Stricter PFAS Regulations Added to Defense Authorization Bill

On September 22, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a consolidated amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 related to the regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). If enacted, the bipartisan amendment would require a number of PFAS-related actions, including these: (more…)

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EPA Issues Final Rule to Reduce Hydroflurocarbons

On Friday, September 23, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final rule to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 85% by 2036. The rule sets baselines for HFC production and consumption from which reductions can be measured and establishes a compliance and enforcement program. In addition to announcing the final rule, EPA also announced an interagency task force with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to prevent the illegal import and trade of HFCs. (more…)

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EPA Drops Guidance From Previous Administration Interpreting Post-Maui Clean Water Act Permitting Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) Office of Water announced that it will be rescinding guidance (the “rescission memo”) prepared in the final days of the Trump administration that provided an interpretation of federal Clean Water Act permitting requirements in the wake of the Supreme Court’s significant April 2020 decision in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. (more…)

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Federal Policy Granting Pandemic-Related Temporary Supply Chain Flexibility for Disinfectant Product Ingredients to End in September 2022

Effective September 15, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be terminating a COVID-19 pandemic-related policy that granted antimicrobial disinfectant product manufacturers short-term flexibilities for sourcing active ingredients from the global supply chain. EPA regulates these antimicrobial disinfectant products, and the process of substituting active ingredients, under the federal pesticide law, known as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. (more…)

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CARB Proposes 2040 Zero Emissions Mandate for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

On September 9, 2021, the California Air Resources Board (CARB or the Agency) released a draft proposal for the Agency’s Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation, which would mandate zero emissions for all new medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold in the state beginning in 2040. The draft proposal provides an exemption for authorized emergency vehicles. (more…)

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EPA Targets PFAS and Environmental Justice in Proposed Effluent Guidelines

On September 8, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) released Preliminary Effluent Program Plan 15 (Preliminary Plan 15), which outlines the Agency’s 2020 annual review of effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards (ELG), identifies new or existing industrial categories for ELG rulemaking, and provides an update on the Agency plan to improve its annual review and biennial planning process. (more…)

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VW Cert Petition Raises Clean Air Act Circuit Split

On August 27, 2021, Volkswagen AG and several affiliates (petitioners) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States seeking to overturn a decision of the Ohio Supreme Court that held the Clean Air Act (CAA) did not preempt state antitampering law. Petitioners assert that the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision was wrong because the CAA preempts state laws regulating emission controls. In support of their request to the U.S. Supreme Court, petitioners argue that there is a growing split among lower courts on the issue of CAA preemption, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (and now the Ohio Supreme Court) holding that the CAA does not preempt state emission control laws and the Alabama Supreme Court and intermediate appellate courts in Tennessee and Minnesota holding that it does. (more…)

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Biden Administration Proposals: Sustainable Fuels, Greenhouse Gas Reductions in the Aviation Industry

U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled an initiative to promote the production and use of sustainable fuel in the aviation industry on Thursday, September 9. This initiative includes a goal to cut emissions in the aviation sector by 20% by 2030 and is part of the Administration’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. (more…)

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EPA Publishes Landmark Study on the Effect of Climate Change on Socially Vulnerable Populations

On September 2, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) released a 100-page report, entitled “Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States,” that analyzes the impact of projected climate change on four population groups within the United States. This report represents the Agency’s latest effort to further the Biden administration’s agenda to advance environmental justice and address the effects of climate change on vulnerable populations, as outlined in Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. (more…)

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EPA Announces Analytical Method for Testing for PFAS

On September 2, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the publication of a laboratory-validated analytical method (Draft Method 1633) for testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances. EPA reported that its Office of Water developed Draft Method 1633 in conjunction with the Department of Defense. The method is reportedly able to test for 40 PFAS compounds in eight different media, including wastewater, surface water, groundwater, soil, biosolids, sediment, landfill leachate, and fish tissue. (more…)

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