Air

Tracking the latest agency and congressional debates over rules to cut emissions of traditional pollutants, and a broad range of novel EPA policies including the agency's shift to a "multipollutant" regulatory approach for individual sectors.

Topic Subtitle
Tracking the latest agency and congressional debates over rules to cut emissions of traditional pollutants, and a broad range of novel EPA policies including the agency's shift to a "multipollutant" regulatory approach for individual sectors.

Senate Climate Bill Drops Funds For EPA’s GHG Rules Despite Early Vote

The Senate jettisoned from its recently approved budget reconciliation bill $45 million for EPA to implement over half a dozen Clean Air Act provisions “with respect to greenhouse gases,” despite the fact that the language survived in earlier bill drafts and Democrats voted down a Republican amendment to cut the funding. The late-hour move to omit the funding was due to procedural objections from the Senate parliamentarian, Senate sources say, and it came after Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW)...

Former EPA Chiefs Tout Reconciliation As ‘Most Significant’ Climate Bill

Three former EPA administrators -- including two Republicans -- are praising the hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy and climate investments in Senate Democrats’ reconciliation bill, calling it “the most significant piece of climate legislation in United States history” and urging “immediate enactment” of the measure. Their endorsement of the legislation, in a joint letter touted in an Aug. 5 White House release , comes as the Senate prepares to begin debate Aug. 6 on the package that...

White House EJ Advisors Toughen Call For EPA To Update Incinerator Rule

Members of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) have strengthened their call for EPA to update its rules governing incinerator emissions, voting to revise language in a draft letter that the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) “direct,” rather than “urge,” the agency to revise the rules. During an Aug. 4 meeting, WHEJAC’s members also voted to revise the draft letter to add language arguing that EPA “inaction [on revising the rule] is a continued form of racism” in...

OIG says EPA yet to resolve 175 issues worth nearly $30 million

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is detailing a range of outstanding issues the agency has yet to resolve in response to its findings, representing $29.7 million in potential monetary benefits. The outstanding issues are detailed in an Aug. 2 compendium report , which an OIG spokeswoman says is the first of what will now be semi-annual compendium, following publication of its semiannual report to Congress, with the next one due after November. The most pressing item in the compendium...

EPA identifies 23 sterilizers that exceed EtO risk levels

EPA has identified 23 commercial sterilization plants where emissions of ethylene oxide (EtO), the carcinogenic chemical seen as critical to the sterilization process, exceed the agency’s 100-in-a-million unacceptable risk rate and where the agency will work to curb emissions before it issues new air toxics rules for the facilities. “EPA analysis indicates that the air near facilities does not exceed short-term health benchmarks. However, the concern is that a lifetime of exposure to EtO emissions could lead to long-term health...

Rejecting Industry Claims, CARB Pushes For ‘Full’ Grant Of Truck Waivers

Officials from California and over a dozen other states are pressing EPA to fully grant a series of Clean Air Act federal preemption waivers for the state’s climate and air standards for heavy-duty trucks, rejecting manufacturers’ arguments that the agency could only grant partial waivers due to “lead time” concerns. “The EPA's decisions on California’s waivers for its heavy-duty truck regulations will have life or death consequences for communities breathing dirty, toxic air,” said California Attorney General (AG) Rob Bonta...

WHEJAC Seeks Incinerator Rule Update, Add ‘Racism’ To Screening Tool

The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) is preparing to ask EPA to proceed with what it calls a long-overdue update of its Clean Air Act rules governing municipal solid waste incinerators, noting that these facilities can disproportionately harm environmental justice (EJ) communities. The council -- which is slated to meet Aug. 3 and 4 -- has also updated its advice to the Biden administration on how to finalize its Climate & Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), asking for...

Suit Seeks Deadline For EPA To Update 1998 Landfill Emissions Estimate

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and other groups are suing EPA seeking to set a deadline for the agency to update methods it adopted in 1998 for estimating emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from landfills, after the agency never finalized a 2008 plan to strengthen the methods. In a July 29 suit , EIP, et al. v. Regan , filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the groups charge...

Senate Deal Includes Major Funding Boost For EPA GHG Initiatives

EPA would receive more than $40 billion in new resources to help finance greenhouse gas reductions by states and others under the Senate’s pending budget reconciliation package, a move that would represent a significant infusion of federal funds for climate work at the agency. The funding for grants and other programs would the biggest funding appropriation to the agency since last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law, which provided over $50 billion for long-established water infrastructure programs. That statute also created a...

