The 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) required EPA to designate chemical substances on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory as either “active'' or “inactive'' in U.S. commerce. To accomplish that, EPA is establishing a retrospective electronic notification of chemical substances on the TSCA Inventory that were manufactured (including imported) for nonexempt commercial purposes during the 10-year time period ending on June 21, 2016, with provision to also allow notification by processors. The deadline for the submissions is February 7, 2018.
EPA will use the new TSCA notifications to distinguish active substances from inactive substances. EPA will include the active and inactive designations on the TSCA Inventory and as part of its regular publications of the Inventory. EPA is also establishing procedures for forward-looking electronic notification of chemical substances on the TSCA Inventory that are designated as inactive, if and when the manufacturing or processing of such chemical substances for nonexempt commercial purposes is expected to resume. On receiving forward-looking notification, EPA will change the designation of the pertinent chemical substance on the TSCA Inventory from inactive to active. EPA is establishing the procedures regarding the manner in which such retrospective and forward-looking activity notifications must be submitted, the details of the notification requirements, exemptions from such requirements, and procedures for handling claims of confidentiality.
Chemicals reported as being manufactured or imported from 2012–2015 under the 2016 CDR rule are being added to an interim list. EPA is including chemicals that meet this reporting exemption as “active” in the reset TSCA inventory. Companies do not need to notify EPA of such chemicals during the retrospective reporting period. A copy of the interim list of active substances is available here.
This final rule became effective on August 11, 2017.
Charlotte RCRA and DOT Update and IATA Training
Register for RCRA and DOT Annual Update and Refresher in Charlotte, NC, on September 6 and get your RCRA and DOT training up to date in one day. If you ship dangerous goods by air attend IATA: How to Ship Dangerous Goods by Air on September 7 and ensure you have the training you need. To register for these courses, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Nashville RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Nashville, TN, on September 12–14 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
San Francisco Hazardous Waste and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management in California and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in San Francisco, CA, on September 12–14 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Proposed Changes to Off-Site Waste and Recovery Operations
EPA recently proposed amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Off-Site Waste and Recovery Operations (OSWRO), that operate any of the following: hazardous waste treatment, treatment storage and disposal facilities (TSDF); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) exempt hazardous wastewater treatment facilities; nonhazardous wastewater treatment facilities other than publicly-owned treatment works; used solvent recovery plants; RCRA exempt hazardous waste recycling operations; and used oil re-refineries.
The proposed amendments address an issue related to monitoring pressure relief devices (PRDs) on containers. This issue was raised in a petition for reconsideration of the amendments to the OSWRO NESHAP finalized in 2015 based on the residual risk and technology review (RTR).
Among other things, the 2015 amendments established additional monitoring requirements for all PRDs, including PRDs on containers. For PRDs on containers, these monitoring requirements were in addition to the inspection and monitoring requirements for containers and their closure devices, which include PRDs that were already required by the OSWRO NESHAP. This proposed action would remove the additional monitoring requirements for PRDs on containers that resulted from the 2015 amendments because EPA determined that they are not necessary.
According to EPA, this action, if finalized as proposed, would not substantially change the level of environmental protection provided under the OSWRO NESHAP. The proposed amendments would reduce capital costs related to compliance to this industry by $28 million compared to the current rule. Total annualized costs, at an interest rate of 7%, would be reduced by $4.2 million per year. These costs are associated with a present value of $39 million dollars, discounted at 7% over 15 years.
New Guidance on Coal Ash Permit Programs
The EPA recently released an interim final guidance to help states develop and submit permit programs for the safe management of coal combustion residuals (CCR), commonly known as coal ash, to EPA for review and approval. The current version of the guidance describes EPA’s statutory interpretations and the way in which EPA generally intends to review State programs. As such, EPA encourages States to consult this interim final guidance as they develop and submit programs to EPA for review and approval.
In April 2015, EPA published a final rule regulating the management and disposal of CCR as nonhazardous waste from certain coal-fired power plants under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Unlike other environmental laws that are implemented through EPA-approved state permit programs, RCRA generally does not provide for regulation of nonhazardous wastes such as CCR through permit programs, meaning the requirements of the CCR rule apply directly to regulated facilities and are enforceable through citizen suits.
