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 Weighing Flexible ‘Facility-Wide’ EtO Limits In Tougher Sterilizer Rule

EPA is weighing increased compliance flexibility in its forthcoming air rule to curb ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from commercial sterilizers, including an alternative “facility-wide” limit on EtO destruction removal efficiency (DRE), industry groups say, even as they say the current plan is infeasible and will cause shortages in medical equipment supply. Industry groups and public health advocates are now meeting with EPA and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials to make their closing pitches ahead of the...

EPA floats copper smelters air rule

EPA has sent its draft final rule tightening air toxics emissions standards for primary copper smelters to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review, as the agency strives to issue the regulation by a May 2 judicial deadline. EPA sent the regulation for pre-publication review Feb. 16, according to OMB’s website. OMB review typically takes up to 90 days, but can be faster or slower, depending on the circumstances. The plan would tighten the national...

Debate Intensifies Over Consumer EV Readiness As EPA Preps Auto Rule

Biden officials and outside groups are increasingly debating consumers’ readiness to adopt electric vehicles (EVs), a key factor as EPA prepares to finalize its model 2027-32 light- and medium-duty emissions standards expected to spur greater EV sales as one compliance strategy. The debate comes as numerous groups are making late-hour pitches on the rule as part of the White House Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) inter-agency review process, and as EPA officials appear poised to ease the rule’s projected...

Judge Grants EPA Request To Delay Trial In Novel Air Act Enforcement Suit

A federal judge has granted EPA’s request to indefinitely delay a high-stakes trial where the agency was seeking to use emergency Clean Air Act enforcement powers to require a Louisiana rubber manufacturer to dramatically cut emissions of chloroprene, allowing the agency to first finalize a rule expected to set strict new emission limits for the air toxic. Judge Carl Barbier of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana agreed to delay the trial, following a Feb. 16...

EPA Sends Final Rule Tightening MATS Limits For White House Review

EPA has sent its final rule likely tightening the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) interagency review, as the agency strives to meet its target of finalizing the major air rule in April. OMB received the final regulation Feb. 15, according to its website. OMB pre-publication review typically takes approximately 90 days, but can be faster or slower, depending on the circumstances. The final rule will reconsider the Trump administration’s risk-and-technology...

EPA readies final RMP rule for release after OMB review

EPA’s final rule updating its Risk Management Program (RMP) has cleared the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), setting the stage for the agency to enact the long-awaited policy in the coming days or weeks even as lawmakers, industry and environmentalists have raised a wide range of concerns over its expected changes. OMB signed off on the rule on Feb. 15 following months of meetings with stakeholders, opening the door for EPA to sign and publish the regulation...

Environmentalists Defend ‘Good Neighbor’ Plan Ahead Of High Court Hearing

Environmentalists are broadly calling on the Supreme Court to deny industry and GOP states’ requests to halt EPA’s “Good Neighbor” air plan ahead of an “emergency” Supreme Court argument on Feb. 21, warning that granting the stay would deepen judicial intrusions into scientific and regulatory decisions Congress delegated to the executive branch. “This is the Supreme Court getting even further into the agency’s business,” Sam Sankar, a senior vice president at Earthjustice, said during a Feb. 16 press call on...

Judges Grill Industry Attorneys On Ethylene Oxide Risks In Air Rule Suit

Federal appellate judges used Feb. 16 oral argument on EPA’s air toxics rule for chemical manufacturers to press attorneys for the challengers on claims that a landmark risk analysis for the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO) is fatally flawed and cannot be the basis for agency action, signaling that their decision could probe scientific issues key to the review. Judge Bradley Garcia and Senior Judge Judith Rogers, both Democratic appointees on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia...

PM Rule Revives Congressional Debate Over Air Permits, NAAQS Process

EPA’s release of a tougher federal air limit for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has revived debate over air permitting and standard-setting amid worsening pollution from wildfires and other non-industrial sources, as House Republicans and industry warn of permitting “gridlock” and again push draft legislation to discourage further tightening of limits. At a Feb. 15 hearing, the House Energy and Commerce environment subcommittee probed the implementation costs and potential obstacles to industrial activity raised by EPA’s decision to tighten the PM2.5...

