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 Move To Scrap RFS Waivers Signals Stricter Policy On Exemptions

EPA’s recent request for a federal appeals court to scrap and remand last-minute renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waivers the Trump administration issued to refiner Sinclair signals the Biden administration is pursuing a stricter policy on RFS exemptions regardless of the outcome of a pending Supreme Court waiver lawsuit. RFS waivers are available to small refiners that can demonstrate “disproportionate” economic hardship from having to comply with the program’s annual targets for production of alternative and renewable fuels. In an...


Health Groups Push Epidemiologists For Overhaul Of EPA Advisory Panels

Public health groups are nominating epidemiologists, toxicologists and other experts to form the membership of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and Science Advisory Board (SAB) after Administrator Michael Regan dismissed both committees and sought submissions for a new slate of board members. And they, along with at least one former member of the Trump administration’s CASAC, are urging the agency to revive specialist subpanels of the air committee providing in-depth advice on reviews of national ambient air quality...




EPA Proposes Phasedown Program For Climate-Warming HFCs

EPA is using new statutory authority to propose a program that would significantly phase down production of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used as refrigerants and in other sectors, a move that will provide a major boost to the Biden administration’s climate efforts. The proposed rule , publicly released May 3, is notable because it represents the first time EPA has monetized the climate-related benefits of reducing HFCs, and the agency also conducted an environmental justice (EJ) analysis of the plan to...

EPA Sets Precedent With Plan To Exclude Most Of Maine From OTC Area

EPA is proposing to grant Maine’s petition seeking to exclude most of the state from the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) region of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states where tougher ozone controls apply than elsewhere, setting a legal precedent that other OTC areas might cite if they want to leave the regional body. In a notice slated for publication in the May 3 Federal Register , EPA says it will allow much of Maine to leave the 12-state OTC area because emissions...

EPA Enforcement Official Touts Focus On Mobile Sources To Cut Emissions

A top official in EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA) air division is touting the pollution reduction benefits of the agency’s growing focus on stopping violations and ensuring compliance with its mobile source air rules, saying existing cases are helping to secure significant cuts in vehicle emissions. Automobiles and other mobile sources are the largest contributor of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which is the country’s largest precursor to ozone, and also the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas...


EPA settles environmentalists’ suits over state SO2, ozone air plans

EPA has reached proposed consent decrees with environmental groups setting deadlines for the agency to determine whether areas around the country attained federal ambient air standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2), and to act on the air law compliance plans of areas in California and Colorado for achieving federal ozone standards. In a notice scheduled for publication in the Federal Register May 3, EPA announces a proposed decree to end a suit brought in federal district court in California by...

With Lower Profile, Regan Seen Pushing EPA Toward New GHG Rules

EPA Administrator Michael Regan did not play a leading role in President Joe Biden’s international climate summit last week and the agency has not yet announced any major climate rules, but Regan is working behind the scenes on a suite of new EPA greenhouse gas policies that will play a key role meeting the administration’s emissions targets, sources say. “The reality is that EPA has always done the hard work behind the scenes. . . . I think EPA will...

Scientific groups call for diversity on EPA advisory panels

A coalition of 16 scientific, professional, and academic organizations is calling on EPA and other federal science agencies to revamp their science advisory bodies to include more diversity of gender, race, ethnicity and other factors, arguing that doing so will improve the quality of advice the boards give to the federal government. The Union of Concerned Scientists, American Public Health Association (APHA) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) were among the signatories to an April 29 letter to EPA and...

Study links childhood air pollution exposure with heart disease

A novel scientific study from California university researchers shows a link between childhood exposure to air pollution from traffic and changes in the heart that are early clinical indicators of future cardiovascular disease, reinforcing the mounting evidence of such harm from urban air pollution. The study , “Childhood traffic-related air pollution and adverse changes in subclinical atherosclerosis measures from childhood to adulthood,” published April 14 in the journal Environmental Health , followed a cohort of children in Southern California at...

GOP States Urge Justices To Quickly Curb EPA’s ‘Unbridled’ GHG Power

Republican officials from 19 states are urging the Supreme Court to overturn an appellate ruling they say gives EPA “unbridled” power to limit greenhouse gases from power plants and other sectors under the Clean Air Act, arguing the court should accept the case now because the Biden administration is poised to use such power “aggressively.” In an April 29 petition , 18 state attorneys general (AGs) and one governor, led by West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey (R), ask the justices...

EPA Plans Expanded TRI Mandates For ‘Priority’ TSCA Chemicals, EtO

EPA is planning to subject a host of new chemicals and facilities to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements, including all chemicals on the TSCA “high-priority” list and Obama-era workplan, as well as requiring some previously exempt facilities that work with ethylene oxide (EtO) to participate in the program. The agency announced a swath of TRI updates in an April 29 press release , framing them as advancing the Biden administration’s environmental justice (EJ) agenda by bolstering information on...

EPA Urged To Strengthen Refinery Rules As Part Of Broader Air Toxics Push

Environmentalists are pressing EPA to boost its enforcement of refinery air toxics regulations and close what they call “loopholes” in rules that allow dangerously high emissions of carcinogenic benzene, part of a wider effort to force the Biden administration to advance environmental justice (EJ) by reducing toxic emissions from facilities. And they are urging EPA to follow through on early signals that it will strengthen existing hazardous air pollutant (HAP) rules for specific industries, including adding limits for air toxics...

Senate Democrats Cite Methane CRA Vote As Only First Step On Climate

Senate Democrats are vowing that their successful vote to repeal the Trump EPA’s rule deregulating oil and gas methane emissions is just a first step toward addressing climate change, saying that Congress will also move on other measures, such as a climate-focused infrastructure package. Democrats are touting the chamber’s 52-42 bipartisan vote on April 28 to repeal the prior administration’s methane policy as aiding environmental justice communities particularly affected by local air pollution from oil and gas facilities. “Today, the...

Researchers’ study highlights environmental injustice in air pollution

A new study from air quality researchers at universities across the United States provides additional data to support a growing collection of findings about the disproportionate impact of air pollution on communities of color, increasing pressure on the Biden administration to deliver on its promises to achieve environmental justice. The study by Christopher Tessum et al., “PM2.5 polluters disproportionately and systemically affect people of color in the United States,” appeared April 28 in the journal Science Advances and examines...

Regan Says EPA To Play ‘Central’ Role In Achieving Biden GHG Target

EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the agency is poised to play a “central” role in achieving President Joe Biden’s pledge to halve nationwide greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, telling senators that the agency’s “conceptual” projections of GHG cuts from major rules could be released publicly. At the same time, Regan stressed during April 28 testimony before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) that EPA’s non-regulatory programs would also help meet Biden’s climate target and that the...

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