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 Vows To List 1-BP As HAP In 2021, With Immediate Compliance Impact

EPA is pledging to add the industrial solvent 1-bromopropane (1-BP) to the list of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) regulated under the Clean Air Act this year, the first such addition to the list, with several industry sectors facing immediate compliance obligations as officials launch a data push to determine the scope of any regulatory implications. In a June 7 legal filing , EPA tells environmentalists who are suing over the agency’s failure to act that it intends to place 1-BP...


EPA air chief eyes RFS credit for EVs

EPA’s acting air chief Joe Goffman says the agency is actively considering granting renewable fuel standard (RFS) credit for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, confirming earlier reports that officials may at last be nearing issuance of credits for renewable or alternative electricity used for transportation. Although EPA years ago approved a “pathway” for biogas producers to claim credits, known as renewable identification numbers (RINs), for electricity they produce for vehicles, the agency has never actually allocated such “eRINs” to biogas producers...

Environmentalists’ Criticism Of State Haze Plans Signals Looming Fight

Environmentalists are criticizing Southeastern states’ air planning efforts to cut emissions and improve visibility under the regional haze program, signaling a broader fight between conservation groups, states and EPA over the stringency of forthcoming state plans weeks before they are required to submit their plans to the agency. By July 31, states are due to submit to EPA their plans for curbing haze-forming air pollution such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), under an extended deadline that applies...

Ernst touts push for RFS waiver transparency

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is touting her support for a bipartisan effort for greater transparency in EPA’s granting of waivers to small refiners from the agency’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending mandates, saying the agency has previously given out the waivers “like candy." Biofuels advocates have for years complained about the secrecy surrounding EPA’s process for granting the waivers, which are in theory available for refiners processing up to 75,000 barrels of oil per day that can demonstrate “disproportionate...

EPA Seeks Delay In Radioactive Byproduct Case While Weighing Regulation

EPA is asking a federal court to further delay proceedings in a pending case in which environmentalists are seeking to block a Trump-era decision allowing the use of phosphogypsum (PG), a radioactive byproduct from fertilizer production, in road construction, as officials reconsider the policy and weigh additional steps to regulate the substance. In a June 4 unopposed motion in Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), et al. v. EPA, et al. , EPA asks a federal appellate court for an additional...

House Transport Bill Floats Key Climate Provisions Amid Broader Debate

House Democrats’ new bill reauthorizing surface transportation programs is threaded with multiple climate change-related provisions including new greenhouse gas performance measures, with the legislation potentially poised to form a key component of a broader infrastructure package. The $547 billion measure, scheduled to be marked up June 9 by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I), also includes a new program giving states flexibility to fund projects that curb carbon emissions; boosted transit and rail spending that backers embrace as a...

New Mexico senator urges EPA review of El Paso gas plant

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) is urging EPA to consider whether the construction of a planned gas-fired power plant in El Paso, TX, will harm local air quality, warning that emissions from the facility will worsen problems in a neighboring part of New Mexico that already is in violation of federal ozone standards. Citing EPA’s recent announcement that it intends to designate El Paso County, TX, as part of the existing El Paso-Las Cruces ozone “nonattainment” area that includes Doña Ana...

Industry Warns EPA’s HFC Phasedown Rule Should Not Reward Imports

U.S. manufacturers of refrigerant chemicals are pressing EPA not to reward unlawful or unfair imports of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants when it allocates allowances under its pending rule to implement a statutorily mandated phasedown of the substances, among other criticisms of the agency’s proposal. At a virtual public hearing June 3, makers and users of HFCs weighed in on EPA’s April 30 proposal that would implement the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020, which requires that HFCs be...

State Regulators Urge EPA To Ramp Up Regulation, Research On Air Toxics

The National Association Of Clean Air Agencies, representing 41 states’ air regulators, is pressing EPA to ramp up its regulation of and research into air toxics as concerns grow about certain high-profile pollutants such as ethylene oxide (EtO), per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), diesel exhaust and others that threaten minority communities. In a May 25 letter to EPA’s top air and research officials, NACAA asks for increased effort to reduce emissions of several key hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) regulated under...


