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, DOE Eye Study On Benefits Of Coal Gasification Power Plants

EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) are launching a new study on the environmental impacts of generating electricity with a clean-coal technology known as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC). The study could help federal and state efforts to encourage use of the technology through environmental permits or legislation, according to EPA and industry sources. The study may examine the costs of installing additional emission controls when using the technology, which experts say could pose a significant barrier to expanding...

EPA Defends Air Toxics Program Despite New Data On High Cancer Risks

EPA is defending the effectiveness of its air toxics programs despite new, unpublished data showing the average person has a 48 in a million risk of developing cancer because of exposure to hazardous air pollutants far exceeding the agency's one in a million risk goal. The data also finds that in some areas of the country, the risk could be higher than 100 in a million. EPA generally considers cancer risk levels exceeding one in a million from a particular...

Environmentalists Eye Renewed Litigation Over Waste Incinerator Rule

Environmentalists are considering fresh legal action against EPA arguing that a proposed air regulation for a category of waste incinerators falls far short of a court-ordered agreement. Earthjustice and Sierra Club say they may go back to court under the existing consent decree, or file a new lawsuit, to try and force a more stringent standard should EPA finalize what they consider a weak maximum achievable control technology (MACT) requirements for the last remaining category of hazardous waste incinerators to...

Clear Skies Critics Expect Sponsors Will Seek Alternative Legislative Vehicle

Senate supporters of the Bush administration's Clear Skies proposal are unlikely to find the votes to pass it in the Environment and Public Works Committee, and may instead try to attach the legislation to an unrelated measure on the floor, say environmentalists and congressional sources opposed to the plan. But a spokesperson for committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) says the senator intends to pass Clear Skies as freestanding legislation. The source says Inhofe plans to hold hearings on the bill...

Advisory Group Struggles Toward Consensus On Air Regulation Reforms

A workgroup of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) is poised to issue major recommendations this month for changes to the way EPA regulates air quality. But it remains unclear to what extent the group will be able to come to an agreement, and group members may postpone discussion of some issues until next year, sources say. A draft of the report the workgroup is preparing for CAAAC calls for new air monitoring requirements, controls on industrial boiler emissions,...

EPA Advises Regional Staff On Mercury Cap-And-Trade Benefits

EPA headquarters is advising regional administrators and staff on the benefits of the agency's cap-and-trade mercury proposal, as well as the likely global origins of most U.S. mercury contamination, as part of an agency effort to educate its staff about the pollutant, according to agency sources. Regional administrators and other staff in recent weeks have attended the eight-hour training sessions, referred to as "mercury school" by some EPA officials, at agency headquarters in Washington. The effort comes three months before...

DOE, Utility Pact On Climate Change Omits Endorsement Of Regulatory Credits

The Department of Energy and the electricity utility sector have signed an agreement on voluntary greenhouse gas cuts that omits language from an earlier proposal which would have committed the department to awarding emission-reduction credits for any future regulations as part of a climate change registry being revamped by the agency. An industry source says the agreement is separate from an ongoing process for revising guidelines on the so-called 1605(b) registry, but the omission nevertheless underscore DOE's reluctance to adopt...

Utility Official Urges States To Reject Opt-Out Clause In EPA Mercury Rule

A leading electric utility official is urging conservative state legislators and other state officials to block efforts to opt out of EPA's plan to trade mercury emission credits -- even though the agency's preferred approach allows states to do so. But the push by utilities may create a dilemma for conservative lawmakers by forcing them to choose between the Bush administration's market-based approach emissions trading or protecting the rights of states to enact standards distinct from the federal government, says...

Engine Makers Vow Lawsuit Over California Diesel Truck Rule

Fearing devastating national economic impacts, heavy-duty engine makers vowed to sue the California Air Resources Board (ARB) over its Dec. 9 adoption of a regulation requiring manufacturers to fix thousands of truck engine computers to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by the end of next year. The industry argues the ARB action violates state and federal legal settlements for the engine fixes, but if allowed to proceed could devastate the industry financially if other states choose to also adopt the...

CRITICS: AUTOMAKER SUIT OVER GHG REG NOT RIPE, AIMED TO PREVENT SPREAD

Environmental organization lawyers and state officials say the auto industry's lawsuit filed this week against the air board to overturn its greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation is aimed at slowing momentum behind the adoption of similar rules elsewhere and to "make people nervous" in California and other states. But auto industry representatives say there is no strategy behind the timing of the lawsuit other than to defeat the regulation, which they believe is illegal on several counts and will inevitably hurt...

