Category Archives: Regulation

EPA scores big win to limit mercury in power plants

Read the full story at Politico.

The Environmental Protection Agency took home a sweeping victory Tuesday when an appeals court upheld the agency’s pollution limits for mercury and air toxics from power plants.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld EPA’s rule, known as MATS, denying challenges from states, utilities and industry groups that argued the rules came out of a flawed regulatory process and illegally imposed exorbitant costs on power producers that will force dozens of power plants to shut down.

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Energy, Mercury, Regulation


Obama Administration Sets its Sights on Methane Emissions

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Consistent with its continuing efforts to combat climate change through executive action, the White House recently released its “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.”  This document, part of the administration’s larger Climate Action Plan, puts forth a plan to reduce domestic methane emissions.  The strategy targets four sources of emissions for methane reductions: landfills, coal mines, agriculture, and oil and gas.  While the methane reduction strategy focuses heavily on voluntarily measures for most of the target sources, the document strongly suggests that the oil and gas industry could be subject, for the first time, to federal methane emissions regulations by 2016.

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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Agriculture, Climate change, Regulation


Clean Water Act Expansion Draws Ire From GOP As White House Prepares To Regulate Waterways

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

Industry groups and more than a dozen GOP senators are urging the Obama administration to reconsider plans to regulate many of the nation’s streams and wetlands, saying the proposed rule hurts economic activity and oversteps legal bounds.

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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Regulation, Water


In Fracking Fight, a Worry About How Best to Measure Health Threats

Read the full story at ProPublica.

There are more than 6,000 active gas wells in Pennsylvania. And every week, those drilling sites generate scores of complaints from the state’s residents, including many about terrible odors and contaminated water.

How the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection handles those complaints has worsened the already raw and angry divide between fearful residents and the state regulators charged with overseeing the burgeoning gas drilling industry.

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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Fracking, Regulation


A threat and a promise: changing US policies on toxic chemicals

Read the full story in The Guardian.

While federal legislation could weaken controls on hazardous chemicals, some state regulations are stepping up – and stricter corporate policies are already spurring some action.


Everything you wanted to know about the EPA/Army Corps proposed clean water rules but were afraid to ask

Read the full story from NRDC.

Today is a big day in the world of water pollution control.  The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have unveiled, and are asking for public comment on, updated rules that will determine what bodies of water are protected by the Clean Water Act, the nation’s principal safeguard against water pollution.  Although I’d like to think that I have a dedicated readership that has followed the development of this issue here on Switchboard since my first post on the topic six-and-a-half years ago (and many more since then), this important announcement warrants a full-on recap.  Brace yourself, it’s a long one!

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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Regulation, Water


What’s Next for the Aerospace NESHAP?

Read the full story in Products Finishing.

Will it be business as usual or are major changes in store for the aerospace industry as feds look at 40 CFR Part 63 Subpart GG, commonly referred to as the Aerospace National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants, or NESHAP.
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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Regulation


OSHA Readies Three Hazcom Guidance Docs; Advice for Small Companies Expected First

Read the full story from Bloomberg BNA.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is preparing three guidance documents on its new hazard communication standard to help employers comply with the rule, an agency official said March 5.

Maureen Ruskin, OSHA’s top hazard communication official, said the agency is working on a guidebook on the standard tailored for small- and medium-sized companies, and another specifically on hazard classification under the rule.

In addition, OSHA’s enforcement division is developing a compliance directive on the standard, Ruskin said during a session at the GlobalChem 2014 Conference and Exhibition in Baltimore, an annual gathering organized by the American Chemistry Council and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates.


European Research Center Backs Climate-Friendly Coolant for Car Air Conditioners, Global Automakers Moving Forward

Read the full story from NRDC.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) issued its final report last week reaffirming the safety of the new climate-friendly coolant for car air conditioners called HFO-1234yf (R-1234yf).  The European experts flatly rejected fire risk claims leveled 18 months ago by Daimler (the maker of Mercedes-Benz), concluding that extensive testing “provided no evidence of a serious risk.”

Car makers around the world are adopting the new coolant to meet European, American, and Japanese climate-protection standards that require replacement of the current coolant, HFC-134a (R-134a), which is a super-potent greenhouse gas.   Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Maserati, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Subaru have each rolled out models using the new coolant.  The global transition is picking up speed.


REACH Dossiers Need Improvement, Report Finds

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The quality of registration dossiers filed under the European Union’s chemical rules—known as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restrictions of Chemicals (REACH) program—still needs to be improved, according to an evaluation report.

In the 2013 evaluation report, the European Chemicals Agency found 61 percent of the 1,130 dossiers that it checked lacked information required under REACH. In those cases, ECHA requested more information from the registrants in draft decisions, the report says.


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