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.

TOP DEMOCRATS' DAIRY POLLUTION CONTROL FINANCING BILLS CLASH

State treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides is reigniting support for a bill barring the state from giving loans to dairies for installation of pollution control technologies until local regulators finalize relevant air and water regulations. The dairy industry strongly opposes the bill, claiming it would unfairly hold dairies to much more stringent standards than any other industry in the state, and argue it will likely force many dairies to relocate out of state. The bill is important both...

STATE AIR OFFICIALS SUE EPA OVER AIRCRAFT ENGINE EMISSIONS RULE

A group representing state and local air regulators has filed what may be its first direct legal challenge to a U.S. EPA rule, petitioning a federal appellate court for review of the agency's new regulations of aircraft emissions. The State & Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators/Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (STAPPA/ALAPCO) filed a petition for review Feb. 21 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on EPA's final rule requiring nitrogen oxide (NOx)...

TRUCKERS SEE MAJOR FIGHT OVER ARB CRACKDOWN ON PRIVATE FLEETS

The California Trucking Association (CTA), already exasperated by several air board regulations requiring diesel pollution emission reductions, is expecting a major fight over a forthcoming proposal targeting private fleets in the state. The industry claims that a new regulation will merely lead California companies that operate their own fleets to either move or convert to interstate trucking services to avoid compliance with the new regulation. But air board officials and environmentalists say the rule is critical to reducing the state's...

INCREASE IN NANOPRODUCTS COULD BOLSTER BILLS DIRECTING EPA RESEARCH

A soon-to-be-released report providing the first-ever public inventory of nanotechnology products has found the number of consumer goods containing nanoparticles significantly exceeds previous EPA estimates, a revelation that could boost the case for planned legislation directing new research into the potential benefits and risks the emerging technology poses, according to observers following the issue. Observers say they expect a number of bills to be introduced this year that will direct EPA research on the environmental and human health risks posed...

EPA AIR CHIEF'S NOMINATION MAY PROMPT SENATE DEBATE ON IGCC, AIR TOXICS

The nomination of William Wehrum to head EPA's air office may prompt Senate scrutiny into issues such as technological requirements for power plants to cut emissions, Clean Air Act enforcement and EPA's air toxics agenda, observers say. President Bush announced Feb. 27 that Wehrum would be nominated to be EPA's assistant administrator for air & radiation, after serving in an acting position since July 2005. Wehrum originally came to EPA's air office as a close associate of former Assistant Administrator...

LEADING CONSERVATIVES JOIN INDUSTRY IN OPPOSING CLIMATE NUISANCE SUIT

Leading conservatives including controversial former Bush administration officials, a rejected Supreme Court nominee and the chairman of the Senate environment panel are urging a federal appeals court to reject a claim by states and environmentalists that the electric power industry's refusal to slash greenhouse gas emissions is a public nuisance that should be mitigated. In amicus briefs filed March 3 in State of Connecticut et al. v. American Electric Power Company, et al., the conservatives are supporting a district judge's...

CALL FOR TECHNOLOGY BOOST, CO2 MARKET DRAWS BROAD INDUSTRY BACKING

A new paper on the design of a greenhouse gas (GHG) market shows growing support for calls to focus any future policies on both emission cuts and incentives to develop new technologies. One source familiar with the paper's development says it attracted unprecedented industry participation, demonstrating a subtle change of industry views on the likelihood of such a regime just weeks before historic Senate talks are set to begin on how to structure a GHG market. The paper, Design Issues...

USDA ADVISORY PANEL BACKS TERMS TO EXEMPT FARMS FROM EPA RULES

A Department of Agriculture (USDA) advisory panel is backing new definitions for key regulatory terms that, if adopted, would in many cases exempt agricultural operations from Clean Air Act requirements and Superfund reporting regulations. The representatives are also calling for the creation of a special joint USDA-EPA workgroup to consider ways to implement the new definitions, according to sources on the panel. During a Feb. 28-March 2 meeting, the Agriculture Air Quality Task Force voted to approve several definitions that...

EPA TRADING PROPOSAL FOR REFINERY FUEL AIR TOXIC LIMIT DRAWS CRITICISM

EPA's new mobile source air toxics (MSAT) proposal is drawing criticism from states and activists because it would set up an emissions trading scheme for refineries to meet new limits on fuel content. But industry officials say the trading scheme is vital to help relieve the costs imposed by the rule, which they argue EPA has underestimated. The MSAT proposal, which EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson signed Feb. 28, would require refiners to reduce the content of the air toxic benzene...

