Tag Archives: US EPA

D.C. Circuit Strikes Down Portions of the RCRA Definition of Solid Waste Rule

On July 7, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision striking down portions of US EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule, which defines when certain hazardous secondary materials (i.e. recyclable materials generated as the remainder of industrial processes) become “discarded” and thus subject to regulation as a solid waste.  The Rule, … Continue Reading

Superfund Financial Assurance Rules: Chemical, Coal, Petroleum & Electric Power Industries Face Upcoming US EPA Rulemaking

On December 1, 2016, the US EPA Administrator signed two documents about financial assurance – effectively bonding for facility cleanup – under Superfund for several industry sectors. The longer document with the shorter deadline concerned the hard rock mining and mineral processing industries, proposing specific costly rules, on which comments are due around March 13.  … Continue Reading

Proposed Settlement Agreement Requires US EPA to Promulgate Perchlorate Regulations by the End of 2019

US EPA recently agreed in federal court to engage in a rulemaking process over the next three-plus years which would culminate in the promulgation of final perchlorate regulations by December 19, 2019. Perchlorate remains the only unregulated contaminant for which US EPA has made a final determination to regulate since the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was amended in … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes Rules Governing Financial Responsibility for Hard Rock Mines & Processing Facilities

On December 1, 2016, US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy complied with a court order and signed a proposed Superfund rule to require facilities in the hard rock mining industry to provide financial assurance for cleanup and related environmental costs, as required by Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). 42 … Continue Reading

Despite New Administration, Environmental Groups May Influence Changes to US Industrial Stormwater Discharge Permits

Although the focus and priorities of a new US EPA administration under President-elect Trump remain unclear, regulatory changes may be in the works that could require certain industrial entities to either change how they handle stormwater discharges or face lawsuits brought by environmental groups. As described more fully below, US EPA entered into a settlement … Continue Reading

US Senate Falls Short in Attempt to Override Obama’s Veto of “Waters of the United States” Resolution

On January 21, 2016, Senate Republicans failed to override President Obama’s veto of a recent legislative attempt to block the “Waters of the US” Rule. The challenged Rule defines the term “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, while, as we noted previously, expanding federal jurisdiction over waters that were not previously … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Leaves US EPA’s Mercury Rule in Place During Remand

On December 15, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected challenges by energy industry groups and several states that are seeking to scrap US EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”) final rule.  White Stallion Energy Center, LLC v. EPA, Case No. 12-1100.  The Court remanded the rule to US EPA for … Continue Reading

US EPA Violated Federal Law by Using Taxpayer Dollars to Fund “Covert Propaganda” and Illegal Grassroots Lobbying

A federal investigation has revealed that US EPA violated federal law by utilizing “covert propaganda” and illegal grassroots lobbying to encourage voters to support its Waters of the United States Rule (the “Clean Water Rule“).  US EPA’s legal violations in the context of the Clean Water Rule could lead to additional trouble for the agency.  Members of the … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Final Rule to Clamp Down on Refinery Emissions

On September 29, 2015, US EPA issued a final rule for the regulation of emissions from the nation’s 142 petroleum refinery operations (the “Refinery Rule”).  The regulatory structure underlying the rule is complex, but essentially includes both a “residual risk review” to assess the risk to public health, and a “technology review” where, as the … Continue Reading

US District Court Blocks BLM Rule for Hydraulic Fracking on Federal and Tribal Land

On September 30, 2015, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming preliminarily enjoined the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from enforcing its final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands, pending the resolution of a challenge to the rule under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) brought by various industry, state, … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Sides With US EPA In Pebble Mine FOIA Litigation

On August 24, 2015, Judge H. Russel Holland of the US District Court for the District of Alaska dealt a blow to Pebble Limited Partnership’s (Pebble Partnership) efforts to obtain documents which it believes could support its claim that US EPA failed to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by coordinating with environmental … Continue Reading

US District Court Enjoins Waters of the US Rule But Limits Injunction to the 13 Plaintiff States

On August 27, 2015, the US District Court for the District of North Dakota granted a motion for preliminary injunction to a coalition of 13 states (the States) attempting to block implementation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, promulgated by US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and set to go into … Continue Reading

Draft US EPA Assessment Finds No Systematic Risk to Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing

