Tag Archives: EPA

EPA’s Final Risk Management Program Reconsideration Rule More In-Step with OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a final rule rescinding major amendments to the Clean Air Act §112(r) Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations that were promulgated at the end of the Obama Administration in 2017. The 2017 revisions were promulgated partially in response to a 2013 explosion at a fertilizer company in West Texas, which … Continue Reading

In Minnesota, More Little Red Corvettes May Soon be Electric

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 … Continue Reading

United States Indicts Facility Owner Under Clean Air Act General Duty Clause

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to increase its enforcement role in industrial accidents, at times overshadowing the role traditionally played by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). EPA often takes tougher enforcement actions than OSHA and is more willing to bring criminal charges. This trend is reflected in a recent case affirming … Continue Reading

Government Repeals Obama-Era Waters of the U.S. Rule: Major Supreme Court Decision to Come, but ‘Regulatory Patchwork’ Remains

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 … Continue Reading

Maryland Court of Appeals Limits Bases for Challenging CWA Permits under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL

A recent state appellate court decision sharply limited the bases on which Clean Water Act permittees may challenge permitting requirements imposed to comply with a federal Chesapeake Bay “Total Maximum Daily Load” (“TMDL”), often described as a watershed-wide “pollution diet.” The decision directly impacts municipalities with separate stormwater sewer (“MS4”) permits, as well as certain … Continue Reading

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Applications for Hemp

The legalization of industrial hemp production in the 2018 Farm Bill is a likely boon for farmers grappling with the changing agricultural landscape. Given the strong economic forecasts for hemp production, pesticide registrants are intensifying their interest in gaining approvals for use of their products on hemp. Hemp farmers are also pressing for expanded crop … Continue Reading

EPA Expands RCRA Hazardous Waste Restrictions to a Broader Range of ‘Pharmaceuticals’ Including Dietary Supplements

If you are currently disposing of pharmaceuticals, including dietary supplements, into the dumpster or down the drain, you may want to reconsider that practice. New regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) impact how health care facilities must dispose of unused pharmaceuticals. The new regulations treat … Continue Reading

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
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