The EPA’s Draft Strategic Plan — Part of the Rebalance?

In May, we wrote about the intentions of EPA director Scott Pruitt to rebalance the EPA. At the time, we reported on the speech Pruitt delivered at CERAWEEK, an annual conference involving leaders in industry, energy, the financial sectors, and government. In early October, the EPA released a Draft Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022. This draft, released for public comment and review, echoes the comments made by Pruitt during CERAWEEK, including the three goals (listed below) to support the
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Two Birds With One Violation: EPA Uses Settlement with Heritage Environmental Services LLC to Upgrade Indiana Schools

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a unique settlement with Heritage Environmental Services LLC over multiple hazardous waste violations issued in 2012 during an inspection of Heritage’s Indianapolis waste disposal facility. As part of the settlement, in addition to improving its waste handling procedures and paying a $77,385 civil penalty, Heritage agreed to install energy efficient, PCB-free lighting and new drinking water fountains with lead-filtering systems at the Carrie Gosch Pre-K Early Learning Center and the Joseph L.
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“How am I doing?” — The Preliminary Hurricane Scorecard for the EPA

The EPA maintains that it is working with local, state, and federal officials to respond to Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria. With all three hurricanes, the EPA maintains that its role is to assess and assist with drinking water and waste water systems, Superfund sites, and flood waters. Christine Todd Whitman, former EPA Administrator, recently interviewed by Bloomberg News claimed that vacancies at the top of nearly all 10 regional EPA offices will likely hamper EPA’s response to Hurricane Harvey. Whitman said that regional offices are missing Trump appointees and that this “…makes it difficult, because what you’ve got is a lot of career
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EPA Funds Nanotech Firm for Development of Technology to Measure Lead in Household Drinking Water

On September 19, 2017, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was awarding nearly $100,000 in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding to NanoSafe, Inc. in Blacksburg, Virginia to foster technologies that can accurately measure lead levels in household drinking water. SBIR funding is intended to help small, high-tech businesses develop proof of concepts that can be brought to market and commercialized. With more and more attention being focused on the safety of public and private drinking water,
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An Example of Hurricane Harvey’s Aftermath: Energy Company Significantly Underestimates Benzene Emission Levels After Leak

Last week, we wrote about Houston’s long road to recovery from Hurricane Harvey, including the aftermath of the toxic environmental mess that Harvey left. This week, we bring you just one of many examples of environmental headaches that continue to persist following the storm. According to self-reported emissions to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), refineries, petrochemical plants, and other industrial operations emitted some 2.6 million pounds of pollutants into the air during Harvey-related shutdowns and accidents in the
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Hurricane Harvey’s Devastation Will Be Felt Long After Water Recedes

Hurricane Harvey has decimated the great city of Houston, displacing residents from their homes — and in many cases — destroying homes, investments, and in some scenarios, taking the life of a loved one. It will take billions of dollars to repair Harvey’s destruction, and many people will never replace what the hurricane took. Even with that, the event has more bad news. Not only did Harvey destroy property, and in some instances take human life, it also has created
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Taking a “Hard Look”

In August 2017, decades long dispute involving the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Province of Manitoba, North Dakota, and Missouri, arising from a proposed water reclamation project was resolved in Government of the Province of Manitoba, et al. v. Zinke, et al., 2017 WL 3437658 (D.D. C. August 10, 2017). In 1987, the Bureau of Reclamation created the Northwest Area Water Supply Project (NAWS or Project) to respond to water problems in Northcentral and North Western North Dakota. The
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Woe is Me: EPA Seeks Help Defining WOTUS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) are seeking recommendations from stakeholders and the public in their effort to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The definition and interpretation of WOTUS is critical as it defines the federal government’s regulatory reach (and limits) when it comes to the country’s waterways. On February 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that directed EPA to
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Grapes of Wrath: California State Agency Acts to Further Restrict Use of Chlorpyrifos

On August 18, 2017, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) released an updated draft risk assessment for comments by the public on the popular agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos. Farmers use chlorpyrifos to kill pests that attack a wide variety of crops including grapes, walnuts, oranges, almonds and cotton grown in California. In 2015, California farmers used more than 1 million pounds of chlorpyrifos on more than 60 crops. About 5 million to 10 million pounds of chlorpyrifos are used annually on
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Court Rejects the EPA’s Efforts to Stay the Methane Gas Rule

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency implemented a rule for fugitive methane gas and other greenhouse gasses to reduce pollution. Methane gas is considered a greenhouse gas because in the air, unused methane absorbs the heat from the sun and poses a global warming potential that is about 21 times greater than carbon dioxide. The Methane Gas Rule imposed “new source performance standards” on the oil and gas industry. The new performance standards, which were effective as of August 2, 2016, required the oil and gas industry to conduct an initial monitoring survey and identify and repair any methane leaks by June 3, 2017. Just
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