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.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS EYE MANDATORY INSURANCE PLAN TO REDUCE EMISSIONS

Activists believe a pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) automobile insurance proposal, included in a new book of policy offerings on reducing air pollution aimed at President Bush, is a good idea but would have to be mandatory to have any real impact. PAYD would set up a method of calculating insurance costs for drivers based on the amount of time they spend behind the wheel. Activists believe PAYD can help states reduce their mobile source emissions without having to implement new laws or...

NORTH CAROLINA LIKELY TO SUE TVA AS ACTIVIST CASE MOVES AHEAD

North Carolina's attorney general is planning to sue the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for alleged violations of EPA's new source review (NSR) regulations, in a move that could add weight to an already-pending lawsuit that citizens groups filed against the utility. At the same time, North Carolina is threatening to sue EPA for failing to respond to its petition filed under the Clean Air Act to control upwind pollution. State Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) sent a Nov. 10 letter...

EPA ARGUES COURT LACKS JURISDICTION IN ONGOING MERCURY LAWSUIT

EPA claims a lawsuit calling for the agency to implement strict mercury rules for power plants must be dismissed because the court hearing the case does not have jurisdiction to decide it. EPA's Nov. 18 response to the court is the latest development in a lawsuit brought by the National Wildlife Federation, the Izaak Walton League of America and the Natural Resources Council of Maine alleging that EPA exceeded statutory deadlines for issuing stringent power plant mercury regulations. The agency...

STATE GROUP EYES NEXT MOVE AFTER AVIATION EMISSIONS TALKS COLLAPSE

State and local air pollution regulators are examining their legal and regulatory options for reducing emissions from airports over the next several years after the collapse of long-running talks facilitated by EPA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aimed at developing emissions reduction strategies for the aviation sector, according to an association representing the state and local officials. In a Nov. 22 letter, the State & Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators /Association of Air Pollution Control Officials (STAPPA/ALAPCO) formally notified...

ANALYSIS SHOWS COAL PLANTS PROFITABLE DESPITE ENVIRONMENTAL RULES

A new analysis by an international consulting firm finds that future environmental requirements -- including many possible policies for curbing greenhouse gases -- are unlikely to erode the competitiveness of most coal-fired power plants and could even make many facilities more competitive as they install pollution controls. "The value of efficient large coal-fired power plants can actually increase rather than decrease with stringent environmental control programs," says an executive summary provided to Inside Washington Publishers by Cambridge Energy Research Associates...

STEVENS' ROLE AS PANEL CHAIR SUGGESTS NEW FOCUS FOR CLIMATE DEBATE

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' (R) likely ascension to chairman of the commerce committee could change the focus of the Senate's debate on climate change -- with Stevens focusing more on mitigating climate impacts in Alaska and elsewhere and less on outgoing chairman Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) bill regulating greenhouse gas emissions, Senate sources say. Stevens, a longtime proponent of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), suggested at a Nov. 16 hearing on the recent scientific assessment on Arctic...

OMNIBUS BILL CUTS EPA FUNDS FOR FY05, REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL 'RIDERS'

An omnibus appropriations bill Congress approved Nov. 20 will slightly cut overall EPA spending, with the agency's water infrastructure loan program suffering the brunt of those reductions. At the same time, lawmakers included several "riders" that will ease environmental protections for cattle grazing and wildlife areas, while rejecting other controversial proposals that environmentalists say would have gutted the Endangered Species Act. The omnibus bill, which funds 13 departments and various federal agencies, provides EPA with $8.1 billion for fiscal year...

CALIFORNIA PENSION FUND MAY PRESS AUTO INDUSTRY TO SKIP CLIMATE SUIT

Key members of the board overseeing California's employee pension fund are urging fellow board members to convince the auto industry to avoid an expected lawsuit over the state's groundbreaking new climate change standards, using the leverage from the board's $838 million investment in the industry. The move could lead to a broader campaign among other investment groups to back shareholder resolutions asking the auto industry to address greenhouse gas emissions from cars on the road. Two key state financial officials...

CALIFORNIA DRAFTS GREENHOUSE TARGETS, WEST COAST TO FOLLOW

California's environmental regulators and energy commission officials are drafting landmark greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for the state expected to be announced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) early next year, according to sources. West Coast regional GHG reduction targets are subsequently expected to be announced jointly by California, Oregon and Washington officials, according to a source involved in the effort. The forthcoming targets are an important signal that more efficient and cleaner energy is a top priority in California...

EPA DELAYS ACTION ON CHEMICAL SECTOR PUSH FOR WASTE-TO-FUEL PLAN

EPA is delaying action on a chemical industry proposal to expand regulatory exemptions for hazardous waste burned as fuel because it must first meet a court-ordered deadline for failing to meet Clean Air Act requirements for setting an unrelated waste rule. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) proposal is being held back because the agency's review of the plan will not happen before action is taken on revising the air standards that brought about the court deadline, agency and industry sources...

