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.

States Urge EPA To Reject Paint Industry's Data Quality Attack On Air Plans

Eastern states are pressing EPA to reject a paint industry data quality challenge that alleges EPA should not approve several state ozone reduction plans, claiming the Information Quality Act (IQA) does not apply to the challenged information and industry's effort threatens existing regulatory review procedures. The dispute is significant because it addresses the degree to which information supporting state regulations that are subject to EPA approval are subject to the IQA. In an Aug. 18 letter to agency and White...

Errors Delay Publication Of Major EPA Air Toxics, Water Rules By Months

Minor errors are causing lengthy delays in promulgating at least three court-ordered air toxics and water pollution rules , delaying industry compliance and impeding litigation. While EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt signed all three rules in February -- in time to meet the court-ordered deadlines -- a water rule for power plants was not published until Aug. 4, an air pollution rule for plywood manufacturers was not published until July 30, and an air pollution rule for boilers has yet to...

Manufacturers Push Plan To Limit Scope Of EPA Interstate Air Quality Rules

Manufacturers are urging EPA to apply an unusual benchmark in order to limit the types of facilities covered by the clean air interstate rule (CAIR) and future initiatives to restrict interstate transport of air pollution. The groups, which represent large industrial emission sources such as industrial boilers, chemical plants and paper companies, are seeking to restrict these rules to sources they believe contribute the bulk of emissions, most notably power plants. To this end, the groups are backing a proposal...

EPA OPENS DOOR TO FINALIZING CAFO AIR PACT WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT

EPA officials may bar the public from commenting on a controversial agreement temporarily exempting agriculture facilities from Superfund and Clean Air Act enforcement, despite a commitment to a key Democratic senator last year that the agency would seek public comment on a draft version of the agreement before it is finalized. One EPA source would not discuss specific plans on the agreement, but says the agency has made no final decisions on its release. "We're still considering how to proceed...

WEST COAST TO SEEK FUNDING FOR EARLY IMPLEMENTATION OF DIESEL RULES

California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska are seeking $100 million from EPA and other federal agencies to help pay for early implementation of EPA's diesel rules for vehicles -- including trucks, buses, trains, boats, and farm and construction equipment, EPA sources and environmentalists say. Additionally, staff in EPA regions IX and X along with staff from the four states' environment departments are drafting a letter that will outline the major goals of the West Coast Diesel Emission Reduction Collaborative and seek...

West Coast To Seek Funding For Early Implementation Of EPA Diesel Rules

California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska are seeking $100 million from EPA and other federal agencies to help pay for early implementation of EPA's diesel rules for vehicles -- including trucks, buses, trains, boats, and farm and construction equipment, EPA sources and environmentalists say. Additionally, staff in EPA regions 9 and 10 along with staff from the four states' environment departments are drafting a letter that will outline the major goals of the West Coast Diesel Emission Reduction Collaborative and seek...

USDA Proposes Extending Methyl Bromide 'Quarantine Exemption' To Domestic Use

The Bush administration is proposing to expand the so-called "quarantine exemption" for the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol to allow its use in domestic agriculture shipments. Until now, the exemption has only been used to allow the pesticide to be sprayed on international shipments of nursery plants and crops. The move comes as House Republicans and pesticide industry groups are pressing the administration to seek increased allowances for the pesticide under the protocol's "critical use exemption" ahead...

JUDGES REJECT ACTIVISTS' EFFORT TO BROADEN SCOPE OF BUSH NSR REFORM

In one of the first legal decisions on the issue, EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has rebuffed an environmental group's effort to use a revised definition of what constitutes an "emissions unit" under the Bush administration's 2002 new source review (NSR) reforms to seek upgraded pollution controls at a power plant. The board's Aug. 3 decision in In re: Rochester Public Utilities is one of the first interpreting the new definition of what constitutes an "emissions unit" subject to NSR,...

DOUBTS RAISED ON EPA PACT TO REVIEW BATON ROUGE RFG REQUIREMENTS

EPA has agreed to reconsider Baton Rouge's request to waive a federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirement even though the Clean Air Act bars such waivers for "severe" ozone nonattainment areas like the Louisiana city, prompting EPA and some oil industry officials to question whether the agency can waive the requirement. An EPA Region VI source says the agreement takes the agency into "uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no process exists" to consider waiving a program that is required by the...

WEST COAST TO SEEK FUNDING FOR EARLY IMPLEMENTATION OF DIESEL RULES

California, Washington and Oregon are seeking $100 million from EPA to fund early implementation of the agency's diesel rules for vehicles -- including trucks, buses, trains, boats, and farm and construction equipment, EPA sources and environmentalists say. Additionally, staff in EPA regions IX and X along with staff at the three states' environment departments are drafting a letter that will be sent to the entire West Coast congressional delegation seeking even more federal funding, one EPA source says. The letter...

