US EPA, Army Corps clarify that Clean Water Rule is slated for permanent repeal
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are looking for additional feedback on the legal underpinning of the Clean Water Rule. But commenters were advised that the agencies intend to "permanently repeal" the 2015 definition of the waters subject to federal regulation. Proposed in 2015 by the Obama administration, the Clean Water Rule, more commonly referred to as the waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, is poised for repeal under the direction of President Donald Trump. The rule remains entangled in a complex web of unfinished legal and policy matters, meaning the agencies have had to take some steps to stall the original rule while working on repeal.
US EPA proposes to close out good neighbor obligations for 2008 ozone rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that additional emissions reductions are not needed to curb downwind transport of ozone from 20 Eastern states consistent with the 2008 standard. The agency therefore has proposed to "close out" Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, or CSAPR, obligations for those states. Often referred to as the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act, CSAPR is aimed at cutting emissions from power plants primarily in the eastern U.S. of certain pollutants that can drift and contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone in downwind states. Limits for ozone and a number of other pollutants are set under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS.
Pruitt reversal on EPA veto power revives old fight at center of 'war on coal'
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has very rarely used its authority to retroactively veto a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The last time it did so was in January 2011, sparking a years-long legal battle that attracted support from businesses and politicians who said retroactively vetoing permits clouds the certainty need to invest in projects. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's move to eliminate his agency's authority to take such an action revives the controversy.
US EPA kicks off science review of ozone standards
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially launched a review of the science supporting ozone air quality standards. According to a June 26 entry in the Federal Register, the agency is putting together a plan to review the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, for ozone and related pollutants and is seeking information to inform that process. The agency will identify important policy issues to be examined and refresh the science used to inform the NAAQS process.
Site of W.Va. coal uprising designated historic site, protected from mining
The site of a historic coal labor conflict in West Virginia has been added back to a register of historic places, a move that would protect the site from potential surface mining. The site of the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain was returned to the National Register by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places through a decision memorandum signed June 27. Environmental groups and historic preservation groups that have fought for the designation for years applauded the decision in a joint release issued June 29.
Report: US carbon emissions cuts a 'far cry' from Paris commitment
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are projected to drop 12% to 20% below 2005 levels by 2025, a "far cry" from the 26% to 28% reduction pledged by the Obama administration in 2015, according to a new report from the Rhodium Group. President Donald Trump in June 2017 announced that he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. But the U.S. cannot officially withdraw from the treaty before November 2020. Rhodium found that U.S. emissions are expected to decline at least modestly from current levels over the next decade, but the U.S. is not on track to meet its Paris commitment even under the most optimistic policy and energy market scenarios and relatively pessimistic economic growth assumptions.