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.

GROUP SUES EPA OVER FAILURE TO UPDATE NITROGEN DIOXIDE STANDARD

The Center for Biological Diversity is suing EPA over its failure to update the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The group sent a June 1 letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson notifying the agency that it will file suit in 60 days unless the agency follows its mandatory duty to review the standard. This is the second such suit filed against EPA for its failure to update a NAAQS standard. Last summer, Missouri Attorney General...

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...

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,...

EPA CLEAR SKIES ANALYSIS PLEDGE MAY NOT RESOLVE DEMOCRATS' CONCERNS

EPA Administrator Steve Johnson's recent pledge to conduct long-sought analysis of the Bush administration's Clear Skies bill and other multi-pollutant legislation appears unlikely to satisfy Democratic concerns about the adequacy of EPA data on the proposals' benefits. House Democrats and Senate sources say Johnson's latest offer, which expands on a pledge he made in April, still falls short of what they are seeking, suggesting that EPA's proposal is unlikely to bring the debate back to the merits of the legislation,...

SENATE SUPPORT GROWS FOR MODEST CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATIVE PLAN

Proponents and opponents of mandatory greenhouse gas programs say there is growing Senate support for creating a modest climate change program as part of upcoming Senate energy legislation. Some observers say there may even be enough support for creating a modest permit program for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions along the lines of an amendment likely to be offered by ranking energy committee Democrat Jeff Bingaman (NM), although they caution the issue is still fluid. While the sources say creating mandatory...

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 and Transportation Officials, the American Highway Users Alliance and a number of road building and contracting groups sent a...

Sen. Chafee Facing Conservative Backlash In 2006 Re-Election Bid

Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI), the moderate Republican who represents a crucial swing vote on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, is facing a grass-roots rebellion from some Rhode Island conservatives seeking to derail his bid to win another term in the chamber. The conservatives are trying to recruit Stephen Laffey, the Republican mayor of the Rhode Island city of Cranston, to challenge Chafee in the GOP primary next year, in what could be the only Senate race in the...

EPA MAY BROADEN STATE EXEMPTION POWER UNDER HAZE CONTROL PLAN

EPA and the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) are debating criteria for exempting individual pollution sources from new visibility requirements, amid indications that EPA's upcoming final visibility rule may give states more discretion in deciding whether a specific facility should be regulated than EPA previously proposed, according to agency and other sources. An agency source says EPA may increase the number of days a facility is likely to cause visibility effects without being subject to new emissions...

EPA May Broaden State Exemption Power Under Haze Control Plan

EPA and the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) are debating criteria for exempting individual pollution sources from new visibility requirements, amid indications that EPA's upcoming final visibility rule may give states more discretion than EPA previously proposed in deciding whether a specific facility should be regulated, according to agency and other sources. An agency source says EPA may increase the number of days a facility is likely to cause visibility effects without being subject to new emissions...

EPA DRAFTING FEDERAL RULE THAT COULD PREEMPT STATES ON CAIR

BURLINGTON, VT -- EPA will propose a federal rule directing states how to implement the agency's clean air interstate rule (CAIR) for electric utilities in an apparently aggressive move that could curtail states seeking to adopt rules more stringent than CAIR. EPA air chief Jeffrey Holmstead announced at the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) meeting here June 7 that the agency will propose a federal implementation plan (FIP) for CAIR in August and finalize it next March, five months before similar...

ARB, REFINERS LOOK TO NATIONAL ETHANOL MANDATE FOR FLEXIBILITY

Air board and petroleum industry officials are turning to the national renewable fuels mandate contained in pending energy legislation for potential flexibility to reduce ethanol use in California reformulated gasoline, in the wake of U.S. EPA's latest rejection of the state's request for a waiver of the federal oxygen requirement, according to sources. Air board officials say reducing ethanol during the summer will decrease evaporative hydrocarbon emissions, while refiners say they may be able to increase overall supply by lowering...

