to lose such cases.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 16 September 2014

SANTA FE, NM -- Top EPA officials are weighing steps to address some states' concerns that they will not be able to achieve interim emissions goals the agency is proposing to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) from existing power plants, though the officials say the 2020 interim target already provides significant flexibility.

(Daily News)
Monday, 15 September 2014

EPA's issuance of the first-ever drinking water permits for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) has prompted mixed reaction from industry and environmentalists, with both welcoming the permits but industry suggesting they have ambiguous provisions while advocates suggest the agency should have required more data on well siting.

(Daily News)
Monday, 15 September 2014

In the wake of the Lake Erie drinking water emergency, Ohio lawmakers and local officials are joining previous calls for EPA to prioritize improving the lake's water quality and establish federal drinking water standards for the toxin that caused the crisis, but some sources suggest those actions will accomplish little without stringent efforts to reduce agricultural pollution.

(Daily News)
Friday, 12 September 2014

Developers of the proposed Pebble Mine have filed a suit alleging EPA secretly cooperated with environmentalists ahead of the agency's proposal of a novel preemptive veto of the project and are urging a federal court to scrap the veto because of illegal coordination, echoing Republicans' concerns of advocates' "improper" influence over EPA policies.

(Daily News)
Friday, 12 September 2014

EPA staff is indicating the agency is unlikely to shift the focus of its upcoming assessment of the health risks of ethylbenzene from a single chemical focus to one that examines the chemical as part of a petroleum mixture, despite a push by chemical industry representatives for the change.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 11 September 2014

Industry and other critics of EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) rules for power plants are stepping up their efforts to have the agency withdraw the rules for allegedly lacking key technical data needed to justify the policies after officials rejected prior efforts to withdraw the measures for allegedly violating threshold legal issues.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 11 September 2014

Energy industry groups have filed suit over EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) cooling water rule in three separate appellate circuits they see as more favorable for them, separate from the three other circuits where environmentalists have filed suit, adding to uncertainty over which court will win the random drawing to hear the case.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 10 September 2014

EPA is shifting the focus of its Clean Water Act (CWA)'s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program away from clearing a backlog of pending permit applications and toward prioritizing the issuance of permits that achieve "environmentally significant" water quality protection goals.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 10 September 2014

EPA's recently released assessment of urban air toxics highlights a need to impose new regulations to drive down emissions from gasoline combustion, according to clean energy advocates and diesel industry sources who say the report largely overlooks the risks of ultrafine particulate matter (PM) and other toxic pollutants in gasoline.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 09 September 2014

EPA is vowing that its proposal to clarify the Clean Water Act's (CWA) scope will resolve long-running confusion over the law's oil spill prevention requirements by ending existing inconsistencies between the definition of jurisdictional waters in the spill provisions and other CWA programs, providing clarity sought by the oil industry.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 09 September 2014

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in a new report is backing EPA's laboratory organization and rejecting critics' allegations that some of the labs have overlapping functions and responsibilities, although the report encourages the agency to better coordinate its labs and their management.

(Daily News)
Monday, 08 September 2014

States are urging the White House to craft an EPA fiscal year 2016 budget proposal that raises categorical grants to states for implementing agency programs "as high as possible" without any restrictions on how states should spend the funds, saying spending flexibility is vital to help them implement EPA utility climate rules and other policies.

(Daily News)
Monday, 08 September 2014

California officials are weighing whether an EPA plan for strictly enforcing its proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants in states around the country is "appropriate," in part to ensure the Golden State is able to maintain competitive advantages gained from the earlier implementation of its GHG programs, such as cap and trade, energy efficiency and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

(Daily News)
Friday, 05 September 2014

States appear split on how to resolve concerns over EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) "interpretive" rule exempting many farming practices from permit requirements, with some states seeking agency guidance on how to implement the policy while others want EPA to scrap the rule due to concerns it unlawfully expands CWA exemptions.

(Daily News)
Friday, 05 September 2014

Industry attorneys say an appellate court's ruling rejecting an EPA air permit that "grandfathered" a proposed natural gas utility from having to comply with new greenhouse gas (GHG) and air standards that recently took effect significantly undercuts EPA's discretion to craft "practical" solutions to address similar permitting complexities.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 04 September 2014

EPA headquarters in a new policy statement is citing existing guidance to support early action to protect against the risk of cardiac birth defects from short-term exposures to trichloroethylene (TCE) vapors at contaminated sites, but industry sources say the document fails to outline a plan for addressing the risks and will allow an array of standards around the country to persist.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 04 September 2014

Engine makers and environmentalists are disagreeing about the potential need for EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to include a first-time separate engine efficiency standard in the agencies' pending next round of greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 03 September 2014

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that an EPA general Clean Water Act (CWA) stormwater permit does not "shield" dischargers from liability for various non-stormwater releases, but although the ruling narrows the use of the shield, the court avoided a broader ruling that could have restricted other liability protections.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 03 September 2014

EPA Region IX has taken control over investigations into health risks from exposures to trichloroethylene (TCE) in indoor air at a contaminated site in California, alleging responsible parties have not moved quickly enough to provide "absolute certainty" that risks from TCE through vapor intrusion, including cardiac birth defects, are being addressed.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Oil and gas sector officials are raising major concerns that EPA's proposal to clarify the Clean Water Act's (CWA) scope could trigger broad regulatory confusion for the sector, such as frustrating well operators' ability to meet federal oil spill control requirements and creating new permitting burdens for pipeline construction and repair.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Industry groups and the Defense Department (DOD) are questioning EPA's initial scoping and problem formulation materials for ethylbenzene and naphthalene, suggesting EPA consider assessing a mixture of chemicals including ethylbenzene rather than that chemical alone, and raising questions about both chemicals' potential carcinogenicity.

