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.

Pentagon Faces Pressures To Abandon Push For Environmental Exemptions

The Department of Defense (DOD) is facing congressional pressures to look beyond environmental requirements and other factors that might restrict military training, and adopt policies to promote the management and use of training ranges. While DOD officials say they do not plan to give up on their efforts to win exemptions from key air and waste cleanup requirements, some see a shift in emphasis away from statutory exclusions to policies intended to sustain military operations at training ranges. In recent...

New York Pressed To Adopt Risk Screening For Indoor Chemical Vapors

New York regulators say they will respond in the coming months to a proposal by the petroleum industry and other business groups that the state health department's draft guidance for detecting indoor chemical vapors from contaminated soil and groundwater include a risk-based method for screening sites as a way to limit the number of required cleanups. The indoor air contamination at issue, known as vapor intrusion, results when harmful chemicals seep into the air from contaminated land and groundwater under...

EXPERTS PREDICT CLIMATE CHANGE WILL LOWER KEY HYDROPOWER OUTPUT

Energy experts are predicting that climate change in California and the West will decrease hydroelectricity generation in key summer months and force officials to seek more expensive, higher-polluting replacement energy. The experts also say that none of the hydropower operators are directly factoring this anticipated impact into future planning. But a representative with a major utility said experts are closely tracking potential climate change impacts, but believe they can manage future impacts with operational changes that are not uncommon today...

HILMAR FIGHTS REGIONAL BOARD FINE; CASE MAY GO TO ATTORNEY GENERAL

A major cheese manufacturer that has been a flashpoint in the debate over Cal/EPA's enforcement practices has dug in its heels to resist an unprecedented $4-million regional water board-issued fine. The company alleges that the fine came in response to political pressure and was issued by the board in an attempt to save its executive officer from being fired. Meanwhile, the Central Valley regional water board is set to vote June 24 on whether to turn the Hilmar Cheese Company,...

KEY SENATOR PROBES SAN JOAQUIN AIR DISTRICT DEVELOPER FEE PACTS

Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) is probing the San Joaquin Valley air district's recent pacts with two developers -- including one that requires a company to pay the district more than $500,000 -- to mitigate expected air pollution. Florez plans to focus on several issues, including whether the pacts lacked proper public review, contain appropriate mitigation measures and provide adequate regulatory clarity and assurance to other developers planning construction projects. The review, which is slated to include a special legislative hearing...

ARB SEEN KEEPING DAIRY DEFINITION, SLIGHTLY RELAXING CATTLE NET

Air board staff is expected to hold firm on a proposal to define dairies with more than 1,000 cows as large confined animal facilities (CAFs) for the purposes of future regulation, but may slightly relax the regulatory net for beef cattle feedlots, according to sources. The definitions, to be considered by the board next week, are being watched closely by various interests, including local air districts required to permit certain facilities and mandate control measures for the larger operations. Early...

EPA EYES MAJOR REVIEW OF METHOD TO CALCULATE PAINT VOC REDUCTIONS

U.S. EPA is planning to develop a new method for calculating credits for states that seek to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from paint and coatings in their ozone plans. The agency's effort could help deflate tensions between Northeast states and industry over strict state approaches to reducing emissions from paint and coatings, agency and other sources said. EPA will soon publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) calling for data and comment on the best approach for...

ASSEMBLYWOMAN AIMS TO REVIVE PLAN GIVING ARB INDOOR AIR POWER

Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) plans to propose legislation giving the air board new authority to regulate indoor sources of pollution, in response to the board's controversial indoor air pollution report adopted in March. While long sought by environmentalists, the planned legislation is being frowned upon by building and chemical industry representatives, who contend the board is not equipped to establish new emission regulations for a plethora of indoor sources that are already overseen to some degree by several different...

FIRST-TIME NSR RULING ON 'EMISSIONS INCREASES' BACKS INDUSTRY

A federal appeals court has handed the utility industry a significant victory in a June 15 decision saying Duke Energy cannot be held in violation of the Clean Air Act without showing that modifications to its plants boosted hourly emissions rates. The 4th Circuit ruling in United States, et al. v. Duke Energy Corp . represents the first time an appeals court has ruled on the definition of "emissions increases" under EPA's utility sector new source review (NSR) enforcement initiative,...

EPA EYES MAJOR REVIEW OF METHOD TO CALCULATE PAINT VOC REDUCTIONS

EPA is planning to develop a new method for calculating credits for states that seek to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from paint and coatings in their ozone plans. The agency's effort could help deflate tensions between Northeast states and industry over strict state approaches to reducing emissions from paint and coatings, agency and other sources say. EPA will soon publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) calling for data and comment on the best approach for calculating...

