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.

REGION X POISED TO FINALIZE LANDMARK CLEAN AIR RULE FOR TRIBAL LANDS

The White House is reviewing a final EPA Region X regulation that would for the first time implement clean air rules for all tribal lands in an entire EPA region, but the rule is facing fierce opposition from non-tribal residents who fear the measure does not guarantee them due process rights. Agency sources say they have addressed the due process concerns raised by non-tribal members by having federal, not tribal, entities take responsibility for implementing the requirements to preserve non-tribal...

California Legislature Approves Carpool Lane Incentives For Hybrids

Despite a late lobbying push by the Ford Motor Co., the California legislature approved a measure that will allow some hybrid vehicle drivers to access the state's "carpool lanes," even when driving alone, as an incentive to purchase ultra-fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford's lobbying effort fell short of stopping the bill with one Republican senator calling the company's chairman a "billionaire crybaby," and accusing him of "unmitigated gall." Because the Schwarzenegger Administration backed the bill with state Treasurer Phil Angelides (D), the...

Pact With Oil Company May Help EPA Develop Guide On 'Upset' Emissions

EPA and the petrochemical company Flint Hills Resources (FHR) have agreed to cooperate on development and evaluation of strategies for curtailing so-called "upset" emissions, in what agency and company sources say could lead to guidance to minimize such emissions from petroleum refineries and other industrial facilities. Both agency and industry sources say the Aug. 6 agreement builds upon significant progress the company has made in reducing upset emissions from flaring, or combustion of gases often released during startup, shutdown and...

AGREEMENT ON FUNDING AIR QUALITY PROGRAMS MAY FACE TAX CHALLENGE

A broad coalition of government officials, industry and environmentalists has reached consensus on an initiative that would generate about $90 million a year to fund a variety of air quality programs. But questions are being raised over whether the new fees contained in the proposal are taxes that require a super-majority vote in the Legislature, an argument that opponents may make in challenging the initiative if it is signed into law. The proposal, which is contained in a recently amended...

LATE POLITICAL MOVES CLOUD GOVERNOR'S SOLAR HOMES INITIATIVE

With only days left in the legislative session, the fate of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's solar energy initiative is uncertain with the bill getting mixed up in the politics surrounding the Assembly speaker's controversial electricity restructuring bill. The speaker is backing an alternative solar energy bill, recently introduced in the Assembly, in an apparent attempt to pressure Schwarzenegger to support his sweeping electricity restructuring legislation, which the governor has indicated he intends to veto. An environmental source said Assembly Speaker Fabian...

INDUSTRIES URGE ARB TO TONE DOWN INDOOR POLLUTION REPORT

Industry groups are pressing air board staff to tone down key elements of a draft indoor air pollution report, arguing that cancer-risk estimates and general negativity contained in the report toward a variety of home products and building materials are misleading, will likely alarm the public and could lead to unnecessary regulations. One of industry's primary fears is that lawmakers -- who requested the report in 2002 legislation -- will focus on the negative aspects of the report to justify...

SENATE APPROVES OPENING CARPOOL LANES TO HYBRID VEHICLES

Despite a late lobbying push by the Ford Motor Co., the Senate this week easily approved a measure that will allow some hybrid vehicle drivers to access the state's "carpool lanes" even when driving alone. The legislation is intended to encourage the purchase of the ultra-fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford's lobbying effort appeared to have little effect on slowing the bill with one Republican senator calling the company's chairman a "billionaire crybaby," and accusing him of "unmitigated gall." The bill, AB 2628...

ACTIVISTS PRESS RENEWABLE SOURCE PLAN FOR 'HYDROGEN HIGHWAYS'

Environmentalists involved in Cal/EPA's "Hydrogen Highways" initiative will press officials to craft a strategy to increase the amount of hydrogen tapped from renewable energy sources in carrying out the expected transportation energy transition, in an effort to ensure environmental benefits. While natural gas is a decent starting point, environmentalists say that upping the amount of hydrogen from geothermal, biomass and solar sources is crucial to making the campaign a bona fide success in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas...

KEY SCIENTIFIC PANEL'S NSR REVIEW HAMPERED BY LACK OF HARD DATA

A key scientific panel is struggling to gather quantitative data detailing the new source review (NSR) air permitting program's impacts on the electric utility industry, causing frustration just weeks before the panel begins to develop preliminary conclusions about how the controversial NSR reforms are affecting air quality and public health, sources say. "There has not been a lot of effort to collect and analyze the kind of data [the committee is] looking for," a source close to the study says...

COLORADO ENVIRONMENT CHIEF GIVES UNUSUAL SUPPORT TO KEY BUSH PLANS

Colorado environment chief Doug Benevento has won notoriety among fellow state officials for being the lone state environment commissioner to endorse now-stalled Defense Department (DOD) legislation seeking exemptions from environmental laws. Benevento's maverick support for the bill -- a key Bush administration legislative proposal -- reflects his broader efforts to embrace other White House priorities, including its new source review reforms, which Colorado has moved to adopt, and flexible environmental compliance programs like environmental management systems (EMSs). His support for...