Section 2301 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which was enacted into law in December 2016, gives states the opportunity to act as the primary regulatory and enforcement authority over coal ash through the establishment of EPA-approved state permit programs. Under the WIIN Act, approved state permit programs must be as protective as the federal coal ash regulations, but state programs may provide flexibilities for facilities managing coal ash in their states. Implementing this new law is a high priority for EPA and earlier this year, Administrator Pruitt communicated with each of the governors encouraging them to develop a program and to work with EPA.
The interim final guidance released addresses numerous questions EPA received about the provisions of the WIIN Act, establishes a framework to guide EPA’s approval process and provides checklists to aid states as they are considering and developing their program submittals. EPA will accept public comments on the interim final guidance for 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register. EPA may update the guidance based on experience implementing the WIIN Act and comments received from the public.
One Year Extension of NetDMR Electronic Reporting Waivers for Texas MSGP Stormwater Permittees
On September 24, 2015, the EPA signed the final rule that requires NPDES-regulated entities to electronically submit specific permit and compliance-monitoring information electronically.
The Texas Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) requires all discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) to be submitted online using the NetDMR reporting system. However, the option for MSGP permitted facilities to report electronically is not available at this time.
Therefore, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has issued a second temporary waiver for electronic reporting of MSGP DMRs that will expire on August 31, 2018. Continue to submit paper DMRs. Starting September 1, 2018, MSGP DMRs must be submitted electronically using the NetDMR system unless another waiver is issued.
Human-Caused Warming Likely Led to Recent Streak of Record-Breaking Temperatures
It is extremely unlikely 2014, 2015, and 2016 would have been the warmest consecutive years on record without the influence of human-caused climate change, according to the authors of a new study.
Temperature records were first broken in 2014, when that year became the hottest year since global temperature records began in 1880. These temperatures were then surpassed in 2015 and 2016, making last year the hottest year ever recorded. In 2016, the average global temperature across land and ocean surface areas was 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 13.9 degrees Celsius (57.0 degrees Fahrenheit), according to NOAA.
Combining historical temperature data and state-of-the-art climate model simulations, the new study finds the likelihood of experiencing consecutive record-breaking global temperatures from 2014 to 2016 without the effects of human-caused climate change is no greater than 0.03% and the likelihood of three consecutive record-breaking years happening any time since 2000 is no more than 0.7%. When anthropogenic warming is considered, the likelihood of three consecutive record-breaking years happening any time since 2000 rises to as high as 50%, according to the new study.
That means human-caused climate change is very likely to blame for the three consecutive record-hot years, according to the new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
“With climate change, this is the kind of thing we would expect to see. And without climate change, we really would not expect to see it,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, and lead author of the new study.
A Warming Planet
Greenhouse gases (GHGs), like carbon dioxide and methane, accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat that would otherwise escape into space. Excess GHGs from industrial activities, like burning fossil fuels, are trapping additional heat in the atmosphere, causing the earth’s temperatures to rise. The average surface temperature of the planet has risen about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2.0 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 19th century, and the past 35 years have seen a majority of the warming, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001, according to NASA.
Scientists are now trying to characterize the relationship between yearly record high temperatures and human-caused global warming.
In response to the past three years’ record-breaking temperatures, authors of the new study calculated the likelihood of observing a three-year streak of record high temperatures since yearly global temperature records began in the late 19th century and the likelihood of seeing such a streak since 2000, when much of the warming has been observed. The study’s authors determined how likely this kind of event was to happen both with and without the influence of human-caused warming.
The new study considers that each year is not independent of the ones coming before and after it, in contrast to previous estimates that assumed individual years are statistically independent from each other. There are both natural and human events that make temperature changes cluster together, such as climate patterns like El Niño, the solar cycle and volcanic eruptions, according to Mann.
When this dependency is taken into account, the likelihood of these three consecutive record-breaking years occurring since 1880 is about 0.03% in the absence of human-caused climate change. When the long-term warming trend from human-caused climate change is considered, the likelihood of 2014–2016 being the hottest consecutive years on record since 1880 rises to between 1 and 3%, according to the new study.
