On December 15, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that endorses ASTM E1527-21 which provides a uniform standard for performing Phase I Environmental Assessments. The new rule will have an effective date of February 13, 2023. The EPA endorsement of the new ASTM Phase I standard means that the procedures
Interim U.S. EPA Enforcement Guidance- Defer to the States
On January 22, 2018, U.S. EPA’s Assistant Administrator issued a memorandum to all U.S. EPA Regional Administrators that contained interim guidance on enforcement of environmental violations by State EPAs and the federal EPA. The interim guidance is a significant shift away from the traditional federal/state balance on enforcement giving much greater leeway to the States.…
U.S. EPA Delays Ozone Designations and Demonstrates Change In Priorities
On June 6, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt notified states that U.S. EPA was extending by one year the deadline for designating those areas in non-compliance with the 2015 ozone standard. The 2015 ozone standard is 70 parts per billion (ppb), which is lower than the prior ozone standard of 75 ppb established in 2008.…
Slow Pace of Appointments and Restrictions on Decision Making at EPA
The Trump Administration has been slow to announce appointments to key positions within U.S. EPA. Administrator Scott Pruitt is in many ways is operating on a island within the Agency. As reported in the New York Times, the Administration has not nominated any of the dozen key EPA senior positions:
At the Environmental Protection
Federal EPA Budget Doesn’t Reflect Stated Priorities
This week, President Trump released his Administration’s first federal budget dubbed the "America First- A Blueprint to Make America Great Again." Under the budget proposal, U.S. EPA current budget would be cut by 31% which amounts to a $2.6 billion dollar reduction.
This leaves the Agency with $5.7 billion to run its…
Expect Dramatic Increases in Federal Civil Penalties for Environmental Violations
On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvement Act of 2015. The law required all federal agencies to increase civil penalties with inflation. While there were previous requirements to increase civil penalties, the new law provides for more dramatic increases attributable to the following changes:
Rethinking Brownfield Redevelopment in Ohio – Part 1 of 4
Two weeks ago I participated in the Ohio Brownfields Conference in Columbus, Ohio. 2016 marks the twentieth (20th) anniversary of Ohio’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) which is implemented by Ohio EPA and is the primary regulatory program for cleanup of brownfields.
To mark the anniversary, Ohio EPA encouraged presenters to reflect on the success…
EPA Release New National Enforcement Initiatives for 2017-2019
On February 28, 2016, U.S. EPA publicly announced its priority enforcement areas (EPA National Enforcement Initiatives or NEIs) for the next three years (fiscal years 2017-2019). The announcement provides keen insight into how EPA plans to allocate its enforcement resources in the coming years.
EPA describes the NEIs in the following manner:
After Lengthy Delay EPA Sets Ozone Standard at 70 ppb
As predicted last year in a prior blog post, EPA announced today that it would revise the current ozone standard of 75 ppb downward to 70 ppb. EPA had been contemplating a revised standard between 70 ppb and as low as 60 ppb.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to review the…
WKSU Radio Interview Regarding Clean Power Plan
I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in a radio interview with Jeff St. Clair, WKSU Radio, regarding the Clean Power Plan. It was an interesting discussion of the legal questions surrounding the plan as well as a broader discussion of the state of environmental regulation in the United States.
Here is an…