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.

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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.

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Ninth Circuit Sends San Joaquin Valley Ozone Plan Back to EPA

On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final rule approving the State of California’s plan for meeting the ozone air quality standard in the San Joaquin Valley and remanded the plan to EPA for further consideration. EPA approved the plan in 2019, which included a single contingency measure that would be activated if the plan did not achieve reasonable further progress toward meeting the ozone standard. A local environmental group, the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR), challenged the approval and argued that the single contingency measure was arbitrary and capricious because it provided for only nominal emissions reductions.

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Massachusetts to Adopt Expansive List of PFAS Chemicals Covered by State’s Chemical Regulatory Program

On August 19, 2021, Massachusetts’s Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) Administrative Council voted to add PFAS to its TURA List of Toxic or Hazardous Substances here. Specifically, following a public meeting, the council added to its list “PFAS Not Otherwise Listed,” which includes “those PFAS that contain a perfluoroalkyl moiety with three or more carbons (e.g., –CnF2n–, n ≥ 3; or CF3–CnF2n– , n≥2) or a perfluoroalkylether moiety with two or more carbons (e.g., –CnF2nOCmF2m− or –CnF2nOCmFm–, n and m ≥ 1 ).”

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Environmental Protection Agency Takes Action to End All On-Food Use of Conventional Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) has issued a prepublication rule that will revoke all on-food tolerances for the conventional pesticide called chlorpyrifos and has announced that it will also issue a Notice of Intent to Cancel all food uses for the pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA stated that “taking into consideration the currently available information and the currently registered uses of chlorpyrifos, EPA cannot make a safety finding to support leaving the current tolerances for residues of chlorpyrifos in place” consistent with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

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