California Blames EPA for Stalled Plans to Curb Pollution

October 10, 2019by Ryan Beene
Mary Nichols chairs the Air Resources Board meeting at Riverside County Administrative Center on March 23, 2017 in Riverside, Calif. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

WASHINGTON — California’s top clean-air official fired back against Trump administration charges that the state hasn’t done enough to fight pollution within its borders, saying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should “do its job.”

Last month, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler warned California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols that federal highway funds for the state might be withheld over a backlog of incomplete state plans to fight air pollution.

Nichols responded in a letter Wednesday, saying most of those plans await EPA action to be implemented and cited EPA staff shortages, competing priorities and unclear guidelines from Washington as the result of the “multi-year delays” in finalizing the plans.

“None of your agency’s administrative delays have had any impact whatsoever on public health because California has moved ahead with implementation in the absence of U.S. EPA action,” Nichols wrote. “Under these circumstances, your sanctions threat is at best unfounded.”

Wheeler had asked Nichols to say by Oct. 10 whether the state planned to withdraw the more than 130 backlogged plans to curb pollution. Nichols said the state would withdraw those for which “EPA action is no longer needed.”

The back-and-forth is part of a wide-ranging feud between the Trump administration and California officials that has recently escalated over environmental policy. The EPA last month moved to revoke California’s power to curb greenhouse gas emissions from autos, and slammed the state for pollution linked to the state’s homeless population.

California has long been known as a liberal bastion, politically and culturally, and President Donald Trump often assails policies of the state and its cities, and even did so on his way back to Washington from a visit last month.

Wheeler’s letter chided California for its air quality, calling it the nation’s worst and saying the state “has failed to carry out its most basic tasks under the Clean Air Act.”

Nichols took exception, calling his charge “simply false.”

“Rather than mischaracterizing U.S. EPA’s backlog as the result of California’s purported failure to implement the Clean Air Act and threatening to withhold California’s transportation funds,” Nichols said, “it is imperative that U.S. EPA move quickly to do its job and reduce pollution from the sources it has the responsibility to regulate.”

———

With assistance from Jennifer A. Dlouhy.

———

©2019 Bloomberg News

Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Environment

GAO Report Says US Public Land Workers Face Assaults, Threats Public Lands
GAO Report Says US Public Land Workers Face Assaults, Threats
October 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Federal employees overseeing public lands in the U.S. were assaulted or threatened at least 360 times over a five-year period ending in 2017, a sign of increased tensions between the employees and anti-government groups, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. The findings were the... Read More

House Committee Headed to Florida for Field Roundtable on WRDA State News
House Committee Headed to Florida for Field Roundtable on WRDA
October 18, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A House Panel that deals with water resource and environmental issues will travel to South Florida this weekend for a roundtable on infrastructure projects to be considered for inclusion in the next Water Resources Development Act. Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., chair of the House... Read More

Historic Rains Ravaged Illinois Farms. Now The race Is On to Harvest Before It’s Too Late. Agriculture
Historic Rains Ravaged Illinois Farms. Now The race Is On to Harvest Before It’s Too Late.

Mark Tuttle cuts straight to the point when describing the field and weather conditions he has faced this year on his farm in southern DeKalb County. “In one word, I’d say: ‘miserable,’ ” said Tuttle, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on about 1,000 acres near... Read More

House Panel Advances Bipartisan Plan to List PFAS Chemicals on Toxics Inventory Health
House Panel Advances Bipartisan Plan to List PFAS Chemicals on Toxics Inventory
October 11, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A House subcommittee has advanced bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., that would require the EPA to list a dangerous class of compounds known as PFAS chemicals on its Toxics Release Inventory. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS chemicals, which... Read More

Sherrill Convenes Meeting With Army Corps and Local Officials to Address New Jersey Flooding State News
Sherrill Convenes Meeting With Army Corps and Local Officials to Address New Jersey Flooding
October 10, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., convened a meeting last week with officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and several local mayors to address the issue of repeat and intensifying flooding in her district. Flooding has been a... Read More

California Blames EPA for Stalled Plans to Curb Pollution Environment
California Blames EPA for Stalled Plans to Curb Pollution

WASHINGTON — California’s top clean-air official fired back against Trump administration charges that the state hasn’t done enough to fight pollution within its borders, saying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should “do its job.” Last month, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler warned California Air Resources Board Chairman... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top