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.

KERRY COAL PLAN TARGETS KEY STATES, SEEKS CLIMATE CHANGE COMPROMISE

Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) campaign proposal to boost clean coal is seeking to convey a more activist position on climate change than President Bush, while simultaneously assuring coal states that Kerry would favor low-emission coal technologies and only modest regulatory measures to curb global warming, environmentalists and industry observers say. While the Aug. 19 proposal outlines new details of how Kerry would implement a $10 billion plan for encouraging research on and deployment of advanced coal technologies, the document offers...

ACTIVISTS SAY SENATORS' REMARKS SHOW MOMENTUM FOR CLIMATE BILL

Environmentalists say recent remarks by two Republican senators who had voted against legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions may show increasing support for such measures, after the lawmakers cited the need to address global warming while on a fact-finding trip to Norway on climate change. "I voted against it, but I am more open to voting differently now," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the lawmakers on the trip, according to a translation of an Aug. 23 Norwegian press...

FEDERAL, STATE OFFICIALS EYE REGULATORY IMPACTS OF CO2 STORAGE

Federal and state officials are beginning to consider the regulatory implications of storing carbon dioxide (CO2) underground to address global warming, with EPA forming a new workgroup on the issue and energy-producing states developing recommendations on potential state regulatory changes, according to government sources. Although research on sequestering CO2 is at an early stage, government-sponsored projects are moving toward injecting small quantities of CO2 underground to study its effects and scientists' ability to track the materials, federal officials say. An...

EPA MODELING CITES BENEFITS OF MERCURY TRADING IN INTERSTATE AIR RULE

EPA will soon unveil long-awaited modeling data on the combined impact of the administration's controversial mercury emissions plan and the "co-benefits" resulting from the agency's rule on pollution transported across states, according to a top air program official. High-level agency officials promised several months ago that EPA would conduct additional research on the mercury rule, but until now they have not elaborated on what that research might entail. But states and other outside groups, who have already analyzed the combined...

PETROLEUM INDUSTRY SEEKS EPA HELP IN MEETING DIESEL FUEL STANDARDS

Petroleum industry groups are engaged in discussion with EPA about how to meet huge technical obstacles to transporting clean fuel under a pending highway diesel standard, with sources saying they 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 has to move from the refineries, to terminals, through pipelines...

EPA WORKING WITH STATES, INDUSTRY TO IMPROVE EMISSIONS ESTIMATES

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 factors...

PACT WITH OIL COMPANY MAY HELP EPA DEVELOP GUIDE ON 'UPSET' EMISSIONS

EPA and the petrochemical company Flint Hills Resources (FHR) have agreed to develop and evaluate strategies for curtailing so-called "upset" emissions, in what agency and company sources say could lead to guidance to minimize such emissions from petroleum refineries and other industrial facilities. Agency and industry sources say the Aug. 6 agreement builds upon significant progress the company has made over the past several years in reducing upset emissions from flaring -- or combustion of gases often released during startup,...

JUDGE QUESTIONS INDUSTRY ABILITY TO LEGALLY CHALLENGE DATA LAW

Litigation challenging the data that agencies use in making decisions appears to have suffered a setback as a federal judge questioned whether industry groups in a key case have standing to sue and suggested that the data quality law does not allow courts to review the information. "I'm having trouble seeing [statutory] language that provides for judicial review" of data quality decisions, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said during Sept. 3 oral arguments in a case that industry sources...

STATES SAY SHORT COMMENT PERIOD HURT STUDY OF CAIR MODEL CHANGES

States are continuing to criticize EPA for providing what they say is inadequate time to review and comment on new modeling techniques for the clean air interstate rule (CAIR), which addresses transported air pollution. The Northeast States For Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the Ozone Transport Commission suspect technical inaccuracies in the new modeling methods that they say could make the CAIR plan appear more effective than states believe it actually is. However, both groups say they could not...

