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.

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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 Urge EPA To Broaden MON Rule Review On EtO

Environmental groups are urging EPA to swiftly reaffirm its use of a key agency risk assessment for the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO) when it reconsiders a chemical sector air toxics rule, but they are also pressing the agency to formally reconsider a wider range of issues than it so far has granted, which they say will help justify tightening the rule. EPA acting air chief Joe Goffman announced in a June 17 letter to the American Chemistry Council (ACC) that...

As OMB Eyes Carbon ‘Cost’ Updates, Groups Clash Over Metric’s Role

Democratic-led states, environmentalists and many experts are urging the White House to update its social cost of carbon (SCC) metric to significantly boost the estimated benefits of GHG controls, while also arguing the tool should be broadly used in procurement, project reviews and other decisions in addition to crafting climate and other rules. However, some industry and conservative groups say the Biden administration’s “interim” SCC estimates exceed executive branch authority, that any changes must follow extensive public comment, and use...

Facing Uncertainty, Industry Urges EPA To Issue Truck NOx Plan This Year

Industry officials are urging EPA to issue this year its long-planned proposal for regulating nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from heavy-duty trucks so it can align with a new California requirement for model year 2027, amid conflicting statements from officials that the rule is both a “high priority” and a “long-term” action with no specific deadline. The industry calls for EPA to act come as the agency appears to be struggling over whether to move the NOx rule as a stand-alone...

Biden taps Uhlmann as OECA nominee

President Joe Biden is planning to nominate David Uhlmann, a former top environmental crimes prosecutor and frequent Trump administration critic, to run EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA), an appointment that suggests the agency will step up its enforcement efforts against regulated entities. Biden June 22 announced his intent to nominate Uhlmann, noting he “is an internationally recognized expert on environmental law, leading authority on criminal enforcement of environmental laws in the United States, and [a] highly-regarded advocate...

EPA Agrees To Reconsider Chemical Sector Air Rule Over EtO Assessment

EPA has agreed to requests from state, industry and environmental groups to reconsider the Trump administration’s controversial 2020 revision to its air toxics rule for the miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing (MON) sector, opening the door to strengthening the rule due to the risks posed by the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO). EPA said in a June 17 letter to the American Chemistry Council (ACC) , one of several petitioning groups, that it was granting reconsideration in light of an alternative EtO...


EPA Under Pressure To Preserve RFS As Pivotal High Court Ruling Looms

As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on EPA’s power to grant certain waivers from its renewable fuel standard (RFS), the program’s supporters are urging officials to refrain from cutting the program’s biofuel blending mandates or issuing waivers from its requirements, amid reports that officials may offer relief to refiners on their compliance mandates. The dynamic facing the agency appears little changed from the pressures faced by the Trump administration, which struggled to resolve pitched battles between the two sides...

In Precedent, Court Backs CERCLA Exemption For Air Emissions Reporting

In a precedent-setting ruling, a federal appellate court has rejected environmentalists’ attempt to void an air emissions reporting exemption under the Superfund law for a steel mill, even though the mill’s emissions violate its Clean Air Act (CAA) permit. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled June 21 in Clean Air Council (CAC) v. United States Steel Corporation , finding that “[s]ince U.S. Steel’s emissions were governed by a Clean Air Act permit,...


EPA settles four ‘defeat’ device cases in California

EPA is announcing settlements with four California automotive parts distributors to resolve allegations that their products were unlawful “defeat” devices that violated Clean Air Act limits, underscoring the agency’s continuing enforcement priority on mobile source violations. The June 17 announcement by EPA Region 9 says the companies illegally manufactured or sold parts to bypass or disable required emissions controls. Together, the companies paid more than $282,000 in penalties, EPA says. The settlements are with Auto Anything, which sold aftermarket exhaust...

EPA Taps Critic Of Trump NAAQS Review Process To Lead CASAC

As EPA gears up to reconsider Trump-era air quality standards, the agency has named new members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) who will advise it on key reviews of the particulate matter (PM) and ozone standards, setting up a panel that will be dominated by research scientists and chaired by a strong critic of the Trump administration’s “streamlined” review process. The new lineup of seven experts, released by EPA late June 17, retains just two members of...

