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.

Missouri Suit On EPA Air Rule May Boost Calls For Stricter Lead Levels

Missouri's lawsuit seeking more stringent EPA clean air rules for lead smelters could provide environmental and public health advocates another opportunity to push for stricter federal health limits on children's exposure to lead, sources following the issue say. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) earlier this week filed a citizen suit charging EPA with violating the Clean Air Act by failing to review its national ambient air quality standard for lead since 1990. Nixon is asking the U.S. District Court...

LAWMAKERS EYE VEHICLE TO MOVE MEXICO TRUCK-EMISSION STANDARDS

Lawmakers and stakeholders pushing legislation to require trucks entering California from Mexico to carry documents proving their engines meet applicable U.S. EPA emission standards plan to insert the language into a new bill soon, according to sources. Democrats behind the legislation say they plan to press Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to support their efforts and do everything he can to prevent significant pollution increases caused by the entry of thousands of Mexico-based trucks into the state. An environmentalist involved in the...

STAKEHOLDERS PLAN PHASED LEGISLATION TO FUND AIR PROGRAMS

While stakeholders are still trying to craft a legislative measure this month to tweak and provide additional funds for various air board-administered emission reduction programs, more funding proposals for broader vehicle and stationary source emission reductions are expected in future years, sources said. More controversial fees to fund grant programs to reduce engine emissions -- such as extra charges for fuel bought or vehicle miles traveled -- will not be considered this year, according to a source. Earlier this year,...

ERRORS DELAY PUBLICATION OF MAJOR AIR TOXICS, WATER RULES BY MONTHS

Minor errors are causing lengthy delays in promulgating at least three court-ordered air toxics and water pollution rules , delaying industry compliance and impeding litigation. While EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt signed all three rules in February -- in time to meet the court-ordered deadlines -- a water rule for power plants was not published until Aug. 4, an air pollution rule for plywood manufacturers was not published until July 30, and an air pollution rule for boilers has yet to...

GAO, ACTIVISTS CALL DATA ON ACCIDENTAL EMISSIONS SPARSE, INCONSISTENT

Congressional investigators are urging federal agencies to improve the amount and consistency of data gathered on natural gas emissions to help reduce pollution and prevent natural gas from escaping at a time when high gas prices and rising demand for energy are major political issues. However, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) appears unlikely to aggressively pursue the recommendations. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in its Aug. 17 report, Natural Gas Venting and Flaring: Opportunities to Improve Data...

ENVIRONMENTALISTS PLEDGE TO PUSH KERRY TO RESCIND BUSH NSR RULE

Environmentalists say that if Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is elected president, they will urge him to take advantage of EPA's ongoing administrative review process to rescind the Bush administration's routine maintenance new source review (NSR) rule. But a power industry representative says taking this action may not be a priority for a new administration and could face significant opposition from lawmakers. The rule narrows when facilities' "equipment replacement" necessitates installation of modern pollution controls under the Clean Air Act's NSR...

STATES PRESS EPA TO REJECT PAINT INDUSTRY ATTACK ON OZONE PLANS

Eastern states are pressing EPA to reject a paint industry data quality challenge that alleges EPA should not approve several state ozone reduction plans, claiming the Information Quality Act (IQA) does not apply to the challenged information and industry's effort threatens existing regulatory review procedures. The dispute is significant because it addresses the degree to which information supporting state regulations that are subject to EPA approval are subject to the IQA. In an Aug. 18 letter to agency and White...

MISSOURI SUIT ON EPA AIR RULE MAY BOOST CALLS FOR STRICTER LEAD LEVELS

Missouri's lawsuit seeking more stringent EPA clean air rules for lead smelters could provide environmental and public health advocates another opportunity to push for stricter federal health limits on children's exposure to lead, sources following the issue say. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) earlier this week filed a citizen suit charging EPA with violating the Clean Air Act by failing to review its national ambient air quality standard for lead since 1990. Nixon is asking the U.S. District Court...

States Urge EPA To Reject Paint Industry's Data Quality Attack On Air Plans

Eastern states are pressing EPA to reject a paint industry data quality challenge that alleges EPA should not approve several state ozone reduction plans, claiming the Information Quality Act (IQA) does not apply to the challenged information and industry's effort threatens existing regulatory review procedures. The dispute is significant because it addresses the degree to which information supporting state regulations that are subject to EPA approval are subject to the IQA. In an Aug. 18 letter to agency and White...

Errors Delay Publication Of Major EPA Air Toxics, Water Rules By Months

Minor errors are causing lengthy delays in promulgating at least three court-ordered air toxics and water pollution rules , delaying industry compliance and impeding litigation. While EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt signed all three rules in February -- in time to meet the court-ordered deadlines -- a water rule for power plants was not published until Aug. 4, an air pollution rule for plywood manufacturers was not published until July 30, and an air pollution rule for boilers has yet to...