(Daily News)
Friday, 29 August 2014

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) toxicologists are touting existing and upcoming scientific research that they say helps to undermine EPA staff's suggestion of a need to tighten the federal ozone air standard, building on an ongoing industry effort to fund studies that could rebut science justifying a stricter limit.

(Daily News)
Friday, 29 August 2014

Environmentalists say that a recent North Carolina bill to resolve a Duke Energy coal ash spill imposes insufficient cleanup and safety measures, and shows why EPA should issue a strict "hazardous" ash disposal rule and take the lead on compliance oversight rather than a "solid" waste rule giving states primary enforcement authority.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 28 August 2014

EPA is said to be cautioning states against seeking further guidance on how to translate its proposed rate-based greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets to mass-based goals, a critical step that states would have to make to develop multi-state cap-and-trade programs to comply with the agency's landmark GHG standards for existing power plants.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 28 August 2014

Water quality trading advocates are renewing their push for EPA to update and strengthen its 2003 policy on trading, meeting with top agency water officials to discuss how EPA can better encourage states and other entities to adopt the trading practices -- though the advocates are stopping short of officially calling for a new trading rule.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Environmentalists are using a suit over a waste incinerator Clean Air Act permit as a vehicle for challenging a 1980 EPA rule that they argue unlawfully limits the scope of new source review (NSR) emissions control requirements in areas out of attainment with federal air standards to only those pollutants exceeding EPA's limits.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Top EPA officials say they are exploring ways that municipalities seeking to participate in the agency's new water infrastructure loan program may be able to resolve concerns that the program's authorizing law bars participants from using tax-exempt bonds to finance their shares of any project funded by the program, raising borrowing costs.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

EPA is boosting its procedures for how to inspect chemical facilities to ensure they are complying with security rules and is weighing guidance on alerting communities to high-hazard plants -- two major steps in meeting President Obama's executive order (E.O.) on bolstering plant security, according to a plan obtained by Inside EPA.

(Daily News)
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Agriculture and water utility groups are urging regulators to develop novel "watershed protection utilities" (WPUs) that would collect and dispense financing for projects to reduce nutrient-reduction pollution in Mississippi Riven Basin states, as well as expanded integrated water permitting and pollution trading programs in the region.

(Daily News)
Monday, 25 August 2014

A group of energy lawyers says states that adopt multi-state plans for complying with EPA's proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants may require congressional approval -- as the Constitution's compact clause requires -- in order to meet EPA's proposed enforceability requirements for states' plans.

(Daily News)
Monday, 25 August 2014

EPA appears to be rejecting calls from a Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel to clarify critical provisions in its controversial plan for clarifying when waters are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction.

(Daily News)
Friday, 22 August 2014

Environmentalists say EPA is not sufficiently overseeing states' delegated issuance of Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) underground injection control (UIC) permits for oil and gas wastewater disposal, leading to varying and sometimes inadequate state permits and possible future calls for the agency to rescind the delegated power.

(Daily News)
Friday, 22 August 2014

The petroleum industry is asking a key federal appellate court to revisit and reverse a June 27 ruling that vacated EPA's gasification exclusion rule, with industry arguing the decision conflicts with a seminal 1987 ruling by the same court that "established the bounds" of EPA's regulatory authority under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA).

(Daily News)
Thursday, 21 August 2014

EPA's plan to limit greenhouse gases (GHGs) from existing power plants gives states the option of whether to count emissions from new natural gas combined-cycle (NGCC) units as a mechanism to achieve their targets, opening the door to a patchwork approach that sources say could have market impacts, such as decisions on where to site new gas units.

(Daily News)
Thursday, 21 August 2014

Environmentalists fear that EPA's proposed cleanup plan for a Michigan river floodplain shows the agency "backsliding" from its strict 2012 non-cancer risk values for dioxin, saying the site-specific plan floats significantly weaker cleanup standards than the 2012 estimates that industry groups have claimed are flawed and overly stringent.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 20 August 2014

EPA in a third draft of its risk assessment for the sterilizing chemical ethylene oxide (EtO) is rejecting industry criticisms that the agency's approach for the assessment is flawed and leads to overly stringent risk estimates, using the latest version of the analysis to further explain its approach while retaining its strict overall cancer risk value.

(Daily News)
Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Peer reviewers charged with commenting on EPA white papers examining sources of methane emissions from energy production are largely split on any policy outcomes and a host of other issues but they agree that the agency needs to improve its data, including by making greater use of data from its greenhouse gas reporting (GHG) program.

(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.