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.

Texas, Industry Fight To Reverse EPA Denial Of International Ozone Waivers

Texas, local jurisdictions and industry groups are signaling they plan to challenge EPA’s denial of international emissions waivers sought by Texas and Utah to avoid downgraded “nonattainment” classifications for federal ozone limits after the agency backed away from novel broad uses of the waivers promoted by the Trump administration. In recent comments on EPA’s proposed findings on areas’ attainment of the ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and others push back on...

Environmentalists, Utilities Skirmish Over EPA’s Gas Plant GHG Rule

Environmental groups and the utility sector are engaging in early skirmishes over EPA’s forthcoming update to greenhouse gas standards for new natural gas-fired power plants, including the key question of whether such standards or separate permitting requirements could be premised on carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS, as well as co-firing with hydrogen or ammonia, “are available and cost-reasonable in the near term to reduce emissions, and EPA must utilize its authority to provide regulatory certainty and press these technologies...

Pipeline companies detail case against EPA gas turbines rule

Pipeline services companies The Williams Companies and TransCanada are outlining issues they intend to raise in their challenge to EPA’s March 9 rule lifting a years-long stay on formaldehyde emissions limits for certain types of stationary gas turbines, including those used to transmit gas along pipelines. In a June 17 statement of issues the companies say they intend to examine “whether EPA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, or in a manner otherwise contrary to law when promulgating the Final Rule while simultaneously...

Denka Renews Attack On Chloroprene IRIS Review After EPA Air Toxics Vow

A Louisiana chemical manufacturer is again demanding that EPA ease its risk assessment for the synthetic rubber component chloroprene, months after the agency rejected another petition from the same firm, and just days after acting air chief Joe Goffman pledged to use the contested assessment in a review of air toxics rules for the chemical. On June 10, Denka Performance Elastomers, LLC (DPE) filed a request for reconsideration asking EPA to reverse its mid-March decision to leave in place the...

Kennedy Gathers Republican Support In Effort to Ratify Global HFC Treaty

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), the primary GOP supporter of a global deal to phase down climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), is seeking to rally sufficient support from fellow Republican senators to ratify a global agreement to sharply reduce production of the chemicals used in in refrigeration and other sectors. “We’ve felt all along we will have the votes,” says Kevin Fay of the industry-led Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, adding that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) can call for a floor...

House Authorizes Year-Round E15 Sales, But Senate Support Doubtful

House lawmakers have approved a bill with bipartisan support to authorize year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15), offering a permanent way to bypass a federal appeals court ruling blocking summertime sales, but prospects for the measure appear more doubtful in the Senate where supporters must clear a 60-vote bar to succeed. The E15 authorization passed June 16 as part of a broader package of measures combined as H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, which also...

Environmentalists Face Setback In Push For Faster EPA Action On Haze

Environmentalists are facing a setback in their push for faster action to cut emissions that cause haze, after a federal judge rejected their motion for an early decision calling for EPA to swiftly issue findings that dozens of states failed to submit plans for controlling haze, as the agency falls further behind schedule implementing the program. In a June 1 order , Chief Judge Richard Seeborg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected environmentalists’ petition...

After High Court Decision, 8th Circuit Ponders State Standing In SCC Suit

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit is again weighing whether Republican-led states have standing to challenge the Biden administration’s social cost of carbon (SCC) metric, even after the Supreme Court recently refused to set aside a 5th Circuit decision that was strongly skeptical of states’ standing in a similar suit. In the 8th Circuit case, Missouri, et al. v. Biden , the states allege the White House violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)...

Climate Group Files Novel Petition Asking EPA To Regulate GHGs Under TSCA

Correction Appended A climate advocacy group is filing a novel petition asking EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), saying that law provides more explicit authority than the Clean Air Act and serves as a workaround to an expected Supreme Court ruling this month rolling back the agency’s GHG authority under the air law. Dan Galpern, general counsel of the Climate Protection & Restoration Initiative, explains that the June 16 petition asks EPA to...