GEORGIA SEEKS REFORMULATED GAS WAIVER FOR ATLANTA-AREA COUNTIES

Georgia is seeking an EPA waiver sparing 13 counties surrounding Atlanta from a requirement that will likely force them to use the gasoline additive ethanol in order to comply with federal clean-air standards. The mandate, which is scheduled to take effect in 2005, would cost millions of dollars to implement and leave the state using three separate fuel mixtures, also leading to supply and distribution problems, the state's environmental protection director wrote in a letter to EPA. Georgia now joins...

CARMAKERS EYE FEDERAL PUSH TO PREEMPT HYBRID CARPOOL LANE ACCESS

Automakers opposed to a mileage requirement in a bill just passed by the California legislature that opens carpool lanes to some single-occupant hybrid vehicles are preparing to lobby the federal government to preempt the state from enacting the law. California needs federal approval to move forward, though the government has shown little appetite to stop states from imposing similar requirements. Federal regulators have already shown unwillingness to stop Virginia from illegally allowing hybrids to travel in high occupancy vehicle (HOV)...

OPPONENTS MULL LEGAL CHALLENGE TO CALIFORNIA AIR QUALITY FEE BILL

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) reportedly intends to sign a landmark state measure creating dedicated funding for certain air quality programs through new fees, leading opponents to consider drafting an argument that the fees are actually illegal taxes. The complaints center on a tire fee in the state legislature, introduced by Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh (D). The bill calls for a 75-cent increase to an existing $1 tire fee, with the extra revenue going to fund incentive-based air quality programs targeting...

PORT POLLUTION BILL SEEN AS ENVIRONMENTAL TEST FOR SCHWARZENEGGER

The California Legislature's just-passed bill that seeks to freeze air emissions from two ports presents Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) with a stark choice between siding with environmentalists who support the measure, or with a long list of business groups that oppose it. Some Schwarzenegger administration officials have voiced opposition to the bill, but sources say the governor has not yet indicated his stance on the legislation. The bill, AB 2042, requires the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to...

Petroleum Industry Seeks EPA Help To Meet Upcoming Clean-Diesel Standard

Petroleum industry groups are engaged in discussions with 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...

Environmentalists Say Utility Proposal Will Boost Calls For Coal-Gasification Plants

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 suggested the cost of building gasification projects could be less than the estimated costs of one such plan rejected last year by Wisconsin regulators on cost grounds, one...

States Say Short Comment Period Hurt Study Of Air Rule's Modeling Changes

States are continuing to criticize EPA for allegedly providing inadequate time to review and comment on new modeling techniques for the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which addresses transported air pollution. Both the Northeast States For Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the Ozone Transport Commission suspect there are technical inaccuracies in the new modeling methods that could make the CAIR rule appear more effective than states believe it actually is. However, both groups say they could not verify their...

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...

ARMY SAYS ANNISTON INCINERATOR PERMIT VIOLATIONS BEING ADDRESSED

The Army says it has already corrected most of the permit violations cited in an Aug. 26 notice from Alabama regulators, and is working to resolve the remaining issues. This is the second time this year the state has issued a notice of violation to the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF). "We have cleared up most of these issues. It is our goal to ensure that they do not occur again," ANCDF site project manager Timothy Garrett said in...

FEDERAL, STATE OFFICIALS EYE REGULATORY IMPACTS OF CO2 STORAGE

Federal and state officials are beginning to address the regulatory implications of storing, or sequestering, carbon dioxide (CO2) underground to address global warming, with EPA forming a new workgroup on the issue and energy-producing states developing recommendations on potential state regulatory changes, according to government sources. Although research on storing CO2 is at an early stage, government-sponsored projects are moving toward injecting small quantities of CO2 underground to study its effects and scientists' ability to track the materials, federal officials...

ACTIVISTS SAY SENATORS' REMARKS SHOW MOMENTUM FOR CLIMATE BILL

Environmentalists say recent remarks by two Republican senators who had voted against legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions may show increasing support for such measures, after the lawmakers cited the need to address global warming while on a fact-finding trip to Norway on climate change. "I voted against it, but I am more open to voting differently now," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the lawmakers on the trip, according to a translation of an Aug. 23 Norwegian press...

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