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 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...

D.C. Circuit rejects rehearing in E15 suit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected biofuels groups’ petitions for rehearing of its ruling scrapping the Trump-era authorization of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15) for sale during the summer months, leaving ethanol producers scrambling for ways to ensure E15 sales next summer. In brief Sept. 9 per curiam decisions, the court rejects petitions for panel rehearing and rehearing by the whole court sitting en banc of its July 2 ruling in...

Environmentalists Suggest Methods To Tighten MATS Emissions Limits

Environmentalists are suggesting ways that EPA can justify tightening limits on mercury and other dangerous pollutants under its forthcoming reconsideration of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants, going beyond the reinstatement of a vital prerequisite legal finding scrapped by the Trump administration. In its proposed rule now under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), EPA is expected to rescind the Trump EPA’s determination that found regulation of power plant air toxics...

House Energy Panel Seeks Billions For EPA To Cut GHGs, Air Pollution

The House Energy & Commerce Committee is poised to mark up budget reconciliation measures Sept. 13 that would appropriate billions of dollars for EPA to cut greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, while also imposing a controversial methane emissions fee on oil and gas producers that the sector strongly opposes. Once approved by the committee, the legislation would be included in a broader package by the Budget Committee, which will advance them to the House floor under so-called budget reconciliation...

Biden’s Push To Curb Aviation GHGs Creates Opening For Biofuels In RFS

A major new White House policy push to increase the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) creates a new role for EPA to encourage biofuel production for aircraft under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) -- offering a crucial long-term market opportunity for biofuel producers. In a Sept. 9 fact sheet , the White House outlines a sweeping list of additional actions across the federal government and private industry to increase the supply of SAF to levels that could meaningfully curb...

House Panel Floats $150 Billion Clean Power Program In Budget Package

House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats are floating details of their budget “reconciliation” bill including a clean electricity program with a tighter definition of qualifying facilities than an earlier panel proposal, alongside a sprawling collection of federal investments in low-carbon power, transportation, and buildings. Overall, the draft bill the committee is poised to release would spend just over $250 billion on climate-related efforts -- with $150 billion alone going toward a Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) that offers payments for...

Environmentalists’ Lawsuit Raises Pressure On EPA To Issue SSM Policy

Environmentalists have filed a new lawsuit seeking to force action by EPA to eliminate most states’ regulatory exemptions for excess air emissions during periods of plant startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM), likely reviving older litigation on the issue in an effort to push the agency to issue a new national policy. In their suit filed Sept. 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, groups including Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project and the Natural Resources Defense...

Environmentalists Seek ‘Protective’ EPA Methane Rules For Oil & Gas

Environmentalists are detailing a series of requests for EPA’s upcoming proposal to strengthen methane requirements for oil and gas equipment, pressing for “protective” standards without “carveouts” for low-producing wells that the advocates say are a significant contributor to emissions of the potent greenhouse gas. “Protective EPA rules that capitalize on readily available means to reduce methane and other pollution are common-sense and required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and protect frontline communities,” 72 national and local environmental...

EPA Eyes Data Drive To Eventually Strengthen Power Plant Mercury Rule

EPA’s imminent proposal restoring the prerequisite legal finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” (A&N) to regulate air toxics emissions from power plants is expected to include an information-gathering drive to facilitate a possible future tightening of its landmark mercury and air toxics standards (MATS), sources say. While EPA is widely expected to reverse a Trump-era rule that scrapped the underlying A&N finding, and reinstate it bolstered by new information on costs and benefits, the MATS rule’s long-term future is...

Oil & Gas Groups Cite EPA Rules As Reason To Oppose Hill Methane Fee Plan

A coalition of national and local oil and gas groups and fuel users is citing EPA’s current and planned methane emissions rules for the sector to oppose congressional Democrats’ plan to enact a fee on such emissions in their pending budget “reconciliation” package, calling the Capitol Hill proposal “duplicative and unnecessary.” The industry pushback to the methane fee, led by the American Petroleum Institute (API), marks a rare case when industry is backing EPA regulation over other alternatives, just as...

EPA recruits advisors for NAAQS review panels

EPA is recruiting special panels of experts to advise the agency in its review of federal air standards for lead, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) as the agency rebuilds its pool of advisors after the dismissal of the Trump-era Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and its recent reconstitution. In a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication Sept. 8, EPA seeks recruits for special panels to assist CASAC in its oversight of EPA reviews...

EPA Reconsiders Plan To Clarify Air Rules For Pyrolysis, Gasification Units

EPA is launching a long-term effort to clarify the Clean Air Act obligations of industrial pyrolysis and gasification processes that recycle plastics, create energy or produce fuel from food waste and other feedstocks, soliciting public input on the burgeoning field under a pre-rule plan that jettisons Trump-era proposals in favor of a fresh approach. In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) slated for publication in the Federal Register Sept. 8, EPA says “there is considerable confusion in the...


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