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.

DEPARTING EPA ENFORCEMENT CHIEF FOCUSES ON NSR, REFINERY DEALS

EPA's acting enforcement chief Tom Skinner, who has announced that he will leave the agency this fall, says he will focus during his remaining time on reaching settlements with the utility industry in pending Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) cases and in cases under the agency's clean air enforcement initiative against oil refineries. Skinner wrote the White House May 24 asking President Bush to withdraw his nomination to become assistant administrator of the enforcement office, which has been...

OPPOSING GROUPS POSE TEST FOR PENNSYLVANIA'S KEY MERCURY RULE

Pennsylvania's effort to develop a landmark state rulemaking to reduce mercury from electric utilities -- the first by a major coal-producing state -- faces a tough challenge because of competing positions from environmentalists seeking strict standards and the coal industry concerned that stringent controls would force fuel switching. The state's task appears more difficult after it joined New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey and other states May 18 in suing EPA over its mercury rule for power plants, saying it...

STATES, ENVIRONMENTALISTS CHALLENGE EPA MERCURY RULES

New Jersey is leading a multi-state state effort to challenge EPA's final cap-and-trade mercury rule, which was published in the Federal Register May 18. Other states include California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Vermont and Wisconsin. Environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the Clean Air Task Force, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Waterkeeper Alliance and others also filed suit against the rule. The petitions, filed in the U.S. Court...

WESTERN AIR GROUP QUIETLY CONSIDERS ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

The Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP) is considering delving into the politically sensitive issue of addressing climate change. The group, which was formed to tackle regional haze in Western states, has agreed to hold a second board meeting on the topic this summer to discuss what -- if anything -- it wants to do on the issue. At a WRAP meeting last month, the group held a half-day information session on global warming and its impacts in the West, which...

CALIFORNIA DRAFTS CAP-AND-TRADE OPTIONS IN CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

The California EPA (Cal/EPA) has completed options to pursue a statewide greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to soon announce emission reduction targets for the state, sources say. The effort has national implications because of California's size and the potential that other states may follow suit, sources say. Cal/EPA is leading an "intergovernmental working group" to evaluate options for a comprehensive greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program for the state, according to agency sources. It is...

WESTERN AIR OFFICIALS EYE MAJOR PUSH TO OVERHAUL PARK AIR RULES

Western state air officials are planning a major effort aimed at convincing EPA to accept a new approach to setting emissions limits in national parks and other pristine areas that shifts away from air quality thresholds and instead relies on ecological impacts. Supporters of what is known as the "critical load" approach say it is the most effective method for protecting human health and habitats because it limits emissions based on the damage caused to local ecosystems. It would set...

WESTERN STATES URGE EPA TO ADOPT LONG-AWAITED PSD ADVICE

The Western States Air Resources Council (WESTAR) last month formally adopted 14 recommendations to EPA on how to reform and simplify the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permit program, which is designed to maintain clean-air areas such as parks and wilderness. But the group, comprised of Western state officials, acknowledges that the consensus recommendations are a "carefully balanc[ed]" compromise that EPA should adopt in its entirety, rather than piecemeal. "We encourage EPA to consider these recommendations in total, thereby maintaining...

EPA PLEDGE FOR CLEAR SKIES ANALYSIS UNLIKELY TO RESOLVE CONCERNS

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson's recent pledge to conduct long-sought analyses of the Bush administration's Clear Skies bill and other multi-pollutant legislation appears unlikely to satisfy Democratic concerns that EPA has provided adequate data on the benefits of the proposals. House Democrats and Senate sources say Johnson's latest offer, which expands on a pledge he made last month, still falls short of what they are seeking, suggesting that EPA's latest move is unlikely to bring the debate back to the merits...

EPA SCIENCE PANEL SEEKS UNUSUAL REVIEW OF COARSE AIR PARTICLE PLAN

An EPA science advisory panel has made the unusual decision to clear agency staff recommendations on pollution standards for larger particulate matter (PM), known as "PM coarse," while reserving the right to further review the plan after it is sent to the agency administrator. The decision highlights lingering scientific concerns about assessing the health risks of particulate matter emissions in various parts of the country. The particulate matter review panel of the agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) held...

NEW YORK PROPOSES GHG VEHICLE STANDARD DESPITE LEGAL UNCERTAINTIES

New York state environmental officials are moving forward with a state proposal to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) from automobiles despite the legal uncertainty surrounding the plan, which is modeled after a California law the auto industry is already challenging. The state, which is the first besides California to go on the record to say it will adopt the regulation, is pressing ahead with the proposal despite the expectation of an auto industry lawsuit in New York. Officials say they must...

Pages

Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive environmental policy reporting on EPA, the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda, and the pushback from the coming Democrat-controlled House.