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.

ENGINE MAKERS POISED TO RE-CHALLENGE CALIFORNIA FLEET FUEL RULES

Engine makers and the petroleum industry are poised to re-challenge a California air district's alternative-fuel vehicle fleet rules in federal appellate court, sources say. The appeal will likely seek to overturn or clarify a controversial district court ruling earlier this year that air officials interpreted as supporting their rules for both public and private fleets. The case is significant because it tests whether regulators can prohibit public agencies -- and private entities that contract with public agencies -- from buying...

CALIFORNIA AGREES TO REVISE EFFICIENCY STANDARDS TO MIRROR ENERGY STAR

The consumer electronics industry and EPA have successfully convinced the California Energy Commission (CEC) to revise time lines in several of the state's mandatory efficiency standards to mirror the voluntary Energy Star program run by EPA and the Department of Energy. Industry officials say the timing issue was crucial, because the effectiveness of the Energy Star program could have been undermined if the state's standards had been stricter or taken effect earlier. The program allows products that meet its efficiency...

California Downplays SIP Impacts Of Proposed Clean-Fuel Waiver

California officials poised to approve an emergency waiver of their clean-gasoline vapor pressure standard to increase fuel supply to the state in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are downplaying expected air pollution impacts, and note that EPA has indicated these impacts will not be counted against their state implementation plan (SIP) to meet federal ambient air quality standards. California, along with a handful of other states, must change their own clean-fuel rules to provide supply relief despite a recent EPA...

EPA Particulate Matter Rules Face Senate Scrutiny At Upcoming Hearing

The chairman of the Senate's Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety subcommittee is planning a hearing within weeks to raise concerns about EPA's possible release of new, more stringent particulate matter (PM) standards in December, according to a Republican source. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), who chairs the subcommittee under the Environment and Public Works Committee, 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...

States Seek Emission-Reduction Credits For Clean-Energy Projects

State officials are finding it difficult to obtain credit in their air quality plans for energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) projects, charging that EPA has imposed too many obstacles to using these and other innovative strategies for meeting strict new ozone and particulate matter standards. Very few states to date have sought to use clean energy projects in their state implementation plans (SIPs), and critics say EPA has imposed time-consuming requirements for states to demonstrate the precise impacts of...

Novel BRAC Proposal Prompts State Efforts To Limit Urban Sprawl

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) has announced plans to form a working group to quickly respond to the base closure commission's novel demand that the state and local governments act in the next several months to curb urban sprawl that interferes with operations at the Navy's master jet air base in Oceana, VA, or risk shutdown of the base. Environmentalists and energy conservation advocates have also raised concerns with urban sprawl, saying it contributes to air and water pollution through...

Army Considers Coal-Gasification Technology To Cut Power Plant Emissions

Army officials are considering retrofitting seven aging coal-fired power plants with a new technology that produces electricity from cleaner-burning gasified coal -- a move that could provide a major boost to the nascent gasification industry and keep the military service in line with EPA emissions rules, Army officials and environmentalists say. The gasification technology, known as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), allows facilities to gasify coal to use as a cleaner fuel source, while easing the ability to capture harmful...

Findings Prompt EPA Staff To Eye First-Time Expansion Of Air Toxics List

Prompted by new scientific data from more than a dozen states, EPA staff 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...

Gas Stations Split With Big Oil In Seeking Broader EPA Clean-Fuel Waiver

Independent 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 asking that EPA waive nationwide its gasoline requirements for smog-ridden areas. But oil companies say the waiver would cause market disturbances that could further contribute to fuel disruptions. The Petroleum Marketers Association of America...

ARMY EYES GASIFIED COAL TECHNOLOGY TO LOWER POWER PLANT EMISSIONS

Army installations officials are considering retrofitting seven aging coal-fired power plants with a new technology that produces power from cleaner-burning gasified coal -- a move that could provide a major boost to the nascent gasification industry and keep the Army in line with EPA emissions rules, Army officials and activists say. The gasification technology, known as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), allows facilities to gasify coal to use as a clean-burning fuel source, while easing the ability to capture harmful...

