EPA Rules Open for Comment (short summaries)

The Trump Administration has launched a massive assault on our climate, our public health and our environment.
We think that’s a really bad idea.

We create tools and talking points for people who want to speak out in defense of our protections.

Make Your Voice Heard

President Trump may be having trouble getting Congress to adopt his agenda, but he has more control over federal agencies.  The Trump Administration is taking dead aim at regulations that protect people’s lives, livelihoods and communities – including regulations that protect our public health and environment. Fortunately, no president can roll back regulations by fiat. The Trump Administration must go through the same process that’s used for making regulations, and that process gives everyone the opportunity to participate. 

We’ve developed a how-to manual with insights and advice on HOW to to participate in a rulemaking process. It is a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations who want to make their voices heard. You can download it here: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR RESISTING THE TRUMP DE-REGULATORY AGENDA (2nd Ed.)
A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR RESISTING THE TRUMP DE-REGULATORY AGEND (2nd Ed)

On this page, we will be posting a list of EPA rules now open for comment, with links to information about the rules and suggested talking points for commenters.

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EPA Rules Now Open For Comment

The Trump Administration has targeted many EPA regulations to be weakened or outright eliminated.  Save EPA is tracking these actions, and providing talking points to help (below) for commenters who want to resist the Trump agenda. As the people these regulations are designed to protect, we need to be loud and clear that these protections are important to us. We can’t afford to be silent while President Trump tries to take the U.S.A. backwards to a time of dirty air, polluted waters and contaminated land. 


Oil and Gas: Rollback of Control on Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) on Federal and Indian Lands

The  Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed to rescind a 2015 rule that would have imposed federal requirements to protect our water supplies from fracking on federal and Indian lands. This rule would also provide information to the public on what harmful chemicals are being used in these operations. The rule is currently the subject of litigation and has not yet gone into effect.  

The 2015 rule  was issued in response to growing public concerns about the impacts of fracking on groundwater drinking water supplies.  The Trump Administration now argues that the rule would be too costly, and that the rule is unnecessary because states are already regulating the oil and gas industry, and that many companies are disclosing the chemicals used voluntarily or under state law. 

BLM will accept public comments on the rule through September 25, 2017.  For information on the rule, the rollback proposal, and how to comment see BLM Fracking.

Deadline for Public Comment on the Rollback Proposal:

September 25, 2017

Public Hearing: There is no public hearing for this action

Docket: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=BLM-2017-0001


Rollback of Clean Water Act Protections

The Trump Administration wants to remove Clean Water Act protections from two million miles of waterways and millions of acres of wetlands. Rollback of this rule would put drinking water at risk for 117 million Americans. 

The Clean Water Rule (“Waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS rule) was issued in 2015 to more clearly define which “waters” are protected under the Clean Water Act.  The Rule’s definition of protected waters is based on hydrologic science. It recognizes the real-world connections that exist between large volume, “navigable” waters and smaller non-navigable streams and wetlands.   The Clean Water Rule protects tributary streams that can greatly impact downstream water.

Part 1: Rollback of the Clean Water Rule

Comment by August 28
Extended: September 27

The proposal currently open for comment would eliminate the scientific definition created in the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The public comment period is ongoing; comments must be received on or before 11:59 pm September 27, 2017.

Part 2: Changing the Definition of Waters of the US

A second rule-making will be required to propose the Trump Administration’s preferred definition of waters of the US. 

The Trump Administration has posted a notice to begin the public process to re-define “Waters of the US.”  As expected, the Administration has signaled its intent to redefine “waters of the US” to include only navigable waters. 

The process outlined by the Trump Administration for Part 2 is highly irregular. The agencies have not opened a public comment period, and it’s not clear when they will do so. EPA and the COE have scheduled ten “outreach” teleconferences and one in-person meeting to gather public comments. Meetings are scheduled between September 19 and November 21, with each session targeted to a specific stakeholder group.

For information on the Clean Water Rule, the rollback proposal, definitions of “waters of the US” and how to comment, see Defending Our Waters.


