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.

KEY GOP SENATOR EYES HEARING TO CHALLENGE NEW ROUND OF PM RULES

Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) is planning a hearing within weeks to raise concerns about EPA's possible issuance of new, more stringent particulate matter (PM) standards in December, according to a Republican source. The senator could also use the hearing as an opportunity to reiterate his support for the Bush administration's Clear Skies legislation as an alternative to stricter PM standards, by repeating his previous arguments that the bill would help many areas substantially reduce PM pollution. EPA is under a...

STATES BLAST EPA PLAN ON AIR VIOLATIONS CAUSED BY 'NATURAL EVENTS'

States are criticizing a newly drafted EPA plan to account for particulate matter (PM) and other air quality violations caused by forest fires and other acts of nature, saying the agency has ignored a detailed set of recommendations from Western states. EPA is floating a draft report for comment among states and other federal agencies as a prelude for a first-time rulemaking on "natural events." The rule would lay out how states can ensure that the effects of natural occurrences...

INDUSTRY GROUPS TAKE EPA TO COURT OVER REGIONAL HAZE RULE

Industry groups representing coal producers and utilities are suing EPA over its recently finalized rule that seeks to limit regional haze, arguing it is too stringent and allows states to regulate facilities that are not proven contributors to haze. The Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) and the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) both filed court papers Sept. 6 challenging the rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, an industry source says. CEED...

INHOFE BACKING FOR BRAC REFINERY PLAN FAILS TO QUELL BROAD SKEPTICISM

Senate environment committee chairman James Inhofe's (R-OK) backing, following Hurricane Katrina, of administration plans to site oil refineries on closed military bases is doing little to build support for the idea from base redevelopers and local government officials. These officials say community opposition, the long period of time DOD is afforded before closures become effective, and a mismatch between available properties and ideal refinery locations are just a few of the obstacles standing in the way of implementing the idea...

FOLLOWING KATRINA, ENGLAND CALLS ON U.S. MILITARY TO CONSERVE FUEL

With parts of the United States facing fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Katrina, acting Deputy Defense (DOD) Secretary Gordon England wants the U.S. military -- the nation's largest single petroleum consumer -- to hunt for ways to conserve. England has called for the military to take a number of steps to reduce fuel consumption, including deferring discretionary travel, maximizing use of aviation and ground combat simulators, and using mass transportation. "This situation is serious and our government needs the [Defense]...

EPA Weighs Options For Addressing Future Vapor Intrusion Risks

EPA staff is considering strategies for determining potential risks from indoor chemical vapors from soil and groundwater -- known as vapor intrusion -- on polluted properties that may be redeveloped in the future, according to an agency source. Among the options under consideration are incorporating advice for detecting future contamination in a revised vapor intrusion guidance scheduled to be released later this year, or even developing a separate guidance on the issue at a later date. A draft EPA guidance...

Imminent EPA Reforms May Dramatically Reduce Toxics Reporting

EPA is preparing to unveil reforms to its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting rules that are expected to dramatically reduce reporting burdens for industry and small businesses in particular, according to EPA, industry and environmentalist sources. EPA's proposed TRI burden reduction regulation would exempt companies whose toxics emissions have not significantly changed from a prior year from reporting actual emissions in alternate years. Instead, it would allow companies to declare that there has been "no significant change" in releases, according...

CONGRESS EYES NEW ENERGY BILLS AMID CONCERNS OVER HURRICANE IMPACT

Just weeks after passing a massive energy bill, Congress is considering a new package of energy legislation to address supply concerns underscored in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Key lawmakers have introduced legislation to boost supply by increasing drilling and constructing new refineries, as well as measures improving automobile fuel efficiency. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) told reporters Sept. 13 that the idea of boosting corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for automobiles is encountering...

STATES EYE LIMITED TRADING IN MODEL FOR EXCEEDING EPA MERCURY RULE

State and local air officials may endorse limited emissions trading in an upcoming model rule for helping states adopt regulations more stringent than EPA's mercury regulation for electric utilities, acknowledging states that have developed or that may want to consider such flexibility for the industry. The possible option comes as part of a model rule likely to offer a number of options for exceeding EPA's requirements, with state and local air officials holding longstanding reservations over EPA's rule allowing comprehensive...

Dingell Seeks Status Of Bush Administration Actions On Refining Capacity

John Dingell (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is asking the Bush Administration to detail its efforts to boost refining capacity, inquiries that appear to raise questions about industry's enthusiasm for expansion, despite calls for easing regulatory pressures on refiners in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The separate letters to EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) come amid calls by House energy committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) for new legislation to boost refining capacity,...