California Port Pollution Bill Seen As Environmental Test For Schwarzenegger

The California Legislature's just-passed bill that seeks to freeze air emissions from two ports presents Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) with a stark choice between siding with environmentalists who support the measure, or a long list of business groups that oppose it. Some Schwarzenegger administration officials have voiced opposition to the bill, but sources say the governor has not yet indicated his stance on the legislation. The bill, AB 2042, requires the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to develop...

REGION X POISED TO FINALIZE LANDMARK AIR RULE FOR TRIBAL LANDS

The White House is reviewing a final EPA Region X regulation that would for the first time implement clean air rules for all tribal lands in an entire EPA region, but the rule is facing fierce opposition from non-tribal residents who fear the measure does not guarantee them due process rights. Agency sources say they have addressed the due process concerns raised by non-tribal members by having federal, not tribal, entities take responsibility for implementing the requirements to preserve non-tribal...

ENGINE MAKERS TO PUSH FEDERAL CMAQ FUNDING FOR DIESEL RETROFITS

Engine manufacturers say they will press city planners to use federal highway funding under the Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) program to pay for diesel retrofit projects. They argue that CMAQ is one of the few reliable sources of funding for retrofits in an era of tight budgets, and retrofits are more cost-effective than bike paths or improved public transit. Along with EPA, the industry is struggling to secure funding for voluntary retrofits that could supplement the air quality...

FEDERAL AGENCIES PURSUE NATIONAL POLICY TO REDUCE TRUCK-STOP IDLING

EPA is working with other government agencies to recommend new policies for reducing idling at truck stops in an effort to streamline what truckers now say is a confusing patchwork of regulations that differ from state to state. Idling reduction is pegged as a major environmental and energy issue, because idling trucks waste fuel and pump unnecessary pollution into the air. While the final result of these efforts is still unclear, agencies including EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE) and...

ENERGY, CONSERVATION MAY MAKE COLORADO KEY ELECTION BATTLEGROUND

Environmentalists may target Colorado as a newly emerging swing state in this year's presidential election, hoping to sway hunting and fishing groups by campaigning against the Bush administration's policies on natural resources. At the same time, environmental issues are rising to the forefront in the presidential, Senate and House races in the state, due in part to a local ballot initiative on renewable energy. The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, one of several environmental groups active in the election, may...

INDUSTRY PREPARES TO FIGHT LANDMARK COLORADO RENEWABLE ENERGY PLAN

Colorado industry officials are planning an aggressive, multi-million dollar campaign to defeat the nation's first-ever state ballot initiative setting strict renewable energy standards, a referendum supporters and opponents agree could be the start of a successful new tactic to bypass state legislatures that oppose strict standards. State officials Aug. 17 gave final approval to a measure for Colorado's November ballot that would institute a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) forcing the state's seven largest utilities to generate 10 percent of their...

MISSOURI CITY'S VOTERS REJECT PLAN TO BUILD COAL-FIRED POWER PLANT

Voters in the Ozark Mountain city of of Springfield, MO, this month rejected a plan by its municipal utility company to build a new coal-fired power plant to satisfy the growing energy needs of the community, following a campaign launched by the local Sierra Club that urged voters to reject increased use of the fossil fuel. Though it is unusual for utilities to put such issues to a vote, some national environmental groups say the outcome illustrates the success of...

ACTIVISTS PAVE WAY FOR LITIGATION OVER STATE RULES ON 'UPSET' EMISSIONS

Environmentalists say they may file a lawsuit that could force EPA to overturn state rules on infrequent, large-scale industrial releases known as "upset" emissions, after one activist group issued a report charging that more than half of all states illegally exempt these events from enforcement under the Clean Air Act. Though the activists say that litigation could be years away, they argue they will have no choice if EPA and states do not take the initiative to regulate these emissions...

CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CITES 2003 CASE TO PUSH EPA EMISSIONS RULE DELAY

A group of chemical companies is citing the precedent set by a 2003 appellate ruling to urge EPA to delay implementation of part of a major air toxics rule and conduct an administrative review of the measure even as the agency continues settlement talks with the industry over the rule. The Aug. 11 petition, filed by Clariant America, Eastman Chemical Company and Rohm & Haas Company, asks EPA to stay the application of the leak detection and repair (LDAR) requirements...

ERRORS DELAY PUBLICATION OF MAJOR AIR TOXICS RULES BY MONTHS

Minor errors are causing lengthy delays in promulgating at least two court-ordered air toxics rules , delaying industry compliance and impeding litigation. While EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt signed both rules in February -- in time to meet the court-ordered deadlines -- the air rule for plywood manufacturers was not published until July 30 and the toxics rule for boilers has yet to be published in the Federal Register. However, EPA posted both regulations on its website and issued press releases...

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