Court Accelerates Pruitt’s Haze Plan • Beer Cans • OSHA Inspections

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By Sylvia Carignan

Court Demands Pruitt’s Haze Plan

A regional haze plan for Texas that’s expected to cost utilities billions is good news for national parks, but bad news for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

A court denied the agency’s request for an extended deadline to issue the plan, which would have given the EPA over a year in additional time. The deadline now stands at Sept. 9.

Pruitt previously criticized EPA’s approach to state haze plans when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general.

On the other hand, environmentalists are celebrating the court’s decision. The plan would require utilities to spend money on air emissions controls to improve visibility in national parks like Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains.

The EPA is figuring out its next steps.

Beer Cans for Harvey Relief

Anheuser-Busch, the country’s largest brewer, and breweries around the country are stopping production in some locations to fill cans with drinking water for Hurricane Harvey victims.

But don’t expect a beer shortage; Anheuser-Busch’s breweries outside Texas are still producing beer.

OSHA Halts Planned Inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has suspended its usual inspections in Hurricane Harvey-affected areas to focus on compliance and disaster assistance. If you’re outside the affected area, you’re still on the hook.

What Else?

  •  On our Parts Per Billion podcast: A new pesticide chemical pits farmer against farmer in Arkansas.
  •  The world’s most important petrochemical, ethylene, has become a rare commodity as factories along the Gulf Coast remain inoperable.
  •  Brazil is fostering public debate on mining in a protected region of the Amazon. The country’s minster for mines and energy is halting authorizations for copper and gold mining there.
  •  South Korea’s environment ministry is tackling air pollution from transportation in a newly proposed $5.8 billion budget.

This Week’s Events

The House and Senate return from their summer recess this week.

  • Sept. 5, 4 p.m. | EPA, Interior appropriations | The House Rules committee will take a look at appropriations for the EPA, Department of the Interior and related agencies. The appropriations bill, H.R. 3354, will be wrapped into a package of bills headed to the House floor in the next week or two.
  • Sept. 6, 10:15 a.m.| EPA oversight| The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations considers EPA’s progress on various recommendations from the agency’s inspector general and the General Accountability Office.
Beyond Capitol Hill:
  • Sept. 5 | Clean energy | California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) heads to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, to encourage collaboration on clean energy policies.
  • Sept. 7 | Superfund | The Association of Insurance and Reinsurance Run-Off Companies holds a symposium in Philadelphia on the most costly Superfund site cleanups and the liability issues they present.
  • Sept. 7 | Air quality | The Ozone Transport Commission and Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Visibility Union hold their fall meeting in Washington.

Quote of the Day

“There is not a gas shortage in the United States. There is a logistics issue.” — Ryan Sitton, commissioner at the Texas Railroad Commission, responding to calls and reports of high prices and long lines at gas stations.

From Our Inbox

  •  The EPA’s fuel waivers are now in effect for 38 states and the District of Columbia.
  •  The Science Advisory Board sent a letter stating its support for the IRIS program to EPA’s Pruitt.
  •  The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials released reports on Superfund tools, including Superfund site assessments and the National Priorities List.
  •  Texas refineries affected by Hurricane Harvey have released nearly a million pounds of pollutants into the air, according to an analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Around the Web

  •  In Mumbai, flooding rains are all too common. More than 1,000 have died and 40 million have lost their homes, businesses, or crops over the past two months (The Associated Press, Sept. 1).
  •  Climate change researchers tried heating up a patch of sea floor off the coast of Antarctica to see how local species would react (The New York Times , Aug. 31).
  •  How a dam engineering concept prepared two Houston reservoirs for Hurricane Harvey (Wired, Aug. 31).

To contact the reporter on this story: Sylvia Carignan in Washington at scarignan@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

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