By

Samuel Boxerman

14 April 2022

Supreme Court Lifts Stay of Trump-Era Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule

On Wednesday, April 6, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed an order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California vacating and remanding a 2020 rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) narrowing the ability of states and tribes to block infrastructure projects that discharge into waters of the United States under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. (more…)

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12 April 2022

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Finalizes Model Year 2024-26 Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards

On Friday, April 1, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its final fuel economy standards for model year 2024-26 vehicles. The final rule increases vehicle efficiency requirements, as represented through vehicle-footprint-based targets, 8% annually for model years 2024 and 2025 and 10% for 2026, which the agency concludes represents the maximum feasible level manufactures can achieve for these model years. NHTSA predicts that the new standards will yield an industrywide average fuel economy of approximately 49 miles per gallon for model year 2026 passenger cars and light trucks, which represents an increase of 10 miles per gallon over model year 2021. (more…)

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07 April 2022

California State Water Board Announces Scoping Phase for New Vapor Intrusion Cleanup Requirement

On March 25, 2022, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) issued a notice of public scoping meeting for a proposed amendment to its rules governing site cleanup. This amendment would establish “requirements for the investigation and assessment of vapor intrusion at cleanup sites statewide.”

(more…)

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05 April 2022

EPA Proposes “Good Neighbor” Plan Addressing Regional Ozone Transport for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard

On April 6, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish its proposed Federal Implementation Plan Addressing Ozone Transport for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), otherwise known as the latest iteration of EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule or “Good Neighbor” Plan. The proposal would subject 26 upwind states to the “good neighbor” or “interstate transport” provision of the Clean Air Act because EPA is proposing to find that nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which are a precursor to ozone formation, from the upwind states significantly contribute to downwind states’ attaining and maintaining the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

(more…)

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31 March 2022

EPA Revokes Pruitt’s Anti–“Sue and Settle” Policy

On March 25, 2022, EPA Administrator Michael Regan issued a memorandum titled “Consent Decrees and Settlement Agreements to Resolve Environmental Claims Against the Agency” (the Memorandum). The Memorandum revokes the memo and directive issued by former administrator Scott Pruitt, who had sought to foreclose a practice described by some as “sue and settle,” whereby groups would file a lawsuit that would be resolved by a settlement with EPA that would lead to new regulatory policies. (more…)

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30 March 2022

EPA Poses Questions to New St. Croix Refinery Owners to Make Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Determination

On March 22, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a letter to the West Indies Petroleum Limited and Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation LLLP, the new owners of the St. Croix refinery (Refinery). The letter addresses permitting requirements for the Refinery under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations — and offers insight into the agency’s current practice for evaluating PSD requirements when a source seeks to restart a permitted facility. (more…)

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28 March 2022

SEC Proposes Far-Reaching Rules for “Enhancement and Standardization” of Climate-Related Disclosures

On March 21, 2022, the SEC issued proposed rules that would require public companies to include extensive climate-related information in their registration statements and periodic reports. The proposed rules would require disclosure concerning climate-related risks and impacts, oversight and governance of climate-related risks, climate-related financial statement metrics, climate-related goals, and greenhouse gas emissions. (more…)

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25 March 2022

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Propose to List Northern Long-Eared Bat as Endangered Species

On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposed to reclassify the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), a bat species found in 38 U.S. states or territories, as an endangered species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (Act). The Service’s proposed reclassification is a direct response to a federal judge’s court order requiring the Service to revisit its previous listing decision and account for the impact of white nose syndrome (WNS), a disease-causing fungal infection that ultimately results in mortality. The heightened listing for the species is very likely to affect ongoing and future development over a large geographic region, given the species’ range outside of areas affected by WNS. (more…)

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24 March 2022

EPA Notifies Plastics Container Industry of Potential Presence of PFAS and TSCA Compliance Requirements

On March 16, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notified the fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) industry in a letter that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) could be formed in HDPE containers or similar plastics as a byproduct, which may trigger notification requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and be a violation of TSCA as contamination. (more…)

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23 March 2022

EPA Proposes to Adopt New American Society for Testing and Materials Standard, Including PFAS, for CERCLA Phase I All Appropriate Inquiry

On March 14, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed and direct final rule, which adopts the E1527-21 standard issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) required under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). (more…)

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