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.

HFC Producers, Users Make Final Pitches To OMB On EPA Phasedown Rule

Manufacturers and users of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants are making their final lobbying push regarding EPA’s draft final rule to significantly phase down production of the climate-warming chemicals, ahead of a Sept. 23 statutory deadline for EPA to complete the rule implementing a congressional directive to curb HFCs. In a series of completed and forthcoming meetings with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), groups are presenting OMB and EPA officials with a diverse range of concerns reflecting distinct...

Biofuels groups weigh high court E15 appeal

Biofuels groups are considering whether to file an appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the ban on summertime sales of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15) reinstated by a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, after the lower court issued its mandate scrapping the Trump EPA’s approval of summer E15 sales. The D.C. Circuit issued its mandate Sept. 17 in American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. v. EPA, et al. , after...

NBB presses EPA to boost biodiesel mandates

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is again seeking a meeting with EPA Administrator Michael Regan to press its case for increased biodiesel use as an immediate means to cut mobile source emissions, as the agency nears proposal of biofuel blending rules that might cut or hold steady biodiesel production mandates. In a Sept. 16 letter , NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik reiterates his May request for a meeting, citing EPA’s recent report on “Climate Change and Social...

As EPA Plan Looms, Lobbying Intensifies Over RFS Biofuel Volume Cuts

Lobbying efforts by biofuels groups, refiners and others are accelerating ahead of EPA’s release of a proposal expected to reduce biofuel blending requirements under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for 2021 and potentially 2020, even as required volumes could rebound to statutory targets in 2022. In a series of recent and upcoming meetings with White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials, stakeholders are pitching to either reduce volumes or safeguard them at existing levels, as EPA weighs whether...

EPA touts NY port dredging as air quality win

EPA is touting its recently completed collaboration with state and local officials to deepen the Port of New York and New Jersey as an example of how not only to mitigate air emissions in the short-term, but how to reduce ports’ air pollution levels for the future. The agency Sept. 15 announced the release of its case study on the New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening project, “which highlights how coordination between federal, state, and local agencies led to lasting reductions...

Future RFS Remains A Mystery As EPA Deals With Immediate Concerns

EPA’s plans for the long-term future of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) remain shrouded in uncertainty, sources say, as the agency strives to meet short-term objectives for the program that will have a significant bearing on its prospects after 2022, when current statutory biofuel blending mandates expire. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is now reviewing EPA’s proposals for biofuel blending volumes under the RFS for 2021 and 2022, and possibly a retroactive reduction in volumes for...

EPA GHG Petition Gives High Court Key Chance To Address Rule Changes

If the Supreme Court decides to review a closely watched case concerning EPA’s power plant greenhouse gas rules, its ruling could include key administrative law decisions and provide valuable insight for how the court will approach the changing of rules across administrations, legal experts say. The petition for a writ of certiorari in West Virginia, et al. v. EPA, et al., is fully briefed and the justices are scheduled to consider whether to grant it at their Sept...

Lawyers Expect EPA, California EJ MOU To Boost Enforcement In States

Industry attorneys expect EPA’s first-of-its-kind model environmental justice (EJ) memorandum of understanding (MOU) with California to bolster enforcement of regulations in disadvantaged communities not only in California, but in other states that pursue similar MOUs. Industry “should expect more states to sign on to similar MOUs,” say several attorneys with the firm King & Spalding in a Sept. 13 blog post . “Facilities operating in EJ areas can expect more inspections, including joint federal/state inspections, and enhanced enforcement activities.” Such...

EPA Readies Long-Stalled Cumulative Risk Guide For Release By Year’s End

After years of work, EPA has resumed work on its guidelines for analyzing cumulative risks from overlapping environmental hazards, a key policy for driving the agency’s environmental justice agenda, with officials quietly peer-reviewing a draft version over the summer with the aim of finalizing the document by the end of the year. A draft of the “EPA Guidelines for Cumulative Risk Assessment Planning and Problem Formulation document was peer reviewed in July 2021,” an agency spokesperson tells Inside EPA ...