The probability that this series of record-breaking years would be observed at some point since 2000 is less than 0.7% without the influence of human-caused climate change, but between 30 and 50% when the influence of human-caused climate change is considered, the new study finds.
If human-caused climate change is not considered, the warming observed in 2016 would have about a 1-in-a-million chance of occurring, compared with a nearly 1-in-3 chance when anthropogenic warming is taken into account, according to the study.
The results make it difficult to ignore the role human-caused climate change is having on temperatures around the world, according to Mann. Rising global temperatures are linked to more extreme weather events, such as heat waves, floods, and droughts, which can harm humans, animals, agriculture, and natural resources, he said.
“The things that are likely to impact us most about climate change aren’t the averages, they’re the extremes,” Mann said. “Whether it’s extreme droughts, or extreme floods, or extreme heat waves, when it comes to climate change impacts … a lot of the most impactful climate related events are extreme events. The events are being made more frequent and more extreme by human-caused climate change.”
EPA Cites S.H. Bell for Manganese Air Pollution
The EPA recently issued a notice of violation against S.H. Bell Co. for excessive manganese emissions from the company’s southeast Chicago facility.
“EPA is committed to protecting public health in southeast Chicago by ensuring S.H. Bell complies with the Clean Air Act,” said Patrick Traylor, Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA required the company to do additional monitoring which revealed the exceedance.”
EPA determined that manganese emissions exceed the health-based screening level at the S.H. Bell facility, 10218 South Avenue O, Chicago. Four months of air monitoring data from the S.H. Bell facility for March 1, 2017, through June 30, 2017, show an average concentration of 0.32 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) of manganese. The minimal risk level for chronic inhalation exposure to manganese is 0.3 µg/m3. The company submitted the data to EPA on August 1.
Manganese is a naturally occurring element found in many soils, rocks and foods, and is used in the production of steel and other industrial processes. Manganese can be toxic when inhaled by humans at elevated exposure levels, leading to neurological and neuropsychological damage.
EPA has notified the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the City of Chicago and community groups.
EPA has posted the air monitoring data online along with additional information about S.H. Bell in Chicago.
City of San Diego Agrees to $3.2 Million Settlement on Erosion Control Case
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board recently adopted a $3.2 million settlement agreement with the city of San Diego on allegations that the city failed to ensure that construction sites throughout the city protected local streams and coastal lagoons from loose sediment. The alleged violations occurred between 2010–15 and affected waterbodies from Los Peñasquitos Lagoon in the north to the Tijuana River Estuary in the south.
“Despite the fact that the San Diego Water Board has been working cooperatively with the city for years to address impairments in the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon and the Tijuana Estuary, San Diego is alleged to have failed to conduct adequate site inspections, prevent sediment erosion, and enforce its own water quality ordinances at private construction sites,” said David Gibson, San Diego Water Board executive officer. “The Water Board found the water quality ordinances the city council had adopted were not being implemented in the field because inspectors were poorly trained in erosion control and were unwilling, or unable, to take enforcement actions. It was also discovered that city departments did not coordinate basic activities to protect water quality.”
Under the agreement, the city is allowed to use $1,610,332—50% of the total penalty—to fund four Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) in the San Diego Region. The four SEPs are: Los Peñasquitos Lagoon inlet restoration; San Diego River restoration and Arundo removal; a bioassessment tool development project; and a Chollas Creek restoration opportunities assessment.
“The city has developed robust ordinances and stormwater standards and needs to improve upon its implementation and enforcement of them throughout the city,” Gibson said. “Together with changes in its implementation of its stormwater program, these restoration projects will go a long way toward addressing several water quality impairments within the city.”
The remaining Administrative Civil Liability of $1,610,332 will be deposited into a Cleanup and Abatement Account to be used for remediation of pollution in state waters. The Cleanup and Abatement Account was created by the Legislature to provide public agencies with funds for the cleanup or abatement of pollution when there are no responsible parties available to undertake the work. Eligible entities that can apply for this funding include public agencies, as well as certain nonprofit organizations and tribal governments that serve a disadvantaged community and have the authority to clean up or abate the effects of waste.
