EPA Offices, Washington DC

EPA Updates FOIA Regs to Promote Transparency and Affordability of Information Concerning Environmental Justice Issues

On September 7, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was updating its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations through its Phase II FOIA final rule. This “modernization,” is part of EPA’s continued efforts to advance transparency – here, by improving the EPA’s FOIA program through a renewed focus on accountability, affordability, and better access to information for communities of color with environmental justice concerns. The final rule is a wider part of the Biden Administration’s general promise to prioritize consideration of communities …

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EPA Redefines ‘Waters of the United States’ to Conform with Supreme Court Decision

On August 29, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its final rule amending its definition of “waters of the United States.”  This new definition was written to conform with the Supreme Court’s May 24, 2023 ruling in Sackett v. EPA 598 U.S. _____(2023) (discussed in a previous blog here).  

The Sackett decision held in favor of the Sacketts, who wanted to build a home on an empty lot near a lake in Idaho. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the couple and held …

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The Good, the Bad, the Ozone

Pop quiz: What is the naturally occurring gas that forms a life-sustaining, protective barrier when in the Earth’s stratosphere (15-30km above the surface), blocking harmful ultra-violet radiation reaching the planet from the sun?


Round two: What is the noxious gas that can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, and even permanent lung damage when produced by low-to-the ground industrial pollution?

Also, Ozone!

Yes, that same gas that we were all motivated and mobilized to restore into the sky back in the 80’s and 90’s has …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

FDA to EPA: Pump the Brakes on New EtO Rules During Supply Chain Shortage

With COVID diagnoses spiking across the United States this summer, we cannot yet claim that the pandemic is behind us. In fact, we are still experiencing residual medical device and equipment shortages, which has caused medical providers to spend billions on alternative sterile medical products and even implementing rations in some cases. Complicating the issue is the fact that, typically, only a handful of manufacturers and suppliers distribute these life-saving products, so alternatives can be difficult to procure. Shortages appear to be endangering other …

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Environmental Protection Agency Proposes New Air Emissions Reporting Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced July 25 proposed updates to its Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR), including a proposal to require the reporting of hazardous air pollutants, or “air toxics” (substances known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health effects). This update seeks to provide the EPA with accessible data allowing it to identify locations in need of solutions for people exposed to harmful air pollution, which communities can use to understand sources of air pollution that may be affecting them ­– …

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EPA Revises Carbon Tetrachloride Risk Determination to Protect Worker Health and Fenceline Communities

Carbon tetrachloride (CTC) is a solvent used as a raw material in commercial settings to produce chemicals such as hydrofluoroolefins for refrigerants, aerosol propellants, foam-blowing agents, chlorinated compounds, and agricultural products.

Notably, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of CTC in consumer products in 1970. Additionally, in 1996, CTC was phased out from production in the United States for most domestic uses that did not involve manufacturing other chemicals as a result of requirements under the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air …

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EPA Proposes Stronger Lead Paint Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency announced July 12 “a proposal to strengthen requirements for the removal of lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 buildings and child care facilities… to better protect children and communities from the harmful effects of exposure to dust generated from lead paint…” The agency estimates that the rule, if finalized, could “reduce the lead exposures of approximately 250,000 to 500,000 children under age six per year,” in furtherance of the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Effects — …

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EPA Issues Final Rule Under Toxic Substances Control Act Consistent with 2016 Amendments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) provides the EPA with needed authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements related to chemical exposures where risks or exposures of concern are found. The TSCA addresses the production, use, and disposal of multiple chemicals – including chemicals such as lead-based paint and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The TSCA applies to more than 83,000 chemicals, with new chemicals added when commercial manufacturing becomes available.

Under the authority of the TSCA, the EPA collects …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

EPA’s New Renewable Fuel Standards Add Biofuel to the Fire

The Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule establishing biofuel volume requirements for 2023 to 2025 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program on June 21. The Rule aims to reduce the United States’ reliance on foreign sources of oil by approximately 130,000 to 140,000 barrels of oil per day by requiring annual volumes of renewable fuels to be used in the fuel supply. While the EPA boasts that the rule reflects its ongoing efforts to “ensure stability of the program for years to come, …

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American Public Is Thrown Into the EtO Mix with Government and Industry

After a COVID-related dip, ethylene oxide (EtO) cannot seem to stay out of the news these days. Every week there is some EtO-related legal or technological development in the United States. And now the public is being encouraged to shape the oversight of EtO use and manufacture. 

Following a long pause in years-long and intense regulatory focus — a direct result of the pandemic, an emergency requiring exponential use of EtO, a highly efficient sterilizing chemical used on billions of medical devices and hospital supplies …

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