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.

INHOFE CONCERNED OVER STATE THREATS TO RETURN PROGRAMS TO EPA

Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is concerned that some states are considering effectively returning control over implementing environmental programs to EPA as a result of major cuts to state grants the Bush administration proposed in its fiscal year 2007 budget request, according to a member of his staff. Michelle Nellenbach, the senior professional staff member for the environment committee's majority staff, told state environmental officials March 13 that Inhofe is "alarmed" that states are considering...

EPA DRY CLEANER EMISSIONS PLAN MAY IGNORE WATER CONTAMINATION RISKS

Wastewater treatment officials say EPA's recent proposal regulating air emissions from dry cleaners, which assumes emissions as the major exposure route to the toxic chemical perchloroethylene (perc), may be ignoring groundwater contamination as a potential exposure pathway. Environmentalists say that wastewater officials' concerns about exposure bolster their push to eliminate dry cleaners that use the toxic chemical. But industry and some state officials say the potential exposure is minimal at best, and say there are sufficient restrictions in place at...

NAS Report Prompts Debate Over EPA Role Setting State Air Standards

A new National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report praising California's mobile source emissions standards is prompting debate over whether EPA should have a new role in reviewing other states' efforts to adopt California's standards, which are generally stricter than EPA's. Industry sources are highlighting suggestions in the report that EPA should play a greater role in states' adoption of California standards. Environmentalists and state sources say, however, that recommendation in the NAS report calling for a new EPA role is...

SPEAKER TAKES LEAD OVER LANDMARK CLIMATE BILL; BACKING SEEN VITAL

Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) is taking the lead over evolving landmark legislation targeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in a move that is considered crucial for the bill to pass the lower house and potentially go to the governor. Details of the legislation remain unclear; it is expected to require a variety of industrial facilities to begin reporting their GHG emissions to the state, but there is some doubt about whether an emissions cap will be proposed. There is...

ARB BEGINS STRUGGLE TO COUNT STATEWIDE FACILITY GHG EMISSIONS

Air board staff is in the nascent stages of attempting to collect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data from industrial facilities statewide, asking air districts this week to seek the information from thousands of businesses despite acknowledging a lack of regulatory authority to do so. A key purpose of the effort is to establish GHG emission baselines and eventually to measure progress against the governor's GHG-reduction goals set last June. At the same time Air Resources Board staffers are asking local...

INDUSTRY DIVISIONS COMPLICATE SENATE PUSH FOR FEDERAL CLIMATE PLAN

A barrage of comments sent to the Senate on the design of possible climate change legislation underscores significant divisions within the utility industry and other sectors on how to proceed in developing a regulatory system to control greenhouse gases. In particular, companies are split over where in the supply chain regulations should be imposed, how to allocate emissions allowances and whether Congress should even require any mandatory controls. Some industry officials are also pushing for cost limits that observers say...

EPA AIR STANDARDS OFFICE EYES NEW FOCUS AS PART OF MAJOR OVERHAUL

EPA's air standards office will soon complete a major reorganization that will include a new focus on reducing emissions of both air toxics and criteria pollutants, an expansion into voluntary, sector-based programs and renewed attention on controlling climate change, according to agency officials and sources briefed on the effort. In addition, EPA sources say a separate effort is underway within the agency's climate change division in EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs to consolidate a number of existing functions related to...

OFFICIALS URGE GOVERNOR TO LAUNCH BIOENERGY REGULATORY INITIATIVE

Energy consultants hired by the state are urging the governor to sign an executive order establishing statewide goals for biomass-based energy production, including a transportation renewable fuels standard and a mandate for minimum state purchases of "biopower." Some of the recommendations are raising concerns among clean-energy groups and environmentalists, who fear that increasing the use of some biofuels -- such as ethanol -- may worsen air pollution if not tightly regulated. It remains unclear whether state officials will support the...

FLOREZ, ENVIRONMENTALISTS BLAST DISTRICT OVER NEW DAIRY RULE

A proposed San Joaquin Valley air district rule to cut smog-forming emissions from dairies has ignited a dispute between the district and a prominent valley lawmaker and environmentalists over the types of dairy pollution the district should mitigate. The development of the rule is significant because it is the first being drafted for large animal facilities under stringent new source review rules targeting many dairies, which are seen as major contributors to the valley's severe pollution problems. The district this...

BIPARTISAN CONFIRMATION OF ARB CHAIR SAWYER ENDS TUMULTUOUS STRETCH

Air board chair Robert Sawyer this week received bipartisan support from lawmakers and backing from industry representatives in his unanimous confirmation by the Senate Rules Committee. Sawyer's approval settles somewhat of a tumultuous stretch for the air board's leadership, after the governor's previous choice of an industry lobbyist for the chairmanship was rejected by the Senate last summer. Sawyer, who Dec. 22 was appointed Air Resources Board chairman by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said at this week's Senate confirmation hearing that...