GOP State Utility Regulators Argue EPA Power Plant Rule Risks Reliability

Republican state utility regulators are amplifying calls from other GOP officials that EPA’s proposed power plant greenhouse gas standards would introduce grid reliability risks, outlining such claims at a Capitol Hill hearing that more broadly served as a venue to debate the merits of increasing wind and solar power. EPA’s power plant rules would put utilities, customers and state regulators in an “impossible position,” asserted Tricia Pridemore, a Republican member of the Georgia Public Service Commission, during a Feb. 14...

Settlement Requires L.A. Rule For Polluters To Pay Fees Or Slash Emissions

Environmentalists are touting a legal settlement requiring Los Angeles regional air regulators to adopt a fee rule by November that could fine polluters for their emissions or require them to reduce their pollution by 20 percent, a step that is expected to help the area meet federal ozone standards. “We are pleased that [the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)] has agreed to a timeline to adopt this ozone fee rule,” said Earthjustice attorney Adrian Martinez in a Feb...

House Republicans Decry ‘Onslaught’ Of EPA Rules On Small Business

House Small Business Committee Republicans are warning EPA of “major” adverse impacts on small business of its rules on sterilizers, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), power plant greenhouse gases and other issues, asking the agency for more information on such impacts, and venting their frustration over compliance costs at a panel hearing. In a Feb. 14 letter to Administrator Michael Regan, panel Republicans led by Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX) write “regarding five of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules and...

EPA ‘Corrects’ Electric Steel Furnace Rule, Narrowing Scope Of Litigation

EPA is making technical “corrections” to its 2023 regulation that tightened emissions standards for electric arc furnaces (EAFs) used in steel recycling, likely narrowing the scope of a pending court challenge to that policy even as it is weighing a separate rule for integrated steel plants and faces industry protests over air limits for iron ore production. The “corrections and clarifications are being made to address unintended and inadvertent errors in the recently finalized standards,” EPA says in its interim...

Michigan Groups Press DOJ For Equity Safeguards, SEP In Air Settlement

Michigan environmental groups are urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to strengthen a proposed consent decree addressing emissions violations at a scrap metal yard near Flint, including the addition of a supplemental environmental project (SEP) they say is necessary to “truly redress [13] years of violations in this environmental justice community.” Flint-area groups and individuals, represented by Earthjustice and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, made the request in Jan. 31 comments on the proposed settlement in United States, et...

EPA Seeks To Delay Denka Trial Pending Final Chloroprene Air Rule

EPA is asking a federal district court to delay a high-stakes trial on the legality of its novel effort to use emergency Clean Air Act powers to force a Louisiana facility located in an environmental justice community to cut chloroprene releases, aiming to push any decision until after the agency finalizes a rule expected to set strict new emission limits for the chemical. But the target of the suit is already opposing the move, and arguing instead that the delay...

EPA Sets Implementation Timeline For Newly Strengthened PM2.5 NAAQS

EPA is laying out its timetable for states and the agency to implement its tightened national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), with the first designations of areas of the country as meeting or violating the limit targeted for 2026 and compliance deadlines beginning six years later in 2032. States will have until Feb. 7, 2025, to designate areas as attaining the new annual limit of 9 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) or as being in...


Court Weighs eBay’s Bid To Dismiss Novel EPA Suit Over Banned Products

The online auction site eBay is urging a federal district court to dismiss EPA’s “unprecedented” enforcement suit alleging that the site sold products subject to a TSCA ban on many methylene chloride uses, as well as others restricted by air and pesticides rules, as the parties battle over whether the company can be considered a “seller” under any of those laws. “eBay does not ‘sell’ or ‘distribute’ items listed on its platform because eBay does not hold or transfer title...

West Virginia advances bill barring use of citizen air data in suits

The West Virginia House has advanced legislation that would ban use of citizen-collected air monitoring data in lawsuits, sending the bill to the Senate amid warnings from community groups that the restriction would make it more difficult to hold polluting industries accountable for excess emissions. According to a summary of H.B. 5018 , it requires the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to provide regulatory oversight and authority governing community air monitoring programs “to ensure proper standards for data...

Kansas Rejects EPA’s ‘Arbitrary,’ ‘Burdensome’ Dismissal Of Haze Plan

Kansas is criticizing EPA’s proposed disapproval of the state’s plan for reducing regional haze as arbitrary, unjustified and in excess of Clean Air Act requirements, in the first of what may be several fights between the agency and states over their plans to implement the second phase of the regional haze program that extends out to 2028. In Jan. 31 comments , the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) rejects EPA’s argument that the state wrongly avoided an in-depth...

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