Clean Water Act Alert – U.S. EPA Releases Its Proposed 2020 NPDES Multi-Sector General Permit

The regulated industry needs to be aware that the U.S. EPA, last week, published its proposed 2020 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). The MSGP authorizes stormwater discharges associated with industrial activities in areas where EPA is the permitting authority.

Under Section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act, EPA has been directed to regulate stormwater discharges under the NPDES program–the program by which EPA and authorized states grant permits for discharges from a point source. The MSGP is a general NPDES …

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Environmental Groups Send Notice of Intent Seeking Action on Aircraft Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Three environmental organizations submitted a notice of intent to file suit to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January 2020 for its failure to act on greenhouse gas emissions from aircrafts. In a joint letter to the EPA’s administrator and director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the three groups–Center for Biological Diversity, Earth justice, and Friends of the Earth–argue that the EPA’s failure to promulgate standards on greenhouse gas emissions constitutes unreasonable delay under the Clean Air Act. The groups …

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Proposed Rollback of NEPA Regulations to Impact Review of Environmental Impacts of Federally-Approved Projects

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed a new rule on January 10, 2020 to alter the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires federal agencies to review the potential environmental effects of all federal, federally-assisted, and federally-licensed actions, and analyze potential alternative solutions before making a final decision on such actions. In essence, agencies are required to comply with the NEPA environmental review process, while considering a wide range of federal actions that include federal construction projects, plans to develop federally owned lands, and federal approvals of non-federal activities such …

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Several States Press the Accelerator on Reducing GHG Emissions in Transportation Sector from Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Last week, eight states and the District of Columbia announced a joint commitment to develop an agreement and action plan to support accelerated development of medium and heavy-duty zero emissions trucks and buses. In a joint statement of intent entitled “Multi-State Medium-and Heavy- Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Initiative,” California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont declared their intent to develop a multistate memorandum of understanding to support efforts to develop zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in an effort to address climate change concerns.

“Our states recognize that nearly …

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EPA Announces Draft Risk Evaluation for N-Methylpyrrolidon (NMP)

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of the draft risk evaluation for N-methylpyrrolidon (NMP) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The purpose of a risk evaluation is to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under the conditions of its use and to analyze the risks from potential exposure. The draft risk evaluation will be peer-reviewed by the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on December 5- 6, 2019 with a final regulation likely to be …

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EPA’s Supplemental “Transparency in Regulatory Science” Rule Likely to Restrict the Use of Scientific Studies in Determining Pivotal Environmental Actions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to publish a supplemental proposed rule that would expand the applicability of a preexisting proposed rule from 2018 impacting how environmental regulations come about. 

The supplemental proposal would require underlying data in scientific studies used in the promulgation of significant regulatory actions be publicly available—underlying data that’s often confidential, proprietary, and may contain private personal information subject to confidentiality agreements. 

As reported by the New York Times, this rulemaking action would supplement the April 2018 proposed rule entitled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” (83

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New Jersey Governor Announces Ambitious 10-Year Plan to Remove Lead from Service Lines and Paint in Homes Throughout the State

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a comprehensive statewide plan to address lead exposure throughout the state. “My comprehensive statewide plan brings together experts from our cabinet departments, stakeholders, and advocates to create strong partnerships and implement policies to protect New Jersey’s children and families from lead” the governor commented. “Together, guided by the actions outlined in our strategy, we will overcome this public health challenge that has been building for decades to ensure that our residents are safe from lead exposure for generations to …

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WOTUS War Surges Forward As EPA Announces Repeal of 2015 Rule

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator, Andrew R. Wheeler, signed a rule for publication that would repeal the 2015 Clean Water rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. 

The 2015 WOTUS rule allowed for a significant extension of the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States” to include waters such as headwaters, wetlands, and streams. The 2015 rule interpreted the CWA to cover these waters reasoning that they require protection “in order to restore and …

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Florida Appellate Court Finds That State Laws Preempt City-Enacted Anti-Styrofoam Ban

Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal recently struck down a 2016 Coral Gables’ law that prohibited the sale and use of food-related polystyrene containers (i.e., Styrofoam) by food service providers and stores. This decision reverses a trial court decision granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of the city and finding that the three state laws in question were unconstitutional.

In its decision, written by Judge Norma S. Lindsey, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal held that the ordinance was preempted by …

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States Continue to Lead the Charge: Report Issued For First of its Kind Statewide PFAS Sampling of Drinking Water Supplies in Michigan

If you’ve been following PFAS-related news you’ll know that Michigan has been one of the hardest hit states when it comes to this emerging contaminant. The state is one of a handful in the nation to take the lead in attempting to set some of the nation’s toughest drinking water limits for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

Earlier this year, a Michigan state sponsored scientific workgroup proposed new health threshold limits for various PFAS compounds as Michigan seeks to set some of the most stringent enforceable …

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