Chemical Reform, Coal Ash Bill Markup Loom in the Week Ahead

capitol hill sunrise

Though the process has been fraught with false alarms, House and Senate negotiators appear to be on the verge—finally—of merging a broad Senate overhaul of the nation’s primary chemicals law (S. 697) with a narrower House-passed version (H.R. 2576). Completing work on the bill—and moving it through the Senate and House quickly, as lawmakers hope to do—would result in the first major new environmental statute since 1990.

Some other events to watch for this week in the environmental and energy world:

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a markup Wednesday where it will consider legislation tweaking the Environmental Protection Agency’s final coal ash rule and reauthorizing the Brownfields program. The committee will also consider the nominations of two EPA officials: Tom Burke to be EPA assistant administrator of the Office of Research and Development and Science Advisor, and Jane Nishida to be EPA assistant administrator of the Office of International and Tribal Affairs.
  • The American Law Institute and Environment Law Institute host a two-day seminar on the Clean Water Act Thursday and Friday in Washington. Highlights include a panel on the EPA’s waters of the U.S. rulemaking, a session on the intersection of the Clean Water Act and climate change; and a keynote address from John Cruden, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that delays implementation of the 2015 ozone air standards (H.R. 4775) and foster research and development for advanced nuclear energy technologies (H.R. 4979). Both bills cleared a subcommittee last week.
  • Climate negotiators from around the world gather this week in Bonn, Germany, for the first formal gathering of all the nations since the 2015 Paris Agreement was reached. Key goals of the meeting are to assure transparency in the way domestic actions to combat climate change are recorded and finding ways to prevent countries from backsliding on the commitments made in Paris.