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U.S. EPA Semiannual Regulatory Agenda Highlights

Posted: January 8th, 2013

Author: All4 Staff 

The U.S. EPA published their semiannual regulatory agenda online (the e-Agenda) on December 21, 2012 to update the public about: Regulations and major policies currently under development; review of existing regulations and major policies; and rules and major policy makings completed or canceled since the publication of the last agenda. The activities identified on the regulatory agenda are, for the most part, those activities planned to have an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), or a Final Rule issued within the next 12 months.  A quick glance at the 2012 Agency Statements of Regulatory Priorities for the U.S EPA indicated the following generic highlights as associated with the U.S. EPA Administrator’s “Seven Guiding Priorities”:

  • Climate Change – finalization of GHG emission standards for new power plants and clarification of the applicability of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations to certain Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) activities to facilitate the use of CCS.
  • Improving Air Quality – review of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone; development of vehicle emission and fuel standards to further reduce nitrogen oxides (NOX), particulate matter (PM), and air toxics; and the continuation of the development and review of Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).
  • Chemical Safety – continued action on priority chemicals through the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA) and addressing formaldehyde emissions from hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard via the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010.
  • Community Cleanup – improved accountability regarding the recycling of hazardous secondary materials through the implementation of the Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule.
  • Water Quality – development of a proposed rule to define waterway, water body, or wetlands that are protected by the Clean Water Act (CWA); finalization of cooling water intake standards to protect aquatic organisms; development of steam electric effluent guidelines that will apply to steam electric power plants using nuclear or fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas; proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper drinking water standards; electronic reporting of data through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule; and the possible amendment of Subpart J (the product schedule) of the National Contingency Plan (NCP) to address concerns regarding the use of dispersants raised during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
  • Environmental Justice – implementation of the interim guidance document (developed in 2011) to include environmental justice in the rulemaking process and to use a variety of approaches (e.g., regulation, enforcement, research, outreach, etc.) in accordance with Executive Order No. 13045 to protect children from environmental risks.
  • State and Tribal Partnerships – implementation of the new 2012 EPA Tribal Policy which establishes  a broad standard for determining activities that are appropriate for tribal consultation.

The entire e-Agenda can be accessed here.


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