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 Likely To Seek Full Appellate Review Of Rare 'Vacatur' Of Air Rule

EPA is planning to appeal a precedent-setting federal appellate decision vacating a clean air rule because agency officials fear it could set a dangerous precedent for immediately vacating defective air quality standards rather than remanding them to the agency for reconsideration, sources tracking the issue say. EPA is particularly worried that if the ruling is allowed to stand, future courts can rely on the precedent to vacate rules that could be easily remedied, leaving the agency without any standard and...

Industry Eyes Possible Fixes To EPA Implementation Of New Ozone Standards

Industry officials are preparing to ask EPA to make a series of fixes that would likely ease requirements for complying with the agency's strict new ozone standard, according to an internal industry e-mail. A number of industry groups including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is considering filing an administrative petition with EPA that will ask the agency to make the changes to its rule implementing the agency's 8-hour ozone standard, according to a NAM e-mail sent to its members...

EPA To Decide On Easing Ozone Requirements For Michigan

EPA is poised to make a decision on a request by state regulators to ease ozone requirements for Detroit, arguing that the proposal would soften economic hardships throughout the southeast region of Michigan. The request has political implications as the state is a battleground in the presidential race, and the state's economic woes are viewed as a political vulnerability for President Bush's re-election bid. But environmentalists warn that approving the request would set a dangerous precedent for EPA's air program...

Democrats Eye Budget 'Rider' For EPA To Conduct Study On Mercury Rule

Congressional Democrats are considering plans to attach a legislative rider to EPA's upcoming budget bill that would force the agency to conduct studies on its controversial mercury emissions plan that top officials have so far declined to conduct. One House Democratic source says the rider would not ban EPA from finalizing its mercury trading proposal -- a plan critics say would delay adequate reductions for too long -- but would instead earmark funding which the agency would be required to...

OIL INDUSTRY SEEKS TO DOWNPLAY RISKS OF VAPOR INTRUSION IN EPA GUIDE

The oil industry is developing recommendations on assessing petroleum-associated air toxics risks in an effort to downplay EPA risk estimates in a forthcoming agency guidance on how to limit indoor air contamination caused by leaking underground storage tanks (USTs). The American Petroleum Institute (API) is finalizing its document and will present it to EPA as the agency develops an appendix to a controversial guidance on addressing so-called vapor intrusion, which refers to indoor air contamination resulting from soil contamination that...

DOD OBJECTS TO STRINGENT COLORADO INDOOR AIR STANDARDS FOR TCE

The Defense Department is calling Colorado's decision to adopt a stringent indoor air policy for trichloroethylene (TCE) premature, pointing to the unresolved controversy over the scientific values on which the state bases its screening and remediation policy. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) Aug. 20 finalized an interim policy that sets 0.016 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m 3 ) of TCE in air as a screening level -- the first test to determine whether cleanup should be...

Senate Staff Eye Broad Tax Bill As New Vehicle To Renew Wind Energy Credits

Democratic and Republican staff in the Senate say renewal of a wind energy tax credit could be approved as part of catch-all tax code extension legislation if Congress fails to adopt comprehensive energy legislation or an export tax reform bill that both include the wind provisions. The energy legislation and export tax bill have been mired by partisan politics and passage this year appears uncertain at best for either proposal. With approximately three weeks remaining in this year's legislative session,...

NCSL ENVIRONMENT PANEL CHIEF FACES OPPOSITION TO CLEAN AIR PLANS

Maryland State Del. Jim Hubbard (D), the recently appointed chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures's (NCSL) environment committee, is facing tough industry opposition to his plans for the group to formally oppose the Bush administration's air quality initiatives. Hubbard -- whose recent appointment drew opposition from the utility industry -- is taking the helm amid growing industry efforts to block NCSL and other state groups from adopting positions supporting strict environmental requirements, particularly on air quality issues. "There...

INDUSTRY WARNS ARB FARMERS READY TO 'COME UNGLUED' OVER SB 700

Dairy industry representatives warned air board staff last week that farmers are poised to "come unglued" over staff's forthcoming decisions to subject large confined animal facilities (CAFs) to first-time permits and pollution control measures. Staff is collecting input from industry in its effort to define large CAFs by next summer, as required by a controversial 2003 law that lifted a decades-old Clean Air Act regulatory exemption for California agriculture facilities. Air Resources Board staff is required to review scientific information,...

OIL INDUSTRY BALKS AT SOUTH COAST FLARE EMISSION REDUCTION PLAN

Oil industry representatives are opposing South Coast air district plans to craft regulatory amendments requiring flare emission reductions at refineries and other facilities, arguing that voluntary efforts have significantly reduced the pollution and that further controls are unnecessary and carry unacceptable costs. The industry's opposition may complicate or draw out district efforts to craft the regulatory amendments, despite the release of a new report that shows the flares result in substantial emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx). The rule amendments may...