LANDMARK ARB HARBOR CRAFT RULE PROPOSAL DRAWS INCREASING CRITICISM

Commercial fishing industry representatives and owners of tugboat and other harbor craft fleets are beginning to raise substantial objections to an evolving air board plan to reduce emissions from the boats, citing exorbitant costs and the nonexistence of pollution control technology. But air board staffers are trying to reassure the stakeholders by saying the plan is an early draft and that compliance flexibility and cost impacts will be a key part of its development. Staff indicates that similar measures may...

PAVLEY BILL SEEKS MORE INDUSTRIES, UNIFORMITY, MONEY FOR GHG REGISTRY

A bill introduced this week by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) seeks to entice more companies to participate in the state's voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) emission registry, as well as provide more uniform reporting and certification protocols between California and other states. The bill directs registry administrators to develop reporting protocols for several specific industries -- including cement production, waste hauling and petroleum/natural gas production -- and "strongly encourages" Cal/EPA and the energy commission to partially fund these efforts. AB...

U.S. WEIGHS DELAYING METHYL BROMIDE CUTS BY TRIMMING HALON SUPPLY

The Bush administration is evaluating a plan to slow the phase-out of the controversial pesticide methyl bromide by destroying stockpiles of the ozone-depleting fire suppressant halon, a plan that proponents say could offset any harm from continued use of the pesticide, according to government and other sources. The plan appears to be picking up support among some key administration officials, who argue that such a system could benefit the environment and aid industry sectors that have complained that the phase-out...

AIR OFFICE SEEKS CANCER GUIDE'S RELEASE TO ISSUE TOXICS STANDARD

EPA air officials have asked the agency's research office to finalize its draft cancer risk assessment guidelines by March 31 so the air office will not be prohibited from issuing "residual risk" air toxics standards as set out in a little-noticed provision of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. In response, top EPA officials may request that the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) forego a final round of interagency review of the cancer risk guidelines to meet...

INDUSTRY URGES STATE LAWMAKERS TO LIMIT OPT-OUTS FROM EPA MERCURY PLAN

Electric utility representatives are urging conservative state legislators and other state officials to prevent their states from opting out of EPA's plan to trade mercury emissions credits -- even though the agency's preferred approach allows states to do so. The utilities' effortcreates a dilemma for conservative legislators, forcing them to choose between free-market ideals embodied by EPA's trading plan, and protecting states' rights to enact standards distinct from a federal standard, says a source with the American Legislative Exchange Council...

EPA Air Office Seeks Cancer Guide's Release To Issue Toxics Standard

EPA air officials have asked the agency's research office to complete its draft cancer risk assessment guidelines by March 31 to allow the air office to issue its "residual risk" air toxics standard in compliance with an obscure provision of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. In response, top EPA officials may request that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) forego a final round of interagency review of the guidelines to meet the air act requirement, which...

Miners Back Call For Greenhouse Gas Limits In Bipartisan Energy Report

The United Mine Workers of America is endorsing recommendations by a bipartisan energy policy commission that call for mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with a new federal program to promote specific clean-coal technology. Sources say the endorsement may indicate growing momentum for global warming regulations, but backs policy initiatives that are less stringent than a leading climate change bill by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). Mine workers in the past have raised concerns about...

Schwarzenegger Expected To Tap Air Board Chairman As New Cal/EPA Chief

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to select the state's Air Resources Board Chairman, Alan Lloyd, to be the next California environment secretary, a post left vacant by Terry Tamminen who is now serving as Schwarzenegger's cabinet secretary. The possible selection of Lloyd has national implications, given his strong support for the state's leading efforts on global warming and new energy sources. According to lobbyists and government sources, the governor's emphasis on reducing air pollution as part of what he...

Free-Market Advocates Brace For CO2 Controls In Commission Report

Anti-regulation conservatives are raising concerns about an anticipated recommendation for carbon dioxide (CO2) emission controls by a bipartisan panel of experts formed to examine the nation's long-term energy needs. An e-mail by the free-market think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute offers a glimpse of the likely recommendations to be issued Dec. 8 by the National Commission on Energy Policy, including a call for a cap-and-trade emissions program and an economy wide increase in energy efficiency by 2.4 percent per year over...

EPA Revising Indoor Air Guide To Consider Natural Pollutants

EPA will likely amend its draft guidance on controlling contaminants that seep indoors by including data to determine pre-existing background pollution levels in assessing liability, an agency source says. Several states, including Colorado and Massachusetts, have added language to their guidance documents providing methods for separating new contamination from naturally-occurring contaminants and wastes already located on site. Indoor air contamination, also known as vapor intrusion, occurs when contaminants seep into the air from contaminated land and groundwater under buildings. EPA...

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