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.

EPA CAFO STUDY MAY INCLUDE CHICKEN FARMS AFTER TYSON JOINS PACT

Food giant Tyson Foods' participation in EPA's controversial clean air consent decree appears likely to guarantee that the agency's related study of farm sector emissions will include a focus on chicken farms because of the company's enormous holding in chicken farms. However, it is still not certain whether the agency has been able to win sufficient participation in the deal to study emissions from dairy and turkey farms, according to agency and industry sources. While the inclusion of pork producers...

AIR OFFICE FACES CRITICISM OVER FAILURE TO ISSUE METHYL BROMIDE RULE

EPA's air office is under growing pressure, both internally and from chemical industry and farm groups, to issue a rule allowing additional critical uses of the banned pesticide methyl bromide in 2005, as agreed to by the parties to an international treaty. EPA has yet to issue the rule despite meeting two months ago with industry groups which highlighted the urgent need to move quickly. Industry sources now fear the agency will act too late for them to be able...

GROUPS FORECAST SLEW OF NEW REGULATIONS UNDER PM COARSE STANDARD

Observers from academia, industry and activist groups forecast a host of new regulations for factories, the construction industry and even brake pad composition if EPA presses ahead with a new particulate matter (PM) standard for coarse particles known as urban "PM coarse." At the same time, almost no interest group appears to be happy with the proposal by EPA staff to regulate urban PM coarse but exclude rural areas from standards. Environmentalists think the standard should apply everywhere, and industry...

'RESIDUAL RISK' RULE FOR GAS TERMINALS UNLIKELY TO IMPOSE NEW CUTS

EPA is winning approval from industry groups over its second proposed residual risk rule, which addresses gas terminals, and like the program's first rule does not require any additional pollution reductions from industry. Environmentalists say they have not had time to review the new rule. However, the measure closely tracks the controversial provisions in the residual risk rule for coke ovens that EPA finalized this spring, which states and activist groups both criticized for violating the Clean Air Act, although...

ENVIRONMENTALISTS QUESTION EPA REVIEW OF RISK-BASED AIR TOXICS RULE

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is warning that EPA must initiate a new air toxics rulemaking process because the agency's administrative reconsideration of its controversial risk-based exemptions for industrial boilers and process heaters unlawfully broadens the universe of emissions sources eligible for the waiver. "Extending the risk-based exemptions beyond the large solid-fuel subcategory [of industrial boilers and process heaters] is not simply a [clarification] of the final rule but a fundamental change that requires a separate notice and comment...

EPA REVIEW OF LEAD PAINT RULE'S COSTS LEADS ACTIVISTS TO CONTINUE SUIT

Despite an EPA commitment to develop lead paint cleanup regulations, environmentalists are vowing to continue pressing a suit against the agency over concerns EPA is considering the costs of different regulatory options, which the activists fear may help justify limiting the rule's public health protections. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) recently released internal EPA documents detailing the agency's initial plans for certification requirements for cleanup professionals that address lead-based paint contamination. The group, which represents agency employees, says the...

CALIFORNIA BILL WOULD REQUIRE GHG RULES FOR STATIONARY SOURCES

California assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D), who authored landmark 2002 state legislation requiring greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions from new vehicles, is floating a bill that directs the state's environmental protection agency (Cal/EPA) to draft rules for capping GHG emissions from certain stationary sources. However, the legislation, which directs Cal/EPA to draft plans for instituting a cap on GHG from the electrical, power, industrial and commercial sectors is not expected to be advanced this year, but is intended to serve as...

BARTON CLIMATE INQUIRY DRAWS CRITICISM FROM KEY SCIENTIFIC GROUPS

Efforts by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) to investigate the findings and funding sources of three prominent climate scientists are prompting strenuous objections from the leaders of key scientific groups, other lawmakers and a prominent GOP committee chairman. In late June, Barton sent letters to three climate scientists seeking background data and their funding sources for research which has backed a broadly cited finding from a key United Nations (U.N.) climate report that 20th century temperature increases...

CONGRESSIONAL STUDY DETAILS EPA POWER TO REGULATE CHEMICAL SECURITY

Congressional researchers are suggesting that EPA has always had the authority under the Clean Air Act and other statutes needed to force the chemical industry to shore up security vulnerabilities, even though the Bush administration has downgraded the agency's role on the issue in favor of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The issue of whether EPA can secure the industry may reemerge if an upcoming legislative push in the Senate fails to gain traction, particularly because the administration recently...

GAO SUGGESTS NEW POLICIES TO ADDRESS CROSS-BORDER EMISSIONS

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is outlining a number of options for lawmakers to address cross-border power plant emissions, including an emissions trading program with Mexico and requirements for Mexican plants to meet emission control requirements if they import electricity into the United States. At the same time, GAO found that emissions from certain natural gas plants across the border are already similar to levels at U.S. plants -- possibly undermining the rationale for more controls. GAO finds in an...

