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.

Environmentalists’ Petitions Test EPA’s Narrow Title V Review Proposal

Environmentalists are testing EPA’s proposed narrow approach for reviewing states’ Title V air operating permits, in a recent petition seeking an objection to the permit of a Colorado coal mine that challenges the permit’s terms and another petition over a Louisiana steel plant that tests the agency’s proposed public participation requirements. EPA Jan. 9 proposed to formalize an approach the agency has taken in individual permit reviews since 2017 that mostly rejects calls by environmentalists for EPA to consider the...

EPA Resists Environmentalists’ Calls For AFO Air Reporting Deadline

EPA and farm sector groups are fighting environmentalists’ calls for a federal court to set a binding deadline for the agency to issue a rule requiring animal feeding operations (AFOs) to report their air pollution emissions under community right-to-know law, after the groups accused EPA of abandoning its rulemaking efforts. In a Jan. 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia suit Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, et al. v. EPA , the agency says...

Industry ‘Leadership’ Group Backs EPA’s Start Date For Truck GHG Limits

An industry alliance dubbed the Heavy-Duty Leadership Group (HDLG) is supporting EPA’s proposal to begin imposing tougher greenhouse gas requirements for heavy trucks in model year 2027 while also opposing calls for an explicit regulatory trigger that could weaken the standard if charging infrastructure is slow to materialize. “The HDLG Companies support EPA’s ongoing efforts to achieve further de-carbonization in the transportation sector through a sound, achievable [heavy duty] Phase 3 GHG rule that starts in MY 2027,” the group...

EPA primed to release gasoline tanks air rule

EPA is close to releasing its final rule toughening air emissions standards for nearly 10,000 bulk gasoline distribution facilities, amid opposition from industry groups and lawmakers who warn the rule’s compliance costs are “unworkable” and a possible cause of fuel price hikes, though environmentalists are pushing to strengthen the measure. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed interagency review of the regulation Feb. 1, according to OMB’s website, clearing the way for EPA Administrator Michael Regan to...

EPA Finds CARB Failed To Submit SIP, Sidestepping Ruling On ‘Withdrawals’

EPA has found that California regulators have failed to submit state implementation plan (SIP) elements to meet a 2012 fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standard, clearing the way for environmentalists to drop a lawsuit in which the agency was seeking a precedent-setting ruling on whether states can withdraw and re-submit SIPs and re-set related agency obligations. One environmentalist involved in the litigation says the plaintiffs plan to withdraw their suit as a result of the agency’s finding. In a Jan. 30­...

EPA Rejects L.A. SIP Over Assumed Future Rules, Contingency Measures

EPA is proposing to reject a California state implementation plan (SIP) revision for the Los Angeles area to meet 1997 ozone standards because it improperly assumes future federal rules and lacks adequate contingency measures (CMs), triggering a two-year period before EPA must impose a federal plan if no valid state plan is submitted by then. “[W]e are proposing full disapproval of the Contingency Measure Plan, because it fails to provide contingency measures as required by [Clean Air Act (CAA)] section...

Appeals Court Remands EPA Ozone Standards, Allowing For Full Review

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted EPA’s request for voluntary remand of the agency’s Trump-era air quality standards for ozone without any deadline to issue another rule, buying time for a full-blown statutory review after the agency dropped its voluntary reconsideration of the rule that retained Obama-era limits. In a brief Feb. 2 order , Judges Gregory Katsas, Neomi Rao and Bradley Garcia grant EPA’s Jan. 3 motion filed in State of New...

Lawmakers Seek To Block IRIS, TSCA Assessments, Amid Industry Battles

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has joined with two Republican senators in introducing legislation aimed at blocking EPA chemical risk assessments under its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) and Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) programs. The bills are winning praise from chemical and farm groups that fear the assessments will drive tough rules for ethylene oxide (EtO), formaldehyde and other substances. But they are unlikely to advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate and will likely face stiff opposition from the Biden administration...

CDC restructures environmental health center

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is reworking the structure of its National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), which gathers and tracks a wide range of human-health data key to EPA rules such as asthma rates and blood-lead levels. A Feb. 1 Federal Register notice says CDC is adding a fourth division of NCEH -- the Environmental Public Health Tracking Branch, which will be responsible for “develop[ing]and maintain[ing]...

Environmentalists Press EPA To Further Strengthen Waste Combustors Plan

Environmentalists are pressing EPA to further tighten its plan setting tough new emissions standards for large municipal waste combustors, asking officials for lower emissions limits, new standards for specific pollutants and better monitoring methods, even as EPA is floating already-dramatic cuts in pollution. In its proposal unveiled Jan. 11 , EPA seeks to tighten new source performance standards (NSPS) for new plants and emissions guidelines (EGs) for existing plants, and to update the definition of “new source” to apply to...

