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Overnight Energy: EPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot standards | Interior proposes withdrawal of Trump rule that would allow drillers to pay less | EPA reverses Trump guidance it said weakened 'forever chemicals' regulations

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The Hill
The Hill
 13 days ago
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HAPPY THURSDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin. Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack.

Today we’ve got a policy-heavy newsletter looking at the EPA reconsidering air quality standards, as well as making moves on PFAS, and Interior’s proposed elimination of a Trump rule expected to make companies pay less to drill on public land.

HOPE I DON’T PUT MY SOOT IN MY MOUTH: EPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot air quality standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday that it will reconsider air quality standards for soot that the Trump administration declined to tighten.

A statement from the agency said that it would take a second look at the standards for the pollution, also known as particulate matter, because “available scientific evidence and technical information indicate that the current standards may not be adequate to protect public health and welfare.”

The EPA said that it anticipates proposing a new rule next summer and promulgating a final rule in spring 2023.

The backstory: Administrator Andrew Wheeler at the time defended the standard as “protective of public health.

But, a policy assessment from agency staff last year found that long-term exposure to the current maximum standard for fine particulate matter could result in thousands more people being put at risk than if the standard were tightened.

WHO NEEDS ROYAL FAMILY NEWS WHEN YOU CAN HAVE ROYALTY RATE NEWS? Interior proposes withdrawal of Trump rule that would allow drillers to pay less

The Interior Department has proposed a rule to withdraw a Trump-era regulation that was expected to lessen the amount of money that companies pay the government to drill on public lands and waters.

The Biden administration in a swipe at Trump's said the rule would "shortchange" taxpayers, in light of findings that it would benefit oil and gas companies by millions of dollars.

“After thoughtful consideration, the Department of the Interior is proposing to withdraw an attempt by the previous administration to shortchange American taxpayers for the resources that oil and gas companies extract from public lands,” an Interior Department spokesperson said in a statement.

The Trump rule in question changed the way that royalties are calculated that companies pay to the government for drilling on federal property.

A new economic analysis justifying the proposed withdrawal said that getting rid of the Trump rule will allow the federal government to collect an additional $64.6 million in fees annually.

Read more about the proposed withdrawal here.

PFAS AND PFURIOUS: EPA reverses Trump guidance it said weakened 'forever chemicals' regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a slate of actions aimed at a class of toxic chemicals called PFAS, including the revocation of a Trump-era guidance that it said weakened regulations for the substances.

The agency additionally proposed a reporting requirement for manufacturing PFAS chemicals and finalized a rule requiring polluters to report releases of three types of the chemicals.

PFAS chemicals have been linked to health issues including cancer and immune system problems. They can be found in a variety of household goods, as well as drinking water.

Guiding you through the details...The removed guidance, issued at the end of the Trump administration, sought to clarify a 2020 rule issued by the agency that prohibits companies from importing certain types of PFAS as part of an object’s “surface coating” without EPA approval.

The guidance limited what would have been subject to the rule, providing exemptions for “unintentionally present” impurities as well as for those who process chemicals.

The Biden administration said Thursday that the guidance “was never deemed necessary by career staff and its development was directed by political officials serving in the last Administration.”

Read more about the actions here.

COMING SOON, TO A HOUSE FLOOR NEW YOU: The latest on the methane CRA vote

The House will vote later this month on whether to reverse Trump-era rule that rescinded methane emissions limits and made it harder to regulate releases of the greenhouse gas from the oil and gas sector.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would vote during the week of June 22 on the resolution and two others aiming to undo Trump policies using the Congressional Review Act.

Also on Thursday, the methane resolution advanced through the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a party-line vote.

ON TAP TOMORROW:

  • The House Climate Crisis Committee will hold a hearing on building resilient communities

WHAT WE’RE READING:

Republicans to unveil a GOP-only climate caucus, E&E News reports

Despite uncertainties, OPEC sticks to forecast of oil demand surge in second half, Reuters reports

Unfinished border barriers harm environment, National Park Service, Arizona ranchers say, ABC15 reports

Amazon faces activism, rising tide of ‘environmental justice,’ Roll Call reports

ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday (and Tuesday night)...

EPA reverses Trump guidance it said weakened 'forever chemicals' regulations

EPA to reconsider Trump decision not to tighten soot air quality standards

Interior proposes withdrawal of Trump rule that would allow drillers to pay less

GM asks for flexibility in meeting emissions target

Hoover Dam reservoir levels at record low