Navy Considers Broad Conservation Incentives Amid Rising Fuel Prices

As oil prices soar to new highs, Navy energy officials are seeking to modify the service's fuel efficiency program by creating a service-wide cash incentive scheme, instead of allowing fleets to individually pursue such fuel savings, a Navy spokesman says. Currenty, the Pacific Fleet and the Fleet Forces Command each decide whether and how to implement the Navy's Incentivized Energy Conservation Program (ENCON) on a year-to-year basis, the spokesman explains. The ENCON program encourages fuel conservation by allowing skippers who...

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Consider Effort To Stop State Mercury Rule

A bipartisan group of Pennsylvania lawmakers may launch a legislative effort to bar the state from adopting a mercury rule stricter than the new federal plan to cut mercury emissions from power plants. Sources in the offices of Sen. Mary Jo White, the Republican chairwoman of Pennsylvania's Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and Raphael Musto, the ranking Democrat on the same committee, say a legislative effort is "not off the table" following the Aug. 16 vote by the state's...

EPA Guidance May Include First-Time Air Toxic Controls In SIP Process

EPA is working on guidance for states to include in their air quality plans for the first time controls on air toxics as well as "criteria" pollutants, which would represent a major consolidation of the Clean Air Act responsibilities of local officials. But EPA is getting mixed reaction from its regions and state air officials who say the potential change, aimed at streamlining the state planning process, could instead create complications. The agency is seeking comment from its 10 regional...

Facilities May Avoid NSR Under EPA Plan For Flexible Operating Permits

EPA is considering a proposed rulemaking that would offer a more flexible version of its federal clean air operating permits program under Title V of the Clean Air Act, agency officials say, which could allow some utilities and manufacturing industries to avoid new source review (NSR) requirements. A more flexible operating permit would set overall emission caps on all or part of a facility, and in exchange the facility would not have to obtain NSR permits for any modifications during...

EPA Weighs Interim Rule To Implement Energy Law's Fuel Mandate

Faced with conflicting deadlines in the new energy law, EPA is considering whether to issue an interim rulemaking by early next year offering ground rules for a flexible trading program to implement the law's renewable fuels mandate beginning Jan. 1, 2006, according to agency and oil industry sources. The agency is considering the interim rule amid industry concerns that a possible EPA resource crunch could complicate the agency's ability to provide clear requirements to companies planning their compliance strategies under...

EPA EYES NEW RISK APPROACH TO ADDRESS FACILITIES' AIR TOXICS EMISSIONS

EPA may craft a new rule that would overhaul its air toxics program by requiring individual pollution reduction plans for facilities that pose a high risk to public health, and exempting low-risk facilities from compliance with any future standards. The rule could replace a host of pending standards under the agency's "residual risk" program, which sets air toxics requirements for industrial sources that still pose a health risk after the agency issues maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rules for the...

ENVIRONMENTALISTS QUESTION EPA REVIEW OF RISK-BASED AIR TOXICS RULE

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is warning that EPA must initiate a new air toxics rulemaking process because the agency's administrative reconsideration of its controversial risk-based exemptions for industrial boilers and process heaters unlawfully broadens the universe of emissions sources eligible for the waiver. The opposition comes as the Defense Department and industry are embracing the exemptions approach. "Extending the risk-based exemptions beyond the large solid-fuel subcategory [of industrial boilers and process heaters] is not simply a 'clarif[ication]' of...

STATES PUSH EPA TO SLOW DECISION ON MAJOR OVERHAUL OF VOC POLICY

State officials are urging EPA to delay announcing its recent decision to initiate a rulemaking for overhauling the way it regulates ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), charging that EPA developed the proposal after consulting mainly with industry groups. EPA is set before the end of August to more forward with its recent decision to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for a new rule on how to regulate the compounds based on their potential to form ozone, according...

Congressional Study Details EPA Power To Regulate Chemical Security

Congressional researchers are suggesting that EPA has always had the statutory authority needed to force the chemical industry to shore up security vulnerabilities, even though the Bush administration has downgraded the agency's role on the issue in favor of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The issue of whether EPA can secure the industry may reemerge if an upcoming legislative push in the Senate fails to gain traction, particularly because the administration recently testified to Congress that voluntary programs fail...

Simulated Chemical Attack May Improve EPA Risk Assessment Measures

EPA sources say an ongoing simulated gaseous release in New York City will help emergency responders develop an improved strategy for reacting 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 is being conducted through the week under the New York City Urban Dispersion Program, which will provide unprecedented data for EPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the...

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