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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.

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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.

5th Circuit Judges Weigh Legal Bid To Overhaul EPA NAAQS Designations

Appellate judges at oral argument weighed Texas’ novel lawsuit that aims to upend EPA’s long-established process for designating which areas are attaining or failing to attain national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), with Texas pushing an unusual Clean Air Act argument that would give states more power to issue the findings. At Oct. 9 argument in State of Texas, et al. v. EPA, et al . , Judges Edith Brown Clement, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Kyle Duncan of the U.S...

EPA vows to meet Nov. 30 deadline for final 2020 RFS

EPA is vowing to meet a Nov. 30 statutory deadline for finalizing its 2020 renewable fuel standard (RFS) production targets, downplaying the suggestion that the administration’s recently announced plan to boost biofuels targets in the 2020 rule to appease ethanol advocates and farmers will derail its plan to meet the deadline. EPA “anticipates” it will release its final 2020 RFS rule by Nov. 30, said Office of Air & Radiation official Dallas Burkholder Oct. 8 during an annual fuels forum...

EPA sends final NSR ‘adjacency’ guidance for OMB review

EPA has sent its final guidance on how to determine whether pollution sources are “adjacent” for air permitting purposes for mandatory White House pre-publication review, signaling that the agency is close to issuance of the policy that will likely ease permitting requirements for industry applicants. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received the guidance from EPA Nov. 9, according to OMB’s website. OMB review typically takes up to 90 days, but can be longer or shorter, depending...

Former CASAC Panelists Say Fast NAAQS Review ‘Puts Cart Before Horse’

Former members of EPA’s disbanded Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) expert particulate matter panel are warning the agency that its accelerated process for reviewing ambient air limits “puts the cart before the horse” by requiring staff to suggest policy decisions on the standards before resolving major scientific questions. Members of the panel, which agency chief Andrew Wheeler terminated as part of his push to speed the reviews, have formed an independent group unaffiliated with EPA that is seen as...

California fights EPA’s SIP threat by putting onus on agency

California is fighting EPA’s threat to withhold federal highway funds from the state unless it acts quickly to submit “approvable” state implementation plans (SIPs) for attaining agency air standards, claiming the onus is on EPA to review a backlog of submitted SIPs and to approve stricter federal air rules that will ensure the SIPs succeed. The “SIP backlog discussed in your letter consists of SIPs awaiting action by Regional U.S. EPA staff, and the multi-year delays in acting on California’s...

California-EPA Spat Over Vehicle GHG Rules Explodes Into Major Fight

Tensions between California and the Trump administration over auto greenhouse gas rules that simmered for more than a year have exploded into an all-out legal and policy fight, with the two sides ramping up their attacks including EPA’s threats to revoke the state’s delegated water law authorities and yank federal highway funds. Last year, officials with the Golden State and the Trump administration met a handful of times to try to reach a deal over the administration’s proposed rollback of...

Venue, Other Fights Could Set Pace Of California Vehicle Program Battle

The speed of litigation over the Trump administration’s revocation of California’s vehicle greenhouse gas authority will depend on several factors, including disputes over the proper court venue for the case, potential government requests to expedite proceedings and the unknown effect of related auto GHG litigation, experts say. In addition, the pace could also be affected by potential requests from California for courts to stay EPA and the Transportation Department’s (DOT) final rule preempting the state’s programs -- a move that...

EPA Rejects Claim Of California ZEV Rules Offering Air Quality Benefit

The Trump administration, as part of its final revocation of California’s authority for its vehicle greenhouse gas and zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) programs, is rejecting claims from the programs’ supporters that the ZEV rules in particular improve local air quality, citing the state’s declarations appearing to downplay the rules’ benefits. However, defenders of the state programs argue the administration is distorting the state’s prior remarks, and that the ZEV program can have important air benefits over the near and long...

EPA Undoing California Vehicle Power May Bolster Suit On GHG Finding

Environmentalists are citing language in EPA’s rule undoing California’s authority to set stricter vehicle greenhouse gas limits to boost their lawsuit over the Trump administration’s 2018 finding calling for weaker federal vehicle GHG rules, claiming the language aids their claim that the finding is a “final” action subject to court review. The argument, detailed in an Oct. 9 letter from environmental groups to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is their latest attempt to push...

Midwestern governors ask Trump for more steps to boost biofuel sales

Midwestern governors are pressing President Donald Trump for more measures to boost biofuel sales, even as EPA prepares to unveil its detailed supplemental proposal to increase biofuel blending targets under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) to appease farmers and biofuel producers critical of the agency’s RFS waivers for refiners. In an Oct. 8 letter to Trump, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) on behalf of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition press the administration to go...

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