ARB MAY SEEK L.A. CLEAN FLEET EXEMPTION UNDER EXISTING EPA WAIVERS

Air Resources Board officials may seek to legalize the South Coast air district's partially voided clean-fleet rules by asking U.S. EPA to include them in existing waivers granted to ARB by EPA for other Clean Air Act exemptions, such as for state rules cracking down on heavy-duty vehicle emissions, according to a district source. ARB would seek public comment on its potential proposal before petitioning EPA, said the district source. The Supreme Court ruled in April that when applied to...

ARB TO CHARGE LARGE STATIONARY SOURCES ADDITIONAL $2.6 MILLION

Air Resources Board staff is proposing regulations to implement an additional $2.6 million in fees this fiscal year on large stationary sources to fund programs whose general funding has been cut over the past two years. The $2.6 million approved in the recently adopted Fiscal Year (FY) 2004-05 budget adds to $17.4 million approved in the FY 2003-04 budget. The $17.4 million applies not only to large stationary sources emitting more than 250 tons per year of pollution, but also...

OIL INDUSTRY SEEKS EPA HELP TO MEET UPCOMING CLEAN-DIESEL STANDARD

Petroleum industry groups are in discussions with U.S. EPA about overcoming what the groups say are technical obstacles to transporting fuel that complies with an upcoming standard for cleaner burning highway diesel fuel. Sources say the industry may urge EPA to offer incentives or use its enforcement discretion if fuel suppliers fall short of the new requirements. Industry officials say the biggest unknown in meeting the new requirements is how to avoid downstream contamination of the fuel. The product has...

EPA WORKING WITH STATES, INDUSTRY TO IMPROVE EMISSIONS ESTIMATES

U.S. EPA has launched initiatives with industry and states to improve pollution estimates, known as emissions factors, which are often the basis for air permit limits, but are widely criticized as inaccurate and outdated. But environmentalists are wary of EPA's effort to build "partnerships" with industry groups to promote research on improving the data in the absence of government funding. They are also skeptical about the agency's plan to develop rules or guidance for states on how to use emissions...

PETROLEUM INDUSTRY SEEKS EPA HELP IN MEETING DIESEL FUEL STANDARDS

Petroleum industry groups and EPA are discussing how the industry can overcome significant technical obstacles to transporting clean fuel under a pending highway diesel standard, with sources saying the industry may urge EPA to offer incentives or use enforcement discretion if the industry falls short of the mark. Industry officials say the biggest unknown in meeting the new requirement is how to avoid downstream contamination of the fuel. The product must move from the refineries, to terminals, through pipelines and...

ENVIRONMENTALISTS SAY AEP PROPOSAL WILL BOOST COAL GASIFICATION

Environmentalists say a pledge by American Electric Power (AEP) that it will build at least one coal gasification power plant within the next decade may provide critics of proposed traditional coal-fired plants ammunition in pressing regulators to require the utility industry to consider the newer technology. An August announcement by the company suggests the cost of building gasification projects could be less than the estimated cost of one such plan rejected last year by Wisconsin regulators on cost grounds, one...

NCSL ENVIRONMENT PANEL CHIEF FACES OPPOSITION TO CLEAN AIR PLANS

State Del. Jim Hubbard (D-MD), the recently appointed chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures's (NCSL) environment committee, is facing tough industry opposition to his plans for the group to formally oppose the Bush administration's air quality initiatives. Hubbard -- whose recent appointment drew opposition from the utility industry -- is taking the helm amid growing industry efforts to block NCSL and other state groups from adopting positions supporting strict environmental requirements, particularly on air quality issues. "There is...

NRDC BLASTS EPA'S BUILDING CODE COMPARISON WITH NSR COST THRESHOLD

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is taking issue with EPA's justification of its cost-based threshold to exclude facility upgrades from new source review (NSR) requirements, after the agency compared its threshold to similar approaches used in building codes. A source with the group also claims the comparison between EPA's 20 percent cost exclusion and exceptions from building codes for remodeling work was designed as an after-the-fact way for industry to help the agency win its court fight over the...

KEY SCIENTIFIC PANEL'S NSR REVIEW HAMPERED BY LACK OF HARD DATA

A key scientific panel is struggling to gather quantitative data detailing the new source review (NSR) air permitting program's impacts on the electric utility industry, causing frustration just weeks before the panel begins to develop preliminary conclusions about how the controversial NSR reforms are affecting air quality and public health, sources say. "There has not been a lot of effort to collect and analyze the kind of data [the committee is] looking for," a source close to the study says...

GROUPS ASK DOI TO INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF NATIONAL PARK'S AIR QUALITY

Environmentalists and an outdoor recreation group have filed an unusual petition with the Department of the Interior (DOI) in an attempt to force EPA and the state of Colorado to reduce air pollution at one of the nation's most popular outdoor attractions, Rocky Mountain National Park. Demanding a variety of federal and state regulatory actions, the groups are also criticizing a voluntary plan to reduce ozone in the Denver area as insufficient to protect the park. Environmental Defense and Colorado...

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