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.

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 Sep...

Report Cites Katrina In Urging Insurers To Reduce Climate Change Risks

A coalition of investment funds and environmentalists is citing the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in a report to insurers on the economic costs of climate change, in an attempt to pressure companies to reduce greenhouse gases. The group argues that it makes good business sense for insurers to assess the financial risks of climate change, and that current climate trends are driving up insurance policy premiums and will eventually limit the availability of coverage. Ceres -- a national coalition...

GLOBAL WARMING SUIT HIGHLIGHTS APPEALS COURTS' SPLITS ON STANDING

A federal judge's recent decision allowing environmentalists and cities to sue U.S. export agencies over their failure to consider the global warming impacts of their decisions is highlighting a split in the appellate circuits over when plaintiffs have standing to sue in cases where defendants failed to follow procedural rules, according to legal experts. The experts say these differences between appellate courts could be the basis for parties to seek Supreme Court review on the issue. The Aug. 23 decision...

Engine Makers, Refiners Face Off On Possible EPA Waiver Of Diesel Sulfur Rule

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 emissions of particulate matter. The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association is talking to EPA about a possible waiver on a nation-wide, year-round limit of 500 parts-per-million (ppm) of sulfur in diesel fuel because of damage to hydrogen supply operations in the Gulf Coast...

California Revives Oil Conservation Legislation Amid Katrina Aftermath

Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Gulf Coast has prompted California Assembly leaders this week to revive legislation that would require the state to reduce its petroleum use, in part by mandating that air and energy regulations focus on energy efficiency and alternative fuels. The California legislation may foreshadow efforts on the national level as Congress also searches for ways to ease fuel disruptions caused by the hurricane and diversify the nation's energy supplies to avoid future shortages. The California legislation,...

ARB REJECTS RELAXING CLEAN DIESEL REGS DESPITE TRUCKER OUTCRY

Despite a trucking industry plea this week to the governor, air board officials say they have no plan to ease the state's clean-diesel fuel regulations, even with record-high prices and very tight supplies being exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina. Trucking industry representatives are blasting the air board position, saying that a recent emergency U.S. EPA waiver of its diesel fuel sulfur limit shows that such a move would help increase supply and keep prices from further skyrocketing. While the Air Resources...

GROUPS PREFER MULTI-SECTOR, GEOGRAPHICALLY BROAD GHG TRADING SCHEME

Industry representatives and environmentalists participating in Cal/EPA's initiative to create the governor's greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction program generally agree that a potential carbon cap-and-trade scheme must include multiple industry sectors and should likely extend beyond California. Properly crafting the California proposal is crucial to the future acceptance of such trading programs elsewhere as well as the ability of state participants to eventually dovetail with potential national programs, sources say. Cal/EPA and other administration officials serving on the governor's Climate...

ARB DOWNPLAYS POLLUTION IMPACT OF CLEAN-FUEL STANDARD RELAXATION

Air board officials are downplaying the pollution impacts of their proposed emergency waiver of a clean-gasoline vapor pressure standard, saying that only volatile emissions will increase and that compliance with their federally approved state implementation plan (SIP) will be maintained. Officials at press time were poised to approve the emergency regulatory amendment, which aims to bolster gasoline supplies and help prevent price spikes otherwise expected as a result of Hurricane Katrina's impacts on fuel supplies. Some environmentalists are criticizing the...

FORMER CANDIDATES FOR ARB CHAIR REEMERGE IN WAKE OF TUCK OUSTER

Environmentalists are eyeing a short list of candidates they see likely to replace outgoing air board chair Cindy Tuck, following the Senate's decision last week to remove her from her post. Environmentalists point to the same candidates they had supported during the administration's appointment process earlier this year as the most likely choices to replace Tuck. An environmentalist said it will be difficult to predict who Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will appoint, considering that he chose Tuck despite the fact that...

Correction

In the Aug. 26 issue, an article about a Department of Pesticide Regulation environmental justice project incorrectly stated that DPR is monitoring for 21 pesticides, while the Air Resources Board is monitoring for three. DPR is monitoring for 26 pesticides and ARB is monitoring for nine, including sulfur, according to DPR. The story also incorrectly characterized the opinion of sources on the local advisory group as the group's official position. Source: Inside Cal/EPA via InsideEPA.com Issue: Vol. 16, No. 36

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY DISTRICT RECONSIDERS EXPENSIVE WINERY CONTROLS

The San Joaquin Valley air district, home to some of California's largest wineries, has agreed to consider less expensive ways to reduce ozone-forming emissions at the vineyards than those outlined in a draft rule, which could have set a national precedent requiring each fermenter to be retrofitted with expensive control devices. Instead, the district has put together a draft alternative compliance plan that allows vintners to pay into a mitigation fund or make pollution reductions elsewhere, such as through cleaner...

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...

GAS STATIONS SPLIT WITH BIG OIL IN SEEKING BROADER EPA CLEAN-FUEL WAIVER

Gas station operators are opposing big oil companies and refiners by urging EPA to expand a clean-fuel waiver issued last week in response to fuel disruptions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Concerned about rising gasoline prices and waning sales, the gas station operators are renewing a long-standing push by asking that EPA waive nationwide its gasoline requirements for smog-ridden areas. But oil companies, who have long been wary of such a waiver, say the push would result in market...

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...

NORTH CAROLINA MAY SUE EPA OVER EXCLUSION OF GEORGIA FROM SIP CALL

Officials in North Carolina are considering a lawsuit over an EPA plan to exempt the entire state of Georgia from a regional nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction plan known as the NOx SIP call. The officials are also opposing the agency's conclusions that pollution sources in Georgia will not impact North Carolina's ability to attain a new ozone standard. A source with the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources says state air officials will consult with the attorney general's...

ON EVE OF PROPOSAL, NORTHEAST EMISSIONS PLAN STILL FACES QUESTIONS

The Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has issued a straw proposal of its long-awaited plan to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power generators in the region, but sources familiar with the nation's first broad-based, mandatory CO2-reduction cap caution that an agreement is far from sealed as a slew of questions remain on a number of critical details. The plan -- which would cut CO2 emissions in the nine participating states by 10 percent in 2020 and which was...

EPA WEIGHS REGULATING HYDROGEN SULFIDE AS HAZARDOUS AIR POLLUTANT

Prompted by new scientific data from more than a dozen states, EPA officials are considering whether to recommend to senior officials that the agency list hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) in its air toxics program, which would likely prompt new emissions control requirements, agency sources say. If the agency decides to move forward with a listing, which environmentalists asked the agency to do in 1999, it would mark the first time EPA has added an air...

VOINOVICH EYES SENATE 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 LANGUAGE 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...

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