ARMY EMPHASIZES INCENTIVES, PENALTIES IN DRAFT ENERGY STRATEGY

Army energy officials are proposing a new system of wide-ranging incentives and penalties that will make changes in the areas of acquisition, funding, and installation management to realize energy savings goals laid out in the Army's recently adopted Energy Strategy for Installations. The incentives system is one of several new policy initiatives called for in the first draft of the Army Energy Campaign Plan, which the Army unveiled Aug. 17 at the Department of Energy's Energy 2005 conference in Long...

EPA QUIETLY UNVEILS GUIDE ALLOWING NEW STATE APPROACH FOR VOC RULES

EPA has quietly unveiled a long-planned change to its policy for regulating volatile organic compounds (VOCs), issuing an interim guidance that allows states to set the stringency of new rules on a sliding scale based on a compound's reactivity. The document, posted on EPA's website Aug. 26 ahead of planned publication in the Federal Register , encourages states to adopt the new approach where feasible. If states adopt a reactivity approach, those VOCs would be given ratings on a scale...

EPA LOOKS TO SIMULATED CHEMICAL ATTACK TO BOOST RISK ASSESSMENTS

EPA sources say a recent simulated gaseous release in New York will help emergency workers respond to a chemical attack or a major accidental spill in densely populated areas, and could improve EPA's ability to assess public health risks from such releases. The federally funded simulation was conducted last month as part of a New York City research initiative, which will generate unprecedented data for EPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the...

Industry Groups Prepare To Sue EPA Over Regional Haze Rule

Industry groups that represent coal producers and utilities are preparing to sue 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 groups plan to file court papers on Sept. 6 to challenge the rule, according to an industry source who declined to specify the names of the groups. A group representing producers and suppliers, Center for Energy and...

Global Warming Case Shows Split Among Circuit Courts On Right To Sue

A federal judge's decision last week allowing environmentalists and cities to sue U.S. export agencies over their failure to consider the global warming impacts of their decisions highlights a split among 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 by...

EPA Faces Possible Lawsuits Over Air Toxics Rule For Waste Incineration

EPA faces a possible renewed legal challenge from both industry and environmentalists over its revised air toxics rule for facilities burning hazardous waste, four years after a federal court backed an earlier lawsuit and ordered the agency to rewrite its original proposal. The Cement Kiln Recycling Coalition (CKRC), which was the lead industry plaintiff in the original suit against the agency, is concerned about the regulation's risk assessment requirements. One industry source says the group is considering litigation on the...

San Francisco Bay TMDL Could Boost Novel Mercury Trading Plan

A California plan laying out mercury cleanup goals for the San Francisco Bay could lay the groundwork for a novel mercury water quality trading scheme, the nation's first, if the state water quality board endorses a trading option it is considering at a planned Sept. 7 meeting, EPA and state sources say. While the options the board is considering do not detail how a trading scheme would operate, sources familiar with the effort say it would likely allow wastewater treatment...

EPA WEIGHING QUESTIONS OVER SCOPE OF CONTROVERSIAL NSR REGULATION

EPA officials appear to be debating the scope of a controversial new rule adopting an interpretation of new source review (NSR) requirements that would further open the door to extensive modifications to existing power plants without case-by-case environmental reviews, according to knowledgeable sources and draft rule language. The options include an approach that would adopt the more lenient interpretation nationwide and an option that would restrict the flexibility to the 28 states subject to EPA's clean air interstate rule (CAIR)...

NEW DATA PROMPT EPA STAFF TO EYE AIR TOXICS LIST FOR HYDROGEN SULFIDE

Prompted by new scientific data from more than a dozen states, EPA staff 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...

STATES STRUGGLING TO WIN AIR PLAN CREDITS FOR CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS

State officials are finding it difficult to obtain credit in their air quality plans for energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) projects, charging that EPA has imposed too many obstacles to using these and other innovative strategies for meeting strict new ozone and particulate matter standards. Very few states to date have sought to use clean energy projects in their state implementation plans (SIPs), and critics say EPA has imposed time-consuming requirements for states to demonstrate the precise impacts of...

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