PESTICIDE RULING MAY PROMPT HIGH COURT REVIEW OF LIMITS ON 'STANDING'

A new ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit -- which has jurisdiction over federal regulations -- could establish what legal experts say are unprecedented limits on environmentalists' standing to sue over federal rules, possibly pointing the way to a Supreme Court challenge . The decision upholding an EPA regulation of an ozone-depleting pesticide is the latest in a series of recent rulings and administrative actions in the D.C. Circuit that have blocked activists...

EPA Air Chief's Nomination May Prompt Senate Debate On IGCC, Air Toxics

The nomination of William Wehrum to head EPA's air office may prompt Senate scrutiny into issues such as technological requirements for power plants to cut emissions, Clean Air Act enforcement and EPA's air toxics agenda, observers say. President Bush announced Feb. 27 that Wehrum would be nominated to be EPA's assistant administrator for air and radiation, after serving in an acting position since July 2005. Wehrum originally came to EPA's air office as a close associate of former Assistant Administrator...

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...

Pesticide Ruling May Prompt High Court Review Of Limits On 'Standing'

A new ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit -- which has jurisdiction over federal regulations -- could establish what legal experts say are unprecedented limits on environmentalists' standing to sue over federal rules, possibly pointing the way to a Supreme Court challenge. The decision upholding an EPA regulation of an ozone-depleting pesticide is the latest in a series of recent rulings and administrative actions in the D.C. Circuit that have blocked activists from...

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...

HIGH COURT PETITION IN CO2 SUIT DOWNPLAYS ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

State and environmentalist sources say their strategy in trying to get the Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a high-profile greenhouse gas emission lawsuit rests on attracting conservative justices to the case by downplaying the environmental aspects of their argument in favor of broader concerns. The groups are focusing on their assertion that a lower court decision, if allowed to stand, would allow all federal agencies to ignore statutory requirements at will. A host of attorneys general (AGs) and...

EPA TRADING PROPOSAL FOR REFINERY FUEL AIR TOXIC LIMIT DRAWS CRITICISM

EPA's new mobile source air toxics (MSAT) proposal is drawing criticism from states and activists because it would set up an emissions trading scheme for refineries to meet new limits on fuel content. But industry officials say the trading scheme is vital to help relieve the cost impacts of the rule, which they argue EPA has underestimated. The MSAT proposal, which EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson signed Feb. 28, would require refiners to reduce the content of the air toxic benzene...

NORTHEAST STATES FACE CONTROVERSIES OVER BILLS TO IMPLEMENT RGGI

Northeast state legislators are taking up legislation to implement a historic greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program called the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI), including an upcoming Massachusetts bill that would force the state to join the program over the objections of Gov. Mitt Romney (R). But the pending Massachusetts bill faces uncertain prospects this year since the state legislature has only a few months to secure passage. Massachusetts is considered a key state for the climate program because it is responsible...

AIR RULE COULD BE NEW FOCUS OF SUIT ON EPA POWER TO REGULATE CO2

EPA's just-released rule setting new source performance standards (NSPS) for electric utilities could become a new focus of litigation from states and environmentalists over whether the agency has authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions after a federal appellate court last year issued a largely inconclusive ruling on the issue. State attorneys general (AGs) and environmental groups are weighing whether to file a second legal challenge over the issue because EPA concludes in the NSPS rule that it lacks authority...

NORTHEAST STATES EYE RULE ON ENGINE FIXES DESPITE INDUSTRY CHALLENGES

Northeast state officials are pressing ahead with plans to develop a model rule to mandate emission controls on certain engines in order to reduce levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in the region, despite ongoing industry lawsuits over a similar rule in California. The states are eyeing the model rule to require engine makers and truckers to install retrofits known as "low-NOx chip reflash" kits. A court settlement several years ago put a schedule in place for manufacturers to install these...

TRUCKERS SAY CALIFORNIA DIESEL STANDARD WOULD SET HARMFUL PRECEDENT

A California request for a waiver from federal preemption over a state engine emissions standard is raising alarms among industry groups, who say the request is an unprecedented move that could force large numbers of trucks to comply nationwide. The controversy comes as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is preparing to issue a long-awaited report that will evaluate California's authority to set transportation emissions standards that are stricter than the rest of the country. The report will examine the...

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