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.

BPC Sides With Industry On NEPA Rule To Boost Clean Energy Projects

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a group that agrees with environmentalists on the need to address climate change, is nonetheless siding with industry in support of the Trump administration’s controversial proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), arguing reform is needed to spur clean energy projects. BPC joined the Unlock American Investment Coalition, a 45-member group led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in favor of the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) sweeping Jan. 9 proposal...

Opponents of 2019 RFS cite EPA contradictions in bid to scrap rule

Biofuels, refining sector and environmentalist litigants contesting EPA’s rule setting 2019 renewable fuel standard (RFS) production goals are raising new legal arguments against the policy, pointing to contradictions between the agency’s legal defenses of the RFS and its past and present practices that they say undermine the rule. The petitioners filed their reply briefs Feb. 20 in Growth Energy, et al., v. EPA , in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which will hear oral...

States Urge EPA To Impose Deep Truck NOx Cuts As Industry Fears Costs

States and environmentalists are urging EPA to make steep emissions cuts when it updates its decades-old air pollution standards for heavy-duty trucks, though truck and engine makers, while expressing openness to some new controls, are also calling for the agency to take costs into account in any new rule. The calls for an ambitious program to control nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other pollutants from trucks are getting a boost from supplier and emissions control groups that broadly say steep emissions...

Amid Industry, Fleet Owner Fears, CARB Plans Tougher Truck ZEV Rule

California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff are outlining several areas where they are planning to strengthen a landmark proposed rule requiring medium- and heavy-duty truck makers to sell more zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), despite concerns expressed by manufacturers and fleet owners. During a Feb. 20 workshop, CARB staff explained possible changes to the board’s October proposed “Advanced Clean Trucks Rule,” including removing an exemption for near-term ZEV sales targets for larger pickups, hiking current targets for all classes of trucks though...

Court sets deadline for EPA to act on California, Arizona SIPs

A federal district court is ordering EPA to act on three state implementation plan (SIP) submittals by California and Arizona by early 2021, in response to a challenge by environmentalists who have filed numerous suits to compel EPA and states to implement rules to achieve national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). In a Feb. 19 order in Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), et al. v. Andrew E. Wheeler , Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern...

EPA Poised To Send Long-Awaited Biogenic CO2 Proposal For OMB Review

EPA is sending its long-awaited proposal setting criteria for biomass to be considered carbon neutral when burned for energy, and potentially when used in agricultural applications, to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for inter-agency review as soon as Feb. 21, sources say. The proposal is expected to reflect EPA’s April 2018 policy statement from then-Administrator Scott Pruitt finding that carbon dioxide emissions “resulting from the combustion of biomass from managed forests at stationary sources for energy...

EPA’s MATS Rollback Stalls At OMB Over Cost-Benefit Confusion, Opposition

EPA has been unable to finalize potentially threshold changes underlying the cost-benefit analysis of its Mercury & Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule because regulatory reviewers at the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) do not understand the measure’s broader goals, which is to narrow how benefits are calculated. OMB reviewers are also hearing a chorus of opposition from the utility industry, which long ago spent billions to comply with the rule. A senior White House official says OMB is likely...

EPA Proposes Reduced Emissions Reporting For Power Plants, Refineries

EPA is proposing to reduce the frequency with which power plants, oil refineries and certain acid production plants must report to state regulators their emissions exceeding Clean Air Act-permitted limits, a move that could ease the facilities’ compliance burden but prompt criticism from environmentalists who often seek maximum pollution reporting. In a notice published in the Feb. 21 Federal Register , EPA proposes to reduce the minimum excess emissions reporting requirement that states must include in their state implementation plans...

EPA touts 2019 utility emissions cuts while rolling back air rules

EPA is touting a report that shows ongoing reductions in air pollution from power plants during 2019, even as the Trump administration aims to halt or roll back strict Obama EPA emissions rules for the sector and seeks to prevent the closure of coal-fired power plants that have been responsible for much of the industry’s air pollution. In a report issued Feb. 19 , EPA released preliminary data on 2019 showing that emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2),...

Environmentalists expand suit over oil & gas air plans

Two environmental groups are expanding their litigation seeking to force EPA action on state plans to limit methane and ozone-forming pollution from oil and gas drilling, adding new claims that the agency has not taken final action on air quality plans submitted for the Phoenix and Denver areas. The Feb. 19 amended complaint , filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Center for Environmental Health, asks a district court to impose a series of deadlines for EPA to...

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