The flags of the North Carolina state and United States of America waving in the wind. Democracy and independence.

North Carolina Joins Growing List of U.S. Environmental Justice Policy Proponents

At the end of October, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 292, which reestablishes the Secretary of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board (EJ Board) as the Governor’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council (EJA Council), originally established by the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan, who previously served as North Carolina’s DEQ Secretary.

In a “whole of government” approach to policymaking, EO 292 also directs equity-promoting actions that reflect the needs communicated by local communities overburdened …

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blurred river

House Eyes New Version of the Clean Water Act in Response to Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision

In what has already been a major year for the Clean Water Act, there’s now another attempt to redefine its scope.

On October 17, the Clean Water Act of 2023 was introduced by ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Rick Larsen (D-WA), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) and 114 House Democrats.

The proposed bill — H.R. 5983 — comes on the heels of the U.S. …

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Pollution Factory Smoke in Air with Sky Bad for the Environment

California Enacts First of Its Kind Legislation Requiring Climate Emissions Information

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted into law two bills, both of which will — for the first time in any U.S. state — require large companies doing business within the state to release a wide array of climate emissions information. Specifically, on October 7, Newsom signed into law Senate Bills (SB) 253 and SB 261, which affect both private and public businesses and their accountability towards what carbon footprint they are making in the state and their climate-related financial risks.

These new …

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person cleaning

Next On EPA’s Chopping Block: Trichloroethylene

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a risk management rule as part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would ban the production, processing and distribution of trichloroethylene (TCE) for all uses. TCE is used in a variety of applications, including cleaning and furniture-care products, paints and coatings, solvents, laundry and dishwashing products, degreasers, lubricants, brake cleaners and tire-repair sealants. 

According to EPA, the proposed rule is meant to address “the unreasonable risk of injury to human health presented by [TCE]” associated with its …

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Landfill with blue sky and cumulus clouds

Food Waste, Methane Gas, and the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 19 released new reports regarding the impact of methane emissions from food waste. As previously discussed in this space[i], many states have passed regulations to address methane emissions. These regulations include — among other things — waste collection programs so food waste does not end up in landfills. 

Over one-third of the food produced in the United States is not consumed. When the food waste is sent to landfills, it generates methane gas. Methane gas is a major contributor …

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Chemical hazard pictograms Toxic focus

CERCLA’n the Wagons: Even as it Seeks to Expand PFAS Regulations, EPA Will Not Enforce Rules Against Certain Groups

Since early 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency has pursued authority to establish a rule designating PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund Act. 

On August 12, 2022, the CERCLA PFAS designation effort advanced significantly when the Office of Management and Budget approved the EPA’s plan to designate PFOA and PFOS — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) — as hazards. This opened the door for the EPA …

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Filling up a glass with drinking water from kitchen tap

EPA ‘Deletes’ Cybersecurity Safe Drinking Water Initiative

In the 1970’s, a series of tests of community water systems across the country led to some disturbing findings; varied standards of water containment, transmission, and handling were resulting in substantial health risks to more than a third of tested sources. In response, Congress passed the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1974 (SWDA), a landmark legislation setting basic standards for drinking water for the more than 150,000 municipal water sources, nationwide.

Over the ensuing decades, the SWDA has been expanded and updated with the times …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

Lawsuits Claim EPA’s EtO Rules are Too Little, Too Late

Following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 finding that ethylene oxide (EtO), a highly effective chemical routinely used to sterilize medical devices and equipment, was significantly more hazardous than previously understood, individuals and shareholders began filing lawsuits against various EtO-using entities throughout the United States with no end in sight. At the end of last month, however, it was the EPA that became the legal target of furious environmental justice and health advocates acting on behalf of the communities the EPA is tasked to …

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on an flat roof there cooling air conditioning

EPA Announces Latest Actions to Address Hydrofluorocarbons

Nearly one year after ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Environmental Protection Agency announced two additional actions to further this initiative under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM).  The Kigali Amendment is an international agreement aimed at phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”) by 80-85 percent by 2047. It also seeks to avoid up to .5 °C of global warming by 2100.

By way of background, HFCs are used in applications …

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Close up view of railroad, transport background

Executive Order Aims to Increase Oversight of East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Response

Just before 9 p.m. ET on February 3, a 150-car, 9,000 foot long, Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, a quarter mile west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line. Twenty of the affected cars contained hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate and isobutylene. Some cars caught fire, others spilled their loads into an adjacent ditch that feeds Sulphur Run, a stream that joins Leslie Run, which eventually empties into the Ohio River.

Since the derailment, the Federal government …

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