Environment & Energy Insights

PFAS Updates: Congressional and Federal Regulatory Developments

Posted by Jeffrey Karp on 11/19/19 9:31 AM

By Jeffrey M. Karp and Edward Mahaffey

This posting provides an update on PFAS developments involving federal legislative and regulatory activities.

Congress

On November 6, 2019, a panel of experts at a congressional briefing sponsored by the Endocrine Society and the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences warned that PFAS may contribute to obesity, osteoporosis, and thyroid dysfunction, while acknowledging that more study is needed of possible links.[1] The briefing reflected a continuing congressional interest in potential PFAS health impacts, as seen in the 13 PFAS-related bills approved by the US House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change,[2] as well as the inclusion of funding for PFAS-related activities on military bases in House[3] and Senate[4] appropriation bills.

As of November 18, 2019, no further action has been taken on any of these bills.  However, at the request of members of Congress the Defense Department’s Inspector General agreed to examine the military’s use of PFAS in materials such as firefighting foam,[5] and to complete the investigation by January 2020.[6]

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Topics: Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS

Confluence of Emissions Regulations Favor Renewable Energy Investment (Part 1)

Posted by Administrator on 5/23/16 3:39 PM

GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump made several sweeping promises while on the campaign trail vowing to reopen shuttered mines and bring coal back to its dominance of a decade ago. These promises, however, are dated as the coal industry continues to face multiple hurdles: (1) greater availability of affordable natural gas and renewable resources; (2) stricter emissions standards for fossil-fuel fired electricity generating sources; and as a result, (3) reluctance in the investor community to finance new coal projects.  What candidates on both sides of the political spectrum could say is that, although the mines will close, the country remains dedicated to training displaced miners to work in a new renewable energy future.

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Topics: Renewable Energy, clean power plan, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, renewable energy investment, new stationary source rule, existing stationary source rule

U.S. EPA Earns Early Victory in Opponents' Challenge to Clean Power Plan

Posted by Jeffrey Karp on 1/22/16 5:47 PM

On January 21, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) won an initial victory as the D.C. Circuit refused to grant opponents a stay of the Clean Power Plan (CPP or Rule).

The Rule, promulgated pursuant to section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), limits carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel fired electric generating plants (generating units).  The CPP’s goal is to cut emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, and each state is provided an emissions reduction target. Qualifying state emissions reductions under the Rule generally prompt the retirement of coal plants and the greater adoption of natural gas and renewable resources.  States must submit their implementation plans (SIP) in 2016 demonstrating that they will achieve the requisite emissions reduction by 2022, or request a two-year extension. However, if a state fails to submit an adequate implementation plan by the 2016 due date or request an extension for plan development until 2018, U.S. EPA will assign a federal implementation plan (FIP) that will enable that state to meet its emissions reduction target.

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Topics: Carbon Emissions, CPP, Clean Power, clean power plan, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, State of West Virginia v. EPA, EPA Victory, West Virginia, Stay of the Rule, Climate change, Clean Air Act, Section 111(d), Global Warming, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Stay

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The Environment & Energy Insights blog analyzes developments in the law, as well as provides updates and perspectives on trends and polices.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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