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.

EPA Seeks To Harden Biden Policies Against Future GOP Administrations

EPA officials say they are taking steps to solidify a host of Biden administration policies and priorities ranging from prioritization of environmental justice to science-integrity protections for staff, particularly by embedding them into the agency’s structure, in hopes of preventing reversals by a second Trump administration or another future Republican presidency. “We’ve focused on some of the organizational things . . . it’s not that they can’t be undone but it’s harder to undo [them] if you’ve reorganized and set...

Experts Debate Reliability Safeguards For EPA’s Existing Gas GHG Rule

Power sector experts are arguing that EPA’s planned rule setting greenhouse gas limits for existing gas-fired power plants should, at a minimum, adopt a series of reliability safeguards that officials included in their recently finalized GHG limits for new gas plants and existing coal plants. At the same time, however, some industry representatives argue those measures are insufficient, particularly for addressing longer-term reliability worries. During a May 17 forum at EPA headquarters, several panelists agreed that EPA’s recently finalized power...

CBD threatens to sue EPA over Colorado gas permits

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is threatening EPA with a lawsuit for failing to take action against Colorado for issuance of air permits to gas production facilities that the agency already found inadequate to ensure compliance with regulatory limits. CBD on May 8 sent EPA a notice of intent letter , indicating the group’s intention to sue the agency unless it follows through on its earlier objection to the Title V air operating permits of the Bonanza Creek Energy...

To Avoid Sanctions, Western Governors Urge EPA Flexibility On Ozone

A bipartisan group of Western governors -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- is pressing President Joe Biden to ease implementation of federal ozone limits, by granting more leeway on “contingency measures” and allowing for more regulatory waivers for “exceptional events” and out-of-state emissions, as the states seek to avoid EPA sanctions. In an April 23 letter , Govs. Katie Hobbs (D-AZ), Jared Polis (D-CO), Spencer Cox (R-UT) and Mark Gordon (R-WY) ask Biden to direct EPA to ease implementation...


Denka sues EPA over SOCMI rule

Denka Performance Elastomer (DPE), the nation’s sole producer of the synthetic runner component neoprene, has filed the first of several likely lawsuits against EPA’s air rule for the synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry (SOCMI) and polymers production sector, following through on an earlier promise to litigate the measure. DPE filed suit May 16 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the same day EPA published the rule in the Federal Register . The company has...

EPA finalizes PM monitoring fix

EPA is finalizing a long-anticipated technical fix to prevent over-readings of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels by certain air quality monitors, in a move that will help states attain the agency’s newly tightened national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for the pollutant. In a Federal Register notice published May 16, EPA announces the fix that will prevent inaccurate readings that might otherwise arise from certain Teledyne brand monitors, and will address prior air quality data affected by the monitors...

EPA Advances Ozone Science Review Amid Questions Over NAAQS Process

EPA is pressing forward with its process for assessing the science of atmospheric ozone, holding an early public workshop as part of years-long reappraisal of air quality standards, but questions on the agency’s process for reviewing such standards linger, with ongoing tension between the need for both speed and thoroughness in conducting reviews. At a virtual event running May 13-16, EPA is inviting public participation in wide-ranging discussion on the science behind its ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS),...

New Studies Bolster Groups’ Call For EPA To Update Landfill Methane Rules

Two new studies are boosting pressure on EPA to update its landfill methane rules ahead of an August deadline, including finding from climate advocates that current rules allow leaks well above the legal threshold as well as a peer-reviewed report from four EPA scientists and engineers that seeks better monitoring to help guide climate mitigation policy. Katherine Blauvelt, circular economy director at Industrious Labs, the climate advocacy group that conducted one of the new studies, tells Inside EPA in...

Regan Says EPA Has ‘Begun To Prioritize’ California’s CAA Waiver Bids

EPA Administrator Michael Regan is telling lawmakers that the agency is starting to prioritize its response to California’s eight pending requests for Clean Air Act preemption waivers based on advice from the state, even as the agency is not saying when it will act on the requests to approve the state’s mobile source emissions programs. “These are very ambitious waivers, so we want to give the correct technical evaluation to them,” Regan said during a May 15 House Energy &...

