EPA Unveils Framework For Industry Input on Regulations

Since the beginning of the Trump administration, many of the rules issued by the Obama administration, such as the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, have been targeted for review. Scott Pruitt and EPA have been in roll-back and repeal mode.  However, with the newly announced Smart Sectors Program, EPA seems to be taking a positive approach to dealing with industry and the regulated community instead of merely dealing with previously issued rules. Continue reading “EPA Unveils Framework For Industry Input on Regulations”

The Ozone Two-Step

Regulatory certainty is a benefit for industry, allowing orderly design, planning, and budgeting for capital expenditures. Many environmental regulations have been in place for many years and provide a certain level of continuity. However, the national ambient air quality standard for ozone has not proven itself to be a model of stability over the years.

The Clean Air Act requires that national ambient air quality standards be set at a level that protects human health and the environment with an adequate margin of safety. For years, the standard for ozone was set at 80 parts per billion (ppb). In 2008, EPA lowered the standard to 75 ppb. However, when the Obama Administration entered office in January, 2009, EPA reviewed actions taken by the previous Bush Administration. As to ozone, EPA initiated a rule-making in 2010 to reconsider the 2008 Standard, relying on, among other things, the fact that 75 ppb was above the range recommended by EPA’s scientific advisory board and so may not be protective of human health. The reconsideration rule proposed that the standard be set between 60 and 70 ppb. Continue reading “The Ozone Two-Step”

The Clean Water Rule Gets A Well-Needed Review

The EPA continues to implement the de-regulatory agenda of President Trump. One rule that is now being reviewed for repeal and revision is the Clean Water Rule. Many felt that the Rule went well beyond the scope of the Clean Water Act and regulated private property that had not been previously subject to regulation. As a result, they support EPA’s and the Corps’ current efforts to repeal the Rule and revise it to a more traditional view of the Clean Water Act’s jurisdictional reach. Continue reading “The Clean Water Rule Gets A Well-Needed Review”

Will Oil and Gas Get Any Relief from Obama-era Rules?

The Trump administration has made it no secret that it seeks to unleash the potential of American-produced energy. To further that goal, Executive Order (EO) No. 13783 was issued March 28, which required all agencies to review existing regulations that potentially burden the development of domestically produced energy resources. Although agencies such as EPA have taken steps to begin the mandated reviews and provided some relief in the form of stays, at least one court so far has not been as accommodating. Continue reading “Will Oil and Gas Get Any Relief from Obama-era Rules?”

EPA Takes Action on Recent Landfill Rules

Co-authored by Yolunda Righteous, Summer Law Clerk, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P.

EPA has decided to reconsider certain portions of two recent rules relating to municipal solid waste landfills and has issued a stay of those rules for 90 days during the reconsideration process. In doing so, EPA seems to be signaling the beginning of a process to roll-back yet another climate-related rule. Continue reading “EPA Takes Action on Recent Landfill Rules”

Will EPA achieve its core mission?

President Trump has signaled a desire to reduce the burden caused by environmental regulations. An executive order issued Jan. 30 requires that two rules be identified for repeal for every new rule proposed. He issued another executive order Feb. 24 announcing that it is the official policy of the U.S. to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens. At the same time, though, the president has stated he wants to reinvigorate the manufacturing and oil and gas development sectors, while also shortening the environmental review process for major infrastructure projects. Continue reading “Will EPA achieve its core mission?”

RIP to RMP?

The saga of the amendments to the Risk Management Program continues. Based on a premise that turned out to be unfounded, the amendments now seem to be destined for repeal or at least a major re-write.

In April, 2013, a fire and subsequent explosion at the West Fertilizer facility in West, Texas, caused 15 deaths, injured 300 people, destroyed more than 500 homes, and left a crater 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Shortly thereafter, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650, which, among other things, directed agencies such as EPA to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities through regulations, information reporting requirements, and site inspections. The White House cited the West Fertilizer explosion as an example of the need to address the serious risks presented by chemicals. Continue reading “RIP to RMP?”