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.

WHITE HOUSE TOUTS G-8 MEETING AS SUCCESS FOR U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James Connaughton is touting the outcome of the recently concluded G-8 summit of industrialized nations as an indication the United States has successfully steered the climate change debate past the controversies of the Kyoto treaty and toward global cooperative efforts to encourage clean-energy technologies and sustainable development policies, without mandatory emission controls. At a July 8 press event in Washington, organized by the George Marshall Institute, Connaughton characterized the summit prelude and final...

PEW CENTER REPORTS SAY QUICK ACTION REDUCES COST OF CO2 CONTROLS

A major U.S. think-tank is circulating two reports that argue quick action would reduce the costs of reducing greenhouse gases. The reports call for firm regulatory timetables to reduce emissions from electrical utilities and recommend dozens of energy efficiency measures to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) from buildings, which are both major sources of greenhouse gases in the United States. The Bush administration opposes mandatory CO2 controls, arguing that such standards would cost too much and harm the U.S. economy, but...

EPA ANNOUNCES NEW HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY PARTNERSHIP

EPA along with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) launched a new partnership designed to improve home energy efficiency by 10 percent over the next decade, including a major expansion of the Energy Star program, in an effort to help reduce air pollution and save consumers money. However, the program -- announced July 11 by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, DOE Secretary Sam Bodman and HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson -- has no available...

LAWMAKERS AIM TO STRIKE MERCURY RULE UNDER CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW ACT

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are invoking a little-used law in an attempt to overturn EPA's controversial power plant mercury emissions rule. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and 29 other senators moved to strike the rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to invalidate executive branch rulemakings by a majority vote. The senators filed a June 29 resolution challenging EPA's formal reversal of a Clinton administration decision to impose strict air pollution control requirements on...

EPA TO CONSIDER ADDING MERCURY, OTHER POLLUTANTS TO CEMENT KILN MACT

EPA has agreed to consider regulating mercury emissions along with hydrocarbons and hydrogen chlorides from Portland cement kilns under the terms of a settlement it reached last month with the Sierra Club. The group sued EPA in October 2004 over the agency's failure to respond to a federal appeals court's remand of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule for the kilns. The June 23 settlement requires the agency to finalize a new MACT within one year. A...

EPA DIESEL GENERATOR RULE DRAWS APPROVAL FROM ACTIVISTS, INDUSTRY

EPA will likely issue a rule limiting emissions from stationary diesel engines with little opposition from industry groups or environmentalists, with both sides saying they generally approve of a proposed version of the rule the agency issued last month. The rule, once finalized, would go into effect alongside major new rules limiting diesel emissions from highway and nonroad vehicles. The agency proposed June 29 to issue new source performance standards for stationary compression ignition internal combustion engines. These include emergency...

EPA REJECTS PETITION AGAINST NSR CHANGES IN 8-HOUR OZONE RULE

EPA is rejecting environmentalists' arguments in a petition challenging a provision in a new ozone rule that would allow many areas of the country to relax new source review (NSR) permit requirements. The agency's move paves the way for a court to decide the issue. EPA responded July 5 to a petition for reconsideration filed by Earthjustice on behalf of several environmental groups challenging an aspect of last year's implementation rule for the strict new 8-hour ozone standard. The agency...

SENATORS PRESS ADMINISTRATION TO SUPPORT DIESEL BILL FUNDING

A bipartisan group of senators is pressing the Bush administration to reverse its opposition to the $1 billion funding level in the Diesel Engine Retrofit Act, in light of nearly universal support for the bill and the tremendous health benefits it is expected to provide. In July 12 written testimony before a Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) panel, EPA Region IX Administrator Wayne Nastri said, "Although the administration supports efforts to reduce emissions from both new and existing...

North Carolina Governor Expected To Approve Climate Change Legislation

North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley (D) is expected to sign climate change legislation after House lawmakers backed away from mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions that were part of an earlier plan. The North Carolina House passed a bill July 7 that would create a statewide study commission, after the state Senate passed a similar measure May 25. The two chambers are now required to iron out differences between the bills, which supporters describe as minor technical issues. Supporters of the...

House To Vote On Stripping MTBE Waiver From Energy Bill; Outcome Uncertain

The House is poised to vote on a motion that instructs members of an upcoming congressional conference to strip from pending energy legislation a provision that would grant a liability waiver to makers of the controversial gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), with the sponsor of the move citing a recent Inside EPA story that a draft EPA risk assessment has identified MTBE as a "likely carcinogen." The motion , introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), essentially represents a...

