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.

EPA SCIENCE PANEL SEEKS UNUSUAL REVIEW OF COARSE AIR PARTICLE PLAN

An EPA science advisory panel has made the unusual decision to clear agency staff recommendations on pollution standards for larger particulate matter (PM), known as "PM coarse," while reserving the right to further review the plan after it is sent to the agency administrator. The decision highlights lingering scientific concerns about assessing the health risks of particulate matter emissions in various parts of the country. The particulate matter review panel of the agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) held...

NEW YORK PROPOSES GHG VEHICLE STANDARD DESPITE LEGAL UNCERTAINTIES

New York state environmental officials are moving forward with a state proposal to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) from automobiles despite the legal uncertainty surrounding the plan, which is modeled after a California law the auto industry is already challenging. The state, which is the first besides California to go on the record to say it will adopt the regulation, is pressing ahead with the proposal despite the expectation of an auto industry lawsuit in New York. Officials say they must...

MEXICAN TRUCKERS IRATE OVER BORDER INSPECTION LAW TO TEST EMISSIONS

Mexican trucking companies are blasting California's 2004 law requiring trucks entering the state beginning next year to meet U.S. emission standards, saying their operations are being unfairly discriminated against, possibly in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to sources. The Mexican truckers are also apprehensive about new California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations that will bolster the state's heavy-duty diesel engine inspections at border crossings, which have been proposed as a backstop should the 2004 law...

DOI READIES MAJOR REPORT THAT COULD SET NATIONAL WIND ENERGY POLICY

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is poised to release a major evaluation of wind energy development on public lands, including an evaluation of the establishment of a national wind energy program and policy. The study will assess the impacts of wind energy development on public lands in 11 Western states, review government policies and suggest ways to minimize adverse environmental impacts of wind farms. Wind farm development has become a controversial issue, with the public hesitant to have huge...

DOD FACES ETHANOL REQUIREMENT TO HELP LIMIT U.S. NEED FOR FOREIGN OIL

The Defense Department is facing growing pressure from Congress and others to help limit U.S. dependence on foreign oil, with lawmakers including language in the defense authorization bill to increase the military's use of renewable fuels. Environmentalists support the effort saying it would help them make the case for increased energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a scientific group is urging DOD to consider fuel costs in future weapons procurement contracts -- a move the...

BIODIESEL MAY NOT INCREASE NITROGEN OXIDES EMISSIONS, DOE LAB FINDS

Extensive testing at an Energy Department laboratory contradicts the widely held belief that burning biodiesel produces more nitrogen oxide (NOx) air emissions than traditional diesel, a top lab official reported May 9 at a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conference in Washington, D.C. Air regulators and environmental groups have been slow to embrace biodiesel, a renewable fuel that substantially lowers hydrocarbon and particulate matter emissions, because of concern over increases in NOx emissions, a major contributor to ground-level ozone. An...

TRIBES EYE UPCOMING GAO STUDY AS LOBBYING TOOL FOR FUNDING BOOST

Indian tribes believe an upcoming Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examining the process that EPA uses to decide when tribes can be treated as states and take over authority for air and water programs could be a potent lobbying tool to pressure lawmakers to boost funding for tribes looking to take on such programs. Tribal and GAO sources agree that under-funding is one of the major issues being raised as GAO inspectors visit tribal authorities to ask them about the...

EPA REJECTS ENVIRONMENTALISTS' PETITION ON 8-HOUR OZONE IMPLEMENTATION

EPA has rejected a petition from environmentalists to reconsider several aspects of its 8-hour ozone implementation rule and has upheld the agency's original decision to phase out the older, 1-hour standard and allow states to focus on attaining the 8-hour standard. The rejection clears the way for Earthjustice to pursue separate legal action against the agency over the rule. "Provisions of the Clean Air Act triggered by failure to attain the 1-hour standard, including Section 185 fees imposed on emissions...

EPA CLEAN AIR ADVISERS QUESTION PROPOSED COST-BENEFIT STUDIES

An EPA advisory panel is raising concerns with two agency proposed projects intended to help determine the costs and benefits of reducing certain air emissions, while urging agency staff to continue discussing potential research on the ecological effects of the pollutants. The Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis agreed during a May 24 teleconference to finalize draft recommendations on proposed case studies to examine the effects of air pollution, particularly nitrogen oxides, on water bodies. Final recommendations by the...

EPA PLAN FOR 45-DAY CLEAN DIESEL EXTENSION DRAWS MUTED REACTION

Environmentalists and industry groups relying on upcoming clean fuel sulfur requirements are offering a reserved reaction to EPA's plan to allow diesel fuel distributors additional time to meet an upcoming deadline for clean diesel fuel, suggesting that the extension may not have a major effect unless EPA further delays the rule. One environmentalist says the move would not likely spark significant objections by environmental groups as long as it is not a prelude to an additional relaxation of the requirement...

