EPA Priorities in the Waning Hours of the Obama Administration

Toward the end of any administration, there’s always a mad dash by EPA to push through as much of its regulatory agenda as it can.  This past Friday, I was asked to pinch hit for Nancy Stoner, head of EPA’s Water Office, at the ABA’s annual environmental law conference in Baltimore.  Due to the partial government shutdown all EPA officials were threatened prohibited from making any public appearance to prognosticate on the agency’s priorities over the last three years of the Obama Administration.  Sorry, Nancy – we missed you.  But not to be overshadowed by the Air Office and the looming showdown on climate change regulations, I promised big things from you and your office (you’re welcome!), namely the “Big Three” rules, stormwater, waters of the U.S., and nutrients.  Continue reading

EPA Goes Big with Air and Water Proposals

Toward the waning hours of every administration the pace of regulating at EPA picks up – you can set your watch to it.

Last week was no exception, with two big announcements by EPA’s leadership affecting water and air resources.  As part of POTUS’ climate change priority, EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, announced on Friday EPA’s intention to move forward with a regulation to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.  The current best hope for meeting the aggressive limits being sought by EPA is the use of new technologies that will promote the practice of carbon capture and storage, where carbon is removed from coal emissions and injected deep under the earth’s surface.  After Friday’s hearing before the House Energy Committee, skeptical Republican senior leadership, who are concerned about the impacts on the nation’s energy costs, have vowed to block EPA’s efforts. Continue reading

EPA Announces Formation of Technical Working Group to Review Ocean Acidification

As first reported by Amena Saiyid over at BNA, EPA announced this week that it plans to establish a technical working group to begin reviewing the causes of ocean acidification, as announced in a letter from EPA’s Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, to the Center for Biological Diversity in response to a request for EPA to establish new water quality criteria.  Now, some may take a dim view of this development, given the political rancor over climate change, but I think the decision is timely and well founded. Continue reading