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A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has dealt EPA and environmentalists a major blow by largely vacating the agency’s “SIP Call” rule that ordered states to remove regulatory waivers for excess air emissions during periods of plant startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) from their air quality plans.

EPA is launching its first-ever Office of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to expand engagement with agricultural and rural communities, the agency’s latest new office and the second the Biden administration has created since elevating its combined environmental justice and civil rights program into a national office in 2022.

Industry groups and other supporters of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program are urging lawmakers to reauthorize it as part of an emerging fiscal year 2024 appropriations package that could be finalized before the end of the month.

Industry, civil rights and other groups are urging the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to dramatically expand the information EPA and other agencies include in their environmental justice (EJ) scorecards, including the dollar amounts spent on Justice40 programs, details on civil rights compliance, and metrics to determine how their work affects communities.

EPA has finalized long-anticipated updates to the Risk Management Program (RMP), with several changes that aim to toughen the proposal issued in 2022 -- including a new mandate that a broader list of facilities now required to perform a safer technology alternatives analysis (STAA) adopt at least one of its recommendations, a win for environmentalists who argued that such upgrades should not be voluntary.