Nuclear Provisions In Revised Climate Bill Jeopardize Environmentalist Support

Environmentalists are grappling with whether they should abandon their support for landmark climate change legislation by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), after the lawmakers included incentives for nuclear power in an apparent attempt to broaden congressional support for the measure. Greenhouse gas controls have been a top policy priority for environmentalists for some time, and the McCain-Lieberman bill has been a leading proposal in achieving that goal. But at the same time, a recent push by some...

Industry Push To Limit Ohio's Air Toxic Rules Could Set National Trend

A push by a number of industries in Ohio for passage of legislation that would strip the state environment agency of its power to regulate hundreds of air toxins could set a precedent for other industrial states, sources say. The Ohio plan would limit the authority of state regulators over the 188 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) listed under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), a move that would significantly pare back state efforts on the more than 700 air pollutants...

New York Proposes Greenhouse Gas Rules Despite Lingering Legal Questions

New York environment officials are moving forward with a proposal to regulate greenhouse gases from automobiles despite lingering legal questions surrounding the plan, which is modeled after a California law that the auto industry is challenging in federal court. Environmentalists say New York's willingness to be the first state after California to adopt greenhouse gas rules despite legal challenges should encourage other Northeastern states eyeing similar standards. The state of New York is pressing ahead with its plan despite another...

Interior Department To Issue Report That Could Set National Wind Energy Policy

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is poised to release a major evaluation of wind energy development on public lands, including an examination of environmental policies and considerations that might obstruct the emerging technology. The study will assess the impacts of wind energy development in 11 Western states, review government policies and suggest ways to minimize adverse environmental impacts of wind farms. Wind farm development has become a controversial issue, with the public hesitant to have huge turbines disrupting scenic...

EPA Delay Of Diesel Rule Gains Cautious Acceptance From Industry, Environmentalists

An EPA decision to delay the compliance deadline for reduced sulfur content in diesel fuel has attracted lukewarm acceptance from both vehicle manufacturers and environmentalists. The delay was requested by fuel suppliers to ease transition to the cleaner-burning diesel. But environmentalists and diesel engine makers have been counting on the cleaner fuel to achieve strict new emission standards, and are raising questions about how a delay might affect those efforts. One environmentalist says the move likely would not spark significant...

SHIP EMISSIONS BILL MOVING AHEAD AFTER EPA AGREES TO DOD EXEMPTION

EPA and other federal agencies have reached a deal to send legislation to the Senate that would give EPA the power to set a nationwide requirement limiting ship sulfur fuel content, after EPA agreed to a DOD demand to exempt from the agreement combat vessels and possibly other government-owned ships. An EPA source says the deal should break the deadlock over the legislation, which if enacted will commit the United States to participate in an international shipping treaty that requires...

RULING OPENS DOOR TO NEW TRI EXEMPTIONS FOR OZONE-FORMING CHEMICALS

A federal appellate ruling backing a chemical industry petition to exempt a widely used, ozone-forming solvent from reporting under EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) could help industry seek similar exemptions for a host of other chemicals the agency has regulated because they become toxic after release. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled May 10 that the solvent methyl etheyl ketone (MEK) is not a "toxic" chemical as defined under the Emergency Planning & Community...

EPA EYES VEHICLE, BENZENE FUEL CONTROLS IN FUTURE MOBILE SOURCE RULE

EPA's upcoming rule to control air toxics from mobile sources could place extra burdens on automakers by requiring emission controls on vehicles and by setting new fuel limits on the major air toxic benzene, according to EPA and other sources. EPA is in settlement negotiations with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Sierra Club, which sued the agency early in 2004 for failing to promulgate a mobile source air toxics (MSAT) rule that is required under the Clean Air...

Pentagon Faces Ethanol Requirement To Help Limit U.S. Need For Foreign Oil

The Defense Department is facing growing pressure from Congress and others to help limit U.S. dependence on foreign oil, with lawmakers including language in the defense authorization bill to increase the military's use of renewable fuels. Environmentalists support the effort saying it will help them make the case for increased energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a scientific group is urging DOD to consider fuel costs in future weapons procurement contracts -- a move the...

EPA Clean Air Advisers Question Proposed Cost-Benefit Studies

An EPA advisory panel is raising concerns with two agency proposed projects intended to help determine the costs and benefits of reducing certain air emissions, while urging agency staff to continue discussing potential research on the ecological effects of the pollutants. The Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis agreed during a May 24 teleconference to finalize draft recommendations on proposed case studies to examine the effects of air pollution, particularly nitrogen oxides, on water bodies. Final recommendations by the...

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