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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EPA Adaptation Plans, Chemical Safety, Water Heaters

The EPA has released 17 climate change adaptation implementation plans for its various regions and offices – such as the Office of Water, and the Office of Air and Radiation – to provide more detail about how the agency will meet the priorities it set out in its draft Climate Adaptation Plan released in February. The 17 implementation plans also support President Obama’s Executive Order on Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, released Friday.

A multi-agency, 90-day review of US chemical safety regulations has been delayed at least a month by the government shutdown, The Hill reports. President Obama ordered on August 1 that a working group, comprising top-level officials from the EPA, Homeland Security and other agencies, undertake the review in response to April’s deadly fertilizer plant blast in West, Texas.

The Department of Energy is proposing revisions to its test procedure for residential water heaters and certain commercial water heaters, established under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The proposed test method would apply the same efficiency descriptor to all residential and certain commercial water heaters, and it would extend coverage to eliminate certain gaps in the current residential test procedure, update the simulated-use-test draw pattern, and update the water delivery temperature requirement, the department says. DOE will hold a public meeting on the proposals December 6, and comments are due by January 21.

The European Commission adopted a proposal that would require member states to reduce their use of lightweight plastic shopping bags. Countries can choose the measures they wish to use, including charges, national reduction targets or bans. To take effect, the proposal must be adopted by member states and the European parliament, Reuters said.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s subpanel on oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow entitled, “Fugitive Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations.” Scheduled witnesses include Sarah Durham, director of the office of atmospheric programs at the EPA’s office of air and radiation; representatives from Southwestern Energy Company, Devon Energy Corporation and the Natural Resources Defense Council; and researchers from the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.

The EPA is proposing amendments to the national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants for flexible polyurethane foam production, to address the results of the agency’s residual risk and technology review. The EPA is proposing a ban on the use of hazardous air pollutant-based auxiliary blowing agents for slabstock foam production facilities; changes to correct and clarify regulatory provisions related to emissions during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction; and new requirements for reporting of performance testing through the Electronic Reporting Tool, among other amendments.

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