What You Missed in Environmental Policy News: Week Ending March 4

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Super Tuesday and the race for the White House were all much of America could talk about this week, but the environment and energy world didn’t stop. House and Senate negotiators are nearing a deal to revamp the nation’s primary chemicals law, lawmakers heard testimony on the Energy Department’s budget request and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay the EPA’s high-profile mercury regulation.

Here’s what you may have missed this week in the news:

  • Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act may be nearing the finish line. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the Senate’s leading champions, said negotiators were “almost there.” Both EPA and industry groups have also outlined what they’d like to see in the final version of the bill in separate letters.
  • In the aftermath of the lead drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., the EPA announced it would increase oversight of state drinking water programs. Changes aimed at reducing the amount of lead and copper in the drinking water will be released sometime in 2017, the agency told governors and state agencies.
  • A decision from the Supreme Court not to stay the EPA’s mercury and air toxics standards rule is seen by some as evidence the court will reserve staying regulations for the “rarest circumstances” rather than making the practice the new normal.
  • Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a freshman Democrat from California, says in an interview that there’s a “very high likelihood” that several fossil fuel companies will face charges over their statements on climate change. Later this week, it was revealed the Justice Department had referred the case to the FBI for investigation.