INDUSTRY, ENVIRONMENTALISTS FACE OFF OVER PROVISIONS IN HIGHWAY BILL

Industry and environmentalists are headed for a showdown over a number of key issues in pending transportation legislation that could dramatically rewrite federal clean air and environmental review laws. Industry says the proposed changes will reduce delays and streamline construction projects, while environmentalists argue that the provisions will significantly weaken environmental and public health protections. The American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, the American Highway Users Alliance and a number of road building and contracting groups sent a...

NORTHEAST CLIMATE PLAN FACES CHALLENGES IN SITING GAS, WIND PROJECTS

NEW YORK -- A pending Northeast initiative to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will face significant challenges in its implementation, due in part to expected local opposition to siting low-emitting natural gas or renewable energy sources, officials familiar with the initiative say. Northeast state officials have conducted modeling that predicts the region will face increased reliance on natural gas power plants in the coming years, even without any caps on CO2 emissions expected under the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI)...

COKE PLANTS' RESURGENCE PROMPTS MIDWESTERN MERCURY CONCERNS

An apparent resurgence of the coal coking industry in the United States is prompting concerns by EPA and environmental groups over new mercury emissions and other pollution at pending new plants in Midwestern states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Coke made from burning coal at high temperatures -- a key component of steel -- is considered a viable industry in this country again after years of decline, informed sources say. The most notable reason is that China, which had...

Western Governors' Resolution Sparks Climate Change Debate

The Western Governor's Association (WGA) adopted a resolution this month that industry sources say bars a Western air quality group from beginning proposed efforts to address climate change, but WGA says the language simply directs the air group to focus on regional haze before tackling other problems. The resolution, adopted at WGA's June 14 meeting, is the latest example of heightened tensions in the region between proponents and opponents of taking action to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The effort...

EPA EYES MAJOR REVIEW OF METHOD TO CALCULATE PAINT VOC REDUCTIONS

EPA is planning to develop a new standard for how to calculate credits for states seeking to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from paint and coatings in their ozone plans in a move that could help deflate tensions between states and industry, agency and other sources say. EPA will soon publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) calling for data, information and comment on the best approach for calculating emission reductions from architectural, industrial and maintenance (AIM) coatings,...

NORTHEASTERN MULTI-POLLUTANT STRATEGY FACING NUMEROUS OBSTACLES

BURLINGTON, VT -- Ambitious plans by the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) to set caps on emissions from power plants and industrial boilers more stringent than EPA's clean air interstate rule (CAIR) face a number of obstacles in the coming months, state officials and other sources say. Meeting the group's deadline for drafting a model rule to set these limits next spring will be difficult because OTC needs time to run new modeling that could delay the start date of the...

NEW BILL WOULD PROVIDE MAJOR FEDERAL FUNDING FOR DIESEL RETROFITS

A bipartisan group of senators is introducing unprecedented legislation that would authorize hundreds of millions of federal dollars to clean up diesel engines already on the road. The bill comes amid increasing pressure from industry and states for a voluntary diesel retrofit program to help meet federal pollution standards. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) was expected at press time to introduce the bill June 16, with Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) as co-sponsors. The Diesel Emissions Reductions Act...

ACTIVISTS, STATES QUESTION EPA MERCURY ANALYSIS IN PETITIONS ON RULE

Environmentalists and states are raising major questions about a new EPA analysis that forms much of the basis of its controversial new mercury rule, arguing the agency used a faulty methodology to avoid issuing a more stringent standard limiting emissions from power plants. The groups are raising these objections as part of two new regulatory petitions to the agency, which follow several recent lawsuits on the mercury rule and related EPA actions. At issue is a new analysis EPA released...

WASHINGTON-AREA LEADERS FORM NEW PANEL TO ADDRESS AIR QUALITY

The governors of Maryland and Virginia and the mayor of Washington, D.C., have formed a new, cabinet-level interstate air quality council designed to address transported pollution, and to improve air quality in one of the most polluted regions of the country. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed May 31 by Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R-MD), Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) and D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (D) creates the new council to work with the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) which has...

ADVISERS TO PREPARE NEW, BROAD-RANGING REPORT ON COAL'S FUTURE

The National Coal Council will produce a broad report on the future of coal at the request of Energy Secretary Sam Bodman. The report will investigate potential barriers to future coal production and use, and offer solutions such as the development of zero-emissions technology using coal as a fuel source. The coal council, a group comprised mainly of industry officials that advises the energy secretary, agreed to conduct the study at its June 9 semi-annual meeting. One of the council's...

Pages

Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive environmental policy reporting.