EPA Poised To Publish SOCMI Emissions Rule, Beating CRA Deadline

EPA is set to publish its major air toxics rule for the synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry (SOCMI) in the Federal Register May 16, starting a 60-day clock for lawsuits but likely beating a deadline to avoid reversal of the rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) should Republicans win control of Congress and the White House. The rule package , released to the public in April, tightens new source performance standards (NSPS) for the SOCMI as well as...

In Precedent For Future Rulings, Split D.C. Circuit Backs 2020-2022 RFS

A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld EPA’s biofuel blending volumes for 2020 through 2022, backing the agency’s discretion to set the volumes that were the last issued under statutory targets, but also setting a precedent for the current RFS on how officials handle statutory factors, particularly costs. In a May 14 ruling in Sinclair Wyoming Refining, et al., v EPA , Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan and Judge Nina Pillard...


Seeking Stay, Critics Detail Merits Claims Over Power Plant GHG Rule

Republican-led states and rural electric cooperatives are urging an appellate court to stay implementation of EPA’s power plant GHG rule for existing coal and new gas plants, detailing for the first time their merits arguments that the standards effectively force the closure of coal plants and echo an Obama-era measure that was vacated in court. “New details aside, the rule is just as unlawful as EPA’s last try,” a coalition of GOP-led states writes in its stay request filed late...

Colorado Defends Oil, Gas Air Permit Program Against Environmentalists

Colorado is again defending its air permitting program for oil and gas production against legal attacks by environmentalists, intervening to support EPA in a suit that seeks to overturn the agency’s approval of a Colorado plan that seeks to “clarify” key regulatory terms, part of a broader dispute over regulation of drilling in the state. In a legal brief filed May 10 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) v. EPA,...

State Coalition Launches D.C. Circuit Challenge To EPA Truck GHG Rule

A coalition of two dozen states led by Nebraska is launching a suit against EPA’s “phase 3” greenhouse gas standards for heavy trucks, arguing that the measure unlawfully would force manufacturers to build more electric vehicles (EVs). Filed late May 13 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the litigation challenges the standards for model year 2027-2032 trucks. The states filed the challenge the same day that a similar coalition of 17 states joined pre-existing...

Louisiana Seeks To Curb Community Monitoring Data Use Amid EPA Warning

In a potential precedent for other states, Louisiana lawmakers are poised to approve legislation that would limit the use of data collected by community air monitoring programs from being used in Clean Air Act enforcement or regulatory actions despite EPA warnings that the bill violates the state’s federally approved air quality programs and federal rules. The legislation is also drawing stiff criticism from local environmentalists, who charge it is aimed at undercutting monitoring programs they are establishing using grant funds...

Environmentalists Urge EPA To Tighten Secondary Air Standards Plan

Environmentalists are urging EPA to significantly tighten its proposal that would make limited changes to existing “secondary” national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) aimed at protecting the environment, arguing in oral testimony that the plan “falls short” of what is required, and likely violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA). During a May 8 hearing, environmentalists said the agency’s plan, issued last month, is out of step with the views of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) panelists that favor...

EPA Tightens Air Limits For Copper Smelters Amid Criticism From All Sides

EPA has issued its final rule tightening air toxics standards for the handful of domestic “primary” copper smelters, adding new limits for previously unregulated pollutants from the facilities, which the agency says pose “unacceptable” health risks, but the rule is likely to face resistance from environmentalists seeking tougher standards, and industry groups fighting higher costs. The rule , scheduled for publication in the Federal Register May 13, tightens the national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for both...

House GOP joins calls for EPA to reject CARB locomotive rule waiver

Republican leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee are joining calls from a range of groups urging EPA to reject California’s request for a waiver of federal preemption to implement its novel rule to cut pollution from existing locomotives, while also raising questions about its adoption of a rule that eased the path to grant the state’s request. The state’s regulation “would force the premature retirement of reliable and affordable diesel locomotives and has the potential to upend our...

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