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 Poised To Sign Key Chemical Sector Air Toxics Rule With Few Changes

EPA remains on track to sign its sweeping air toxics rule regulating much of the organic chemical and polymers manufacturing sector by March 29, likely with few changes from the proposed version, environmentalists and agency officials say, clearing the way for new limits and fenceline monitoring requirements for ethylene oxide (EtO) and a suite of other previously unregulated chemicals. The rule as proposed would set new emissions limits for a large number of facilities. It is also expected to include...

EPA Launches Comment Process For Existing Gas Plant GHG Standards

EPA is formally seeking input on its plan to regulate greenhouse gas and other emissions from existing gas-fired power plants, with officials taking the first step in the regulatory process after they announced they would remove such plants from its forthcoming final GHG standards for new gas plants and existing coal plants. “EPA has opened a non-regulatory docket and issued framing questions to gather input about ways we can design a stronger, more durable approach to greenhouse gas regulation of...

Refiners, Biofuel Producers Attack Legality Of RFS ‘Set’ Volumes Rule

Refiners suing EPA over its renewable fuel standard (RFS) “set” rule, which set all biofuel blending volumes for the first time under the agency’s own authority, say the rule’s goal of increasing biofuel use is not required by law and is contradicted by evidence suggesting the volumes are too high. “EPA’s Rule disregards the past performance and failures of the RFS as well as the entirely new statutory criteria Congress provided to set applicable volumes for 2023-2025,” says a coalition...

Environmentalists Brace For Weaker Final GHG Truck Rule Than Sought

EPA’s imminent final “phase 3” heavy-truck greenhouse gas rule appears likely to prompt a mixed reaction from the environmental community, amid indications that the agency might not strengthen requirements from the proposed version of the rule and might even soften near-term standards for some larger vehicles to offer concessions to industry. However, sources expect the later years of the program to track more closely with EPA’s proposed standards, partially echoing a dynamic that played out when the agency last week...

EPA Plan To Ease Lime Kilns Air Toxics Rule Fails To Satisfy Key Groups

EPA’s supplemental plan to ease its proposed air toxics limits for the lime manufacturing industry is drawing criticism from all sides, with environmentalists urging the agency not to water down its original plan while industry groups and their congressional supporters are calling for additional changes to ease their concerns. In March 11 joint comments , Earthjustice, Sierra Club and California Communities Against Toxics oppose the agency’s Feb. 9 supplemental proposal, released in response to heavy industry criticism, that suggested setting...

‘Section 177’ States Meet Amid Automaker Criticism Of EV Charging, Support

Representatives of a dozen states that have adopted California’s light-duty zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards are meeting this week and may respond to scathing automaker criticism that they lack the necessary charging stations and economic incentives to enable compliance and that EPA should reject the Golden State’s request for a federal preemption waiver. The automakers’ criticism is “going to be the gorilla in the room during the discussions” this week among the “section 177” states, auto industry representatives and other stakeholders,...

Environmentalists Target EPA’s RFS ‘Set’ Rule, Citing Climate, Species Harms

Environmentalists are again attacking the environmental credentials of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing that EPA’s “set” rule, which for the first time set biofuel blending volumes under the agency’s authority, relies on an unlawful and flawed assessment of climate and endangered species impacts. In a March 22 opening brief , Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the National Wildfire Federation (NWF) say EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) violated the Clean Air...

CASAC Seeks More-Robust NAAQS Reviews, Raising Doubts On Timeline

EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) is calling for a return to more-thorough and potentially longer reviews of national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), raising difficult questions about how the agency can respect statutory and judicial timelines to complete the frequently delayed reviews. In a March 19 draft letter recently posted to its website, CASAC criticizes the practice of both the Trump and Biden EPA in pushing through NAAQS reviews using a procedure that is abbreviated in comparison with...


EPA Inspector General to probe air monitoring

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) will investigate “EPA’s oversight of state and local ambient air monitoring operating schedules,” in order to ensure that its scrutiny is sufficient to avoid underreporting of air pollution, according to a recent notice. Patrick Gilbride, director of the implementation, execution, and enforcement directorate at OIG’s Office of Special Review and Evaluation, outlined the forthcoming investigation in a brief March 19 memo to EPA air chief Joe Goffman. “Our objective is to determine whether the...

