Category: Special Topics in Environmental Management

EPA Working to Loosen Up NSR Process

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been working to loosen up the Agency’s New Source Review (NSR) process. In the latest action, Pruitt has issued a memo that gives more weight to projected emissions decreases in what is known as Step 1 of the NSR. This policy change will potentially liberate some projects from moving on […]


Drinking Water: Phosphate Corrosion Inhibitors

Analyses of the 2014 Flint, Michigan, drinking water crisis indicate that the high levels of lead in the public supply could have been prevented if the city had added phosphate corrosion inhibitors to its supply. Adding phosphate to domestic water makes it harder for lead compounds in pipes to dissolve and has been used to […]

power plant

EPA Proposes to Deny Connecticut’s Good Neighbor Petition

The EPA is proposing to deny a June 2016 petition from the state of Connecticut, which asked that the Agency find that emissions from a power plant in Pennsylvania are significantly contributing to nonattainment and interfering with maintenance of the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in Connecticut in violation of the good […]


Congress Attempting to Pass Law to Simplify Vessel Discharge Regs

Operators Now Subject to EPA, Coast Guard, and States On December 18, 2017, a moratorium on Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting requirements for discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels under 79 feet long expired. (The moratorium did not apply to discharges of ballast water.) This would seem to mean that these vessels—numbering […]


Discharges to Groundwater: Are They Subject to CWA?

In an action that parallels EPA’s rulemaking to write a new definition of the Clean Water Act (CWA) term waters of the United States (WOTUS), the Agency is soliciting comments on whether pollutant discharges into groundwater that has a hydrologic connection to WOTUS are subject to CWA regulation.

EPA Offices, Washington DC

Budget Reduction of 23% Sought by EPA

Stating its intention to lower costs and more effectively utilize limited resources, the EPA has proposed a budget for 2019 that would reduce its funding by 23% ($8.7 billion to $6.1 billion) and the number of staff from 15,408 to 12,250. The proposal would eliminate 34 discretionary programs and activities, slashing $598.5 million compared to […]


Deficiencies Found in EPA’s Management of Financial Assurance

Taxpayers must compensate for shortfalls In December 2017, the EPA released a final rule stating that the Agency would not follow through on an Obama-era proposal to exercise its authority under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) to require that the hard-rock mining industry establish and maintain […]


The New Infrastructure Plan’s Environmental Provisions

President Donald Trump’s Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America includes several proposals with substantial environmental features, including expanding the use of federal funds for water infrastructure projects; expanding funding eligibility for revitalization projects under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund); streamlining reforms for federal environmental reviews and permitting; and […]


TRI Data Paints Picture of Electric Utility Sector

EPA’s just-released 2016 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis paints an ambiguous picture of the electric utility sector. The good news is that all releases from the sector are down compared to numbers in the 2015 analysis. But what is also down is the number of facilities reporting. In the 2015 analysis, 554 facilities sent […]