EPA

EPA, FDA, and USDA will overhaul biotech regulations

The three federal agencies that share jurisdiction over genetically engineered plants and animals said on Wednesday that they would update and streamline biotechnology regulations in five areas, including modified food animals. The United States is a worldwide leader in agricultural biotechnology.

White House sets goal to protect, restore 8 million acres of wetlands

As part of initiatives related to Earth Day, the Biden administration set "a bold, new national goal to protect, restore, and reconnect 8 million acres of wetlands and 100,000 miles of our nation's rivers and streams" on Tuesday. The initiative could be the overdue response to the Supreme Court decision in 2023 that limited federal protection of wetlands but only seven states are currently taking part, said an attorney active in water law.

EPA creates agriculture and rural affairs office

Speaking at the largest farm gathering in the country, EPA administrator Michael Regan announced the creation of a new EPA office to expand two-way communication with farmers and rural communities. "With the launch of this new office, we are ensuring agricultural and rural stakeholders will have a seat at the table for many years to come," said Regan at the Commodity Classic in Houston.

EPA approves year-round E15 in Midwest beginning in 2025

Nearly two years after a receiving a petition from eight governors, the Environmental Protection Agency approved on Thursday the year-round sale of higher-blend E15 gasoline in the Midwest, beginning in 2025. Corn growers and ethanol groups said temporary waivers will be needed for E15 again this summer, because otherwise sales will be banned in most of the country under air pollution laws.

EPA order allows sale and use of existing stocks of dicamba

Retailers are allowed to sell and farmers are allowed to use existing stocks of the weedkiller dicamba on this year’s soybean and cotton crops no later than July 30, said the EPA on Wednesday. A federal judge in Arizona overturned the EPA’s approval of three dicamba-containing herbicides last week, potentially disrupting the spring planting season.

DOE official: Carbon capture is key element in U.S. net-zero goal

Now an infant industry, carbon capture will play a significant role in achieving President Biden’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, said administration officials on Thursday. Senators from coal and gas states said the administration, after including incentives in the 2022 climate law, should unleash carbon capture projects.

Expect another round of ‘WOTUS whiplash,’ warns senator

The Biden administration made only minimal changes to its “waters of the United States” regulation to comply with the Supreme Court’s new and stricter definition of wetlands, and that will perpetuate litigation over the Clean Water Act, said West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Wednesday.

EPA restricts use of malathion to protect endangered species

Following guidance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency has revised its rules on use of the insecticide malathion in an effort to protect 78 threatened and endangered species.

EPA panel to study factory farm runoff

Rather than launch its rulemaking process, the EPA said on Tuesday it would appoint a panel to study, over the next year or so, the best ways to reduce polluted runoff from factory farms. Environmental group Food and Water Watch (FWW) said the "deeply flawed response amounts to yet more delay" in development of stricter water-pollution standards for large livestock and poultry farms.

‘Forever chemicals’ in 45 percent of U.S. tap water

Researchers conducting the first broadscale test for so-called PFAS in private and public water supplies found the so-called forever chemicals in 45 percent of the nation’s tap water, said the U.S. Geological Survey on Wednesday. The agency said PFAS were far more likely to be detected in tap water in urban areas than in rural America.

Ag, mining, construction groups ask for new wetlands rule in 45 days

Although the Biden administration says it will update its “waters of the United States” regulation by Sept. 1, it might have to act a bit faster than that under a motion filed in federal court in Texas. The motion asks the court to discard the Biden regulation entirely “and request that the agencies promulgate a new rule within 45 days.”

EPA says it will revise wetlands rule in line with Supreme Court decision

The Biden administration intends to update its “waters of the United States” regulation, which determines the upstream reach of anti-pollution laws, by Sept. 1, said the EPA on Wednesday. The revised WOTUS rule will reflect the recent Supreme Court decision that reduces federal protection of wetlands, it said.

Biofuel industry says 8 percent increase in RFS is too small

The Biden administration on Wednesday called for an 8 percent increase in biofuel consumption through 2025, with lower-carbon “advanced” fuels as the beneficiaries. Corn ethanol would remain the dominant biofuel at 15 billion gallons a year in the updated Renewable Fuel Standard.

Lawsuit challenges EPA approval of 2,4-D herbicides

The EPA failed to take environmental and public health risks into account when it reapproved two brand-name weedkillers produced by Corteva that contain the herbicide 2,4-D, according to a federal lawsuit that challenges the 2022 decision. The plaintiffs asked the U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., to vacate the registrations of Enlist One and Enlist Duo and to halt sales of the products while the EPA reconsiders their risks.

Lawsuit would force EPA to regulate coated seeds

The EPA wrongly exempted insecticide-coated seeds from regulation and must be ordered to “assess and register” the seeds as pesticides, said two environmental groups in a lawsuit filed on Thursday.

Supreme Court restricts federal protection of wetlands

In a decision that will narrow federal protection of wetlands, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the 1972 clean water law applies only to marshy areas with “a continuous surface connection” to streams, oceans, rivers, or lakes. “Today’s ruling is a profound win for property rights and the constitutional separation of powers,” said the Pacific Legal Foundation, which argued the case for a couple blocked from building a home in northern Idaho. (No paywall)

Farm-state lawmakers prod EPA chief on biofuels and WOTUS

The Biden administration is turning a cold shoulder to biofuels and rural America by encouraging the use of electric vehicles, said farm-state Republicans during a complaint-filled House hearing with EPA administrator Michael Regan on Wednesday. Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon pointed to the so-called WOTUS rule on wetlands protections and declared, “Any goodwill the administration has built with farmers and ranchers is gone.”

Following a second court order, WOTUS is on hold in 26 states

Less than four months ago, the Biden administration unveiled “a durable definition” of the upstream reach of clean water laws across the country — a so-called waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation. With a ruling on Wednesday, federal judges have enjoined implementation of the rule in 26 of the 50 states while they hear lawsuits that would void the regulation.

EPA faces deadline on CAFO clean-water petition

In an appellate court order, the EPA agreed on Monday to decide by Aug. 15 if it would tighten water pollution standards for large livestock and poultry farms, a goal pursued for years by environmental groups. Only three in 10 of the largest factory farms are regulated at present, said Food and Water Watch.

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