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.

EPA Study On Particulate Matter Controls Finds Substantial Benefits

A major new EPA study of the benefits of particulate matter (PM) controls suggests that costly air quality regulations -- like the Clean Air Interstate Rule and diesel rules -- surpass by three times the threshold for being considered cost-effective. The finding could give agency officials leeway to argue for strict regulatory requirements because they can justify the high costs the regulations may impose on regulated entities. "Air pollution regulations achieving ambient PM2.5 reduction for less than $13 billion per...

APPEALS COURT DECISION MAY DEVASTATE CLEAN AIR ACT CITIZEN SUITS

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit is likely to be devastating for citizen suits under the Clean Air Act, according to attorneys familiar with the case. One lawyer says if the decision stands, it is "the end" of air act citizen suits in the 6th Circuit. Another says the Oct. 26 ruling in Ellis et al. v. Gallatin Steel Company et al. will encourage industry to delay compliance as long as possible and...

RULING MAY BLOCK FUTURE CHALLENGES TO FEDERAL AIR PERMIT PROGRAMS

A federal appeals court has set what could be a decisive precedent blocking court challenges to state implementation of federal air permitting requirements, ruling that EPA decisions on whether to sanction states for inadequate program implementation are not subject to judicial review. Environmentalists are alarmed by the decision, saying it could pave the way for future legal arguments to prevent judicial review of other EPA actions. The decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit affirms two...

REPORT MAY BOLSTER PUSH TO RESTRICT STATE USE OF PRIVATE LAWYERS

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report could bolster efforts to pass new state laws that would increase scrutiny of the relationship between state attorneys general and private lawyers in filing lawsuits, including environmental cases. The industry group argues that state's use of private lawyers creates an inappropriate incentive to pursue unnecessary lawsuits, and legal experts say the study could prompt a renewal of efforts to restrict such arrangements. The critique calls for the wider adoption of state laws to require...

WESTERN AIR CHIEFS CONSIDER NEW MODELING RULES, CHANGES TO AIR ACT

Air officials from Western states may ask EPA to issue a series of rulemakings that would overhaul a controversial industrial permit process with a major impact on the region. The pending recommendations come in the heat of a controversy over how much industrial expansion should be allowed in fast-growing parts of the country near park and wilderness areas. In addition to regulatory proposals, the air officials could also recommend more far-reaching changes that would require amendments to the Clean Air...

EPA CONSIDERS FLEXIBLE PERMIT STRATEGY FOR AREA SOURCE TOXIC RULES

EPA is considering whether to relax federal permit requirements in a host of pending new air toxics standards for industrial categories with relatively low emission levels, classified under the air act's "area source" program, according to state officials engaged in discussions with the agency. The officials are working with EPA on approaches for developing 50 long-delayed area source toxics standards, amid concerns about excessive regulatory burdens on state agencies. While it is still unclear how EPA will finalize these standards,...

GROUPS CITE 'UNREASONABLE DELAY' RULING TO SPEED EPA AIR TOXICS RULES

Environmentalists are citing a recent federal appeals court's unusually detailed ruling defining when an agency's timetable for action is unreasonable to urge the court to take a particularly strong step to make EPA promptly set new air toxics standards for cement kilns required by a 2000 court order. The environmentalists say the new ruling also provides them ammunition to speed EPA's compliance with several other court orders -- some handed down as recently as last June -- on pending air...

EPA COST-EFFECTIVENESS STUDY ON PM CONTROLS FINDS HUGE BENEFITS

A major new EPA study of the benefits of particulate matter (PM) controls suggests that costly air quality regulations -- like the clean air interstate rule and diesel rules -- have almost three times as many benefits as necessary to be considered cost-effective. The finding could give agency officials leeway to argue for strict regulatory requirements because they can justify high costs the regulations may impose on regulated entities. "Air pollution regulations achieving ambient [fine particulate matter] PM2.5 reduction for...

EPA ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR CLEAN AIR CREDIT THROUGH VOLUNTARY EFFORTS

EPA has issued a guidance that allows states to win credit for reducing emissions in their clean air plans through use of innovative voluntary and emerging measures. Agency sources say the guidance could help promote and validate these efforts so they could eventually become standard components of state air pollution strategies. The guidance, Incorporating Emerging and Voluntary Measures in a State Implementation Plan [SIP] , is an overarching document that will help states implement source-specific guidance documents the agency has...

INDUSTRY DOCUMENT REVEALS STRATEGY TO OPPOSE CLEAN AIR INITIATIVES

An industry group that represents coal producers and suppliers has been carrying out an ambitious strategy for defeating or scaling back a host of ongoing congressional and state initiatives to limit greenhouse gases, mercury and other air pollutants, according to a recent internal letter obtained by Inside Washington Publishers. The letter, sent between governing officers of the Center for Energy & Economic Development (CEED), boasts about the group's ties with Republican officials and provides an unusual window into CEED's strategy...

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