States Sue EPA Over Delay in Setting Methane Emissions Standards

On April 5, 2018, 14 U.S. states filed a lawsuit against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleging that the agency is “unreasonably delaying” the issuance of federal methane emissions standards. The complaint names the EPA and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as the defendants. New York State is taking the lead in this challenge; other states joining the lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Illinois, Iowa, and New Mexico. The District of Columbia and
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The Scorecard

In May 2017, we reported about the intentions of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to rebalance the EPA. At that time, Pruitt discussed core values and stressed that going forward the process and rule making will matter. One of the customs that Pruitt expressed he wanted to shed was “the federal government [being] actively involved in picking winners and losers by using regulations and the power to penalize…” Pruitt contended that the EPA’s mission is and should be clean air, water
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The Coming Battle Between California and EPA Over Vehicle Fuel Standards — The Implications for CO2 Emissions and Climate Change

Two weeks ago, we reported on potential moves by the EPA to weaken fuel economy standards, and in doing so, picking a fight with California and the state’s ability to set its own emission rules through its waiver under the Clean Air Act. Those threatened moves are now reality, as the EPA announced on Monday that current fuel economy standards will be revised. But underlying the moves to roll back fuel economy standards is the ongoing war between the Trump
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Cutting out the CARBs: EPA Administrator Suggests Possible Split with California on Emission Standards

Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently discussed a broad range of issues in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Chief among those, Pruitt stated that the EPA is opposed to setting stricter fuel economy standards beyond 2025 and has questioned whether individual states should be able to enact their own tougher emissions rules for cars and light trucks. Pruitt said that California, which has a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act giving it authority to
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Cutting the Red Tape: EPA Moves to Shorten Approval Process for New Products

The Environmental Protection Agency has altered its approach to assessing new chemicals for health and environmental hazards, resulting in streamlining the safety review process that had been criticized as too slow and cumbersome. Under the new approach, the EPA will no longer require that manufacturers offering new chemicals sign legal agreements that restrict the chemicals use under certain conditions. Those agreements, known as consent orders, will still be required if the EPA believes that the manufacturer’s intended use for a
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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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“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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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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The Rollback Begins: Is it the Beginning of the End for the Clean Water Rule?

President Trump recently got the ball rolling on rescinding or revising The Clean Water Rule (the Rule) — a President Obama-era environmental regulation that sought to expand the federal government’s reach under the Clean Water Act (CWA). For background, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, enacted in 1948 and later reorganized and expanded in 1972, is known today as the CWA. The CWA establishes a structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulates
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Pruitt Intends to Rebalance the EPA – Rejecting the idea that “You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too”

In March, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, discussed a new direction for the EPA during his remarks at Ceraweek, an annual conference involving leaders in industry, energy, the financial sectors, and government. In his opening statements, Pruitt discussed changes at the EPA dedicated to these core values: (1) where process matters; (2) the rule of law will be respected; and, (3) cooperative federalism. Pruitt explained this new balance as a synergy of pro-growth and environmental policy.
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