DOJ settles with Michigan landfill gas plant over air emissions

The Justice Department (DOJ) has reached a deal with a Michigan gas-to-energy landfill plant to cut the facility’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, signaling EPA’s enforcement focus on the issue as biogas producers seek to expand opportunities to sell their electricity for transportation or other purposes. In a proposed consent decree filed jointly Sept. 9 with EPA and the State of Michigan, Arbor Hills Energy LLC (AHE) agreed to “significantly reduce, if not virtually eliminate” its SO2 emissions at its landfill...

Fearing State Penalties, DOJ Seeks Rehearing Of Air Law ‘Immunity’ Ruling

The Justice Department (DOJ) is seeking rehearing of a precedent-setting appellate ruling that found the Marine Corps liable for “punitive” damages claims over excess air emissions, saying the ruling takes an unlawfully broad view of a Clean Air Act sovereign immunity waiver and will invite states to seek “lucrative recoveries whenever possible." In a Sept. 13 petition for rehearing by the whole court en banc , DOJ seeks to reverse the July 29 ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals...


EPA proposes to reject Pennsylvania ozone plan

A year after a federal appeals court scrapped EPA’s approval of a Pennsylvania plan to curb ozone-forming pollution from power plants, the agency is proposing to disapprove the plan and start a process that may result in direct federal controls on coal-fired plants in the state. In a notice scheduled for publication in the Federal Register Sept. 15, EPA proposes disapproving part of the Pennsylvania state implementation plan (SIP) for attaining EPA’s 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standards...

White House Begins Review Of Draft EPA Oil & Gas Methane Proposal

The White House has begun formal interagency review of EPA’s draft proposal to strengthen methane controls for the oil and gas sector, signaling that Biden administration officials could publicly release the closely watched proposal in the coming weeks. The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) began reviewing EPA’s draft plan Sept. 13, according to OMB’s website. The agency’s latest Unified Agenda of planned regulations says the proposal could be released in October, though President Joe Biden’s January climate executive order...

House Panel Backs Revised EPA Oil & Gas Methane Fee, Amid GOP Attack

The House Energy & Commerce Committee is advancing a slightly revised version of its EPA-administered fee on methane emissions from oil and gas companies as part of Democrats’ sweeping budget “reconciliation” bill, but Republicans are seeking to brand the policy and other provisions as an inflationary tax on the public. During a Sept. 13 markup, the committee voted 31-26 to approve the air pollution-related subtitle of its broader reconciliation package, after easing some provisions of the methane fee policy but...

Gillibrand urges EPA to scrutinize impacts of Bitcoin mining

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is pressing EPA to join with New York regulators to closely scrutinize the air permit of an upstate New York power plant re-purposed to serve energy-intensive Bitcoin “mining,” a practice that critics say may harm air and water quality in the scenic Finger Lakes region, in an early test of EPA’s policy on the issue of the cryptocurrency’s pollution impacts. In a Sept. 8 letter , Gillibrand asked EPA Administrator Michael Regan to have EPA “exercise...

EPA, California Draw Skepticism Over Model MOU To Boost EJ Enforcement

EPA has signed what officials are calling a first-of-its-kind model memorandum of understanding (MOU) with California officials to bolster its environmental justice (EJ) enforcement strategy and other efforts, though the deal is drawing skepticism from some local activists who have long pressed regulators to take more aggressive actions. “Communities want to see action from government to protect people and the environment, not more nice words and promises that frequently are broken,” says one EJ group leader. At issue is a...


EPA Report Linking Climate, EJ May Lay Groundwork For Future Policy

EPA’s first-time report estimating the additional risks that environmental justice (EJ) communities face from climate change impacts may be laying the groundwork for future policies incorporating these findings but stops short of providing all the tools necessary to craft rules in a way that will provide extra benefits to the communities, sources say. “I can see why people might be disappointed that EPA didn’t take this to the next step, but I think they did exactly the right thing because...

EPA expands air monitoring in Ida’s aftermath

EPA announced it will expand air monitoring in Louisiana communities impacted by Hurricane Ida to determine whether industrial facilities are releasing excess emissions. The Sept. 9 announcement by EPA Region 6 says the agency will begin air sampling using its ASPECT aircraft to assess potential releases at industrial plants as power is restored. EPA is also restarting chloroprene community air monitors near the Denka Performance Elastomers in La Place, St. John the Baptist Parish. The monitors were secured before the...

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