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.

CARB Floats Final Modifications To Truck NOx Rules, With EPA Plan In Flux

Nine months after approving their landmark heavy-duty truck low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) regulation, California air board officials are proposing a lengthy set of testing, crediting and other regulatory modifications to the measure -- which takes effect with model year 2024 engines -- though they don’t change the core emissions standards. The modifications -- which trigger a new 30-day comment period for stakeholders but require only approval by the board’s executive officer and not the board members themselves -- once approved will...

Stressing Multiple Threats, EPA Re-Launches Climate ‘Indicators’ Site

EPA is re-launching its climate change “indicators” website to provide the public with dozens of datasets showing ongoing effects of global warming, with Administrator Michael Regan pitching the move as another example of the agency re-focusing on climate science following the Trump administration. “After four long years, this critical resource is being updated and expanded,” Regan said during a May 12 press briefing to discuss changes to the agency’s climate indicators page . “Americans can have the most up-to-date information...

EPA issues fuel rule waiver for states following pipeline hack

EPA has issued a special waiver exempting parts of three Eastern states and the District of Columbia from having to meet federal fuel volatility regulations in order to ease the flow of gasoline to East Coast consumers following the cyberattack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline that supplies fuel to much of the region. The waiver applies to areas that are required to use reformulated gasoline, which is needed to reduce fuel volatility and limit air emissions to maintain air...

Slew Of Academic CASAC Nominees May Preview Shift From Trump Panel

Research scientists dominate EPA’s list of candidates to form the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) that offers input on ambient air standards, including several epidemiologists, which may signal the panel’s upcoming shift from the Trump-era membership that relied heavily on state regulators and consultants. EPA published the list of nominees May 10, and is accepting public comment on the candidates through June 1. The agency is under pressure from environmentalists to reshape the influential panel to include air quality...


Environmentalists Say EPA Must Heed OIG Call For Tougher EtO Air Rules

Environmentalists are urging EPA to drop its reluctance to pursue new health risk reviews that could spur the agency to tighten its existing air toxics rules for the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO) and synthetic rubber component chloroprene, backing calls from EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) for tougher action on emissions. One environmental attorney says that failure by EPA to follow the OIG’s advice would amount to “blatant disregard” for the health of communities located near sources of air toxics,...

In Rare Step, EPA Seeks To Suspend Local Permit Over EJ Concerns

EPA has taken the rare step of asking Chicago officials to suspend review of a permit application to expand a metal recycling plant on the city’s Southeast side and conduct a cumulative impact analysis to assess its effects on nearby residents -- one of the first affirmative steps the agency has taken to reflect administration environmental justice (EJ) priorities. “Prior to reaching a decision on the permit, U.S. EPA suggests that the City complete an environmental justice analysis, such as...

CIBO President Bessette announces retirement

Bob Bessette, president of the Council of Industrial Boilers (CIBO) for 27 years, is retiring, marking the end of one of the longest continuous tenures leading an energy trade association in Washington, D.C. CIBO members are non-utility industrial, commercial and institutional energy producers, and the group often weighs in on a host of EPA regulations including major Clean Air Act programs such as new source review permitting and regulations designed to reduce emissions from industrial boilers. Bessette’s tenure as the...

EPA launches new ICR for ethylene oxide air rule

EPA is launching a new request for information from commercial sterilization facilities on their use of the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO), as the agency prepares to issue a possibly tougher regulation to curb emissions of the chemical that EPA now believes is significantly more carcinogenic than previously thought. In a May 10 Federal Register notice , EPA announces it will take comment for 30 days on a new Information Collection Request (ICR) to support its technology review of the...

Awaiting Biden Order, EPA Takes Steps To Weigh Climate Finance Risks

As the Biden administration readies a new executive order to address the financial risks posed by climate change, EPA is beginning to consider both the physical and transition risks companies face, including launching talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is poised to write climate risk disclosure rules. In addition, officials are also considering asking agency financial advisors for assistance on the issue. “Climate risk is an interesting concept,” Al McGartland, director of EPA’s National Center for Environmental...

Denka defends emissions compliance at Louisiana facility

Denka Performance Elastomer (DPE), which produces chloroprene rubber, is defending the emissions performance of a facility it owns in Louisiana in response to a petition from civil rights groups asking EPA to require the company to cut emissions of two air toxics that the organizations say are harming nearby communities. The groups, representing the majority Black community of St. John the Baptist Parish, on May 6 petitioned EPA to use emergency Clean Air Act powers to “abate the imminent and...

EPA Clashes With OIG Over Call To Tighten Emission Rules For Two HAPs

EPA is clashing with its Office of Inspector General (OIG) over a new OIG report that urges the agency to tighten its emissions rules for the hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloroprene, rejecting what it sees as overly prescriptive rulemaking recommendations and avoiding any firm promise to tighten its regulations. The OIG in a May 6 report says EPA should issue risk-and-technology review (RTR) rules under the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) air toxics program to limit industrial...


CARB Floats Tough ZEV Mandate For MY26-35, Boosting Federal Push

California air regulators have unveiled a long-awaited proposal to set aggressive zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales mandates for new passenger vehicles that would ramp up requirements to reach 100 percent ZEV sales by 2035, likely bolstering calls for the Biden administration to set federal emissions standards that achieve such a goal. During a May 6 virtual public workshop, staff with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) outlined details of their ZEV proposal for model years 2026-35, with the plan significantly curbing...

Rights groups seek stricter EPA regulation of industrial air toxics

Civil rights groups representing the majority Black community in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish are petitioning EPA to use its emergency Clean Air Act powers to abate risks the area faces from industrial emissions of air toxics, and also review and revise the agency’s existing regulations designed to curb the pollutants. The May 6 petition filed on behalf of the residents by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Earthjustice and the group Citizens of St. John asks...

Biden EPA Faces Pressure To End Debate On Regulating AFO Emissions

The Biden administration is facing pressure to resolve a long-running debate over whether and how EPA should regulate animal feeding operations’ (AFOs) emissions of hazardous gases, criteria air pollutants and the greenhouse gas methane, with some states and Congress grappling with either pursuing or blocking AFO air rules. EPA has never regulated AFO emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite longstanding pressure to do so from environmentalists. The agency has for more than a decade been studying emissions from various...


Study On Biomass’ Harms May Boost Industry Bid For CO2 Permit Waiver

Harvard researchers are detailing the adverse health impacts from burning biomass and other combustion fuels for power generation, findings that could bolster efforts by some agriculture industry groups who are asking EPA to exempt use of agriculture residues in non-combustion processes, such as bioplastics production, from greenhouse gas permitting. The May 5 study by Jonathan Buonocore and Parichehr Salimifard of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in Environmental Research Letters found that wood and natural...

Ranchers’ lawsuit over coal plant will test EPA air permit policies

Ranchers in North Dakota are continuing their legal fight against a coal-fired power plant and the related coal mine that supplies it, filing a fresh Clean Air Act lawsuit that will likely test the willingness of the Biden EPA to defend Trump-era EPA policies on deference to states and “aggregation” of sources in air permitting. In their lawsuit filed April 29 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, ranchers Casey and Julie Voigt seek to overturn a...

EPA gives confidential RFS waiver data to GAO

EPA is preparing to give an extensive trove of renewable fuel standard (RFS) data, including the confidential business information (CBI) of many refiners, to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as part of a probe requested by lawmakers into the agency’s handling of RFS compliance waivers. In a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication May 5, EPA informs “obligated parties” under the fuels program -- refiners and importers of fuel -- of its intent to comply with the GAO request...

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