Manufacturers Push Plan To Limit Scope Of EPA Interstate Air Quality Rules

Manufacturers are urging EPA to apply an unusual benchmark in order to limit the types of facilities covered by the clean air interstate rule (CAIR) and future initiatives to restrict interstate transport of air pollution. The groups, which represent large industrial emission sources such as industrial boilers, chemical plants and paper companies, are seeking to restrict these rules to sources they believe contribute the bulk of emissions, most notably power plants. To this end, the groups are backing a proposal...

EPA OPENS DOOR TO FINALIZING CAFO AIR PACT WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT

EPA officials may bar the public from commenting on a controversial agreement temporarily exempting agriculture facilities from Superfund and Clean Air Act enforcement, despite a commitment to a key Democratic senator last year that the agency would seek public comment on a draft version of the agreement before it is finalized. One EPA source would not discuss specific plans on the agreement, but says the agency has made no final decisions on its release. "We're still considering how to proceed...

WEST COAST TO SEEK FUNDING FOR EARLY IMPLEMENTATION OF DIESEL RULES

California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska are seeking $100 million from EPA and other federal agencies to help pay for early implementation of EPA's diesel rules for vehicles -- including trucks, buses, trains, boats, and farm and construction equipment, EPA sources and environmentalists say. Additionally, staff in EPA regions IX and X along with staff from the four states' environment departments are drafting a letter that will outline the major goals of the West Coast Diesel Emission Reduction Collaborative and seek...

West Coast To Seek Funding For Early Implementation Of EPA Diesel Rules

California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska are seeking $100 million from EPA and other federal agencies to help pay for early implementation of EPA's diesel rules for vehicles -- including trucks, buses, trains, boats, and farm and construction equipment, EPA sources and environmentalists say. Additionally, staff in EPA regions 9 and 10 along with staff from the four states' environment departments are drafting a letter that will outline the major goals of the West Coast Diesel Emission Reduction Collaborative and seek...

USDA Proposes Extending Methyl Bromide 'Quarantine Exemption' To Domestic Use

The Bush administration is proposing to expand the so-called "quarantine exemption" for the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol to allow its use in domestic agriculture shipments. Until now, the exemption has only been used to allow the pesticide to be sprayed on international shipments of nursery plants and crops. The move comes as House Republicans and pesticide industry groups are pressing the administration to seek increased allowances for the pesticide under the protocol's "critical use exemption" ahead...

JUDGES REJECT ACTIVISTS' EFFORT TO BROADEN SCOPE OF BUSH NSR REFORM

In one of the first legal decisions on the issue, EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has rebuffed an environmental group's effort to use a revised definition of what constitutes an "emissions unit" under the Bush administration's 2002 new source review (NSR) reforms to seek upgraded pollution controls at a power plant. The board's Aug. 3 decision in In re: Rochester Public Utilities is one of the first interpreting the new definition of what constitutes an "emissions unit" subject to NSR,...

DOUBTS RAISED ON EPA PACT TO REVIEW BATON ROUGE RFG REQUIREMENTS

EPA has agreed to reconsider Baton Rouge's request to waive a federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirement even though the Clean Air Act bars such waivers for "severe" ozone nonattainment areas like the Louisiana city, prompting EPA and some oil industry officials to question whether the agency can waive the requirement. An EPA Region VI source says the agreement takes the agency into "uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no process exists" to consider waiving a program that is required by the...

WEST COAST TO SEEK FUNDING FOR EARLY IMPLEMENTATION OF DIESEL RULES

California, Washington and Oregon are seeking $100 million from EPA to fund early implementation of the agency's diesel rules for vehicles -- including trucks, buses, trains, boats, and farm and construction equipment, EPA sources and environmentalists say. Additionally, staff in EPA regions IX and X along with staff at the three states' environment departments are drafting a letter that will be sent to the entire West Coast congressional delegation seeking even more federal funding, one EPA source says. The letter...

EPA OPENS DOOR TO FINALIZING CAFO AIR PACT WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT

EPA officials may bar the public from commenting on a controversial agreement temporarily exempting concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from enforcement, despite a commitment to a key Democratic senator last year that the agency would seek public comment on a draft version of the agreement before it was finalized. One EPA source would not discuss specific plans on the agreement, but said the agency has made no final decisions on its release. "We're still considering how to proceed with this,"...

ACTIVISTS TO SEEK HIGH COURT REVIEW OF IDAHO CROP BURNING DECISION

Idaho environmentalists are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court a case that unsuccessfully challenged a state law blocking the right to file nuisance lawsuits over crop residue burning, a practice they argue creates devastating short-term air quality impacts. The move comes after the state's high court rejected their argument that the law violated their rights under the Idaho and U.S. constitutions. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled against the groups Aug. 2 in the case Lawrence "Bud" Moon Jr. et...

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