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Environmental Trends

14 July 2020

EPA Proposes Amendments to Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boiler and Process Heater Standards

On July 8, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published proposed amendments to the 2013 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters. The proposed amendments, the result of three remands issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, revise certain maximum achievable control technology (MACT) limits and provide more explanation about other aspects of the rule.

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09 July 2020

Tenth Circuit Rejects EPA’s Position on Renewal of Clean Air Act Permits

On July 2, 2020, in Sierra Club v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) interpretation of the scope of its obligations to review permits under Title V of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The court found that the plain language of EPA’s regulations requires EPA to review whether a state-issued Title V permit complies with all applicable CAA requirements, not only the requirements the state included in the permit. The issue may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, as it diverges from a recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit.

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08 July 2020

Fourth Circuit Rejects NEPA Challenge as Untimely

On July 1, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed Howard County, Maryland’s, petition to review the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval (FAA) of construction at Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport as inconsistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires the federal agencies to conduct environmental assessments of federally licensed projects to determine whether the project will have significant environmental effects. In 1994, Congress provided for a 60-day limitations period covering challenges to certain projects. This limitations period includes challenges to the adequacy of the NEPA review (NEPA does not contain a statute of limitations provision). 49 U.S.C. § 46110(a).

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02 July 2020

EPA Amends Its COVID-19-Related Temporary Enforcement Guidance

On June 29, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended its COVID‑19‑related temporary enforcement policy. As previously reported, EPA issued temporary COVID-19 Enforcement Guidance on March 26, 2020, providing guidelines on how EPA will, in certain cases, exercise discretion in enforcing environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. (more…)

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02 July 2020

District Court: Risk Assessment Not Required Every Time EPA Revises Clean Air Act Technology-Based Standard

On June 26, 2020, a federal district court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not required to perform a risk assessment every time it revises its technology-based standards for a hazardous pollution source. Rather, the EPA is required to conduct a risk assessment only in connection with its initial adoption.

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30 June 2020

California Air Resources Board “First-in-World Rule” Mandates Manufacturers to Increase Percentage of Zero-Emission Truck Sales

On June 25, 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation, which CARB describes as a “first-in-the-world rule.” Starting in 2024, the regulation requires medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers to increase the sales of zero-emission models. The ACT regulation follows the state’s longstanding Zero Emission Vehicle program and 2018 mandate requiring public transit agencies to transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus fleets by 2040.

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23 June 2020

EPA Grants Petitions to Add First Chemical to Hazardous Air Pollutants List Since 1990

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice granting petitions to add n-propyl bromide, commonly known as 1-bromopropane (1-BP), to the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Once EPA takes a separate regulatory action to add the chemical to the list of HAPs, the action will represent the first addition to the list since 1990, when it was created. 1-BP is found in degreasers, cleaners, spray adhesives, automotive refrigerant flushes and lubricants. In a draft risk evaluation conducted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA noted last year that the chemical could pose “an unreasonable risk of injury to health” under certain conditions of use but did not find any unreasonable risk of injury to the environment. The risk evaluation is ongoing and is expected to be finalized this year.

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