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.

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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.

Gas pipeline operators sue EPA over turbine air rule

Gas pipeline operators Williams Companies, Inc. and TransCanada Pipeline USA Ltd. are suing EPA over its March 9 rule lifting a years-long stay on formaldehyde emissions limits for certain types of stationary gas turbines, including those used to transmit gas along pipelines. In their suit filed May 9 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the companies give no arguments for their legal action. Many industrial companies are, however, opposed to what they say are...


Small Business Outreach Signals EPA Push For Post-MY26 Auto GHG Rule

EPA is taking one of its first public steps toward developing a new round of light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas and other emissions standards that would begin in model year 2027, with the agency seeking participation by small businesses for a panel to review the potential implications of the upcoming rulemaking on small entities. The move, which EPA announced May 16, is the latest signal of the agency’s plans to move beyond its recently finalized vehicle GHG rules for MY23-26 to...

EPA Floats Plan To Boost Compliance With Steel Furnace Air Standards

EPA is proposing a clarification to its air rules governing electric arc furnaces (EAF) used for recycling scrap steel, in a move that will enhance compliance and cut tons of harmful particle emissions, resulting in improved public health, the agency says, as it also presses new limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the sector in a separate rulemaking. In a proposal to modify its new source performance standards (NSPS) for the furnaces, published in the Federal Register May 16,...

Some Automakers Support Plan Urging State Adoption Of ZEV Truck Rule

Some major auto manufacturers are supporting a multi-state draft action plan to spur zero emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks, including a call to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule, while other automakers are backing some aspects of the effort while opposing further state-level sales mandates. The companies’ views are reflected in public comments submitted ahead of a May 9 deadline on the March draft action plan facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and backed...

Industry Coalition, Some States Oppose Timeline For SSM Plan Action

A broad industry coalition and at least two states are voicing strong opposition to EPA’s “inappropriate” proposed timeline for approving or disapproving the air quality plans of dozens of states with regard to startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) waivers, saying that the timetable assumes EPA will prevail in underlying appellate litigation. EPA took public comment through May 11 on its proposed consent decree reached with environmentalists in federal district court in California that sets deadlines for the agency to decide...

EPA Test Data Provides Fodder For Sparring Over Heavy-Duty Truck Rule

A new EPA memo detailing results from a heavy-duty diesel engine test shows a significant compliance margin with the agency’s stringent top-line proposed nitrogen oxides (NOx) standard for model year (MY) 2027 but some difficulty in meeting a key standard for MY31, findings that are spurring further sparring over the agency’s proposed rule. According to an industry source, the narrow MY31 compliance margin is likely to serve as fodder for truck makers to argue that EPA’s proposal is too stringent...


GOP States’ Suit Says Waiver For California Car Rules Unconstitutional

Republican-led states are suing EPA in a federal appellate court charging that the Biden administration’s reinstated waiver of federal preemption for California’s vehicle greenhouse gas programs is unconstitutional, advancing similar claims as they made in paused litigation over a Trump-era policy to preempt such state rules. The May 13 suit was filed by an Ohio-led coalition of 17 states in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The petition for review was filed on the deadline...

Environmentalists Urge EPA To Step Up Refinery Enforcement On Benzene

Environmentalists and local community activists are urging EPA to introduce financial penalties for refineries that repeatedly exceed EPA “action levels” for benzene, and to step up enforcement against the facilities, as data from fenceline monitors shows some plants are regularly exceeding the EPA limit. “It needs to cost refineries money where you don’t have progress getting these levels down,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), on a May 12 call with reporters. Refineries “need to...

Democrats urge EPA to strengthen truck emissions plan

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and roughly five dozen other Democrats are pressing EPA to strengthen its proposed heavy duty truck emissions rule, citing the need to acknowledge numerous states’ adoption of California’s zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) sales mandate and address the impact of truck pollution on environmental justice communities. The pitch in a May 12 letter calls on the agency to go beyond its most stringent proposed approach, dubbed “option 1,” meshing with expected arguments from environmentalists in...

EPA Scrapping Of SSM Waivers Seen Driving ‘Strict Liability’ Under Air Act

EPA’s efforts to scrap exemptions from air emissions limits for periods of facility startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) in state air plans, facility permits and some of the agency’s own regulations may herald “strict liability” that would dramatically change Clean Air Act (CAA) implementation, industry attorneys say. Throughout its history, the air law has been implemented by states using waivers for SSM events, and especially malfunctions, industry attorneys say, and this now risks being upended and replaced with a strict...

EPA Lists More Areas Requiring ‘Exceptional Events’ Mitigation Plans

EPA is listing more areas around the country that are required to craft plans to mitigate the emissions impacts of “exceptional events,” such as wildfires or windstorms, plans that are required for states to win approval on their growing number of requests to exclude pollution spikes from such events when demonstrating attainment with air standards. In a May 12 Federal Register notice , EPA notifies 15 additional areas in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming that they have two...


McKinley’s Loss Boosts Questions About Appetite For GHG Dealmaking

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), who was in line to chair a key House panel that oversees EPA and other environment issues if the GOP takes control of the chamber next year, lost his primary contest May 11, boosting questions about the outlook for possible compromises on climate-related legislation. Specifically, McKinley co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that sought to address power plant greenhouse gas emissions by imposing clean energy standards on utilities that would kick in only after an extended period of federal...

Appellate Judges Doubt Auto Racers’ Standing In ‘Defeat Device’ Suit

Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appear skeptical that a coalition of auto racers has standing to sue EPA over its policy banning removal of emissions control devices from cars used for racing, but the judges also indicated some support for the racers should the case reach the merits. At oral argument May 11 in Racing Enthusiast & Suppliers Coalition v. EPA, et al. , Circuit Judges Gregory Katsas and Justin Walker and...

Environmentalists seek curbs on cryptocurrency pollution

A broad coalition of environmental groups is pressing the Biden administration to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and generation of electronic waste from cryptocurrency “mining” operations, pressing for action by EPA, the Department of Energy and financial regulators to limit the impacts of the energy-intensive industry. In their May 9 letter to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, groups including Environmental Working Group, Earthjustice, Greenpeace, Sierra Club and others urge a comprehensive strategy to address the adverse...

CARB Defends Plan To Achieve Carbon Neutrality By 2045, Citing Costs

California air regulators are pushing back on criticism from academics and environmentalists who say the state’s sweeping draft regulatory plan to meet its 2030 greenhouse gas target and 2045 “carbon neutrality” goal does not go far enough, arguing that more ambitious goals would be too costly. “The modeling shows that [a more] ambitious target towards 2035 does result in some significant costs that will have significant economic impacts as we move forward,” Liane Randolph, chairwoman of the California Air Resources...

In First, EPA May End ‘Force Majeure’ Waiver In Ethylene Air Toxics Rule

Environmentalists are praising EPA’s decision to reconsider its ethylene production air toxics rule in response to their petition calling for tougher regulation that ends various “loopholes” in the regulation of plants, saying it could result in a first-time removal of a “force majeure” exemption for events such as natural disasters. According to a recent legal filing by the agency, and discussions with environmental litigants seeking tougher rules, EPA will reconsider its air toxics regulations for ethylene production facilities, also known...


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