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 DECISION TO LIMIT TRI DATA REVISIONS SPARKS INDUSTRY CONCERN

EPA's decision to restrict industry's ability to revise data that has been submitted to the agency's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) has prompted industry claims that EPA will release flawed information that could undermine the reliability and credibility of the program. The agency's decision is laid out in a May 19 letter to industry groups that report to the TRI, in which EPA information chief Kim Nelson describes efforts to streamline the program. Those measures include increased use of Internet reporting...

INDUSTRY ATTACK ON STATE AIR RULE TESTS REACH OF OMB PEER REVIEW GUIDE

Industry has launched a groundbreaking test of whether third parties can successfully request new federal peer reviews under a controversial White House guidance, calling for EPA to initiate review of state ozone pollution control plans that industry believes are based on inaccurate data. In a June 2 letter, the Sherwin-Williams paint company asked EPA and OMB officials to require peer review of a 2001 model rule and related studies developed by the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) to limit ozone-forming volatile...

BUSH MAKES TWO EPA RECESS APPOINTMENTS IN FACE OF SENATE HOLDS

President Bush installed two EPA political appointees during last month's congressional recess, using a constitutional procedure allowing the White House to bypass a pending Senate hold on two of four EPA nominees whose consideration is being blocked. The appointments effectively deflate Sen. Jim Jeffords' (I-VT) leverage in a battle over EPA documents on several controversial proposals, the release of which he tried to force by putting holds on the nominees. And they are raising concerns among EPA staff that Bush...

Researchers Suggest EPA Reconsider Fine Particulate Matter Exposure Levels

Some scientific researchers are raising the idea that EPA may need to revamp the way it addresses fine particulate matter (PM2.5) because new studies are indicating that serious health effects -- even death -- are apparent at the lowest levels that are measurable. However, the notion is controversial because it would likely boost the importance of cost-benefit analyses when the Clean Air Act bars EPA from considering costs in setting ambient air quality standards. The issue was discussed at an...

SBA Pressures EPA For Industry Exemptions In Ozone-Depleting Chemical Phaseout

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is pressing EPA air chief Jeffrey Holmstead to allow significant exemptions for the foam insulation industry in a 2003 phaseout of a key ozone-depleting chemical, a move aimed at protecting small contractors that SBA says are not ready to start using more environmentally-friendly alternatives. While EPA has already signaled its intent to allow some relief through a needs-based application process, SBA is concerned that EPA's plan will prove insufficient because foam companies and contractors that...

Industry Says Delays In Bush Clean Air Act Reforms Would Harm Environment

The American Chemistry Council has joined with a broad coalition of industry groups in intensifying its efforts to defend proposed Bush administration reforms to Clean Air Act permitting requirements, referred to as new source review (NSR) requirements. The coalition is warning House lawmakers in a new letter that any delay in the Bush administration's implementation of the reforms will come at the cost of cleaner air. The Aug. 20 letter , signed by 44 industry trade associations, is the latest...

Mediator In TVA Air Act Case Unable To Stave Off Court Ruling

The chief mediator for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has abandoned his attempt to craft a settlement in a high-profile lawsuit where the government sued the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for alleged Clean Air Act violations. The collapse of the effort leaves little choice but for the court to issue what could be a landmark ruling on the legitimacy of EPA's enforcement actions against the utility industry for alleged violations of new source review rules...

U.S. Automakers Split With International Counterparts On Global Warming

U.S. automakers are backing away from a report they released along with their Asian and European counterparts which includes a statement that carbon dioxide (CO2) from auto emissions contributes to global warming. Representatives from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) -- which represents the biggest three U.S. automakers -- are now saying that they only support portions of an International Automobile Manufacturers (IAE) report to the United Nations' sustainable development conference, despite being listed as one of its three primary...

EPA, Activists Ink Proposed Pact To Speed Air Toxics Permit Deadlines

EPA and the Sierra Club have reached a proposed legal settlement that will require many industries to submit permit applications to regulators developing air toxics standards one year earlier than EPA had originally intended. The proposed settlement , which requires EPA to propose the deadline changes in an upcoming rulemaking, could also make it easier for activists to obtain information about facilities by requiring plant owners to immediately submit already required air quality plans to EPA in the event of...

Appeals Court Backs Ethanol-Friendly Air Act Interpretation

A recent federal appeals court decision has backed an EPA interpretation of Clean Air Act rules that could provide a long-term benefit to companies seeking to produce ethanol from municipal waste, by lessening the need under some circumstances for facilities to install state-of-the-art pollution control technologies. Legal experts say the ruling provides a precedent affirming regulators' decision not to regulate as a chemical processing plant a proposed experimental waste-to-ethanol facility -- and perhaps other similar facilities in the future. The...

Mexican Truck Suit's Pollution Debate Rattles Trucking Industry

A closely watched air quality lawsuit challenging Mexican-based trucks unfettered access to U.S. highways under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is splitting the trucking industry, with one key organization backing the U.S. government's decision not to study the environmental impacts of the foreign vehicles. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), a national organization that represents trucking companies, is backing the unlimited truck access, while the California Trucking Association, an ATA member, and truck drivers who are members of the...

Administration Unveils Clear Skies Plan, Including Details Of Air Act Changes

The Bush administration's Clear Skies power plant legislation unveiled this week outlines the most detail to date on White House proposals for Clean Air Act changes in exchange for overall emissions caps on the industry -- proposing new criteria to shield the industry from separate legal attacks by downwind states, and significantly narrowing the scope of new source review (NSR) rules for the power sector. The administration's proposal -- which was introduced by Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), W.J. "Billy" Tauzin...

Federal Officials Eye Changes To Rules On Traffic Congestion, Air Quality Conformity

Federal officials and Senate lawmakers are discussing several possible changes to federal rules for reducing the impact of transportation emissions on air quality -- including possible relief for areas that fail to comply with EPA's yet-to-be-implemented fine particle and ozone standards, along with changes to congestion programs. Discussion of possible changes to the program -- aired at a July 30 hearing by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee -- comes as Congress gears up for a reauthorization of the...

Court Boosts Industry Role In Clean Air Act 'Conformity' Cases

A federal appeals court has boosted industry's role in clean air transportation conformity cases, ruling that a trade association representing road builders can intervene in an environmentalists' suit accusing the federal government of failing to fully consider the air quality impact of road construction projects. The ruling will likely boost the participation of road building interests in similar suits currently pending in Atlanta, Houston and St. Louis, industry sources say. A federal appeals court ruled July 5 in for Better...

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