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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EPA Slammed on Chemicals, Printers Demand Waste Regs

At its current rate, the EPA will take over a decade to judge the toxicity of 83 chemicals prioritized for review, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, FierceGovernment says. The EPA’s pace may even slip, the GAO says, since the agency chose to prioritize chemicals for which it had enough toxicity and exposure data. 

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said she will schedule a hearing to investigate the April 17 explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant, which killed 15 people and injured hundreds, Talking Points Memo reports. Owner West Fertilizer failed to tell the Department of Homeland Security about the massive amounts of ammonium nitrate being stored at the plant, Reuters reported.

The Printing Industries of America and the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association are pushing the EPA to finalize revisions to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s hazardous waste rules, which would regulate the rags used for mopping up hazardous chemicals. Such rags are also used in auto body and furniture refurbishing shops. The White House has been sitting on the draft of a final rule for more than a year, the Hill reports.

The UK Supreme Court today ruled that the country’s government was in breach of an EU directive limiting nitrogen dioxide emissions. The judges asked the European Court of Justice for guidance on further steps, and the ECJ could take up to 18 months to answer, Reuters reported.

The Williston Basin, a vast region of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, contains twice as much oil and three times as much natural gas as previously estimated, according to an Interior Department report, the Washington Post says. The department says that 7.4 billion barrels of shale oil are technical recoverable there.

The EPA’s decision to dramatically lower its estimate of methane leaks during natural gas production could have major implications, FuelFix says. The agency has cut its estimate of 1990-2010 methane emissions by about 20 percent.

The Bureau of Land Management has published a regulation that would limit mining claims near areas designated as potential solar or wind sites, while the BLM considers the renewable energy applications. This final rule replaces an interim rule in place since 2001, and will give the government a way to safeguard the lands in the long term, the Hill reports.

The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency told Denver-based MarkWest Energy that the “repeated nature and magnitude” of its pipeline construction spills in Harrison and Belmont counties was unacceptable, the Columbus Dispatch reports. The company had six spills of a clay-water lubricant mixture between Sept. 17 and Mar. 27, polluting streams and wetlands, including one spill that took more than three months to clean up. MarkWest and the Ohio EPA have discussed possible fines.

The EPA is scheduled to today publish limits for residues of the weed-killer glyphosate, more commonly known as Roundup, on agricultural crops including fruits, vegetables and canola seeds, the Hill reports.

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