EPA Set To Update On WOTUS Revisions; Vehicle Rules Face Court Tests
EPA is slated to update stakeholders and the regulated community on its recently issued amended definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) crafted in order to comply with the Supreme Court’s Sackett ruling. A suite of Biden administration rules governing vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency are slated for a multi-day review before an appellate court.
EPA is hosting the first two of three planned public webinars to provide updates on its amended definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) on Sept. 12 and 13, where the agency will discuss changes to its new definition that was amended to align with the Supreme Court’s Sackett v. EPA ruling. The webinars, which are already at capacity, come as litigation is slated to resume in several district courts around the country after EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register their “good cause” rule that narrowed the definition to comply with the Sackett ruling.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments in a series of cases over Biden administration vehicle climate policies, including threshold claims about whether critics have standing to pursue the suits and whether the rules represent “major questions” subject to strict court scrutiny. The court is set to hear oral argument Sept. 14 in the suit State of Texas, et al., v. EPA, et al., about EPA’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards out to model year 2026, along with a separate consolidated dispute over coordinated fuel economy standards, Natural Resources Defense Council v. National Traffic Safety Administration, et al.
And Sept. 15, the court will hear arguments in State of Ohio, et al., v. EPA, a challenge to EPA’s reinstatement of a Clean Air Act preemption waiver for California and other states to implement vehicle greenhouse gas standards stricter than federal requirements.
Clean School Buses
The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is holding a Sept. 13 hearing on EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, where Sean O’Donnell, EPA’s Inspector General, will testify before the subcommittee on issues such as limited electric vehicle infrastructure, supply chain constraints, as well as elevated risks for waste, fraud, and abuse.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality is holding a Sept. 11 public meeting providing an overview of its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Phase II proposed rule to revise regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA. The rule codifies statutory measures the White House agreed to with congressional Republicans in recent debt ceiling legislation but also includes several new mitigation, assessment and other mandates that GOP and industry critics charge will drive new litigation opportunities and further delay project approvals.
The Groundwater Protection Council, a group that represents state regulators, is set to hold its 2023 Annual Forum in Tampa, FL, from Sept. 12-14, where speakers will present on topics including PFAS, aquifer storage and recovery, environmental data management, class VI underground injection control, well site plugging and abandonment, environmental justice and civil rights, and other issues.
Comments are due Sept. 13 on EPA’s proposed approval of the Wyoming interstate ozone plan for meeting the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standards, based on updated computer modeling that shows the Cowboy State has no “significant contribution” to the problems of other states in attaining federal ozone standards.
Cooling Water Permits
Parties are set to provide an update on Sept. 11 in an Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) suit from environmentalists, who called on the appeals board to review and remand a permit modification issued by EPA Region 1 revising a New Hampshire facility’s best technology available for cooling water entrainment reduction.
EPA Region 7 is hosting a Lead Summit: How to Reduce Exposures Together on Sept. 12 and 13, and will include sessions on childhood lead poisoning prevention programs, how to manage lead poisoning, managing federal funding and resources, and more.
Law firm Arnold & Porter is holding a Sept. 12 webinar to discuss the landscape of claims being filed against consumer health and personal care product manufacturers and retailers, including greenwashing, environmental, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) claims. Attorneys on the webinar will also present effective and ineffective approaches in defending against plaintiff allegations.
The Air & Waste Management Association is hosting its 40th International Conference on Thermal Treatment Technologies and Hazardous Waste Combustors from Sept. 13-14, which will include updates to incineration, advancements in PFAS control technology, carbon capture, and a keynote on beneficial use of coal ash.
EPA and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are holding a Great Lakes Areas Of Concern Conference from Sept. 13-14 in Green Bay, WI, that will include sessions on community perspectives on environmental justice, utilizing geospatial environmental justice tools in the area of concern program, making habitat restoration projects climate resilient, and more.