EPA Drops ‘Force Majeure’ Waiver From Refinery, Chemical Sector Air Rules

EPA is removing regulatory waivers for “force majeure” events, such as natural disasters, from air rules in the refining and chemical manufacturing sectors, satisfying a longstanding request by environmentalists to remove the waivers that EPA claims are rarely used anyway, but industry groups would prefer to retain. In a rule signed by EPA Administrator Michael Regan March 15 ahead of its upcoming publication in the Federal Register , EPA removes the waivers from provisions governing pressure relief devices (PRDs) and...


EPA Rebuts Industry’s Non-Delegation Claim Against HFC Phasedown Law

EPA is rejecting claims that Congress unlawfully delegated the agency legislative authority in the 2020 bipartisan law to sharply phase down climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), offering what appears to be the agency’s first detailed rebuttal to an argument being advanced by an HFC manufacturer and some free-market groups. “By setting forth Congress’s policy and by providing guardrails for EPA’s discretion in the statutory structure and context, the [American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act] provides a sufficient ‘intelligible principle’ and thus is...

D.C. Circuit Appears Ready To Scrap EPA Air Rule Governing ‘New’ Boilers

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appears to be leaning toward scrapping an EPA definition of “new” industrial boilers that would keep certain boilers built after 2010 always subject to tough “new source” air toxics standards, a move that would grant industry’s petition to ease the limits for some boilers. At oral argument March 21 in U.S. Sugar Corp. v. EPA , Judges Gregory Katsas, Robert Wilkins and Justin Walker all...

EPA, Supporters Reject Claims Vehicle Standards Violate ‘Major Questions’

EPA and its defenders are rejecting claims that its final light- and medium-duty vehicle emissions standards are vulnerable under the Supreme Court’s “major questions” doctrine that triggers strict scrutiny of “transformative” policies, arguing the rule is an outgrowth of clear Clean Air Act authority and multiple prior regulatory precedents. The stance underscores their efforts to gird for a looming legal fight against fuels sector and other critics who claim the rule represents a de facto and improper electric vehicle...

Final EPA Auto Rule Nods To Industry But Still Wins Environmentalists’ Praise

EPA’s just-issued final multi-pollutant rule for passenger vehicles includes several concessions to automakers, including eased near-term greenhouse gas limits and more time to meet fine particle standards, but it is nevertheless garnering strong praise from environmentalists who deem it a historic rulemaking that helps address climate and air pollution. In addition, the agency’s March 20 final rule includes new analysis highlighting automakers’ ability to comply with the new requirements via multiple fuel-saving technologies, in a bid to fend off legal...


Rail Sector Fights EPA Plan To Grant California Waiver On Locomotive Rule

The rail industry is resisting EPA’s proposal to grant a Clean Air Act waiver to allow a California rule limiting air pollution from in-use locomotives, arguing the measure is unachievable on the current timeline, is too costly and would threaten the national rail system, contradicting supporters of the rule who say it is vital for public health. During a virtual public hearing March 20, rail sector representatives and municipal officials from areas hosting major rail facilities urged EPA to reject...

EPA details questions for primary NOx NAAQS review

EPA is outlining questions it wants answered in its forthcoming review of “primary” health-based national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for nitrogen oxides (NOx), as the agency updates its scientific assessment and policy recommendations for curbing the pollutant. In its Integrated Review Plan (IRP) “volume 2” document released March 18, EPA poses a series of questions that it will seek to answer in its forthcoming integrated science assessment (ISA) for NOx, which will then inform a policy assessment (PA) document...

Stellantis Inks Deal With CARB On ZEV, GHG Rules After Failed Challenge

Automaker Stellantis -- which manufactures Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles -- is committing to support and comply with California’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales requirements through the end of the decade, even if the state’s authority to enforce such rules is set aside in court or by a future administration. The company’s March 19 agreement with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which also addresses the company’s compliance with the state’s greenhouse gas emissions standards through 2026, comes after it failed...

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