House bill seeks new EPA analysis for biofuels

House supporters of biofuels have introduced a bipartisan bill to force EPA to update its modeling for the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of ethanol and biodiesel to reflect much lower emissions relative to unblended gasoline than EPA now assumes, which would make biofuels more attractive as a means to reduce GHGs. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced the bill, H.R. 3592, on May 28, and it now has14 co-sponsors from both parties. The measure appears to be the House companion to...

EPA Declines ‘General Duty’ Objection To Air Permit, Citing Trump Stance

In a blow to environmentalists, EPA Administrator Michael Regan is rejecting their calls to object to state-issued air permits on the grounds that they fail to meet the Clean Air Act’s rarely used “general duty” requirements to limit emissions, citing arguments based on a Trump-era policy on the question. Regan last month quietly declined environmentalists’ petition for an objection to an Oregon glass manufacturer’s air permit on general duty grounds though the administrator upheld their request for objection on other...

EPA Stresses Budget Proposal’s Related Air, Equity, Climate Benefits

EPA is emphasizing the interrelated nature of its measures to curb conventional air pollution, limit greenhouse gases and boost environmental equity, as part of the Biden administration’s defense of its proposal to significantly boost the agency’s budget in fiscal year 2022 to fund a broad swath of programs. In EPA’s budget justification document to Congress, supporting President Joe Biden’s FY22 budget request to increase EPA spending, the agency outlines a host of spending increases designed to improve air quality, increase...

EPA Expected To Seek Public Input On Key Power Plant Climate Rule Choice

EPA is expected to seek public input on a key design question that could determine the stringency of its forthcoming greenhouse gas standards for power plants, sources following the issue say, as the Biden administration crafts the agency’s third attempt to write high-profile climate rules for the sector. Looming over the rulemaking is Biden officials’ choice between revisiting the Obama administration’s broad approach of regulating based on steps taken throughout the electricity generating sector -- a plan that would entail...

EPA seeks new members for mobile source air advisory panel

EPA is seeking new members for the mobile source panel of its Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC), part of a broader revamp of CAAAC that advises the agency on air policies and related issues. In a June 1 Federal Register notice EPA says it will accept nominations for 60 days, until Aug. 1, for its Mobile Sources Technical Review Subcommittee (MSTRS), aiming to fill vacancies by Nov. 15. Members serve for a three-year term, with the possibility of...

Biden Outlines Clean Energy Tax Proposals In Full FY22 Budget Plan

The Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget request offers new specifics on an array of proposed investments and tax breaks for clean energy, the power grid and electric vehicles (EVs), as the administration hopes to advance its jobs and infrastructure plans in order to bolster federal agencies’ efforts to tackle climate change. The new details are part of the May 28 release of the administration’s full FY22 request for federal agencies, which includes an array of proposed climate change spending...

Illinois senators float bill to force stricter EPA EtO air limits

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) have introduced a bill aimed at forcing EPA to impose the strictest possible controls on sterilization facilities’ emissions of the carcinogenic solvent ethylene oxide (EtO), building on pressure for the agency to tighten its EtO air rules for several industry sectors. “After years of neglect and excuses, we finally have leadership at EPA that can take the public health threat of EtO seriously. Our bill makes a straightforward and long overdue change...

Wood Stove Makers Attack AGs’ ‘Ploy’ To Force Stricter EPA Air Testing

Clarification Appended Manufacturers of wood heaters and related devices are accusing state attorneys general (AGs) seeking tougher EPA emissions testing of the appliances of a “naked political ploy” to abandon a “consensus-based” test method in favor of a method that they say would render it “impossible” for smaller manufacturers to sell compliant products. But an organization of Northeastern state air regulators that recently found existing test methods inadequate is pushing back on the stove makers’ criticisms, saying that the...

HEI study finds health benefits from goods movement emissions cuts

A recent study by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) research organization suggests that action taken by California authorities to limit air pollution from the movement of goods may have demonstrable positive effects on public health, growing the field of “accountability” research that seeks to verify the claimed benefits of air regulation. HEI, which is funded jointly by EPA and the auto industry, announced the findings May 27 following a review by an HEI committee of the work conducted by investigator...

Pages

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