On Sept. 25, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz asked the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to initiate the process to establish a Clean Cars Minnesota Rule, which would set both a low-emission vehicle (LEV) standard and a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard. Next month, the MPCA will begin its rulemaking process, with a goal of adopting a final rule by December 2020. If implemented, Minnesota would join 14 states with an LEV standard, 11 of which also have a ZEV standard.

The Minnesota plan is modeled after California LEV and ZEV standards. California has a nearly 50-year-old waiver under the Clean Air Act permitting the state to set stricter emission standards. After indications that the federal government would publish a rule revoking the waiver, California, joined by 22 other states, including Minnesota, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit seeking to enforce states’ rights to set emission standards more stringent than those imposed by the federal government. The lawsuit presents novel questions under the Clean Air Act including whether a waiver can be revoked, and if so, under what circumstances. Any final rule in Minnesota will be contingent on states retaining the right to adopt more restrictive measures, including through the operative waiver under Sections 209(b) and 177 of the Clean Air Act.   
Continue Reading In Minnesota, More Little Red Corvettes May Soon be Electric

On Sept. 12, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army followed through on an early Trump administration promise to repeal a 2015 jurisdictional rule defining the scope of the government’s authority under the Clean Water Act. See Definition of “Waters of the United States”—Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules (pre-publication version).

Dubbed the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, the Obama-era regulation spawned a tide of litigation, in federal trial and appellate courts, challenging the WOTUS rule as an unlawful attempt by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers to increase the numbers and kinds of waters subject to permitting requirements. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately weighed in, saying that challenges to the WOTUS rule belong in the federal districts courts, not the U.S. courts of appeals. National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, __ U.S. __, 138 S.Ct. 617 (2018).
Continue Reading Government Repeals Obama-Era Waters of the U.S. Rule: Major Supreme Court Decision to Come, but ‘Regulatory Patchwork’ Remains

PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been under scrutiny on both sides of the Capitol in recent months, and the Senate made significant headway in late June in reaching consensus
Continue Reading PFAS Solution Moving Through Congress on Must-Pass Defense Bill

This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed it had conducted a study finding that certain types of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have entered American food and
Continue Reading FDA Findings on PFAS Chemicals in U.S. Food and Drinking Water Supply

Contradicting the argument raised by the United States in a recent amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the EPA finalized new guidance on April
Continue Reading Contradicting the Department of Justice, EPA Changes Stance on Groundwater Discharges

On April 1, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) proposed drinking water standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) that are significantly more stringent than
Continue Reading A Busy Time for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – More PFAS Action and NRD Lawsuits

On March 29, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its final Oil & Natural Gas Exploration and Production Facilities New Owner Audit Program Agreement (Oil & Gas New Owner Audit
Continue Reading EPA Announces New Owner Audit Program Agreement for Oil & Natural Gas Exploration and Production Facilities

At a nationally-televised news conference July 24, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the approval of biofuels derived from sorghum oil as “advanced” renewable fuels under the Clean Air
Continue Reading EPA Approves Renewable Fuels Produced from Sorghum Oil; Provides Additional Source of Revenue for Farmers in Wake of Chinese Tariffs