EPA OPENS DOOR TO FINALIZING CAFO AIR PACT WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT

EPA officials may bar the public from commenting on a controversial agreement temporarily exempting concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from enforcement, despite a commitment to a key Democratic senator last year that the agency would seek public comment on a draft version of the agreement before it was finalized. One EPA source would not discuss specific plans on the agreement, but said the agency has made no final decisions on its release. "We're still considering how to proceed with this,"...

ACTIVISTS TO SEEK HIGH COURT REVIEW OF IDAHO CROP BURNING DECISION

Idaho environmentalists are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court a case that unsuccessfully challenged a state law blocking the right to file nuisance lawsuits over crop residue burning, a practice they argue creates devastating short-term air quality impacts. The move comes after the state's high court rejected their argument that the law violated their rights under the Idaho and U.S. constitutions. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled against the groups Aug. 2 in the case Lawrence "Bud" Moon Jr. et...

MANUFACTURERS PUSH PLAN TO LIMIT SCOPE OF EPA TRANSPORT RULES

Large industrial emission sources such as industrial boilers, chemical plants and paper companies are urging EPA to apply an unusual benchmark in order to limit the types of facilities covered by the clean air interstate rule (CAIR) and future initiatives to restrict interstate transport of air pollution. The manufacturing groups are seeking to restrict these rules to sources they believe contribute the bulk of emissions, most notably power plants. To this end, the groups are backing a proposal in EPA's...

TECHNOLOGY TO MEET EPA NOX RULE MAY POSE CHALLENGES FOR UTILITIES

A new emissions reduction technology known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) that utilities are effectively required to use in complying with nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards for the Eastern United States could create unintended air pollution, a problem that surfaced recently when a major power company was forced to shut down some SCR units at an Indiana facility. One industry source says utilities are "on [their] way to installing hundreds of these SCRs" to comply with the NOx rule and "there...

INDUSTRY QUESTIONS EPA CALL TO LOWER NEW POWER PLANTS' SO2 LIMITS

Power plants may be unable to meet stringent sulfur emissions limits EPA regions are asking states to include in a number of draft permits for proposed new power plants -- limits that EPA argues correct state reliance on data that underestimate emissions standards achievable by the facilities. In comments on proposed new power plants, EPA regions VII and VIII said earlier this year that states should set lower sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions limits because the proposed power plants at issue...

RESEARCH TYING AIR POLLUTION TO WESTERN DROUGHT MAY PROMPT EPA STUDY

New research showing a link between transported air pollution and drought could bolster staff calls within EPA's research office to study the growing body of scientific evidence linking this pollution to broader disruptions in weather patterns, agency sources say. Government officials say that if research suggesting weather patterns are at risk from transported emissions is borne out, it could prompt EPA to propose more stringent pollution control measures than are called for in its proposal to curb long-range transport of...

DOE EXPECTED TO DELAY FINAL CLIMATE REGISTRY UNTIL AFTER ELECTION

The Department of Energy (DOE) has delayed revisions to a high-profile, voluntary greenhouse gas reporting program, making it unlikely that the department will meet a prior commitment to finalize the proposal around the time of the November election. The delay means the Bush administration may be open to criticism for failing to finish the registry, given that the president cited the program as an urgent priority during an address on climate change in early 2002. The registry is intended to...

FIRST-TIME CALIFORNIA CLIMATE RULE TO FACE INDUSTRY CHALLENGE

California air regulators have released a sure-to-be-litigated proposal for the nation's first regulation controlling greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, estimating the requirements would add $292 to the cost of cars and $308 to light trucks during the first phase of the rule, which would begin in 2009. The auto industry has already threatened to file a lawsuit claiming the state exceeded its authority in developing the standards, and sources say lawyers are going through the 1,000-page proposal and accompanying report...

STATES BLAST EPA FOR LIMITED TIME TO REVIEW MAJOR CAIR MODEL CHANGES

State groups are angry with EPA for changing the modeling method used to estimate pollution reductions achievable under the clean air interstate rule (CAIR) without giving stakeholders enough time to comment. The groups say that using new modeling data to support an already-proposed rule is highly unusual and potentially problematic, adding they cannot evaluate in the 21 days EPA is allowing for comment whether the complex modifications are accurate and appropriate. "Clearly, to suggest that anything this exhaustive ought to...

EPA Decision To Reconsider Baton Rouge's Clean Fuel Waiver Request Raises Doubts

EPA has agreed to reconsider Baton Rouge's request to waive a federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirement even though the Clean Air Act bars such waivers for "severe" ozone nonattainment areas like the Louisiana city, prompting EPA and some oil industry officials to question whether the agency can waive the requirement. An EPA Region 6 source says the agreement takes the agency into "uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no process exists" to consider waiving a program that is required by the...

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