Tag Archives: EPA

President Trump’s Budget Proposal Would Curb EPA’s Environmental Enforcement Spending by 20 Percent, But Major Enforcement Priorities Would Continue

The White House Office of Management and Budget released on Tuesday the Trump administration’s first full budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year (starting in October 2017). The comprehensive proposal provides detail about the administration’s policy priorities. If the budget is adopted by Congress as written, the Environmental Protection Agency would face its greatest budget cuts ever. These cuts would broadly impact federal environmental efforts, including the enforcement of federal environmental laws.… Continue Reading

Susan Parker Bodine Nominated to Head EPA’s National Enforcement Office

President Trump recently nominated Susan Parker Bodine to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”). OECA is responsible for coordinating the enforcement of federal environmental laws under EPA’s authority. OECA acts through a combination of compliance assistance, administrative enforcement and, in partnership with the US Department of Justice, civil and criminal enforcement.… Continue Reading

Is Superfund Heading in a New Direction?

In 1980, a lame duck Congress passed the nation’s first legislation, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. §9601 et seq. (CERCLA), to address the cleanup of toxic waste disposal sites. Comprehensive amendments were passed six years later. Over the next 30 years, EPA’s enforcement powers were used with increasing regularity and … Continue Reading

PFASs: If You Haven’t Heard of Them, You Will Soon

PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) comprise a group of highly fluorinated manmade compounds that are showing up in drinking water supplies around the country. They are resistant to heat, water and oil, as well as to chemical breakdown. Until recently, PFASs have not been widely regulated. This is changing at both the federal and state levels. … Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit Upholds a Haze Plan That Could Lead to New Flexibility in Future Rulemakings

In two related decisions issued on March 20, 2017, the Ninth Circuit upheld an EPA plan imposing regional haze requirements on the Navajo Generating Station (NGS). The rulings suggest a possibility that future haze plans need not be unduly inflexible—sometimes forcing premature unit closures, as many haze plans did during the program’s first round of implementation.… Continue Reading

EPA Wary of New TSCA Deadlines in Crafting Risk Evaluation Framework

In June 2016, Congress did something it had not done in over a quarter century: it enacted comprehensive, bipartisan revisions to a major environmental statute. More specifically, it substantially overhauled the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, a law that was first passed in 1976 and was widely considered to be in need of an update. The TSCA reform law, also known as the Lautenberg Act, expands EPA’s role in reviewing new chemical substances; gives EPA new authority to require testing of chemicals; and directs EPA to prioritize, evaluate and regulate the risks from existing chemicals. It also imposes strict deadlines on EPA for carrying out its new duties under TSCA. And EPA has apparently taken these deadlines to heart.… Continue Reading

President Orders EPA and Corps to Rescind or Revise the “Waters of the United States” Rule

On February 28, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO)  that sets into motion a process for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (jointly, the “Agencies”) to review the Obama Administration’s Waters of the US (WOTUS) Rule.  80 Fed. Reg. 37,054 (June … Continue Reading

EPA CERCLA 108(b) Financial Assurance Proposal Ripe for Remedial Action

On January 11, 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule pursuant to Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund), mandating extensive and costly financial assurance requirements applicable to the hardrock mining and mineral processing industry. On the same day, EPA also announced … Continue Reading

A New Perspective on Regional Haze Regulation?

During much of the Obama administration, states and EPA were in conflict about how to craft Clean Air Act plans to reduce “regional haze” impairment of visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. The technical and policy issues are daunting. Regional haze forms in the atmosphere from many sources’ air emissions — emissions from cars … Continue Reading

States, Industry Parties, and Environmental Groups Challenge EPA’s Latest Interstate Air Emissions “Transport” Rule in D.C. Circuit Litigation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule “Update” for the 2008 national ambient air quality standards for ozone – the so-called CSAPR Update Rule – on October 26, 2016.  81 Fed. Reg. 74504.  The CSAPR Update Rule regulates emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from power plants located in 22 states … Continue Reading

Congress May Take a Stab at Limiting Judicial Deference

The U.S. Supreme Court is not the only one keen on taking a closer look at deference to agency interpretations. Just as the Supreme Court will have an opportunity “to rein in a particularly aggressive use of agency deference” later this year, the House of Representatives is also set to take aim at judicial deference … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Takes on Agency Deference—Trump Beware!

Executive Branch agencies write vague rules.  Then they give them meaning through interpretation.  That meaning may change over time through re-interpretation.  Indeed, it is not hard to find examples of rules that meant one thing one day and the opposite the next.  See, e.g.,  Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, 135 S. Ct. 1199 (2015).  This … Continue Reading

“A Hard Candy Christmas” and Environmental Law

Recently, several of the environmental attorneys in our Washington office gathered together to sign holiday cards. During the festivities, the song “Hard Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton played, leading to a spirited discussion of what did the words “a hard candy Christmas” mean? Was this type of Christmas good or bad? Was this song happy … Continue Reading

EPA Denies Bid to Expand Regulation of Stormwater

On October 21 and November 3, EPA Regions 3 and 9 denied petitions from eNGOs for the agency to use its “residual designation authority” (RDA) to expand the universe of stormwater discharges that are regulated by the Clean Water Act (CWA) in specific watersheds in Maryland and California. … Continue Reading

“Guiding” States to EPA’s Way of Thinking

This summer has been an eventful time for EPA’s regional haze program. In July, the Fifth Circuit issued an important decision to stay EPA’s controversial Texas and Oklahoma regional haze rule and to retain jurisdiction over the litigation on that rule, denying an EPA request that the litigation be transferred to the DC Circuit. While … Continue Reading
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