Environmental Regulatory News Update
Posted on September 11, 2020
Download the full report for September 10, 2020 (pdf)
Recent Developments (September 10, 2020)
DEC Proposes Statewide GHG Emission Limits under 2019 Climate Act
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) proposed statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limits in fulfillment of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which establishes statewide goals for GHG emission reductions and renewable energy production, together with a framework for adopting the measures necessary to achieve those goals. The limits—which will be set forth at 6 NYCRR Part 496—reflect the CLCPA goals of reducing GHG emissions 40% and 85% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 2050, respectively. Consistent with the CLCPA, the statewide GHG emission limits proposed by DEC include both GHG emissions from sources located within the state and GHGs produced outside the state that are associated with the generation of electricity imported into the state and those associated with the extraction and transmission of fossil fuels imported into the state. Part 496 is the first of many regulations DEC must adopt to implement the CLCPA, and the limits proposed will serve as the point of reference for determining whether New York is achieving the goals of the Act. The proposed rule—which does not impose compliance obligations on sources—can be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/121052.html.
EPA Takes Steps to Implement Risk Evaluation Requirements of TSCA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a pair of notices relating to the completion of risk evaluations for existing chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The 2016 reforms to TSCA require EPA to prioritize existing chemicals for evaluation, conduct risk evaluations of high priority chemicals, and implement mitigation measures if necessary to address an unreasonable risk to health or the environment. In fulfillment of that mandate, EPA recently published a final risk evaluation for 1-Bromopropane, a volatile chemical used as a solvent in various industrial and other applications that had been identified for review outside the prioritization process established by the 2016 TSCA amendments. The risk evaluation identified 16 industrial/commercial and consumer uses of the chemical that present an unreasonable risk to health and must therefore be mitigated. In a related development, EPA announced the availability of the final scope documents for the risk evaluations to be performed on the first 20 chemicals designated as high-priority under the amended TSCA statute. The notices can be found in the August 12, 2020 and September 4, 2020 Federal Registers at: www.govinfo.gov.
Other Recent Developments
- AIR: EPA proposed to retain the existing ozone national ambient air quality standards without revision following a comprehensive review during which it concluded that advances in scientific knowledge on the effects of the pollutant on public health and welfare did not support changes to the standards.
- AIR: EPA published the final results of its residual risk/periodic technology review under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program for the miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing, plywood and composite wood products, and miscellaneous coating manufacturing source categories. In addition, EPA proposed significant changes to the NESHAP for major source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters in response to a pair of court decisions.
- AIR: EPA announced the preliminary results of its periodic review of the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and Emission Guidelines (EG) for other solid waste incinerators (OSWI) (i.e., very small municipal solid waste incinerators and institutional incinerators). In addition, EPA proposed to loosen the emission standards for comparatively small OSWI and make other changes based on its review of the existing standards and new information.
- CLIMATE CHANGE: EPA proposed GHG emission standards for new commercial airplanes consistent with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2017. The new rules are necessary to allow U.S. manufacturers to market their airplanes worldwide.
- WATER: EPA adopted regulations lowering the acceptable content of lead in plumbing fixtures and making other changes to implement the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act of 2011.
- GENERAL: EPA adopted major changes to the rules governing the appeal of federal permitting decisions to the Environmental Appeals Board with the goal of simplifying and expediting the appeals process.
New York State
WATER: The New York State Department of Health (DOH) published the final maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, and 1,4-dioxane under its public drinking water regulations following approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council. The effective date triggers the 90-day deadline for system owners/operators to ask DOH to defer actions for determining MCL violations under the new regulation.