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.

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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.

EIP threatens to sue EPA over Texas coal plant waivers

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Sierra Club are threatening EPA with a lawsuit over the agency’s failure to disapprove a modification to Texas’ plan for meeting federal air quality standards that the groups say would grant unwarranted exemptions for coal plants during scheduled maintenance, startup and shutdown (MSS) activities. The groups gave EPA 60 days’ notice of their intent to sue in a July 27 letter recently uploaded to EPA’s website, citing the waivers that they say violate Clean...

EPA Denies Novel TSCA GHG Petition, Citing Lack Of Regulatory Authority

EPA is denying a novel petition from a group of climate scientists who had asked the agency to regulate and ultimately phase out greenhouse gas emissions under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), finding their petition was “insufficiently specific” and that the agency lacks “TSCA authority to regulate historical GHG” emissions. Michal Freedhoff, EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention chief, issued the denial in a Sept. 14 letter to Dan Galpern of the Climate Protection & Restoration Initiative,...


EPA Region 9 Chief Touts Federal Funding To Help California EJ Efforts

EPA Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman is touting billions of new federal dollars in recently enacted funding laws as a boon to California’s efforts to implement environmental justice (EJ) programs and projects, including for cutting air emissions from mobile sources in the heavily polluted Los Angeles area. “I’m really excited to talk about a program that was just greatly expanded by Congress and the president under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) -- $3 [billion] to enhance our environmental justice grant...

OAR Gears Up As It Faces Massive Challenge To Spend IRA’s Climate Funds

EPA’s air office faces a historic opportunity, and challenge, in quickly and effectively spending over $40 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to address climate change, requiring a staff reorganization, leadership expansion and urgent consultation with states, local governments, tribes and community groups that will receive the money. Joe Goffman, EPA’s top air official, outlined the scope of the spending to the agency’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) at a meeting Sept. 14. Goffman’s Office of Air and...

States Fear Congress’ Boost For Air Monitoring May Exacerbate Funding Gap

Correction Appended State and local air agency officials are raising concerns about how an additional $50 million in one-time funding that Congress provided to EPA to help states bolster air quality monitoring could exacerbate an existing funding gap between their monitoring obligations and funding needs. EPA “might have gotten ahead of itself,” Jason Howanitz, a senior air pollution control engineer for the Jefferson County, AL, Department of Health, warned EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) meeting Sept. 13,...

Biden Administration Reiterates Backing For Biofuel As Future Of Aviation

Biden administration officials, including EPA Administrator Michael Regan, are redoubling support for biofuels as a means to decarbonize aviation, promoting provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) climate law that will boost their drive for more sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) even as environmentalists decry biofuels as a false solution. Speaking at a Sept. 13 policy summit hosted by biofuels group Growth Energy, Regan noted many climate provisions of the IRA will benefit biofuels production in general and SAF in particular...


EO Starts Climate Law Implementation As Biden Celebrates Enactment

As the White House celebrates the new climate change law, President Joe Biden is creating a new office to coordinate the statute’s implementation, tapping longtime Democratic advisor John Podesta to lead the new entity where his work will complement broader climate-related executive actions. Biden signed a Sept. 12 executive order that creates a new White House Office on Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, and it formally expands the mission of the existing Biden administration “all-of-government” climate change task force to...

Environmentalists Seek To Bar Startup, Shutdown Waivers In NSPS Rules

Environmental groups are petitioning EPA to speed its removal of waivers for facility startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) periods from the agency’s Clean Air Act new source performance standards (NSPS), pressuring the agency to accelerate its “piecemeal” removal of the exemptions from air rules, state air plans and air permits. In a petition filed with the agency Sept. 13, a coalition of 17 groups including Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and others asks EPA to remove SSM exemptions...


EPA Science Advisers Seek Distinct, Tougher ‘Secondary’ Ozone Standard

Members of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) special panel on ozone standards appear ready to urge the agency to adopt for the first time a tougher “secondary” ozone limit to protect the environment, distinct from the “primary” limit designed to protect public health, even as agency staff opposes such a development. On a virtual conference call Sept. 12, several members of the special panel outlined their “strong consensus” in favor of using a distinct “form” for the secondary...

To Shape Democrats’ Permit Plan, GOP Seeks To Roll Back EPA Power

Over three dozen Senate Republicans are floating legislation that would broadly roll back an array of EPA and other environmental permitting authorities and bar use of federal estimates of climate damages from carbon emissions, in an effort to shape debate on Democrats’ promised legislation to ease permitting for energy projects. The package, introduced Sept. 12 by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), offers a response to Democratic pledges that their new budget reconciliation law would be followed with separate legislation to...


McEachin Seeks ‘Robust’ EPA Funding For Landfill Methane Monitoring

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) is urging EPA Administrator Michael Regan to provide a “robust allocation” of federal grant dollars from the major new climate change law to improve the accuracy of monitoring methane emissions, particularly from landfills, warning that current methods dramatically undercount the potent greenhouse gas. McEachin makes the request in a Sept. 12 letter to Regan, noting that section 60105 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) appropriates $20 million for EPA to issue Clean Air Act grants “for...

OSTP Review Urges Environmental Standards For Cryptocurrency Sector

A new interagency report sought by the White House calls for EPA and other federal agencies to launch a collaborative process for developing standards curbing the environmental and energy impact of the cryptocurrency sector, citing growing concerns over the impacts of energy-intensive cryptocurrency “mining.” The recommendations, contained in a Sept. 8 report , stem from a review led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and respond to a broader March executive order (EO) pressing the...

EPA Science Advisers To Probe Evidence On Adverse Effects Of Ozone

A special panel of the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) is poised to meet to examine evidence that could support a potential strengthening of federal ozone limits, looking in-depth at the issue after EPA staff again made the case for unchanged ozone standards based on a lack of compelling new science. At their three days of meetings Sept. 12, 14 and 16, ozone panel members will scrutinize evidence gathered since the last review of national ambient air quality...

EPA Civil Rights Probe Over Concrete Permits Sharpens Focus On Texas

EPA’s recently announced investigation into whether a Texas permitting program for concrete violates Houston residents’ civil rights means the Lone Star State is now the subject of at least four EPA Title VI probes, with the agency’s External Civil Rights Compliance Office (ECRCO) accepting two petitions to investigate the concrete program. The petitions were submitted earlier this year by the Harris County Attorney’s Office and Lone Star Legal Aid, and ECRCO accepted them for investigation early last month. They allege...

EPA Weighing Compliance Extension For Gas Turbines Air Toxics Rule

EPA appears to be weighing a possible extension of compliance deadlines for its recently reinstated air toxics limits for certain stationary gas turbines, with some observers suggesting the Biden administration could invoke national security or other grounds to justify it, though environmentalists are opposing the move as they seek to enforce the limits. Many industry groups told EPA that they would need more time than the 180 days the agency provided to comply with its March 9 rule that lifted...

EPA, biodiesel sector pause lawsuit, seeking RFS deal

EPA and biodiesel producers have agreed to pause litigation over the renewable fuel standard (RFS) in order to seek a deal over specific recordkeeping mandates related to food waste, in a case now severed from broader litigation against the agency’s RFS volumes rule for 2020, which is in abeyance after EPA in June retroactively cut volumes for that year. The parties in a Sept. 8 joint motion ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to...

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