Environmental Protection Agency

Some of the nation's top polluters are now running on the honor system after the Environmental Protection Agency last week announced relaxed enforcement of environmental regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming

The father of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as he was known, passed away on November 27, 2019. His name may be a familiar one if you've been to the University of Wyoming: William Ruckelshaus. The Ruckelshaus Institute is a division of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at UW.

Tested well locations around Pavillion
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) confirmed its 2016 findings that Pavillion, Wyoming's groundwater contamination is not connected to oil and gas activity.

It released a 4,228 page report Monday that dug into questions remaining from the previous version in 2016. The department used improved technology to dive into its past findings and ensure there wasn't some critical compound or bacteria missed.

A group of chemicals called PFAS are common in firefighting foams, as well as household products like rain jackets, pizza boxes and non-stick pots and pans. They've been in use since the 1940s and have come to be known as "forever chemicals" because they persist in the environment.

PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have made their way into watersheds around the world, and as a recent study found, even into raindrops. Some are considered a threat to human health. 

Researchers including Jens Blotevogel, an environmental engineer at Colorado State University, are studying ways to get rid of the compounds. 

Heat pumps offer one of the best ways to cut carbon in homes and commercial buildings, energy and climate experts say in a new report.

A new report shows that a majority of states, including three in the Mountain West, have cut funding for environmental agencies, at a time when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also seen its budget slashed.

jpc.raleigh / Flickr

The Trump administration has reauthorized the use of "cyanide bombs," a controversial device that kills animals suspected of preying on livestock and threatened species.

EPA

Water issues in the West have been around, basically, since the West was claimed and divvied up. And they haven't really let up since, which was on full display in the Environment and Public Works Committee this week.

A new draft proposal by the Trump administration may throw both current and future clean air and water laws into question.

Montana Department of Environmental Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to roll back Obama-era rules governing how coal-fired power plants store and release toxic waste.

The Environmental Working Group on Wednesday updated its Tap Water Database, which aggregates data from nearly 50,000 water utilities across the country to spotlight dangerous levels of contamination

Congressional Research Service

A congressional subcommittee questioned the Trump administration on Wednesday over its rollback of Obama-era Clean Water Act protections.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced rollbacks to the Clean Water Act. These rollbacks will repeal some of the rules put into place by the Obama Administration that protect smaller bodies of water and intermittent streams.

A gas flare, used to burn off flammable gas -- on Highway 59 from Gillette
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Trump Administration is looking to change Obama-era national air quality standards for the oil and gas industry that limited methane - a pollutant considered the second largest contributor to climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed changes Thursday to the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), influenced at the time by Wyoming's regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expanding the use of an insecticide that is toxic to bees. The move affects more than 17 million acres of farmland in our region.

 


U.S. EPA logo
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. A rule meant to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. It's widely seen as a replacement rule to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

Booms located at the popo agie river to prevent further seepage downstream
Keith Guille / Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Gasoline is spilling into the Popo Agie River in Lander. A citizen reported it to the National Response Center last week. The action prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to investigate what happened.

Keith Guille, DEQ spokesman, said the situation is urgent, and "that's why we have staff out there to make sure that we find some conclusions here very quickly to ensure that wherever the spill leak is coming from they get stopped and that everything can move forward here."

A report out Monday from environmental groups looked at groundwater contamination from coal-fired power plants. Three of the worst sites are located in the Mountain West.

Coal ash is the solid waste leftover when you burn coal. It often gets mixed with water and washed into a pit — an ash pond. If the base of a pond isn’t properly sealed, pollutants in the mix can make their way into groundwater.

The Environmental Protection Agency is responding to criticism that the agency is lax in enforcing regulations like the  Clean Water Act.

 


Flickr Creative Commons/momo go via Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Western states are likely to be affected most by the Trump administration's proposal to roll back parts of the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency would no longer give special protections to thousands of miles of seasonal streams and millions of acres of wetlands that often go dry by late summer in the arid West. That would leave states to decide whether to protect such waters themselves. 

Stephanie Joyce

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced revisions on an Obama-era regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. The EPA wrote that the rule discouraged new coal development by requiring unproven carbon capture technology. Wyoming Mining Association's Travis Deti said there's still a lot of uncertainty around coal, but this deregulation could help that.

The EPA is expected to announce a rollback of regulations on coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, two new reports could cast some doubt on that decision.

Cyanide bombs largely targeting nuisance predators like coyotes can stay on public lands – for now.


President Trump has pledged to nominate the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency as it’s next permanent head, a move that some Senate Democrats have promised to oppose.

Generalized Schematic of ISR Extraction Process for Uranium
United States Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn a proposed rule that would limit contamination of groundwater from uranium mining long-term. The regulation was proposed on former President Barack Obama's last day in office.

The Environmental Protection Agency is making $20 million available for states and tribes to voluntarily test drinking water for lead at schools and childcare facilities.

Cooper McKim

Dave Hohl is a long-time resident of Pinedale, a town surrounded by oil and gas operations in western Wyoming. In 2008, Hohl went cross-country skiing and he noticed a heavy brown haze.

A gas flare, used to burn off flammable gas -- on Highway 59 from Gillette
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would make it easier for oil and gas companies to release methane emissions — a potent greenhouse gas – into the air. The proposal targets an Obama-era policy pushing energy companies to fix gas leaks.

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Scott Pruitt may have resigned but the controversies continue. A recently disclosed collection of emails between the EPA, an oil and gas lobbyist and at least one elected official in Utah are causing concern.

Pages