EPA Poised To Issue Rule Likely Tightening Federal Fine Particulate Limit

EPA is expected to imminently release its controversial final rule likely tightening national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), after White House officials completed inter-agency review of the measure, clearing the way for EPA Administrator Michael Regan to sign the final rule. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed pre-publication review July 31, according to OMB’s website. While EPA could soon publicly release the rule, EPA officials have indicated that publication in the...

D.C. Circuit announces panel for EtO air rule suit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has announced the three-judge panel that will hear a chemical industry challenge to EPA’s landmark air toxics rule regulating the miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing (MON) sector, in a key test of EPA’s risk assessment for the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO). In a Feb. 1 order , the court says the case, Huntsman Petrochemical LLC v. EPA, will be heard Feb. 16 by Circuit Judges Karen Henderson and Bradley...

Senate EPW Boosts Calls For Landfill Methane Curbs, Amid Some Concerns

A Senate environment committee hearing is amplifying calls for updated EPA landfill methane standards and other steps to curbing such emissions, while also showcasing concerns about potential effects of such regulations on small municipal landfills and discussing ways to minimize methane-generating organic waste in the first place. The Jan. 31 proceeding, however, also provided GOP lawmakers a venue to highlight landfill sector and other pushback to draft Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax credit guidance that the critics say would exclude...

EDF Calls For Widespread Adoption Of Warehouse Air Emissions Rules

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is urging states nationwide to adopt “indirect source rules” (ISRs) to limit air emissions associated with large warehouses, seeking to expand adoption of California’s novel approach that aims to limit mobile source emissions in the absence of federal rules. In a Jan. 18 report focused on warehouses and their air pollution impacts in New York state, EDF finds elevated risks from emissions associated with diesel trucks at warehouses, especially in minority or low-income communities that...

EPA Opens Comment Period On L.A. SIP ‘Contingency’ Rule Consent Decree

EPA has published its proposed consent decree with Los Angeles air regulators and environmental justice groups that requires the agency to take final action by July 1 on proposed regional “contingency measures” (CMs) in revisions to California’s state implementation plan (SIP) to attain federal air standards. Announced in a Jan. 18 Federal Register notice , the consent decree aims to settle two consolidated cases in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California known as South Coast...

Senate Confirms Goffman To Lead EPA Air Office After Years Of Deadlock

The Senate after years of delay has narrowly confirmed Joe Goffman to lead EPA’s air office, bringing to a close a long-pending nomination in a closely divided chamber just as the agency is ramping up efforts to tighten standards for particulate matter and clamp down on emissions from vehicles, power plants and a range of other sources. The Senate’s largely party-line vote 50-49 grants Goffman formal status as EPA air chief, a role he has been exercising on a de...

Sterilizer sues EPA over EtO enforcement at Puerto Rico facility

Sterilization company Steri-Tech, Inc. (STI) is suing EPA over the agency’s enforcement order against its Salinas, PR, facility, asking a federal appeals court to nullify the order requiring a cut in emissions of the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO), currently at the center of litigation around the country, and of major EPA air rules. In a suit filed Jan. 17 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, STI says it seeks judicial review of the Oct. 23 administrative...

Texas Toughens Concrete Batch Permits After EPA Ended Rights Probe

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) last week strengthened its standard permit for emissions from concrete batch plants (CBP), a move that prompted EPA to administratively close pending Civil Rights Act Title VI complaints that argued the earlier permit finalized in 2021 was discriminatory. TCEQ Jan. 24 issued its final permit that now requires a “protectiveness review to ensure emissions from facilities authorized by the standard permit are protective of human health and the environment.” The permit says the...

SAB Finalizes Critiques Of Proposed Oil & Gas GHG Reporting Updates

EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) is finalizing its warnings that EPA’s proposed updates to oil and gas sector greenhouse gas reporting requirements could either miss large emissions releases or overestimate the size of the events that are detected, while urging EPA to consider alternatives that could boost accuracy of reported emissions. In what appears to be new language aimed at achieving more accurate reporting, the board’s Jan. 17 final report urges EPA to “convene a group of experts to advise...

Environmentalists’ Suit Targets EPA Scrutiny Of States’ Fracking Permits

Colorado environmentalists are renewing their legal attack on the state’s air permit program, targeting rules they say violate the Clean Air Act and contradict a federal appeals court ruling that held regulators cannot ignore “temporary” emissions from oil and gas well fracking, in a fight the energy sector has previously warned has national implications. In their Jan. 26 opening brief in Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) v. EPA, environmentalists urge the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit...

Pages

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