EPA

Republicans try congressional path to repeal WOTUS

In a long-shot tactic, Republicans in the Senate and House pressed on Thursday for a vote to overturn the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule, which spells out the upstream reach of water pollution laws. It was the third WOTUS rule to be issued in less than a decade. The Supreme Court is expected to rule in coming weeks on an Idaho case that would greatly limit federal protection of wetlands.

Lawsuit asks court to void Biden administration clean water rule

Seventeen farm, construction, and mining groups filed suit in federal court to overturn the Biden administration’s definition of the upstream reach of water pollution laws. They argued that the new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule was “so opaque, uncertain, and all-encompassing” that no one could confidently know its limits.

Biden administration defines upstream reach of clean water laws

Stepping ahead of a pending Supreme Court ruling, the Biden administration spelled out through a new regulation the upstream reach of water pollution laws, saying it would assure safe drinking water for Americans "while supporting agriculture, local economies and downstream communities." Farm and home-builder groups, who helped stall an Obama-era definition of the "waters of the United States" (WOTUS), said the Biden WOTUS rule also was a regulatory nightmare built on murky interpretations of the law.

Administration looks for ways to expand bioeconomy

Three months after President Biden signed an executive order to accelerate biotechnology innovation, the administration formally asked stakeholders and the public on Monday to identify gaps, ambiguities and inefficiencies in federal regulation of the sector.

With eye on second-generation biofuels, EPA proposes 10 percent increase in RFS

The EPA proposed a 10 percent increase, mostly reserved for cleaner-burning “advanced” biofuels, over three years in the federal mandate to mix biofuels into the U.S. gasoline supply, and said it would expand the Renewable Fuel Standard to include electricity generated from biogas and used in electric vehicles. The proposal, announced Thursday, would mean greater use of E15 and other blends of corn ethanol above the traditional 10 percent, said ethanol groups.

Trade group seeks 7-billion-gallon advanced biofuel mandate

The EPA should increase the advanced biofuels share of the fuel market by 1 billion gallons a year to reflect the land rush into renewable diesel production, said the trade group Clean Fuels America Alliance on Monday. The recommendation would raise the federal mandate for second-generation biofuels to 7.63 billion gallons in 2024, a 36 percent increase from this year.

Set highest ethanol mandate ever, senators ask EPA

The upcoming EPA regulatory reset of the Renewable Fuel Standard should push the corn ethanol target above 15 billion gallons for the highest annual mandate ever and allow E15 to be sold year-round, said farm-state senators on Wednesday. In a letter to EPA administrator Michael Regan, the senators urged the agency to establish “robust and expanded” biofuel mandates.

Lawsuit tries to force EPA to respond on CAFO regulation

A coalition of public interest and environmental justice organizations filed a lawsuit Friday to compel the EPA to respond to an earlier rulemaking petition, submitted to the agency in 2017, that asked the EPA to overhaul how large-scale animal production facilities are regulated under the Clean Water Act.

Biofuel groups push EPA to maximize RFS levels

The Renewable Fuel Standard is the most successful clean energy tool available to the government, which should make full use of it when setting the biofuel mandate for 2023 and future years, said farm and biofuel trade groups on Thursday. “What we’re really looking to take place with EPA is that they maximize the full potential of the RFS,” said Emily Skor, chief executive of Growth Energy.

Despite stricter rules, thousands of complaints of dicamba damage, says EPA

A week before the 2020 presidential election, the EPA issued new instructions on the use of dicamba that it said would tame the notoriously volatile weedkiller. But complaints of damage to crops in nearby fields and to plants in parks, wildlife refuges, and residences continued to roll in, said the EPA on Thursday during a review of the herbicide.

Climate ruling could ripple into food and ag regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court limited the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants on Thursday. The ruling could have broad impact with its reasoning that Congress must give an agency specific authority to act on particular issues.

Neonicotinoid insecticides have broad reach, says EPA

Three widely used neonicotinoids are likely to adversely affect, in at least some way, most of the threatened and endangered species in the country, said the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday.

EPA rejects 36 small-refiner exemptions from biofuel mandate

Facing a court-ordered deadline for action, the Environmental Protection Agency denied on Thursday 36 requests by small refiners for "hardship" exemptions from the U.S. ethanol mandate. Biofuel and farm groups lamented the decision "fails to remedy the economic harms" of reduced demand for corn ethanol.

Sales of E15 surge by 62 percent, says trade group

The recovering U.S. economy, aided by wider availability of the fuel, helped boost sales of E15 — gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol — to a record 814 million gallons in 2021, said the Renewable Fuels Association on Wednesday. Sales were 62 percent higher than the 504 million gallons sold in 2020, according to RFA estimates.

Report: agriculture runoff is leading cause of water pollution in the U.S.

Last week, water experts marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with a dire warning: After evaluating over 700,000 miles of rivers and streams across the country, they concluded that half of those waters are too polluted to fish or swim in—and agriculture is often to blame.(No paywall)

Supreme Court rejects bid for year-round E15 sales

The Supreme Court, without comment, refused to hear an ethanol industry appeal to reinstate year-round sales of E15, gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. A federal appeals court ruled last July that the EPA, acting at the direction of then-President Trump, exceeded its authority in approving summertime sales of E15 in 2019.

Time running out for Chesapeake Bay cleanup

At their current pace, the three major states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, responsible for 90 percent of pollution in the bay, will miss their targets for reducing sediment and nutrient runoff by 2025, said the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Wednesday. Maryland and Virginia need to step up efforts to address agricultural pollution, and "Pennsylvania remains far off track," the foundation said.

As damage continues, EPA ponders whether dicamba is safe to use at all

The notoriously volatile weedkiller dicamba was blamed for 3,500 incidents of "off-target" damage this year, including to more than 1 million acres of soybeans, said the EPA on Tuesday. The regulator said it was reviewing whether dicamba "can be used in a manner that does not pose unreasonable risks" and said it would help states that wish to restrict use of the herbicide.

Biden administration ditches Trump water rule

The Biden administration said on Thursday it would re-establish the "waters of the United States" rule that was in place before 2015, a step that would repeal a narrow regulation written during the Trump era. The National Wildlife Federation said that "many streams and wetlands nationwide will regain undisputed protections."

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