Senators Press Bush Administration To Support Funding In Diesel Retrofit Bill

A bipartisan group of senators is pressing the Bush administration to reverse its opposition to the $1 billion funding level in the proposed Diesel Engine Retrofit Act, in light of nearly universal support for the bill and the tremendous health benefits it is expected to provide. In July 12 written testimony before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, EPA Region IX Administrator Wayne Nastri said, "Although the administration supports efforts to reduce emissions from both new and existing diesel...

Critics Fault DOE Greenhouse Gas Registry Reforms As Ineffective

Environmentalists and industry groups are criticizing proposed changes to the Department of Energy's (DOE) voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) registry, arguing that intended improvements would not likely result in emission reductions and could jeopardize industry participation. The criticisms could raise a major obstacle to DOE's implementation of the changes, which are designed to support the Bush administration's goal of reducing greenhouse emissions through voluntary reductions and technological breakthroughs. While environmentalists and industry differ in the details of their criticisms, they agree...

White House Touts G-8 Meeting As Success For U.S. Climate Change Policy

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James Connaughton is touting the outcome of the recently concluded G-8 summit of industrialized nations as an indication the U.S. has successfully steered the climate change debate past the controversies of the Kyoto treaty and toward global cooperative efforts to encourage clean-energy technologies and sustainable development policies, without mandatory emission controls. At a July 8 press event in Washington, organized by the George Marshall Institute, Connaughton characterized the summit prelude and final results...

SAN JOAQUIN AIR BOARD EXPANSION FIGHT INTENSIFIES; FLOOR BATTLE LOOMS

A controversial bill seeking to increase the membership of the San Joaquin Valley air district board cleared a key committee this week, but faces two more fights in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and on the floor. The bill has ignited a conflict between environmental groups -- which blast the district as ineffective and beholden to agribusiness -- and valley officials and agriculture groups that argue the measure will remove crucial local control over regulatory decisions. SB 999 (Sen. Mike Machado,...

EPA QUIETLY APPROVES MAJOR AIR QUALITY MODEL FOR NATIONAL PARK

EPA has approved with little fanfare a controversial procedure for modeling air quality near a North Dakota national park, setting what could be a nationwide precedent for allowing more industrial expansion near pristine wilderness areas. Environmentalists are likely to sue over the new modeling method, which has also sparked long-standing objections from EPA regions. EPA Assistant Administrator for Air & Radiation Jeffrey Holmstead sent a letter June 30 to the North Dakota Department of Health, offering the agency's initial approval...

NEW OZONE RESEARCH COULD BOOST EPA BENEFITS ESTIMATES IN AIR RULES

EPA may increase its economic benefits estimates of air rules that reduce ozone levels, in light of new agency-funded studies that demonstrate a link between ozone exposure and premature deaths, sources familiar with the research say. Scientists and public health advocates say the peer-reviewed studies are significant because EPA assigns far more value in its cost-benefit analyses to measures that save lives rather than measures that simply improve health. Three studies published in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology...

CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS THREATEN SUIT OVER EPA'S INTERSTATE AIR RULE

Environmental groups in Canada are threatening a lawsuit to force EPA to require seven states mostly in the Midwest to reduce power plant emissions beyond levels required in the agency's clean air interstate rule (CAIR). The groups have filed a petition with EPA under a little-used provision of the Clean Air Act that allows foreigners to formally ask the agency to reduce air emissions. The environmentalists hope their petition -- only the third of its kind -- will lead to...

Trade Commission Says MTBE, Reformulated Fuels Cause Price Spikes

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a study identifying major factors that contribute to increases and fluctuations in gasoline prices in the United States, including several state bans on a widely-used gasoline oxygenate, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), and supply disruptions in cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline required for certain regions of the country to reduce air pollution. The FTC report relies in part on EPA data in its ongoing investigation into antitrust matters related to the petroleum industry. The commission's...

Pew Center Reports Say Quick Action Reduces Cost Of CO2 Controls

As world attention focuses on global climate change issues at this week's G-8 summit in Scotland, a major U.S. think-tank is circulating two reports that argue quick action would reduce the costs of reducing greenhouse gases. The reports call for firm regulatory timetables to reduce emissions from electrical utilities and recommend dozens of energy efficiency measures to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) from buildings, which are both major sources of greenhouse gases in the U.S. The Bush administration has opposed mandatory...

EPA Quietly Approves Major Air Quality Model For National Park

EPA has approved with little fanfare a controversial procedure for modeling air quality near a North Dakota national park, setting what could be a nationwide precedent for allowing more industrial expansion near pristine wilderness areas. Environmentalists are likely to sue over the new modeling method, which has also met long-standing objections from EPA regions. EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Jeffrey Holmstead sent a letter June 30 to the North Dakota Department of Health, offering the agency's initial approval...

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