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.

7th Circuit transfers RFS waiver case to D.C.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has granted EPA’s request to transfer a refiner’s lawsuit challenging the agency’s denial of a renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waiver to the D.C. Circuit, in what may be one of many such actions by regional courts as EPA battles to keep litigation centralized. In a brief July 20 order , the 7th Circuit transferred Countrymark Refining and Logistics, LLC v. EPA to the D.C. Circuit. The suit is one...

Newsom Directs CARB To Strengthen Climate Plan, Hike Sector GHG Cuts

Citing the severity of the climate crisis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is directing the state air board to strengthen its draft greenhouse gas “scoping plan” by seeking steeper emission reductions within multiple sectors, bolstering renewable energy and expediting the phaseout of fossil fuels, among other actions. “Now, because of the severity of the impacts California faces, we need to up our game. Time and time again, California has shown the world that climate action and economic growth can work...

EPA, Biofuels Group Punt Deadline To Issue RFS ‘Set’ Rule Until June 2023

EPA and biofuels group Growth Energy are asking a federal court to enter a consent decree that would delay until next June the deadline for EPA to issue a highly anticipated rule to establish biofuel blending volumes under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for 2023 and beyond, putting the agency even further behind schedule with the precedent-setting rule. In a July 22 joint motion to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, EPA and Growth Energy ask the...


Democratic Senators Raise Concern Truck NOx Rule Will Undercut ZEVs

Half a dozen Senate Democrats are pressing EPA to rethink its most stringent proposal for nitrogen oxides (NOx) curbs on heavy trucks, citing concerns it could detract from industry investments in zero emission vehicles (ZEV), widely touted as a climate and air pollution strategy, and calling for a “consensus-based approach.” Their call, in a July 11 letter quietly posted to EPA’s regulatory docket, is the latest indication of a push by truck and engine makers seeking to blunt the agency’s...

Environmentalists file ESA suit over RFS volumes

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is suing EPA over its recently finalized renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending volumes rules for 2020, 2021 and 2022, citing the adverse impacts to protected species and the environment of biofuel production spurred by the program. In the first of several likely suits, CBD filed its challenge July 20 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit over the rules , which the agency published in the Federal Register...

Industry Welcomes Revised Boiler MACT As Environmentalists Cry Foul

The wood and paper industry is praising EPA’s just-finalized air toxics rule setting maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for large industrial and commercial boilers, saying the rule is “reasonable” and provides regulatory certainty after years of litigation -- but environmentalists are already calling the rule a “betrayal” and “reprehensible.” EPA Administrator Michael Regan signed the rule July 21, increasing the stringency of air toxics limits for dozens of boiler types, but relaxing standards for a few others, largely in line...




Environmentalists press EPA to regulate CAFOs

More than 200 local and national environmental and environmental justice (EJ) groups are calling on EPA to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) under several environmental statutes in order to protect vulnerable communities from a range of harms. In a July 19 letter , the groups urged EPA Administrator Michael Regan to end long-running regulatory exemptions for the facilities, noting that the agency is already weighing several rulemaking petitions under major environmental statutes that could provide the vehicle for such...

Democrats Press For Air Act Reporting Of Cryptocurrency Energy Use

Democratic lawmakers led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Rep. Jared Huffman (CA) are pressing EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to force disclosure by cryptocurrency “mining” operations of their energy consumption and emissions, citing huge increases in the electricity used by the industry. In a July 15 letter , Sens. Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Edward Markey (MA) and Jeffrey Merkley, joined by Reps. Huffman and Rachida Tlaib (MI), ask EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Energy Secretary Jennifer...

California group sues EPA over clean buses rule

Environmentalists are suing EPA over the agency’s failure to approve or disapprove a California regulation requiring public transit agencies to transition to zero-emission bus fleets, a measure required for the state to meet federal air quality standards. In the suit filed July 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) says EPA has missed a Clean Air Act deadline to act on the Innovative Clean Transit (ICT)...

Studies Find Regional Variation In Wildfire PM Risks, Complicating Mitigation

Recent research shows that the type of vegetation burned and the temperatures reached by wildfires drive significant differences in the toxicity of particulate matter (PM) emitted, according to an EPA scientist, creating regional variation in the risk posed by fires and complicating how regulators attempt to reduce the impacts. Speaking on a webinar hosted by EPA July 19, Aimen Farraj, a scientific investigator in EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), outlined the findings that show certain vegetation types produce...

Biden Said To Weigh Declaring Climate Emergency With Scope Unclear

The Biden administration is reportedly considering declaring a “climate emergency” that could open up new pathways to executive actions on the issue, with observers pointing to relevant authorities under a decades-old emergency statute and the Defense Production Act (DPA). Such a declaration could signal the administration’s commitment to the climate issue -- following the collapse of Capitol Hill efforts to enact climate provisions in a reconciliation bill by August -- though the scope of any new administration steps remains murky...

EPW postpones vote on Goffman confirmation to lead EPA air office

The Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee is postponing a scheduled July 20 business meeting that included a planned vote to forward the nomination of Joe Goffman to serve as assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation (OAR) to the full Senate. The meeting is being postponed “in anticipation of scheduled remarks to Congress by the First Lady of Ukraine,” an EPW spokesman says. There are no details yet on when the meeting may be rescheduled. The...

EPA Urged To Quickly Withdraw Trump-Era Plan Easing Pyrolysis Air Rules

Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups are urging EPA to formally abandon a Trump-era proposal that weakens air regulation of pyrolysis and gasification, two processes used in “advanced” plastics recycling, ensuring tougher rules quickly apply as concern mounts over apparent inertia in the administration while the practices spread. In separate letters last week, they urged Administrator Michael Regan to act quickly to prevent the spread of the technologies without adequate regulation. “We ask that EPA take action to advance solutions that...


Harley dealers face citizen suit over alleged tampering

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE), the group that brought the first successful Clean Air Act citizen suit over mobile source violations for diesel vehicles, has filed a new suit against several Utah Harley Davidson dealers alleging they violated the law by “tampering” with motorcycles. UPHE alleges in the July 18 complaint , in UPHE v. Harley Davidson of Salt Lake City, et al., that the dealers own and sell unlawful, high-polluting motorcycles that violate both the air...

Environmentalists, States Assert ‘Ongoing’ EPA Duty To Cut Aircraft GHGs

Environmental groups, backed by primarily Democratic-led states including California, are making the case that EPA has an “ongoing duty” to consider human health risks from aircraft greenhouse gases -- and to consider technology available to curb GHGs -- when it sets GHG standards, as they press for tougher limits in federal appellate litigation. In a series of final briefs in the consolidated case State of California, et al. v. EPA, et al. , pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals...

Tighter EPA ‘Minor’ NSR Policy Will Help Address Colorado Permit Failures

EPA says planned guidance to clarify states’ obligations when issuing “synthetic” minor source air permits should help avoid errors such as those identified by the agency in Colorado’s new source review (NSR) air permit program, after the agency found that state regulators failed to ensure minor sources, such as oil wells, do not hike emissions. In a recently released July report , EPA faults Colorado’s permit program for a slew of failures, after whistleblowers at the state’s air regulator alleged...

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