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.

Sierra Club Urges Court To Ignore DOJ Objection Over Air Law Citizen Suit

The Sierra Club is seeking to avoid a fight with the Justice Department (DOJ) over the scope of relief that can be negotiated in citizen enforcement suits, urging a federal court to either enter its agreement in a Clean Air Act suit over DOJ’s objections or to dismiss the group’s motion to enter the pact and allow it to proceed as a private settlement. Either option would reject DOJ’s effort to secure a first-time court ruling that citizen suit settlements...

TCEQ, EPA Region 6 tout pandemic enforcement success

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and EPA Region 6 leaders are touting their enforcement successes even during the COVID-19 pandemic, telling an environmental law conference that they continue to vigorously pursue enforcement while allowing limited discretion from some routine requirements, if warranted. TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann told an Aug. 6 virtual panel of the Texas Environmental Superconference that the state has a unique enforcement discretion program, which requires regulated companies to explain their need for discretion in an email...

As Experts Weigh In, FERC Gets 90 Days To Appeal Tolling Order Ruling

As legal experts are debating the implications of a major court ruling upending the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) use of “tolling orders” to delay administration rehearing of gas infrastructure approvals, the commission secured more time to decide whether to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on July 23 granted FERC’s July 6 request to delay by 90 days issuing the mandate putting its June en banc...

In PFAS Suit, DOD Defends NEPA Categorical Exclusion For Incineration

The Defense Department (DOD) is defending its decision to use a categorical exclusion from environmental review requirements for a contract to dispose of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through incineration, disputing environmentalists’ lawsuit citing extra-record material and trying to apply defense law limits on such burning. In recent court filings in the case, DOD’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) contends environmentalists are seeking to circumvent the department’s policies issued under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidance and to retroactively apply incineration...

Industries Spar With States, Others On Co-Benefits’ Role In EPA Air Rules

Major industry trade associations are sparring with state attorneys general (AGs) and others who favor strict EPA rules over the agency’s planned overhaul of cost-benefit reviews for Clean Air Act policies, in particular a fight over the weight EPA should give to “co-benefits” of reduced pollution not directly targeted by a rule. Among various other elements in the June 4 proposed rule , EPA calls for separate reporting of a rule’s direct benefits and co-benefits, though it stops short of...

Environmentalists file third suit over CEQ NEPA rule

A coalition of environmental justice (EJ) groups is challenging the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) final rule to streamline how agencies implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the third such suit to be filed in federal district court since CEQ completed the rule last month. The new suit , Environmental Justice Health Alliance, et al. v. CEQ, et al. , in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, specifically focuses on the effect the...

Democrats demand reports on NEPA executive order

Top Democrats in Congress are urging the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to release reports about projects that could be fast-tracked under President Donald Trump’s recent executive order directing agencies to use emergency procedures to suspend National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other reviews. Trump’s June 4 order cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification to suspend the reviews to fast-track projects and spur the economy. The controversial order requires agencies to review “all statutes, regulations, and guidance...

Attorneys See 5th Circuit Standing Decision Limited By Case’s Complexity

Environmentalists are downplaying the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s recent decision that said they must demonstrate harm from each alleged Clean Air Act violation in a multi-pronged air suit, saying the decision merely sets out a roadmap for litigating complex cases rather than tightening the court’s overall standing test. “It does not appear to us that they have changed in any way the test for standing in the 5th Circuit. . . . It’s only the circumstance...

Science, water, air rules top EPA 2020 priorities

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is highlighting several key rules that he hopes to finalize by the end of 2020 as priority items for the agency’s agenda, while adding that he is also developing an agenda for the agency for a potential second term under President Donald Trump. In Aug. 6 remarks to reporters, Wheeler said that EPA plans to complete several major rules: its science “transparency” rule , updates to cost-benefit procedures for air policies , the lead and copper...

Harris, AOC introduce ‘Climate Equity Act’

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have introduced a bill intended to force Congress and federal agencies put environmental justice (EJ) at the center of their decisions, including by requiring all legislation to receive an equity “score” similar to how bills are assessed for their budget effects. The bill , the Climate Equity Act, was introduced Aug. 6. Its provisions regarding EJ scores for bills, which would estimate the qualitative and quantitative effect on front-line communities, are...

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