Trump Administration: Environmental (Budget) Impact Assessment

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget requests. As it has in previous years, the administration has proposed steep cuts in funding for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also see their budgets trimmed. Although the current Congress is unlikely to agree to such broad-sweeping cuts, the White House’s proposed budget requests provide a strong indicator of the Trump Administration’s priorities. 

The Cuts:

Overall, …

Continue Reading

Clean Air Act Alert: Coalition of Northeastern States Sue EPA over Good Neighbor Violations

Five states and the City of New York filed suit last week against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Southern District of New York alleging the agency failed to protect the states from ozone pollution traveling downwind, in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The coalition of states, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts, and the City of New York, are seeking an order that requires the EPA to create a plan to limit ozone emissions carried into the states from certain upwind states, including Illinois, …

Continue Reading

When Too Much Is Too Much: EPA Declines Further Regulation Over Chemical Manufacturers

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, signed a proposed rule under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to not impose financial responsibility requirements for facilities in the chemical manufacturing industry on Feb. 10, 2020. A number of environmental advocacy groups spurred this action in August 2014 when they filed a writ of mandamus in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seeking financial responsibility rules in this industry and others.

Section 108(b) of CERCLA addresses the promulgation …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

EPA Proposed Rule Changes Questioned Based on Scientific Principles

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is introducing significant changes to reduce environmental regulations on several critical issues, despite sharp criticism from several scientific advisers. The proposed changes reduce the standards governing waterways and wetlands, in addition to those governing gasoline mileage emissions for vehicles within the United States. Other changes are under consideration, including the EPA’s change of its calculation limiting air pollutants from coal-fired power plants, as well as the implementation of restrictions regarding the types of permissible scientific studies when writing new environmental …

Continue Reading

New Lawsuit puts EPA Repeal of WOTUS Rule in the News Again

On December 20, 2019 a coalition of 14 states, including both New York and New Jersey along with the District of Columbia and New York City, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers,  challenging the new rule that redefines the term “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA), which went into effect on December 23, 2019. The new lawsuit can be added to the list of challenges to the Trump …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

Colorless Haze? Carcinogenic Gas Found at Monitoring Sites in 16 Cities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new data regarding the concentrations of ethylene oxide, a colorless and carcinogenic gas, found in metropolitan areas throughout the country. That data shows that the highest concentrations can be found in Phoenix, Arizona, followed closely by Chicago, Illinois, Calvert City, Kentucky, and Chester, New Jersey.

Ethylene oxide is an industrial compound most commonly used to produce other chemicals or as a sterilizing agent for medical instruments. The EPA released the data as part of an ongoing effort …

Continue Reading

COAL-ASH ALERT: New EPA Regulations Impact Waste Emission Requirements at Coal-Fired Power Plant

On November 4, 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was releasing regulations on how coal-fired power plants dispose of waste laden with arsenic, lead, and mercury. The newly promulgated rules have been considered a weakening of EPA regulations issued during the Obama Administration regarding the disposal of coal ash, which often makes its way to water and is stored in giant pits that could leech into local waterways. The revised rules were a result of a court decision mandating that …

Continue Reading