EPA Taps Public for Comment on Water Reuse Plans

Water scarcity is a growing concern for the EPA, as discussed in depth in its National Water Reuse Action Plan issued this week.

The plan outlines ways that the EPA can work with state and local governments to promote water reuse and support research into new technologies. Due to various pressures, 80 percent of U.S. states anticipate water shortages in some parts of their states in the next decade. Over the past several decades, agriculture, industry, and communities have faced water crises and responded through …

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Newark Water Crisis Still an Issue as City Distributes Bottled Water to Residents

As previously addressed in the Environmental Law Monitor,  lead was found in Newark, New Jersey’s water supply. The city has now attempted to assuage fears by providing water filters to residents in affected areas. According to the EPA, that isn’t enough, and the city has begun offering water bottles to concerned residents after a sample demonstrated that filters are not sufficiently removing lead from drinking water.

On Friday, the EPA sent a letter to the city and state advising bottled water usage for residents …

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Federal PFAS Regulation Around the Corner?

The Senate and House both are considering Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations this summer. Last month, the Senate began inching closer to consensus on certain regulations. Following two hearings in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the PFAS Release Disclosure Act was considered in committee and filed as an amendment to S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act heading to the Senate floor.

The Senate PFAS legislation would require reporting of PFAS releases as part of the Toxic Release Inventory Reporting program, address …

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Federal Court Shoots Down Pipeline Project

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with environmental groups this week, ruling that the U.S. Forest Service violated federal environmental laws by granting permission for the construction of the Atlantic Coastal Pipeline. This 600 mile natural gas pipeline would cut through the mid-Atlantic United States, from West Virginia to North Caroline, and would traverse part of the Appalachian Trail.

The project has been met with opposition since its inception, with environmentalists arguing that federal agencies have failed to properly review the impact of …

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City of Newark Distributing Water Filters Following Ineffective Lead Treatment Program

The City of Newark, NJ has been battling an aging and decaying infrastructure for years. More specifically, Newark’s aging water supply and service line infrastructure is one of many challenges it, and other similarly situated cities face.

The issue of lead in drinking water captured the nation’s attention several years ago with the heath crisis that impacted (and is still impacting) Flint, Michigan. The concern involving drinking water quality and excessive lead levels is, however, far from limited to that region.

Last year, Newark reported …

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Tall Drink of Wastewater: EPA Considers Permitting Wastewater Disposal Into Texas Rivers and Streams

For every barrel of oil drilled in Texas, four-to-five barrels of wastewater are produced. The abundance of untreated water has led the EPA to consider whether to permit oil drillers in Texas to discharge wastewater directly into local rivers and streams, avoiding the complicated and costly process of trucking the water to underground wells that may be many miles away. If put into effect, this plan would alter established federal clean water regulations that have been in place for decades.

Currently, drillers pump wastewater, a …

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Long-Term Environmental Impact of Hurricane Florence Yet to be Seen

As of press time, Hurricane Florence has claimed nearly 40 lives and caused extensive destruction in the hardest-hit areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Environmental analysts will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to measure the environmental impact of the storm. At present, we have detected three current areas of primary environmental concern — risk to nuclear sites, the spread of coal ash waste, and the flooding of industrial farms.

 Nuclear Sites:

The Carolinas are uniquely situated in that …

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Trump Administration Continues Rollback of Obama-Era CO2 Regulations

On August 21, 2018, the Trump administration released a proposed CO2 plan that will permit states to establish emission standards for coal power plants rather than encouraging their closure. The new proposal will provide coal companies with a strong financial incentive to keep their plants in operation, rather than the Obama administration’s goal of replacing them with power plants using renewable energy.  According to the EPA, the proposed rule, named the Affordable Clean Energy (rule), contains several key components:

  •  a revised determination of the best
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Pain in the Ash: Part II- The Reckoning

The Environmental Law Monitor reported earlier this year on battles between environmental activists and power plants over the controversial storage of toxic coal ash waste near waterways and in landfills. The battle rages on this week after the EPA finalized a rule on July 17, 2018 that reduces Obama-era requirements for handling and storing the dangerous waste, thrilling the coal industry and evoking anxiety from activists.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler enacted a new standard for storing coal ash at more than 400 coal-fired power …

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Old MacDonald Had a Gas Station — EPA Requires Increased Quantities of Ethanol in National GasolineSupply, but Producers are Skeptical

The Environmental Protection Agency has increased the total amount of ethanol and biodiesel that must be used in 2019 to 19.88 billion gallons under the Proposed Renewable Fuel Standard for 2019, a 3 percent increase over 2018 levels. Fifteen billion gallons of the blended gasoline will be traditional ethanol, made from crops like corn and soy, while the remainder will be composed of biofuels and biodiesel.

This change was bolstered by agricultural and renewable fuel lobbyists, who argue that American farmers suffer from low commodity …

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