Throughout the settlement negotiations, the city undertook a number of important steps to correct internal deficiencies, including significantly increasing the number of city inspectors responsible for overseeing compliance with ordinances at construction sites, as well as augmenting ongoing training requirements for inspectors. The city also implemented a number of actions to improve communication and coordination among departments with construction oversight responsibility, which has included development of a unified interdepartmental construction site database.
The San Diego Water Board’s municipal stormwater permit requires management of sediment during construction to avoid the type of discharges that occurred. The maximum potential penalty for the violations could have been $22,680,000.
Abnormally high levels of sediment in runoff water can smother aquatic animals and habitats, alter or obstruct flows resulting in flooding, and reduce water clarity, which harms the ability of organisms to breathe, find food and refuge, and reproduce. Sediment can also act as a binder, carrying with it toxic constituents from urbanized areas, such as metals, pesticides, and other synthetic organic chemicals into natural waterways.
Farm Settles Irrigation Fine by Agreeing to Restore Habitat
U.S. Golden Eagle Farms appealed a $16,000 penalty from Ecology in 2016 for irrigating fields without proper authorization. Now the company will spend that same amount on two nearby restoration projects along a Skagit River tributary. U.S. Golden Eagle Farms will place large woody debris for fish habitat and plant native vegetation to improve the stream bank area.
In a separate action, the company last year secured proper authorization from Ecology to irrigate its acreage.
“This restoration work, combined with coming into compliance, brings this case to a positive and productive close,” said Tom Buroker, Ecology’s Northwest Regional Director. “We are encouraged that the farm is committing to protect fish habitat and water resources.”
Ecology oversees Washington’s water rights system to ensure that water is available for people, farms and fish.
EPA Eliminates New-Chemical Backlog, Improves New Chemical Safety Reviews
EPA recently eliminated the backlog of new chemical cases in EPA’s review process. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), amended by the 2016 Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, ensures that EPA must make an affirmative safety determination before a new chemical can come to market. EPA can request more information from chemical companies if it needs more information to make a safety determination.
When Administrator Pruitt was confirmed, over 600 new chemicals were in the EPA review process. The current caseload is back at the baseline and now in line with the typical active workload.
In addition to announcing the elimination of the backlog, EPA Administrator Pruitt is committing the Agency to a more predictable and transparent process for making safety determinations through a commitment to following operating principles; continuously improving; and, increasing the transparency in the decision-making for new chemical safety determinations.
EPA stated that the Agency is committing to the following operating principles in its review of new chemicals:
- Where the intended uses in premanufacture notices (PMNs) or other Section 5 notices (such as low volume exemption (LVE) requests) raise risk concerns, EPA will work with submitters, and, if the submitters submit timely amended PMNs addressing those concerns, EPA will generally make determinations based on those amended submissions.
- Where EPA has concerns with reasonably foreseen uses, but not with the intended uses as described in a PMN or LVE application, as a general matter, those concerns can be addressed through significant new use rules.
- As described in the risk evaluation rule EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed on June 22, 2017, identification of reasonably foreseen conditions of use will be fact-specific. It is reasonable to foresee a condition of use, for example, where facts suggest the activity is not only possible, but, over time under proper conditions, probable.
- The purpose of testing in a Section 5 order is to reduce uncertainty in regard to risk. Specifically, it is to address risk concerns that gave rise to a finding of “may present unreasonable risk” or another Section 5 finding other than “not likely to present unreasonable risk.” In addition, consistent with the statute, any request for testing by EPA will be structured to reduce and replace animal testing as appropriate.
EPA supports continued improvement of EPA’s TSCA new chemicals program, including:
- Redeploying staff to increase the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff working on new chemicals.
- Initiating a LEAN exercise to streamline work processes around new chemicals review.