EPA Advisors Lay Out Broad Vision For Mobile Sources, Mobility Future

EPA advisors are crafting ambitious goals for cleaner vehicles, fuels, goods movement and personal mobility in an upcoming report that could bolster efforts by Administrator Michael Regan to who has said he is looking to an “electric future” for road transportation. During their June 15 meeting, members of the agency’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee’s (CAAAC) Mobile Sources Technical Review Subcommittee previewed the four chapters of their upcoming Future Mobility Report: vehicle technology, fuels, personal mobility, and goods movement. They...

Eastern States ‘In The Dark’ On EPA Interstate Ozone Policy, Await Answers

East Coast air regulators say they are “in the dark” on how the Biden administration plans to address interstate pollution transport and are still waiting for officials to set a comprehensive policy on the issue, despite projections that the emissions will contribute to ozone exceedances in parts of the Northeast, including New York City, for years to come. Members of the 12-state Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), which includes air regulators from Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states and the District of Columbia,...

EPA seeks nominees for PM NAAQS panel

EPA is seeking scientific experts to participate on its special panel to advise the agency on the forthcoming reconsideration of federal particulate matter (PM) limits, marking a return to the traditional NAAQS review process after the Trump administration scrapped the panel to “streamline” reviews. In a notice scheduled for publication in the Federal Register June 18, EPA allows 21 days for nominations to the special PM panel, until July 9. The panel will provide input to the Clean Air...

Trump Alums Say EPA Punting On Key Rule Deadlines Creates Uncertainty

Trump administration alumni and other conservatives say EPA’s decision to move key rules to “long-term” actions in the Biden administration’s first unified agenda creates policy uncertainty though they also say they are not surprised given that many of the delayed items present complex and time-consuming legal questions that are likely to face litigation. The unified agenda is “ambitious . . . when you look at the proposed timeline for actions,” Brittany Bolen, who served as EPA policy chief and is...

Hill Democrats Float Bills In Bid For GHG-Focused Infrastructure Package

Several House and Senate Democrats are ramping up pressure for Congress to include clean power or emissions pricing provisions in any infrastructure legislation even as talks on the bill highlight questions over whether significant climate related policies will be jettisoned as part of near-term efforts to pass a bipartisan measure. In addition, it is unclear whether any of the new proposals could be included in a separate infrastructure package that Democrats are developing for action under streamlined reconciliation procedures that...

Senators press EPA to grant RFS electricity credit

As EPA prepares to issue new blending requirements under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), a group of six senators is urging the agency to grant credits for electricity generated from a variety of renewable and alternative sources such as biogas and forest biomass, as pressure mounts to expand the feedstocks eligible for credit under the program. In a June 14 letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maggie...

As EPA Weighs Ozone NAAQS Redo, Groups Split Over PM Review Model

EPA is facing competing calls from stakeholders over whether it should follow the expedited approach the agency is using to redo the Trump EPA’s particulate matter (PM) limits should it decide to reconsider the prior administration’s decision to leave Obama-era ozone standards unchanged. Acting EPA air chief Joe Goffman told the Air and Waste Management Association’s annual conference June 14 that the agency still has not decided how it will address the Trump-era ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS),...

House Panel Advances PFAS Bill Despite GOP Calls For New Hearings

A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel has approved comprehensive per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) legislation in a bipartisan vote, with a handful of Republicans voting to support the measure even as Democrats rejected their calls for additional hearings on the issue, arguing the potential health effects are too significant to wait. “I’m a little shocked by the amount and strident nature of the opposition to the bill,” full committee chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said during the markup of H.R...

Senate Backs EPA’s Water Chief As Other Nominees Poised To Advance

The Senate, in a bipartisan vote, has confirmed Radhika Fox to lead EPA’s water office, though the agency’s recent announcement that it planned to rewrite the Trump administration’s controversial rule defining the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) deepened some GOP senators’ opposition to the nominee. Senators June 16 voted 55-43 to confirm Fox, with seven Republicans joining with 48 Democrats to confirm the nominee. Republican senators who voted to confirm Fox are Richard Burr (NC), Susan Collins (ME),...

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