EPA Will Evaluate Risk In Air Toxics Rules, But Hedges On Formal Review

EPA air chief Joe Goffman is committing the agency to further considering health risks when updating air toxics rules but is again hedging on whether the agency will deploy a formal review of “residual” risks, or instead mitigate risks through Clean Air Act- mandated technology reviews, as officials prepare to likely tighten high-profile regulations. Goffman detailed his commitments in a June 1 memo that helped resolve a long-running dispute with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) over how the agency...

Environmentalists threaten suit to compel EPA action on L.A. SIP rules

Three environmental groups are threatening to sue EPA under the Clean Air Act to compel the agency to act on proposed California state implementation plan (SIP) “contingency measures” for the greater Los Angeles region to attain federal ozone standards that were submitted at the end of 2019. “To date, EPA has taken no action on this plan. While this plan has been pending at EPA, the South Coast Air Basin has had one of the worst ozone seasons in close...

EPA poised to release final rule on boiler air toxics

EPA is poised to release its final rule governing air toxics emissions from many types of industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) boilers after the measure cleared the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) following a three-month review. According to OMB’s website, the rule, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NEHAP) for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters: Amendments, cleared review on June 13. The final rule, which will respond to remands from the U.S. Court...

Groups Seek Delays To CARB Harbor Craft Rules, Say EPA Waiver Needed

Industry and other groups are pressing California air board officials to delay deadlines in their recently adopted new harbor craft emission regulations, with some also charging that the board must obtain a Clean Air Act waiver of federal preemption before they can begin enforcing the new standards. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) “must obtain a waiver of federal preemption from U.S. EPA before attempting to enforce any aspect of” its commercial harbor craft (CHC) regulatory amendments, “since CARB is,...

Western Governors Tout State Oil & Gas Methane Rules, Split On EPA Role

Even as they are touting their respective state-level regulations to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, the governors of New Mexico and Wyoming are split on the wisdom of the Biden EPA’s plan to bolster federal standards for new emission sources in the industry and set first-time requirements for existing sources. The diverging viewpoints, offered during a June 14 hearing of the House select climate committee, echo a partisan division regarding EPA’s rules on Capitol Hill in...

In Novel Step, DOJ Seeks To Require Defendant To Craft Mitigation Options

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Sierra Club are taking the novel step of asking a federal court to order power generator Ameren to find new mitigation options to offset excess pollution from a Missouri coal plant slated for closure after an appellate court scrapped an earlier order that would have required emissions cuts at a different plant. In a June 2 motion , DOJ and Sierra Club asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri...

EPA, environmentalists seek ‘resolution’ on oil & gas air rule review

A federal court has given EPA an additional two weeks to respond to environmentalists’ lawsuit seeking to set a deadline for the agency to review its air toxics rules for the oil and gas sector as officials and environmentalists “explore the possibility of a resolution.” In a June 13 text order, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia extended -- until July 1 -- the agency’s June 17 deadline to respond to environmentalists’ complaint in California Communities Against...

NRDC Backs EPA’s Defense Of Its Ban Of Single-Use HFC Cylinders

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is seeking to bolster EPA’s defense of its rule banning single-use containers as part of the agency’s phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), chemicals used in refrigeration and for other purposes that are potent greenhouse gases, in a bid to curb smuggling of the substances. In a June 10 amicus brief , the group argued that in addition to the ban being needed to limit smuggling, as EPA has, it is also needed to limit...


House Democrats’ Call For Methane ‘Census’ May Preview Spending Bill

Democrats on the House Science Committee have floated recommendations for new federal agency initiatives to boost monitoring, quantification and control of methane -- such as establishing a “methane census” program at EPA -- with an eye toward possible inclusion in stand-alone legislation or upcoming appropriations bills. The recommendations are contained in a Democratic committee staff report released June 8, and bolster the committee’s call for EPA to expand its oil and gas methane rule to include alternative methods for detecting...

EPA wins ‘innovative’ EJ settlement with chemical firm

EPA has reached a settlement with a Westlake Chemical Corp. that includes “innovative injunctive relief measures” that the agency says show its continuing enforcement efforts to improve conditions in overburdened environmental justice (EJ) areas by reducing air pollution from flares and increasing fenceline monitoring. The draft consent decree , filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, addresses facilities in Louisiana and one in Kentucky, and says it will reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 2,258 tons...

Pages

Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive environmental policy reporting.