- Institutionalizing a voluntary pre-submission consultation process so that submitters have a clear understanding of what information will be most useful for EPA’s review of their new chemical submission, and of what they can expect from EPA during the review process. While such engagement prior to submission is an additional up-front time and resource commitment by submitters and EPA, it should more than pay for itself with faster, better-informed EPA reviews
EPA identified a need to be more transparent in how it makes decisions on new chemicals under TSCA:
- In Fall 2017, EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) intends to release, for public comment and stakeholder engagement, draft documents that will provide the public with more certainty and clarity regarding how EPA makes new chemical determinations and what external information will help facilitate these determinations.
- EPA will facilitate a public dialogue on the Agency’s goal of continued improvement in the new chemicals review program.
- EPA will continue posting weekly web updates of program statistics, so that manufacturers and the public can determine the disposition of cases as quickly as possible.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Report for 2016 Released
As leader of the of Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, the EPA has submitted a report to Congress and the President which summarizes progress under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) during 2016. As required, the report provides detailed information on GLRI accomplishments and funding allocations for participating federal agencies on a yearly basis.
The GLRI was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. With more than $2.3 billion in GLRI investments and strong bipartisan support, 11 federal departments and partners from states, tribes, academia, and businesses are working together to produce unprecedented results, including:
- Increasing property values and property tax bases by cleaning up “Areas of Concern,” 43 highly contaminated sites targeted for cleanup by the United States and Canada
- Preventing the introduction of silver and bighead carp, species that threaten the region’s economy and ecology
- Working with the agricultural community to reduce nutrient runoff to sensitive waterways
Since 2010, the GLRI has helped fund more than 3,500 projects to improve water quality, protect and restore native habitats and species, prevent and control invasive species, and address other Great Lakes environmental problems. In 2014, the Interagency Task Force developed a five-year plan to strategically guide GLRI actions from 2015-2019 and to target resources to address the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem. More information about the GLRI, including an interactive project map, is available at http://www.glri.us/.
Connecticut Property Companies Exposed Residents to Lead
An EPA settlement with several affiliated property owners and property management company in New Haven, Conn. requires the company and their affiliates to identify and reduce lead paint hazards in residential rental properties they own.
A Consent Agreement and Final Order filed by EPA resolves alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act's Residential Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule (Disclosure Rule) and the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule against property manager Pike International, LLC, and property owners 173-175 Park, LLC; 1533 Chapel, LLC; Quinnipiac Gardens, Inc.; H & H Residential, LLC; FOR LIFE, LLC; 287 Norton, LLC; 325 Fountain, LLC; 477 Prospect, LLC; and 80 Sherman, LLC. Pike and its affiliated entities manage and own over 800 residential units in New Haven, Connecticut.
The lead paint Disclosure Rule requires owners/managers of rental properties to provide prospective renters both with general information about lead-based paint risks and to provide specific information on whether or not there is known lead-based paint in a rental unit prior to the individual signing a lease.
The settlement is significant because the Disclosure Rule Requirements are tenants' only means of learning about the risks of lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards, how to protect themselves from such hazards and make informed decisions about whether or not to rent a particular unit. Further, compliance with the RRP Rule protects residents of pre-1978 housing undergoing renovation from exposure to lead-based paint.
An EPA review of Pike's records revealed numerous instances in which the companies had not complied with either the Disclosure Rule or with RRP practices.
EPA alleged that the companies (1) failed to provide tenants with an EPA-approved lead-hazard information pamphlet; (2) failed to disclose to tenants the presence of known lead-based paint and/or records or reports concerning lead-based paint; (3) failed to include a Lead Warning Statement in or attached to lease contracts; (4) failed to obtain initial firm certification under the RRP Rule prior to performing renovation work on pre-1978 housing; (5) failed to assign a certified renovator to renovation work being performed on pre-1978 housing; and (6) failed to maintain records demonstrating compliance with RRP Rule requirements.
Under the agreement, Pike will pay a penalty of $12,139 and will spend at least $109,246 on a lead abatement project at three of their properties. The settlement also calls for the company to institute a management system to ensure compliance with the Disclosure Rule and RRP Rule, and to provide documentation of its compliance with those rules. As a result of this settlement, Pike and its related entities will comply with federal lead paint laws. This action will help to ensure that tenants in the New Haven area, including children, will be better protected from the risks of lead-based paint.
