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.

EPA Study Finds No Need To Mitigate Air Emission Increases Due To RFS

EPA in a new determination finds the renewable fuel standard (RFS) has a mixed impact on air quality but says there is no need for the agency to mitigate any emissions increases because its separate Tier 3 fuels and vehicles rule largely achieves the air pollution cuts that such mitigation would secure, and no additional air controls are available. The draft determination released May 29 draws on a study released the same day on potential RFS “backsliding” in air quality,...

IRS Issues CCS Tax Plan With Split Decision On Key Reporting Issues

The IRS has issued a long-awaited proposed rule outlining how carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects can claim crucial tax credits, rebuffing some industry demands to ease monitoring requirements for oil recovery projects while also rejecting several groups’ calls for full transparency on reporting. In addition, the proposal lays out timeframes for the IRS to “recapture” credits if carbon dioxide leaks back to the atmosphere, provides additional guidance on which projects are eligible for the credits, and tees up issues...

Wheeler goes on offense against Senate critics of virus response

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is publicly taking on two of his top Capitol Hill critics, charging that Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Ed Markey (D-MA) are “politicizing” the agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic by citing flawed research to falsely argue that the agency is hurting minority and low-income communities. In a May 28 interview with the Daily Caller , Wheeler accused Democrats of playing politics with EPA’s pandemic response. “Shame on Sen. Markey for politicizing a study...

SAB Panel Wrestles With Key Debate On Rule Cost-Benefit ‘Discounting’

In a debate particularly relevant for future climate change rules, EPA advisers are wrestling with how agency guidelines should address discounting future benefits or costs from regulations, including how such guidance might accommodate policy shifts by a future White House. The issue is just one of many topics under evaluation by a Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel assessing draft revisions to EPA’s Guidelines for Economic Analysis, last revised comprehensively in 2010. But the discussion of discounting future costs and benefits...

Fuels Streamlining Rule Spurs Calls For EPA To Protect Refiners, Biofuels

EPA’s proposal to streamline its extensive suite of fuels rules is spurring calls for the agency to help biofuels makers by removing what they see as barriers in the rule that would hinder sales of higher ethanol blends, and a plea from refiners to scrap a plan that they fear could unlawfully force them to reveal confidential business information (CBI). The calls for the agency to revise its proposal before finalizing it arose at a public hearing EPA held by...

Southern Company joins pledges for 2050 net zero carbon goal

Southern Company has become the latest utility to embrace a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, in a development that environmental groups are greeting warmly as a sign of evolving climate action in the Southeast even as they pledge to closely scrutinize the details of its implementation. Southern Company’s commitment, made May 27 at its annual shareholder meeting, is coupled with a reaffirmation of an intermediate goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030, a goal...

Democratic AGs tout court wins against EPA rollbacks

Democratic state attorneys general (AGs) are touting their record in challenging Trump EPA rule rollbacks in court, arguing they are blocking some of the administration’s most aggressive attempts to scale back climate and environmental protections. “We're winning, and we are winning at a much better clip than Republican AGs ever did under President Obama,” California AG Xavier Becerra (D) told E&E News recently. The story cites data compiled by Marquette University political science professor Paul Nolette showing that...

Farm groups surprised by Wheeler’s biomass permitting plan

Farm sector groups are urging EPA to quickly issue a rule declaring that crop residue is carbon neutral for air permitting purposes, similar to a pending plan addressing woody biomass, expressing surprise at EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s announcement of a three-phased plan to be developed over a 12- to 18-month timeline to address the issue. Wheeler’s announcement at a May 20 Senate environment panel oversight hearing of the three-phased plan to address the sector’s concerns, “was certainly news to us,”...

Upcoming Air Rule Fails To Quell SACC’s Concerns Over Perc Evaluation

EPA science advisors appeared skeptical of agency claims that it reasonably precluded from its draft evaluation of perchloroethylene (perc or PCE) consumers’ and bystanders’ chronic exposures to the chemical from drycleaners co-located in residential buildings because an air toxics rule that takes effect later this year bars such scenarios. During the first two days of their May 26-29 meeting to peer review EPA’s draft Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) evaluation of perc, advisors questioned EPA’s decisions to only address risks...

Supporters Eye ‘Creative Things’ To Sidestep DOJ’s Settlement Ban On SEPs

Supporters of supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) believe they may still be able to include such projects in settlements despite the Justice Department’s (DOJ) prohibition because they see crossover with mitigation projects that are still allowed, along with state SEPs, that DOJ does not prohibit, and a high court ruling that might boost their ability to use SEPs. Such measures are among a series of “creative things” that SEP supporters indicated during a May 27 event hosted by the Environmental Law...

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