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.

LLOYD DENIES CONFLICTS IN GOVERNOR'S CLIMATE CHANGE, COAL POLICIES

Cal/EPA Secretary Alan Lloyd this week appears to have rejected suggestions by some that there are inherent conflicts between the governor's efforts to reduce climate change emissions and to support the expanded importation of coal-fired power. Despite Lloyd's statement, the climate change project being spearheaded by Cal/EPA has not addressed the issue of coal or a clean-coal performance standard being backed by other state agencies to ensure power plants meet stringent pollution limits. Lloyd made his comments opening a Dec...

INDUSTRIES SEEN SUING ARB OVER SHIP AUXILIARY ENGINE REGULATION

Oil and shipping industry organizations are likely to sue the air board over a controversial regulation adopted last week that requires emission reductions from ship auxiliary diesel engines operating as far as 24 nautical miles from the California coast. The industries claim the regulation violates several statutes, including federal preemption laws and the Clean Air Act. The industries fear the rule may be mimicked by other states and set up a patchwork of varying regulations in the U.S. that would...

EPA INDICATES STATE ETHANOL MANDATE NOT ELIMINATED UNTIL MARCH

U.S. EPA attorneys have told air board officials that they do not expect the reformulated gasoline (RFG) oxygen requirement to be lifted in California until March 2006, despite assumptions by state and industry representatives that the new federal energy act calls for the mandate to be repealed immediately. The delay is significant to state officials because of the potential implications of RFG blending flexibility, while the oil industry views the action as a critical factor in determining various production and...

NATIONAL TRUCKERS RAISE RED FLAGS OVER ARB CRACKDOWN AT BORDERS

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is raising warnings over a proposed air board regulation tightening engine emission rules for heavy-duty vehicles along the state's borders, arguing the requirements are a burden and associated fines unacceptable. The proposed rules are primarily aimed at preventing pollution from noncompliant trucks that enter the state from Mexico, but to potentially avoid possible international trade legal battles, the board is applying the rules to all state borders. While Mexico-based trucking company representatives earlier this year...

NEW TEST STANDARDS SEEN FURTHER DELAYING BIODIESEL BLEND APPROVAL

Further delays in approving specifications for biodiesel fuel blends are expected following a recent decision by an international standards-setting body to further test the stability of biodiesel and advance a proposal to alter the makeup of the fuel to improve its quality. The air board has shown interest in the development of a state standard to boost the use of biodiesel as a means of reducing particulate matter emissions from diesel engines. Some environmentalists and the biodiesel industry see the...

TOP AIR OFFICIALS QUESTION ADDITIONAL DA VIOLATION PROSECUTIONS

The state's top air district officials are questioning the potential increased involvement of district attorneys (DAs) in the enforcement of industry violations, claiming that DAs must be selective about how many cases they seek to prosecute. The officials say a pending bill to involve DAs much more frequently may hurt the overall ability of districts to efficiently enforce their rules. Environmentalists see comments made this week by a representative of the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) as potentially...

TAMMINEN MOVE MAY REFLECT SHIFT IN GOVERNOR'S ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

Stakeholders are split over the significance of shifts to the governor's top staff, including a change that bumped former Cal/EPA Secretary Terry Tamminen into a purportedly less-powerful position in the governor's "horseshoe" of chief advisors. Several stakeholders also maintain that Tamminen is a potential candidate for a spot on the state water board, while some environmentalists say where Tamminen winds up may reflect a noteworthy shift in the administration's environmental policy positions. Tamminen's move Dec. 9 from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's...

NORTHEAST, MIDWEST STATES EYE STRICT REGIONAL EMISSIONS CONTROLS

State officials from the Northeast and Midwest are developing a host of potential emissions controls across a "super-region" of 17 states, with an immediate focus on establishing a consistent reformulated gasoline blend for the entire region, and stringent emissions caps on industrial boilers and some consumer products. Air officials from nine of these states met Dec. 8 and 9 in Pittsburgh to start work on developing regional methods to reduce pollution in five Midwest states, 12 Northeast states and the...

EPA DELAYS DECISION ON DRY CLEANER RESTRICTIONS IN APARTMENTS

EPA is putting off a decision on whether to prohibit dry cleaners in residential buildings from using machines that emit the toxic chemical perchloroethylene (perc), saying it needs more information before moving forward with such restrictions. The delay comes after industry urged EPA and the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to drop the planned restrictions and instead develop technology-based standards, similar to standards being implemented in New York and California. In a long-awaited proposed air toxics "residual...

ADMINISTRATION WEIGHS OPTIONS FOR NEW PARTICULATE STANDARDS

EPA is weighing options for setting new particulate matter (PM) standards that the agency is expected to propose later this month, including an approach that would strengthen the existing daily standard for fine particles but leave an annual standard for the pollutant in place, according to several sources following the issue. The agency's effort to consider new standards to comply with a 2004 settlement with environmentalists is prompting 11th-hour lobbying by utility, agriculture and mining industry officials, who have been...