CHAMBER CITES AIR TOXICS PACT TO PUSH FOR OMB ROLE IN EPA SETTLEMENTS

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's challenge to EPA's recent proposed settlement with environmentalists that sets deadlines for reviewing two air toxics standards is part of the group's broader campaign to increase White House oversight of agency settlements that may result in new regulations. The chamber argued in Nov. 15 public comments on the proposed consent decree with the Sierra Club -- which sets deadlines for EPA to review and possibly revise its air toxics standards for coke oven batteries and...

INHOFE PUSH TO SLOW EPA FORMALDEHYDE STUDY PROMPTS MACT RULE FEAR

Senate environment committee chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is urging EPA to delay revising its risk estimates for formaldehyde, a key chemical emission from plywood manufacturing facilities and natural gas turbines, until federal researchers complete a pending study on the chemical in about 18 months. However, EPA and environmental sources fear any delay in the revision could protect a recently-issued exemption for plywood manufacturers from agency air toxics rules. The delay could also hinder the agency's effort to finalize a proposed...

DELAY CHARGED AS WHITE HOUSE PLANS NEW DIOXIN PROGRESS REPORT

A White House science official in a surprise move announced plans to release a report on dioxin in an apparent attempt to show administration progress on monitoring and controlling for the highly controversial pollutant. But the move has already drawn protests from environmentalists who say development of the report will likely further delay release of EPA's dioxin risk review, which has been 13 years in the making. Richard Canady of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced...

STATES VOICE GROWING CONCERN OVER PREEMPTION OF ENVIRONMENT RULES

Key state officials are raising concern over the growing number of congressional and Bush administration efforts to preempt state air and other rules, and are pushing a series of measures to raise awareness of the issue, state sources and other observers say. The National Governors Association (NGA) has asked the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to develop a report on recent and anticipated efforts in Congress to broaden federal authority by preempting state environmental and other regulations, state sources...

LOS ANGELES EYES RESTRICTIONS TO PROTECT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

Industry officials are blasting as overly strict a proposal by air regulators in Los Angeles that would place new risk thresholds and restrictions on the construction or relocation of industrial facilities within 1,000 feet of schools. The dispute is the latest test for California's use of the so-called precautionary principle in setting environmental controls, with proponents of the plan saying it represents a major breakthrough in environmental justice policies intended to protect children and other "sensitive" sub-populations. Floated in a...

EPA MERCURY NOTICE INCLUDES NEW METHOD FOR ANALYZING BENEFITS

EPA is detailing a new method for calculating the benefits of its pending rule addressing mercury emissions from utilities, as part of a long-awaited notice of data availability (NODA) that also summarizes a wealth of public comments on the controversial proposal. At press time, the NODA was scheduled for publication in the Federal Register Dec. 1. The notice is available on InsideEPA.com. The NODA seeks public comment on a revised methodology for assessing the rule's benefits, but does not include...

Bush Administration Urged To Strengthen Interstate Air Pollution Rule

The Bush administration is facing 11th-hour pressure to strengthen its clean air interstate rule (CAIR) to curb utility sector pollution, with a prominent Senate Republican questioning whether it will protect the Great Smoky Mountains and environmentalists reiterating concerns that its emission reduction targets and deadlines are insufficiently stringent. Sources say EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt restated his personal commitment to moving the regulation forward during a meeting with several environmental groups this week. But Leavitt did not offer a precise timetable...

DOE Advisors Urge EPA To Revisit Clean Air Compliance Deadlines

A newly issued report by a Department of Energy (DOE) advisory body calls on EPA to reconsider compliance deadlines for implementing national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) as one of a number of measures to ensure adequate domestic supplies of petroleum. "As presently structured, attainment deadlines precede the benefits that will be achieved from emissions reductions already planned," the report from the National Petroleum Council states. The recommendations are part of a study sought by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham that...

EPA May Launch National Effort To Speed Diesel Emission Reductions

EPA is considering a national program to encourage or require diesel trucks to implement costly software fixes to reduce air pollution, but the agency is likely to face opposition from engine manufacturers even if the program is voluntary. The move is being considered because EPA erred in calculating how long it would take to make the fix and reduce emissions, after finalizing a landmark 1998 consent decree that required the engine industry to fund these changes. State air regulators hoping...

EPA's Mercury Data Notice Includes Revised Benefit Calculations

EPA is detailing a new method for calculating the benefits of its pending rule to address mercury emissions from utilities, as part of a long-awaited notice of data availability (NODA) that also summarizes a wealth of public comments on the controversial proposal. The NODA , published in the Dec. 1 Federal Register , seeks public comment on a revised methodology for assessing the rule's benefits, but does not include the results of any new benefits analysis. The document describes how...

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