STATES EYE LIMITED TRADING IN MODEL FOR EXCEEDING EPA MERCURY RULE

State and local air officials may endorse limited emissions trading in an upcoming model rule for helping states adopt regulations more stringent than EPA's mercury regulation for electric utilities, acknowledging states that have developed or that may want to consider such flexibility for the industry. The possible option comes as part of a model rule likely to offer a number of options for exceeding EPA's requirements, with state and local air officials holding longstanding reservations over EPA's rule allowing comprehensive...

LAWMAKERS BALK AT FUEL EFFICIENCY DESPITE RENEWED ENERGY DEBATE

Senate lawmakers appear to be resisting additional vehicle fuel efficiency measures despite talk of new legislation to remedy energy supply and demand problems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, hinting at further uphill battles for groups who touted conservation and other alternatives to energy development in a recently approved energy law. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) told reporters Sept. 13 that the idea of boosting corporate average fuel economy standards for automobiles is encountering resistance...

EPA AIR MONITORING PLAN FOR HURRICANE WASTE DISPOSAL FACES CRITICISM

EPA is facing criticisms from its science advisers over plans to monitor emissions likely to result from Louisiana's efforts to dispose of significant quantities of Hurricane Katrina debris through incineration and open burning. Members of a special Science Advisory Board (SAB) workgroup said Sept. 14 that when large scale burning of building debris, dead livestock and other waste occurs, it will increase emissions of fine particles (PM2.5) and EPA should rework its air monitoring plan to increase monitoring of open...

RAILROADS RIP NEW SOUTH COAST ATTEMPT TO REGULATE EMISSIONS

Railroad companies are blasting a new rulemaking by the South Coast air district to regulate multiple emissions at their facilities, repeating arguments that such action is preempted by federal law and saying it jeopardizes a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) with state air officials to reduce emissions. The district's efforts may lead to a court challenge that could test a local air district's ability to regulate various railroad activities as an indirect or area-wide source under the state's toxic hot...

AUTO PLANT OBJECTION TO GHG CAP-AND-TRADE REFLECTS CAL/EPA CHALLENGE

A California plant that assembles select Toyota and General Motors automobiles is the first major industrial facility to outright object to Cal/EPA-floated options for a carbon cap-and-trade program to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions sought by the governor. The company's objections, along with indications of further industry opposition in the coming months, are making the agency's task increasingly challenging, sources said. Meanwhile, administration officials this week floated several more GHG-reduction strategies for industrial sectors, including fees on carbon emissions...

CIRCUIT RULING MAY VASTLY BROADEN EPA NAAQS DEADLINE AUTHORITY

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit provides EPA broad discretion in giving a California area more time to meet a statutory clean air deadline, potentially granting the agency much more leeway in allowing additional time -- without penalty -- for other areas to meet national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), environmentalists say. The court agreed with EPA in Association of Irritated Residents v. EPA et al., that the agency has authority to extend...

ENGINE MAKERS, REFINERS FACE OFF ON POSSIBLE EPA DIESEL RULE WAIVER

Petrochemical refiners are urging EPA to relax sulfur limits in diesel fuel in response to hydrogen supply disruptions resulting from Hurricane Katrina. But engine manufacturers are opposing the effort, saying it may damage many engines and increase particulate matter emissions. The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association is talking to EPA about a possible waiver of a nationwide, year-round limit of 500 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur in diesel fuel because of damage to hydrogen supply operations along the Gulf...

EPA ADVISERS RAISE CONCERN OVER AIR IMPACTS OF HURRICANE SEDIMENT

EPA's science advisers are raising concerns that dust generated by contaminated sediment left behind by New Orleans floodwaters could pose public health threats. As a result, members of a special Science Advisory Board (SAB) workgroup are urging the agency to develop a plan for monitoring air particles from sediment dust, which the agency could use to issue public health warnings and determine when people could move back into flooded residential areas of the city. The panelists said on a Sept...

Senator Proposes Economic Aid To Automakers That Improve Fuel Economy

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is proposing for the government to help the auto industry with its employees' health care costs if the industry commits to producing cleaner-running and more efficient vehicles, in response to concerns about U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The proposal could foreshadow a Democratic strategy as Congress likely considers a new round of energy legislation in the face of record gasoline prices and fuel shortages following Hurricane Katrina. In a Sept. 15 speech at Resources for the...

Senators Resist CAFE Increase Amid Talk Of Post-Katrina Energy Bills

Key senators appear to be resisting new vehicle fuel efficiency measures despite talk of legislation to remedy energy supply and demand problems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, hinting at continued uphill battles for groups that touted, but failed to have included, conservation and alternatives to energy development in a recently approved energy law. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) told reporters Sept. 13 that the idea of boosting corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for...

Pages

Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive environmental policy reporting.