ROLLBACK OF CLIMATE POLLUTION AND FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS FOR CARS, SUVs AND LIGHT TRUCKS

The Trump Administration has opened the door to weakening the climate pollution and fuel economy standards for cars, SUVs, and light trucks for model years 2021-2025.  These standards are a main pillar of U.S. efforts to combat climate change.  Cars, SUVs, and light trucks are responsible for nearly 20% of climate pollution in the U.S.1

In recent years EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have conducted parallel rulemakings to set greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards and fuel economy standards for 2012 and later model year cars and light trucks.  Lowering emissions of carbon dioxide, the most pervasive GHG pollutant, and improving fuel economy are closely linked.

The Trump Administration is reconsidering what the GHG pollution standards and fuel economy standards should be for model year 2021-2025 cars, SUVs and light trucks.  There are two separate actions on which to comment: a joint EPA/NHTSA request for comment on re-evaluating the vehicle GHG pollution standards, and a NHTSA notice of intent on fuel economy standards.

Action #1: COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED

The first opportunity to defend strong fuel economy and GHG standards is to comment on NHTSA’s “Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Model Year 2022-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards.”  This notice is a preparatory step for a NHTSA rule establishing binding fuel economy standards for 2022-2025, and notes that NHTSA also may re-evaluate the existing 2021 fuel economy standards.

It is important to comment because of the potential for the Trump Administration to propose setting model year 2022-2025 fuel economy standards weaker than the levels NHTSA previously determined would be warranted.  In addition, the notice raises some significant standard-setting issues, and NHTSA’s approaches might be used to influence the parallel EPA re-evaluation of greenhouse gas standards.

The public comment period is closed. The CAFE standards are closely related to Action 2, rollback of greenhouse gas emissions. We will keep these CAFE talking points among the “open” comment periods until the close of the GHG emission standards comment period.

For more information on fuel economy standards and how to comment, see Defending Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards for Cars & Light Trucks

Action 2: COMMENT BY OCTOBER 5

A separate August 2017 joint EPA/NHTSA notice invites comment on whether the GHG pollution standards for model year 2022-2025 cars and light-trucks are appropriate, and also on whether 2021 standards remain appropriate.   EPA completed an exhaustive re-evaluation of the 2022-2025 standards just before the Trump Administration took office, and determined that that the standards remain technically feasible at reasonable cost.  Those standards are a critical component of U.S. efforts to limit climate pollution.

The comment period is ongoing; comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on the deadline day.  EPA also plans a public hearing; details are provided below.

PUBLIC HEARING ON ACTION 2

SEPTEMBER 6, 2017

The EPA will hold a public hearing on the issues in the joint EPA/NHTSA notice on September 6, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Location: Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel, 999 Ninth Street NW., Washington, DC, USA, 20001 (phone number: 202–898–9000)

Time: Begins 9 am; ends when all parties present who wish to speak have had their opportunity

Registration: If you plan to speak at the hearing, please notify EPA by August 30, 2017, by sending an email to Hearing_Registration-ASD@epa.gov

Public Hearing Notice with Additional Details: Public Hearing for Reconsideration of the Final Determination of the Mid-term Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Model Year 2022-2025 Light-duty Vehicles (PDF)

Any change to the hearing, including its location, will be posted online at https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/midterm-evaluation-light-duty-vehicle-ghg-emissions.

For more information on the standards, the re-evaluation, and how to comment, see Defending Climate Pollution Standards for Cars, SUVs and Light Trucks

1 EPA, Fast Facts on Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions, p. 1 (2015).


Withdrawal of Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska (Pebble Mine) 

Comment by October 17

The Trump Administration is proposing to reverse restrictions on discharge of mining wastes in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, the largest sockeye salmon spawning area in the world.  The proposal was published July 19, 2017. The public comment period is ongoing; comments must be received on or before 11:59 pm October 17, 2017.

For information on the rule, the rollback proposal, and how to comment, see Defending Bristol Bay.

 


Rollback of Contamination Limits in Groundwater from Uranium Mining

Comment by October 16, 2017

The Trump Administration wants to roll back groundwater protection standards regulating the amount of radiation contamination that uranium mines are allowed to release during extraction operations.  The current regulation is aimed at preventing contamination of downgradient groundwater used for drinking water. Radionuclide contamination of downgradient drinking water aquifers has been documented at a number of uranium mines in recent years. The Pruitt EPA is “re-proposing” the rule, and the revised rule significantly weakens the groundwater standards.

For information on the rule, the re-proposal, and how to comment, see Defending Limits on Uranium Mining Contaminants in Groundwater. 

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