Lead poisoning of infants and children can cause lowered intelligence, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavior problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems, and muscle and joint pain.
The lead paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule is designed to prevent children's exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools and other buildings where children are present. If lead painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the Rule requires individual renovators to complete an accredited training course, and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by EPA.
Although lead paint has been identified as the primary source of childhood lead poisoning, drinking water, soil, air, and consumer products are other potential sources of lead. Please visit this EPA website to help protect your family from exposures to lead.
To report a lead paint violation, click here or call the Tip & Complaint Phone Line 617-918-TIPS (8477).
Permit Approved for Point Loma Wastewater Facility
The EPA and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board finalized a City of San Diego wastewater discharge permit to protect ocean water quality and increase water reuse. The Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System five-year permit for the City’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant establishes discharge limits to meet federal and state water quality standards.
The City will rely in part on its Pure Water San Diego program to achieve the standards outlined in the permit. The program will use advanced water purification technology to filter recycled water to produce a reliable source of potable water. Eventually the system will divert up to 83 million gallons of Point Loma wastewater per day from ocean discharges to local reservoirs. By 2035, the Pure Water program is expected to generate one-third of the potable water supply needed for San Diego and surrounding communities.
To accompany the permit, EPA has renewed its Clean Water Act section 301(h) variance for the Point Loma facility, thereby allowing it to forego some wastewater treatment requirements based upon Clean Water Act criteria and the plant’s performance. The Clean Water Act section 301(h) variance also requires the facility to monitor water quality to ensure coastal waters are protected.
The City of San Diego must apply for a permit renewal every five years and is required to collect monitoring data in water, sediment, and fish that demonstrates ocean water quality has not degraded. EPA may grant a modification of these standards for ocean discharges if federal and state water quality standards are met. The Point Loma plant has been operating under such a modification since 1995, consistently meeting or exceeding federal and state discharge requirements.
California Sues EPA for Failing to Comply with FOIA Request
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. On April 7, the California Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the EPA requesting documents on Administrator Scott Pruitt’s potential conflicts of interest. The EPA failed to respond by May 11 as required by law. Even after receiving Attorney General Becerra’s June 14 notice of violation letter and having ample time to gather the documents requested, the EPA has still not made the required disclosures.
“The EPA is legally required to respond to our FOIA request. Administrator Pruitt and the Trump Administration are not above the law,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The public has a right to know whether Administrator Pruitt and the EPA have complied with federal ethics laws. Administrator Pruitt’s ability to serve as an impartial decision maker merits close examination, especially now that he has taken a direct role in initiating review of numerous EPA regulations he sought to undo while serving as Oklahoma’s Attorney General for six years."
On May 5, in response to a journalist’s FOIA request, the EPA released a memorandum Administrator Pruitt signed the day before stating he would recuse himself from some cases in which he had sued the EPA while serving as Oklahoma’s Attorney General. However, Administrator Pruitt made clear in that memorandum that he was not recusing himself from participating in EPA rulemakings regarding the same rules that are the subject of litigation on which he acknowledges he has a conflict. According to Becerra, as a result of the EPA improperly withholding the FOIA-requested documents, Administrator Pruitt continues to conceal whether and to what extent he has allowed EPA ethics officials to evaluate and authorize his involvement in regulatory actions. The documents requested by the California Attorney General’s Office are, therefore, of the utmost importance.
Since taking office, Attorney General Becerra has as filed a challenge to the EPA’s delay of national air quality control standards, and the EPA subsequently backed down; expressed his strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s review of national marine sanctuaries and national monuments; and submitted legal objections to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for not making the required safety finding for chlorpyrifos, a pesticide used on more than 80 food crops.
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Trivia Question of the Week
Carbon dioxide in the air in 2016 rose by how much over 2015?
a. 1.5 parts per million
b. 2.5 parts per million
c. 3.5 parts per million
d. 4.5 parts per million
Answer: c (the biggest jump in the 58 years it has been recorded)