Federal Roundup for February 17, 2017

Federal Roundup for February 17, 2017

As promised, we are continuing a series to keep you updated about executive and legislative actions in this new administration. I blogged about the most recent updates last week, and we are still encouraging you to oppose Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator. Several new developments have cropped up and we have updates from last week:

New Developments
February 7: Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act (H.R.958)

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act on Thursday, saying it would save $7.5 billion annually. That would leave …

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Federal Roundup for February 8, 2017

Federal Roundup for February 8, 2017

The first few weeks of the new administration have been very eventful. I blogged about the REINS Act a few weeks ago, and we are encouraging you to oppose Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator. However, many other things have happened at the executive and legislative level since then. To help you keep up, here is a roundup of executive and legislative actions in the first three weeks of the new administration:

January 24: Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017 (H.R. 637)

Alabama’s very own Gary Palmer (R-Birmingham) sponsored a …

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EPA Makes Positive Changes to Comply with Civil Rights Act, but Uncertainty Remains

EPA Makes Positive Changes to Comply with Civil Rights Act, but Uncertainty Remains

On December 29, 2016, the EPA withdrew a proposed rule to amend its nondiscrimination regulation regarding compliance information for Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Last year Gasp weighed in on the proposed changes and objected to the removal of deadlines in the proposed rule. We are happy to report that EPA considered Gasp’s and other groups’ comments opposing this change and has decided to withdraw the proposed amendments.

EPA is also moving enforcement of external compliance with Title VI from the Office of Civil Rights …

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REINS Act Could Spell Disaster for Clean Air

REINS Act Could Spell Disaster for Clean Air

Today the 115th Congress convened in Washington. Experts and policy wonks anticipate that the House of Representatives is likely to pass H.R. 427, “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017” — better known as the REINS Act.

This bill passed the house last July, but never made progress in the Senate. However, President-Elect Donald Trump supports the REINS Act, and with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate, we have never been closer to the REINS Act becoming law.

Put simply, the REINS …

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Tell Your Senator to Vote Yes on 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Tell Your Senator to Vote Yes on 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Earlier this month, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate to shift America to 100% renewable energy by 2050. The goal of this resolution is to help consumers, support the economy and national security and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The average temperature on Earth “has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years,” according to the EPA. This could lead to catastrophic …

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EPA Releases final Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda

EPA Releases final Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda

On Thursday, the EPA released its final EJ 2020 Action Agenda. EPA’s stated vision is to integrate environmental justice into everything that they do, cultivate strong partnerships to improve on-the-ground results, and chart a path forward for achieving better environmental outcomes and reducing disparities in the nation’s most overburdened communities.

In July, Gasp submitted comments on the draft agenda. We focused our comments on several, specific aspects of the plan:

Chapter 3: Permitting: In the Draft Agenda, EPA asserted that EPA permit writers will consider whether there …

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Did the Colonial Pipeline Gas Spill Affect Birmingham’s Air Quality?

Did the Colonial Pipeline Gas Spill Affect Birmingham’s Air Quality?

On September 9, 2016, during a routine check of an inactive coal mine in the area, an inspector for the Alabama Surface Mining Commission discovered oily residue on the surface of a retention pond and noted a strong gasoline smell. Colonial Pipeline Company says “Line 1,” which is responsible for shipping 1.3 million barrels of gasoline each day to the East Coast, was leaking underground. It is currently unclear when the leak began, but the line was reportedly shut down within 20 minutes of learning …

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EPA Issues Final Cross State Air Pollution Rule

EPA Issues Final Cross State Air Pollution Rule

On September 7, 2016, The EPA finalized Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) in the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Update to address air quality impacts of the interstate transport of ozone air pollution in the eastern United States.

CSAPR addresses summertime (May through September) transport of ozone pollution in the Eastern U.S. that crosses state lines. CSAPR aims to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides from power plants in 22 states, including Alabama, that contribute to downwind ozone problems.

The final version will not take effect until May …

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Clean Energy Incentive Program Moving Forward Despite Clean Power Plan Delays

Clean Energy Incentive Program Moving Forward Despite Clean Power Plan Delays

As we mentioned before, on February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan. On May 16, 2016, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that oral arguments be rescheduled for September 27, 2016 and will be he heard by the full en banc D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. So this means that West Virginia v. EPA, the case that resulted in the stay, will be heard by 11 as opposed to three judges and might expedite a ruling in the case.

Despite …

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SCOTUS Denies Appeal Over Embattled MATS Rule

SCOTUS Denies Appeal Over Embattled MATS Rule

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in Michigan v. EPA. This means that SCOTUS rejected Michigan’s and 20 other states, including Alabama, appeal to block the mercury and air toxics standards (MATS). In denying review, SCOTUS upholds the D.C. Circuit’s decision to not vacate the rule.

Almost a year ago I wrote about the SCOTUS decision that resulted in EPA performing a cost analysis for the MATS rule. Because the rule was not invalidated or stayed, crucial protections for air quality …

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