EPA Updates Guidance For EV Mileage Range With Enforcement Focus

EPA has quietly issued new guidance for how battery electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers must test multiple drive modes -- if their vehicles offer them -- to determine a vehicle’s range measured in miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe), a measure that is displayed on a sticker on the vehicle’s window and is part of the agency’s certification process. But the guidance is drawing criticism from some lawyers, who say in part that EPA is inappropriately seeking to subject the requirements to its rules governing...

Despite CARB Doubts, Industry Sees Approval Of E15 Use In California In '23

Ethanol industry representatives are hoping that the California air board could approve the use of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol (E15) in the state in 2023, after the release of a long-awaited study on emissions from vehicles using the fuel that shows a reduction in certain pollutants and roughly equivalent levels for others compared with E10. But board officials are not yet committing to a schedule for approving the fuel amid expectations that their ongoing multimedia evaluation (MME) will...

EPA Crafting Rule To Give Louisiana ‘Primacy’ For Carbon Storage Permits

A top official in EPA’s Office of Water (OW) says agency headquarters is developing a rule to give Louisiana “primacy” for issuing carbon storage permits under the agency’s underground injection control (UIC) program, which would make it the third state to win such authority, though final approval could be about a year and a half away. But the action does not appear to be satisfying concerns from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who is continuing to block Senate consideration of Biden...

Senate Climate Deal Could Offer Boost To Several Major EPA GHG Rules

The Senate’s new climate spending deal would likely make it easier for EPA to justify and implement major climate rules for vehicles and oil and gas facilities while aiding industry compliance, observers say, even as the bill also shows the need for tougher utility rules to meet the Biden administration’s 2030 emission targets. The appraisal comes as the deal still has yet to be endorsed by all Democratic senators to ensure passage in that chamber. Floor debate on the nearly...

EPA announces another settlement over defeat devices

EPA has inked another consent decree with two diesel engine companies accused of using “defeat devices” to bypass mandated emission controls, Thunder Diesel & Performance Company and Red Deer Exhaust, Inc., doing business as Flo-Pro Performance Exhaust. Both have agreed to stop selling the devices and pay a $1.6 million penalty to settle allegations they violated the Clean Air Act, EPA announced July 29. The July 28 complaint -- filed simultaneously with the July 28 consent decree that is open...

GAO Backs EPA Test Method For PFAS In Air, Citing Incineration Fears

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is recommending that EPA issue as final a test method for measuring dozens of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in air, as part of broader efforts for addressing concerns about incinerating the persistent toxic chemicals. In a report released July 28, GAO is heavily focused on developing the analytics that EPA officials have said are needed to advance regulatory and cleanup decisions related to widespread PFAS contamination of drinking water, groundwater and soil. Such measures...


ACC Presses For Bill To Regulate ‘Advanced’ Recycling As ‘Manufacturing’

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is pressing lawmakers on Capitol Hill to introduce legislation to “clarify” the regulatory status of “advanced recycling,” and specifically to classify two related processes -- pyrolysis and gasification -- as “manufacturing,” rather than more strictly-regulated “incineration” as environmentalists seek. Craig Cookson, director for plastics sustainability at ACC, told Inside EPA July 25 that the group is now meeting with lawmakers in an effort to “educate” them on the issues. “We agree that there is...

EPA settles with Colorado gas firm over air law violations

EPA, the Justice Department (DOJ) and the State of Colorado have reached a settlement with a gas services firm to end an enforcement action brought over “thousands” of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and methane leaks, an action that could help address long-running air quality concerns in parts of the state near oil and gas operations. “Leaks from equipment like valves, pumps, and connectors are a significant source of harmful air pollutants,” Todd Kim, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Environment and...

Democrats Seek To Elevate EJ In EPA Budget But Bill Faces GOP Fight

Democratic leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee have unveiled a fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill for EPA that elevates the role of environmental justice (EJ) at the agency, including creating new EJ-specific accounts and applauding the agency’s plan to combine EJ and civil rights compliance activities into one office. But the Interior appropriations bill which funds EPA, along with 11 other spending bills released July 28 by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is facing an uncertain fate amid opposition from...

Democratic AGs Ask EPA To Set GHG NAAQS In Response To West Virginia

Democratic attorneys general (AGs) from seven states and Guam are asking EPA to establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for greenhouse gases as the best way to move forward with a nationwide emissions cap following the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA that constrained the agency’s authority to limit the emissions directly from power plants. “We wish to underscore our support for the establishment of a [NAAQS] for greenhouse gases under Section 108 through 110 of...

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