Latest News

EPA Finalizes Superfund Hazardous Substance Designation for 2 PFAS

  • The designates PFOA and PFOS as hazardous under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as the Superfund law;
  • This first-of-its-kind designation means EPA can now investigate and potentially list contaminated areas as Superfund sites and requires entities to report if they have released at least one pound of PFOA and PFOS within a 24-hour period;
  • The rule has raised concerns amongst “passive receivers” such as water utilities, waste managers, farmers, fire departments and ther entities that don’t make PFAS but are dealing with contamination, which ˾ has shared repeatedly with policymakers;
  • In tandem with the final rule, EPA released an that attempts to reassure it only intends to go after PFAS manufacturers with this rule, but the policy can be changed in future administrations and it doesn’t exempt passive receivers from stricter reporting requirements
    • The policy also doesn’t offer protections against liability from others, which could mean parties deemed responsible for cleanup could drag passive receivers into years of complicated and expensive litigation to share the cost, since EPA can’t shield entities under CERCLA, only Congress can
  • EPA recognized worries and acknowledged “some parties that do not bear primary responsibility for litigation may be sued and face uncertain litigation costs as a consequence,” but concluded the benefits outweigh the disadvantages despite the fact litigation costs remain unclear
    • The only direct, quantifiable cost is with the reporting requirements, which EPA deemed “fairly minimal and reasonable in light of the benefits” and not expected to exceed $1.6M overall per year
  • The rule is likely to face an array of legal challenges;
    • The American Chemistry Council, which represents PFAS manufacturers, said the scientific justification was “severely flawed,” and the group believes it “will undermine overall remediation efforts.”

EPA Updates Destruction and Disposal Guidance for PFAS

  • EPA released an on which methods effectively destroy or dispose of PFAS and detailing the most up-to-date information on available technologies for dealing with firefighting foam, landfill leachate, non-consumer textiles and drinking water systems;
  • The update aligns with the interim guidance released during the Trump administration, which drew criticism from environmental advocates and industry groups. Specifically, it:
    • Supports three “more protective technologies”: underground injection wells, hazardous waste landfills and thermal treatment (combustion and incineration)
    • States none are without disadvantages and points to the need for “additional research” and “significant uncertainties” on some technologies, namely thermal treatment because EPA still doesn’t know exactly which compounds could be created because of incomplete combustion
    • Deems controlled interim storage as the least likely method to release PFAS into the environment but it is a short-term option and EPA has “relatively low uncertainty” that injection wells leak PFAS though they are often expensive
    • Recommends using a hazardous waste landfill when PFAS concentrations are “relatively high” but noted “additional research is needed to resolve uncertainties” on PFAS migration out of landfills
    • Details the status of new technologies that promise to solve contamination, such as ion exchange for drinking water systems, underscoring other unknowns and challenges scaling up even with more investment
  • Despite the guidance, water systems and landfill operators have raised concerns about still being held liable as passive receivers of PFAS wastes.

EPA to Require Large Wastewater Plants to Report on PFAS Releases

  • EPA said must report “known or suspected” sources of PFAS in the waste they receive, as well as describe how they manage sludge left over after treatment processes
    • The wastewater sampling data will primarily be used to identify and prioritize industrial point source categories where additional study or regulations may be warranted to control PFAS discharges;
  • Concurrently, agriculture adviser Rod Snyder, who leads the new EPA office for agriculture and rural affairs, said officials aren’t looking to keep farmers from spreading sludge as fertilizer and expect to complete an agricultural risk assessment for PFAS later this fall
    • The assessment will be open for public comment and lead to the first scientific standards for PFAS in agriculture.

EPA Launches Permitting Website

  • This new, comprehensive provides a one-stop portal for the public, permit applicants and colleagues from other federal, state and local agencies to quickly find information about EPA’s permitting program and how these permits are helping to protect public health and the environment in communities;
  • In addition to information on EPA’s permitting programs and laws governing environmental reviews, the site displays the progress of EPA permits for large-scale infrastructure projects, too, particularly those covered by Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST-41.

FEMA Seeks Comments on Draft National Resilience Guidance

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking comments on the draft ;
  • The Guidance is designed to help professionals and non-professionals alike better understand and fulfil their vital roles related to increasing national resilience;
  • FEMA will host a series of in May to provide an overview of the Guidance and gather feedback;
  • The deadline to submit comments is May 23.

FEMA Releases Emergency Management Climate Adaption Planning Guide

  • FEMA released its ;
  • The guide incorporates climate adaptation into emergency management planning efforts through a six-step process outlined in the ;
  • FEMA will hold a series of to provide an overview of the guide and relevant resources.

On the Horizon

All times ET.

  • April 30 at 10 a.m., the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has a scheduled on fleet electrification efforts;
  • April 30 at 10 a.m., the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development will hold a with Dept. of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testifying on DOT’s FY25 budget request;
  • April 30 at 2 p.m., the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the ;
  • May 1 at 10 a.m., the House Transportation and Infrastructure Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee will hold a hearing on ;
  • May 1 at 1 p.m., CISA will host an Emergency Services Sector (ESS) Artificial Intelligence (AI) webinar, ;
  • May 2 at 10 a.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development will hold a with DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg testifying on DOT’s FY25 budget request;
  • May 2 at 10 a.m., the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband will hold a on the future of broadband affordability.

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