Obama’s climate change policy appears to survive early court challenge

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

President Obama’s ambitious plan to battle climate change by forcing power plants to reduce their greenhouse gases appeared to survive its first court challenge Thursday, but only because the formal rules are still pending at the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA, Dems assail bill targeting climate rule

Read the full story in The Hill.

Democrats and an Obama administration official lambasted House Republicans Tuesday for a bill that they say could delay carbon limits for power plants for years.

The bill’s opponents argued at a hearing that the bill is irresponsible and would significantly weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rule.

EPA: House bill could delay review of toxic chemicals ‘indefinitely’

Read the full story at The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned that a House proposal to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws could “delay evaluations for some of the most dangerous chemicals indefinitely,” a top official said Tuesday.

EPA Seeks Input for Potential Rule Banning or Restricting the Use of Trichloroethylene (TCE), N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), and Methylene Chloride

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking nominations from individuals who represent small businesses, small governments, and small not-for-profit organizations to provide input to two Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panels to:

  • Explore risk reduction in the use of N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and methylene chloride for paint or coating removal. This panel will focus on the agency’s development of a proposed rule to reduce the risk of NMP and methylene chloride in paint and coating removal as appropriate to reduce risks posed for their occupational or consumer use; and
  • Explore risk reduction in the use of Trichloroethylene (TCE). This panel will focus on the agency’s development of a proposed rule to reduce the risks resulting from the use of TCE as a commercial degreaser, as a spotting agent in dry cleaning, and in certain consumer products as appropriate to reduce risks posed from its commercial and consumer use.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to establish an SBAR Panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBAR panel will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA.

Small Entity Representatives (SERs) will be selected by the SBAR Panel to provide comments on behalf of their company, community, or organization and advise the panel on the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities. EPA is seeking self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. Other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs.

SERs provide advice and recommendations to the SBAR Panel. The SERs participate in consultations with the SBAR Panel via telephone, webinar, or in person in one or two meetings and are given an opportunity to submit written comments to the Panel. Self-nominations may be submitted through the links below and must be received by April 10, 2015.

More about the Small Business Advocacy Review process:

CONTACTS: Cathy Milbourn (News Media only): (202) 564-7849 (202)-564-4355

Sheila Canavan (Non-Media Inquiries): or 202-564-1978

EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment for Chemical used for Paint and Coating Removal

Today, the U.S. EPA released the final risk assessment for N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), a chemical commonly used to remove paint and other coatings. The assessment identified risks to pregnant women and women of childbearing age, who have high exposure to NMP through paint or other coating removal.

“By completing this assessment, we have taken an important step in protecting pregnant women and women of childbearing age who are using NMP to remove paint,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “It is a reminder that as we evaluate these risks, it is very clear that our nation’s chemical laws are in much need of reform. Completing this assessment will now trigger a process to address these unacceptable risks.”

Acute and chronic risks identified for women of childbearing age who use NMP for less than four hours per day may be reduced by use of specific types of chemical-resistant gloves. However, gloves and respirators do not adequately reduce risks to women of childbearing age who use NMP for more than four hours per day on a single day or repeatedly over a succession of days.

The NMP final risk assessment was developed as part of the Agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified chemicals for review and assessment of potential risks to people’s health and the environment.

NMP is a common alternative to methylene chloride, also known as Dichloromethane (DCM), a chemical-based paint and coating remover. EPA has also identified risks associated with methylene chloride during the removal of paint and other coatings. For both NMP and methylene chloride, EPA is considering a range of voluntary and regulatory actions to reduce risks, and recommends finding safer paint/coating removal chemicals, or taking precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside, in a well-ventilated area, and wearing proper gloves and respiratory protection.

Additional information on the NMP final risk assessment and other work plan chemicals can be found at:

Ohio Senate raises glass to bill limiting fertilizer application

Read the full story in the Toledo Blade.

Senate President Keith Faber (R., Celina) on Wednesday held up a glass of clear water as he said, “It’s all about this.”

A moment later, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R., Clarksville) drank from that glass, a reminder of the image of the late Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins doing the same thing after Toledo’s drinking water crisis in August.

The water in Columbus did not come from Lake Erie, but the point was made. The House and Senate on Wednesday voted unanimously for Senate Bill 1 to restrict the application of manure and other fertilizers that contribute to toxic algae blooms, move away from open-lake dumping of dredged material, and step up monitoring at water-treatment plants.

The bill will take effect 90 days after Gov. John Kasich signs it.

California Imposes First Mandatory Water Restrictions to Deal With Drought

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered mandatory water use reductions for the first time in California’s history, saying the state’s four-year drought had reached near-crisis proportions after a winter of record-low snowfalls.