Overnight Regulation

Overnight Regulation: EPA weighs tougher pollution rules at national parks

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and beyond. It’s Tuesday evening here in Washington.



The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stronger air pollution rules at national parks, but climate activists and conservationists say it may be too little, too late for the great outdoors.

The views at national parks, and the air tourists breathe, are often distorted by air pollution, the EPA said.

{mosads}”The regional haze program helps to protect clear views in national parks, such as Grand Canyon National Park, and wilderness areas, such as the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge,” the agency said. “Vistas in these areas are often obscured by regional haze caused by emissions from numerous sources located over a wide geographic area.”

The EPA proposed strengthening the regional haze rule Monday for states, which are required to submit plans to improve visibility and progress reports.

Climate activists cheered the proposed requirements for pollution reduction at national parks but said they are disappointed by a three-year delay that would give states more time to comply.

“Some of these changes are a step in the right direction and, if adopted, will result in every state being held accountable for achieving steady reductions in park pollution,” Stephanie Kodish, senior director of the National Parks Conservation Association’s Clean Air Program, said in a statement. “However, other proposed changes would allow known polluters to delay cleaning up their act and set back efforts to clean up the air in national parks by years.”

Earthjustice echoed those concerns.

“We oppose EPA’s proposal to delay the next round of plans to clean up dirty air in our parks and wilderness areas,” David Baron, managing attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement. “A stronger regional haze rule requiring measurable and timely pollution reductions will help provide much-needed and long-awaited clear views and cleaner air to everyone who visits our most treasured landscapes.” 

The public has 60 days to comment on the EPA’s proposed rule. http://bit.ly/1VV0Bl7



The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to discuss whether the Bureau of Land Management overstepped its regulatory authority in regulating methane emissions. http://1.usa.gov/23OEHVs

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing to discuss the administration’s “persuader rule” on union elections and it’s impact on free speech. http://1.usa.gov/1T3XFMS

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing to discuss the best and worst places to work in the federal government. http://1.usa.gov/1Tcdlh3

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will also hold a hearing to discuss misconduct at the Transportation Security Administration http://1.usa.gov/1QsUTib

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine counterfeit products and their impact on consumer health and safety. http://1.usa.gov/1WRKaFA



Join us on Wednesday, May 11 for Targeted Cures: A Policy Discussion on Treating Patients with Rare Diseases, featuring Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). Topics of discussion include: The public-private partnerships developing and delivering cutting-edge treatments and the path to making care accessible to the patients who need it most. Sponsored by PhRMA.

RSVP here.



The Obama administration will publish 242 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register.

–The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will consider new inspection requirements for passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles, such as buses.

The FMCSA will issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that aims to require states to hold annual inspections of commercial vehicles that carry passengers.

The agency will weigh the costs of establishing state inspection programs with the risks of poorly maintained passenger-carrying commercial vehicles.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1rxJR7e

–The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) won’t provide further protections for the northern long-eared bat.

The FWS was considering designating a critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat after it was listed last year as a threatened species. But the agency is reversing course, saying it is “not prudent” to establish a critical habitat.

“The northern long-eared bat is a wide-ranging species that is found in a variety of forested habitats in summer and hibernates in caves and mines in winter,” the agency writes.

The decision goes into effect immediately. http://bit.ly/1SysZDM

–The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) will propose a new incidental powers rule.

The rule would govern whether a federal credit union may lease space in its building.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/26s7SfS



Supreme Court to consider ex-Virginia governor’s conviction http://bit.ly/26sh4Rz

FDA should ban powdered caffeine, Dems say http://bit.ly/1T2Yjdj

Redskins ask Supreme Court to review trademark case http://bit.ly/1SIszgx

Supreme Court sides with police officer in free speech case http://bit.ly/1pCE5zy

Study: Federal regs cost economy $4 trillion in one year http://bit.ly/1NxGyXh

National parks facing stronger air pollution regs http://bit.ly/1VV0Bl7

Meet the man the White House has honored for deporting illegal immigrants – The Washington Post http://wapo.st/1SHA7Dn

House set to limit paid time off for federal employees under investigation – The Washington Post http://wapo.st/1YRxuNF

U.S. justices mull propriety of recalling discharged jury to duty – Reuters http://reut.rs/1Qz0DXG



$4 trillion: Cost of federal regulations in one year.

$13,000: Cost of federal regulations per person in one year.

(Source: A study from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. http://bit.ly/1NxGyXh)



“1 teaspoon = 28 cups of coffee. Overdoses are happening. @US_FDA needs to act on concentrated caffeine products.” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) tweeted on Tuesday, pushing for regulations on powdered caffeine. http://bit.ly/1T2Yjdj


We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://digital-stage.thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@digital-stage.thehill.com or lwheeler@digital-stage.thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

Tags Sherrod Brown

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