NAS VINDICATES ARB VEHICLE STANDARDS; EPA ROLE IN QUESTION

A report released this week by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that vindicates the necessity for California's more stringent mobile source regulations may trigger debate over whether U.S. EPA should have a new role in reviewing other states' efforts to adopt California standards, according to sources. The report, State And Federal Standards For Mobile-Source Emissions , released March 16, focuses on states' ability to "opt-in" to stricter California emission rules for cars, trucks and off-road engines to meet National...

EPA DIESEL PLAN FACES FY07 BUDGET LIMITS AFTER DEAL ON STATE AIR GRANTS

Supporters of a new EPA program intended to encourage diesel engine retrofits have agreed to drop their push for a $150 million increase over the Bush administration's requested levels after state and local regulators raised objections that full funding for the diesel plan could prevent lawmakers from restoring funds for state clean air grants, sources involved with the discussions say. Key senators joined by a coalition of industry and environmental groups, who had been seeking the full $200 million in...

STATE LAWSUIT MAY BE LEGAL TEST FOR VALIDITY OF VAPOR INTRUSION MODELS

A recent lawsuit filed in a Pennsylvania state court where the plaintiffs are seeking damages for vapor intrusion and other contamination is raising legal questions about how private consultants and state regulators are using a controversial model that is the basis for EPA's and other states' vapor intrusion guides. "This is an example of how vapor intrusion may be handled by the defense to contest a model that has been used," one real estate attorney says. One source says many...

INHOFE CONCERNED OVER STATE THREATS TO RETURN PROGRAMS TO EPA

Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is concerned that some states are considering returning control over implementing environmental programs to EPA as a result of major cuts to state grants the Bush administration proposed in its fiscal year 2007 budget request, according to a member of his staff. Michelle Nellenbach, the senior professional staff member for the environment committee's majority staff, told state environmental officials March 13 that Inhofe is "alarmed" that states are considering handing...

NEW RESEARCH MAY ADD TO PRESSURE ON EPA TO STRENGTHEN PM PROPOSAL

Two major new studies suggesting that EPA's proposal for tightening its fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standard is too weak may increase pressure on the agency to strengthen the plan, as the agency's administrator is again renewing his commitment to use the best available science in a final rule. The studies have been published as EPA is conducting a broader review over the ways it considers scientific evidence for this and other national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). One of the...

CONGRESS FACES GROWING PRESSURE TO BOOST EPA FUNDS FOR PM MONITORS

Congress is facing increasing pressure from states and a bipartisan group of members in the House and Senate to restore funds for states and localities to monitor particulate matter (PM) emissions after the Bush administration proposed cuts to the grant program in EPA's fiscal year 2007 budget request. In letters sent earlier this month to the Senate Budget Committee, the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee says Congress should restore the $17 million cut the White...

INDUSTRY QUESTIONS BOARD'S RULE ON PRESERVING EVIDENCE AT SPILL SITES

A broad coalition of industry groups are arguing in comments to the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) that it lacks Clean Air Act authority to finalize a proposed rule requiring industry to preserve evidence following spills and other accidents. The groups say the rule is arbitrary and capricious, and one attorney says, if finalized, industry is likely to challenge the rule in court. Industry sources earlier warned that while the plan was well-intentioned, the proposed regulatory language was...

NAS REPORT COULD PROMPT DEBATE OVER EPA ROLE IN SETTING AIR STANDARDS

An upcoming report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) could prompt debate over whether EPA should have a new role in reviewing states' efforts to adopt California's mobile source emissions standards, which are generally stricter than EPA's. The report, State And Federal Standards For Mobile-Source Emissions , which was scheduled for release March 16, focuses on states' ability to "opt-in" to stricter California emission rules for cars, trucks and offroad engines to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)...

EPA Diesel Plan Faces FY07 Budget Limits After Deal On State Air Grants

Supporters of a new EPA program intended to encourage diesel engine retrofits have agreed to drop their push for a $150 million increase over the Bush administration's requested levels after state and local regulators raised objections that full funding for the diesel plan could prevent lawmakers from restoring funds for state clean air grants, sources involved with the discussions say. Key senators joined by a coalition of industry and environmental groups, who had been seeking the full $200 million in...

EPA Fuel Economy Test Procedure May Act As Disincentive For Hybrids

EPA's proposed new fuel economy test procedure could act as a disincentive for the production and purchase of hybrid vehicles by understating the fuel economy of such vehicles, according to officials from the hybrid manufacturer Honda. EPA is proposing to revamp fuel economy calculations for motor vehicles in order to improve the accuracy of mileage estimates provided to consumers. It would be the first update in decades to the methodology the agency uses, which is currently based on two tests...

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