Earlier this month, US EPA released its long-awaited draft assessment on the impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the nation’s drinking water resources.  The assessment, titled Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources, represents over four years of study into the potential of hydraulic fracturing to … Continue Reading

US Chamber of Commerce Joins House of Representatives in Calls for Greater Regulatory Transparency From EPA

Recently, the US Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) published its report Truth In Regulating: Restoring Transparency to EPA Rulemaking, criticizing EPA for not providing critical details about the regulatory intent and true costs associated with significant Agency rulemakings.  The Chamber report follows on the heels of last week’s passage of H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Holds that Agencies Are Not Required to Comply With Notice and Comment Requirements When Revising Interpretative Rules

This month, in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the US Supreme Court overturned the D.C. Circuit’s Paralyzed Veteran doctrine, rejecting nearly 20 years of precedent requiring federal agencies to abide by notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures when they substantially alter an “interpretive” rule. However, the decision also hints that even broader changes may be afoot.  Writing in … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes to Amend the National Contingency Plan Governing the Use of Dispersants in Response to Oil Spills

On January 22, 2015, US EPA announced that it is proposing to amend the requirements governing the use of dispersants and other chemical and biological agents used in response to oil spills, which are contained in Subpart J of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The proposed amendments come as a result … Continue Reading

Preliminary Injunction Halts US EPA’s CWA 404 Process on Pebble Mine To Evaluate Activists’ Connections

On November 25, 2014, a federal judge granted a motion for preliminary injunction, and ordered US EPA to stop all work pertaining to its investigation of and proposed plan to restrict discharges from the prospective Pebble Mine project near Bristol Bay in Alaska.  The plaintiff, Pebble Partnership, contended that US EPA failed to comply with the requirements … Continue Reading

Controversial “Waters of the US” Rule Proposal Draws Criticism as Public Comment Period Expires

The extended public comment period for the US EPA and Army Corp of Engineers’ proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) expired November 14, 2014.  The proposed rule has come under intense scrutiny for its apparent expansion of CWA jurisdiction.  US EPA received nearly 500,000 public comments … Continue Reading

Definition of “Waters of the US”: US EPA Science Advisory Board Calls For Less Exclusions, More Jurisdiction

On April 21, 2014, US EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). As previously reported here, the proposed rule has come under intense scrutiny for its apparent expansion of CWA jurisdiction. Now, recent reports published by US EPA’s … Continue Reading

US EPA’s Failure to Timely Issue Permit Does Not Authorize Grandfathering PSD Permit Application Under Former Air Quality Standards

On August 12, 2014, the Ninth Circuit, in Sierra Club v. EPA, vacated US EPA’s decision to issue a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit to construct a power plant under outdated – and less stringent – air quality standards in place when the permit application was submitted.  The Court held that the Clean Air … Continue Reading

Unity Yes, Finality No: D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to US EPA Clean Water Act Policy Governing Mining Permits on Procedural Grounds

On July 11, in National Mining Association v. McCarthy – a case very important to the surface coal mining industry in the Appalachians – the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected industry arguments that US EPA had improperly adopted policies that made it harder for such mines to obtain two kinds of Clean Water Act (CWA) permits: permits under Section … Continue Reading

Update: Comment Period Open for US EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources

As discussed in our recent blog post and client alert, the  proposed Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources  (ESPS) has now been published in the Federal Register.   This publication commences the 120 day comment period.  Comments on the proposed rule must be received by US EPA on or before October 16, 2014.… Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Final PM2.5 Implementation Rule Following Remand

On June 2, US EPA published a final rule that outlines the regulatory framework states must follow to implement the 1997 and 2006 standards for fine particulate matter, or PM2.5.  The Rule was issued in response to a remand from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2013, which returned for correction a pair of rules … Continue Reading

Will US EPA’s “Building Blocks” Really Allow States Flexibility to Craft Power Plant Emission Reductions in Their Own Way?

As detailed in our recent Client Alert, the Obama Administration, in an effort to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, has released a proposed rule that, if finalized, will require 30% reductions of CO2 emissions from 2005 emission levels from existing power plants by the year 2030.  The proposed existing source performance standard (ESPS) purports to … Continue Reading
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