NORTHEAST TO ANNOUNCE CLIMATE PLAN AMID CONCERNS FROM KEY STATES

Northeast states are on the brink of announcing a regional climate plan that may lack participation from key states, in a development that could lead to a scaled-back plan that is weaker as a national model for mandatory greenhouse gas reductions. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) -- whose state played a key role in developing the plan -- has suggested he may drop out of the proposal to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants in a nine-state region,...

ACTIVISTS EYE UTILITY STEAM UNIT STANDARDS AS NEXT TARGET FOR GHG SUIT

Environmentalists plan to sue EPA for failing to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) in new emissions standards for power plant steam generating units, marking the latest lawsuit in a litigation strategy that claims EPA is obligated to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, environmentalists say. Plans for the lawsuit come after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently rejected the appeal of a ruling in Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al. v. EPA , a...

BINGAMAN SEEKS TO MOVE CLIMATE CHANGE BILL PRIOR TO 2006 ELECTIONS

NEW YORK -- Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who won Senate endorsement earlier this year of a resolution calling for mandatory climate change controls, is suggesting he will try to move a new version of his climate change legislation early next year to force attention to the issue during the 2006 election season. However, Bingaman is also cautioning that state-level efforts to regulate greenhouse gases may complicate efforts to reach a national agreement. At a Nov. 30 climate change conference hosted...

GOLDMAN SACHS' NOVEL CLIMATE PLAN IS LATEST TARGET OF FREE-MARKET FIRE

Free-market advocates are targeting Goldman Sachs, the first U.S. investment bank to adopt a corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy that commits the company to promoting alternative energy sources and to taking aggressive steps to limit emissions that cause climate change. The Action Fund Management Group -- a mutual fund created to advocate for free-market interests -- is urging the audit and corporate governance committees of the company's board of directors to conduct an investigation into the creation of Goldman Sachs'...

PENNSYLVANIA DRAWS MIXED REACTION TO CAIR UTILITY EXEMPTION PLAN

State air officials and environmentalists are giving mixed reactions to Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell's (D) recent proposal to exempt some power plants from meeting the emissions goals of EPA's clean air interstate rule (CAIR), if utility companies commit to replacing those facilities with cleaner-burning coal gasification plants. Rendell is asking EPA to endorse his Energy Deployment for a Growing Economy (EDGE) proposal to encourage utility companies to replace older plants with new, cleaner ones. Under the plan, the older plants...

STATES EYE EPA GUIDANCE TO HELP CREDIT DIESEL RETROFITS IN AIR PLANS

EPA is developing guidance and emissions models on the benefits of reducing diesel emissions through voluntary vehicle retrofits, which state officials hope will give them much-needed assistance as they seek credit for reducing emissions through retrofits to meet federal air standards. The agency has announced that it will release next month a guidance document for states on how to obtain credit for emissions reductions from retrofit programs they include in their state implementation plans (SIPs), which are blueprints describing how...

LOCAL OFFICIALS CITE HURDLES IN GAINING CREDIT FOR VOLUNTARY PROJECTS

Local government officials are arguing that EPA is making it too difficult to credit innovative, voluntary programs under state plans to improve air quality, and are calling for improved EPA guidance on how to encourage these programs. The National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals (NALGEP) released a report Nov. 22 on the status of innovative, voluntary transportation programs at the local level, such as car sharing, public transit improvements and low-emission municipal fleets. The report concluded that these programs...

NORTHEAST, MIDWEST STATES EYE STRICT REGIONAL EMISSIONS CONTROLS

State officials from the Northeast and Midwest are developing a host of potential emissions controls across a "super-region" of 17 states, with an immediate focus on establishing a consistent reformulated gasoline blend for the entire region, and stringent emissions caps on industrial boilers and some consumer products. Air officials from nine of these states states met Dec. 8 and 9 in Pittsburgh to start work on developing regional methods to reduce pollution in five Midwest states, 12 Northeast states and...

EPA, NEW YORK BACK TIRES AS PAPER PLANT FUEL WITHOUT KEY PM CONTROLS

EPA is supporting a draft New York permit allowing a large paper company on the Vermont border to conduct emissions tests on burning waste tires as fuel without installing additional pollution controls for toxics and fine particles (PM2.5), despite furious opposition from Vermont lawmakers. The issue of burning used tires as fuel is growing in importance for both industry, which is seeking alternative fuels given soaring natural gas prices, and EPA, which issued a policy under its waste reuse initiative...

TEXAS DECISION MAY BOOST PUSH FOR CLEAN COAL IN STATE AIR PERMITS

Texas regulators are planning to decide this week whether air permitting authorities should require coal gasification technology to be weighed as an alternative to conventional coal-burning at proposed new power plants in the state, a decision utility officials and environmentalists are watching for its implications for one of the nation's largest energy markets. The decision, slated at press time for Dec. 14, by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) comes in the wake of a settlement announced Dec. 5...

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