PAVLEY DRAFTS TIGHTER GHG EMISSION TARGETS, ENFORCEABLE CUTS

Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) is drafting legislation that may make the state's new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets more stringent and may set enforceable deadlines and recommend mandatory policies for air officials to use when promulgating rules to achieve the targets, according to Pavley and sources close to the issue. Amendments to an existing Pavley bill with these provisions are expected to be made within the next two weeks, according to a legislative source. The proposal, if pursued,...

EFFORT TO CONTROL EMISSION REDUCTION CREDIT USE SEEN CONTINUING

Legislative efforts to place controls on future emission reduction credit (ERC) trading programs across the state are still expected to be pursued, despite the failure of a key bill to pass the Assembly last week, according to sources. There is still enough concern about protecting heavily industrialized communities to devise a strategy to limit trading benefiting stationary source facilities through the generation and sale of mobile source ERCs, these sources claim. ERC trading programs are considered by most air officials...

EPA SHIFTS BASIS FOR DENYING STATE WAIVERS FROM ETHANOL RULES

EPA appears to have shifted its rationale for denying California a waiver from the reformulated gasoline program's oxygenate content requirement, saying the state has dispelled earlier concerns that the waiver could increase certain emissions but arguing the benefits are still insufficient to justify the exemption. The ethanol industry and other observers are also expressing surprise after EPA cited energy and economic concerns in choosing to deny requests from California, as well as New York and Connecticut, for a waiver from...

EPA Drafts Rule That May Preempt States On Air Pollution Drift

BURLINGTON, VT -- EPA will propose a federal rule directing states on how to implement the agency's clean air interstate rule (CAIR) for electric utilities in an apparently aggressive move that could curtail states that want to adopt rules more stringent than CAIR. EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Jeffrey Holmstead announced to the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) meeting here June 7 that the agency will propose a federal implementation plan (FIP) for CAIR in August and finalize it...

EPA Drops Voluntary Effort, Pursues Rule To Control Mercury In Scrap Autos

EPA has abandoned plans for a voluntary program to remove mercury-containing switches from scrap automobiles following objections from the industry, and instead will develop a Clean Air Act rule that will target mercury emissions from electric arc steel furnaces that smelt scrap metal from those vehicles, according to agency sources. The upcoming rule will likely require the steel smelting industry to pay for mercury switch removal before smelting, a cost that could be passed on to automakers. New Jersey, Arkansas...

Senate Asbestos Bill Would Require Study On Environmental Exposures

A Senate asbestos trust fund bill includes a provision that would require federal officials to study the effects of environmental exposure to the cancer-causing contaminant based in part on EPA data. The provision reflects an apparent political compromise following a failed push to require compensation for those exposed to environmental contamination of asbestos, which industry officials say would balloon the size of the trust fund and leave many companies that pay into it bankrupt. The current version of the bill...

EPA TO DROP VOLUNTARY MERCURY SWITCH PLAN IN FAVOR OF AIR ACT RULE

EPA is dropping plans to develop a voluntary mercury switch removal program given opposition from the auto industry, and will rely exclusively on a Clean Air Act rule to target mercury emissions from the electric arc steel furnaces that smelt scrap auto steel containing the switches, according to agency sources. The electric arc steel mill rule will likely force the steel smelting industry to pay for mercury switch removal before smelting, which may in turn spark efforts to convince state...

INDUSTRY MAKES LANDMARK BID TO STRIP OHIO EPA OF TOXICS AUTHORITY

Chemical, manufacturing and other industries' push for legislation stripping Ohio EPA of its ability to regulate hundreds of air toxics could spark industry efforts to rein in other state environmental agencies' powers, an Ohio EPA source says. So far, industrial groups have failed in their efforts to strip Ohio EPA of its authority by attaching legislation to a pending budget bill, but the state legislature has sought more time to debate the proposal. Sources say this is the first time...

EPA Shifts Basis For Denying State Waivers From Ethanol Rules

EPA appears to have shifted its rationale for denying California's efforts to win a waiver from the reformulated gasoline program's oxygenate content requirement, saying the state has dispelled earlier concerns the waiver could result in an increase of certain emissions but arguing the benefits are still not sufficient for EPA to grant the request. The ethanol industry and other observers are also expressing surprise after EPA cited energy and economic concerns in choosing to deny requests from California, New York...

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