Tag Archives: EPA

FDA Findings on PFAS Chemicals in U.S. Food and Drinking Water Supply

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 drinking water supplies; however, “[c]urrent FDA testing has found that most foods have no or very low levels of PFAS.” The FDA’s efforts are ongoing … Continue Reading

Contradicting the Department of Justice, EPA Changes Stance on Groundwater Discharges

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 12, 2019, concluding that the Clean Water Act “is best read as excluding all releases of pollutants from a point source to groundwater from NPDES … Continue Reading

Can a State Provide Oversight Under a Federal CERCLA Order or Decree?

Section 400(h) of the National Contingency Plan (NCP) contains an unremarked, yet problematic, last sentence. The NCP, of course, governs response actions under the federal Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund); the government cannot recover costs incurred inconsistently with that regulation. 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(1-4)(A). Section 400(h) provides: (h) Oversight. The … Continue Reading

EPA Announces New Owner Audit Program Agreement for Oil & Natural Gas Exploration and Production Facilities

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 Policy, or Policy). This voluntary program provides total civil penalty mitigation for qualified new owners of upstream oil and natural gas well sites (including associated … Continue Reading

In Honor of World Water Day…

March 22 is World Water Day! In honor of this day, here is a roundup of GT’s recent water-related insights: EPA Announces “Most Comprehensive Cross-Agency Action Plan for a Chemical of Concern” in History of EPA for PFAS New York to Propose Stringent Drinking Water Standards EPA’s New WOTUS Rule Recent Opinions Hold Differing Views … Continue Reading

EPA’s New WOTUS Rule

On Dec. 11, 2018, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Agencies) released a proposal to revise the regulatory definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), as found in the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The proposal represents another chapter in the long-running debate over the scope of federal authority. The CWA … Continue Reading

Constant Vigilance: Why Environmental Criminal Enforcement Still Matters

Jillian Kirn authored an article titled “Constant Vigilance: Why Environmental Criminal Enforcement Still Matters” in The Legal Intelligencer. According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearing House (TRAC), federal prosecutions for environmental crimes are down 40 percent from 2013 levels. Still, despite these recent declines, environmental criminal enforcement remains a potent regulatory tool. To read the … Continue Reading

Potential New Tools to Sue for a Faster Cleanup

Soil or groundwater cleanups can take a long time. When one person conducts the cleanup and another has an interest in its completion, the two can disagree over the pace of the project. That is typically a three-party issue involving the regulator—for example, the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Environmental Protection. Resolving the … Continue Reading

EPA Approves Renewable Fuels Produced from Sorghum Oil; Provides Additional Source of Revenue for Farmers in Wake of Chinese Tariffs

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 Act’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. See Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Grain Sorghum Oil Pathway (Sorghum Rule) (July 24, 2018, pre-publication version). Wheeler called the … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Issues Stay of the EPA’s Latest Effort To Ease Clean Air Act Requirements

On July 18, 2018, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) ordered a stay of a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action that would allow manufacturers to continue to produce trucks with engines that do not comply with the agency’s Clean Air Act caps. In so ruling, … Continue Reading

EPA Issues New Guidance Easing New Source Review Analysis

As part of its growing reinterpretation of Clean Air Act requirements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a new guidance (Project Emissions Accounting Under the New Source Review Preconstruction Permitting Program (March 13, 2018) (Guidance)) altering the agency’s policy on when preconstruction permits are required under the New Source Review (NSR) program for … Continue Reading

Can the Environmental Rights Amendment Protect Pennsylvanians From EPA Cuts?

President Donald J. Trump and his administration have focused on the EPA during his time in office, particularly in regards to its funding, and its regulations. The president has taken several high-profile steps in addressing climate change, including pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord and proposing the repeal of the Clean … Continue Reading

Environmentalists Score Clean Water Act Victory Which May Affect Permitting Status

While litigants and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to debate the fate of the agency’s 2015 rule defining jurisdictional waters under the Clean Water Act (Act), environmentalists have scored a victory – one that may cause a widespread re-evaluation of permitting status. Last week the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a … Continue Reading

EPA Nixes Decades-Old Policy on Toxic Air Pollution

Jettisoning 23-year old doctrine, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week in guidance (“Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act,” Memorandum from William L. Wehrum, EPA (January 25, 2018)) that it was abandoning its “once-in-always-in” (OIAI) policy that branded stationary air pollution sources as “major … Continue Reading

EPA Concludes Glyphosate is Not Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans

EPA concluded in draft risk assessments that a widely used herbicide in the United States that controls weeds and grasses— glyphosate—is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”  Importantly, the assessment also “found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.”  According to EPA, this finding … Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About the Superfund Task Force’s Recommendations

There are over 1,300 sites listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List of contaminated sites that require cleanup, over a hundred of which are located in Pennsylvania. In May, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt promised to get “hands-on” with the Superfund program in order to expedite the cleanup of contaminated sites around the country, … Continue Reading

Department of Interior’s Call for Identification of Rules for Repeal, Modification, or Replacement

The Department of the Interior (the Department) last week issued a Federal Register notice calling on the public to identify regulations for repeal, replacement, or modification. The Department’s action is part of President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda, as embodied in Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” which outlines the new administration’s goal of … Continue Reading

The EPA’s Call for Identification of Rules to be Changed Results in a Majority of Comments in Support of EPA Regulation

We write to follow up on last month’s blog post, GT Alert, and webinar on the April 13 issuance of a federal register notice by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for submissions to identify regulations for repeal, replacement, or modification. The agency set a 30-day timeframe for response. Despite that tight timeframe, the … Continue Reading

New Delegation Centralizes Largest Superfund Cleanup Decisions

In a move designed to streamline approvals of and ensure consistency among the largest Superfund cleanups, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last week approved a new delegation of authority giving him and his yet-to-be-named deputy the final signature authority to approve large Superfund cleanups over $50 million. Prior to the revision, approval authority rested with EPA’s 10 regional … Continue Reading

Product Stewardship and Textiles

The environmental parameters associated with textiles continue to attract both regulatory and value chain attention. In an interesting development, Vietnam just relaxed its chemical testing rules for exported textiles (e.g., textiles and apparel exported to the U.S. and EU markets), specifically for formaldehyde and aromatic amines. Formaldehyde is frequently used in treating textiles, including popular … Continue Reading

EPA Solicits Comments on Regulatory Reform

On April 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a request for comments to aid EPA’s ongoing “Evaluation of Existing Regulations,” which seeks to identify regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. Comments must be submitted by May 15, so parties interested in taking this opportunity to help EPA identify regulations … Continue Reading

EPA Issues Final Hydraulic Fracturing Report, Concluding that The Practice “Can Impact Drinking Water Resources under Some Circumstances”; Follow-on Federal Regulation Highly Unlikely

When Congress first tasked the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 with studying the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, pundits on both sides of the debate collectively held their breath: at last, they thought, there would be an independent, comprehensive, scientific study of the oil and gas extraction technique. Seven years in the … Continue Reading

EPA’s Amendments to the Standards for Hazardous Waste Generators

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published its amendments to, and reorganization of, the regulations governing generators of hazardous waste, 81 Fed. Reg. 85,732 (Nov. 28). These rules govern the hundreds of thousands of enterprises nationally that produce wastes characterized or listed as hazardous under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. … Continue Reading

EPA Seeks to Impose Financial Responsibility Requirements on Hardrock Mine Operators

On Dec. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator signed a proposed rule, “Financial Responsibility Requirements under CERCLA § 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry,” which would impose new financial responsibility requirements for current owners and operators of hardrock mines, including numerous metal mines in the western United States. Federal Register … Continue Reading
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