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.

Wheeler’s pick as Virginia’s new resources chief draws fire

Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s (R) plan to pick former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler as his natural resources secretary is drawing expected fire from Democrats and environmentalists, who charge his deregulatory record leading EPA makes him a poor choice to oversee the state’s environmental and other agencies. “Andrew Wheeler is one of the worst people the Governor-elect could have chosen for this job,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) said in a Jan. 5 statement. “Putting an anti-environment ideologue in this important...

States, Industry Renew Suit To Preserve Startup, Malfunction Air Waivers

States and industry groups opposed to the EPA policy banning air emissions exemptions for facilities during periods of startup, shutdown or malfunction (SSM) are again pressing their case against an Obama-era rule that seeks to remove such waivers from state air plans, after the Biden EPA said it will enforce the measure that Trump officials had stalled. SSM exemptions are a key bone of contention between environmentalists and the Biden EPA, on the one hand, and industry groups and allied...

EJ Group Seeks Tough Truck NOx Rule But EPA Rejects Call For Sales Order

Environmental justice (EJ) advocates are demanding that EPA include zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) options and ban incentives for natural gas-fueled vehicles in its imminent proposal to limit nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the heavy-duty trucking sector, though one source says EPA Administrator Michael Regan has rejected their calls for a sales mandate. The Moving Forward Network (MFN) -- a coalition of 50 EJ and environmental groups that advocates to limit the negative impacts of the global freight transportation system -- lays out...

EPA publishes 1-BP air toxics listing

EPA has published its listing of industrial solvent 1-bromopropane (1-BP) as a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) in the Federal Register , the first time the agency has added a substance to the list, setting an effective date of Feb. 5 for the precedent-setting action even as the agency cautions it is not judicially reviewable. The decision, published in the Federal Register Jan. 5 though it was signed by Administrator Michael Regan Dec. 22, is the first time that EPA...

Refiners, Biofuels Groups Spar At Hearing Over RFS Blending Proposals

Refining industry groups are urging EPA to substantially scale back its proposed biofuel blending levels under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for 2022, and criticizing the agency’s assertion that the program’s costs are “passed through’ refiners to others, even as biofuels groups see the 2022 volumes as a sign of recovery for their prospects. At a virtual public hearing on EPA’s Dec. 7 proposal to set blending limits for 2020, 2021 and 2023, refiners urged EPA to reduce its proposed...

Court Backs Citizen Standing In Key Mobile Source Case But Cuts Penalties

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has largely upheld a lower court ruling granting first-time standing in a citizen suit that seeks to enforce mobile source emissions violations under the Clean Air Act, though the three-judge panel is limiting the plaintiffs’ standing to activities where they are able to show adverse local impacts. In its unanimous Dec. 28 opinion , the panel slashed the defendants’ penalties for non-local impacts and required the district court to reconsider some...

EPA Adds EtO Facilities To TRI, In First Exercise Of Discretionary Power

In a first-time exercise of its discretionary authority, EPA is requiring 29 ethylene oxide-emitting (EtO) facilities to report their 2022 releases of the carcinogen to the Toxics Inventory Release (TRI), arguing the data will empower environmental justice communities to act locally and inform the agency’s future actions. Administrator Michael Regan signed a determination Dec. 16 that found the facilities meet the criteria for the agency to use its discretionary authority to require them to report their EtO releases, and for...

Chemical Sector Seeks Regan Meeting To Address Fears Over Hot-Spot Study

The Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) is asking EPA Administrator Michael Regan for a meeting next month to address concerns that the agency is planning to use methods and results from a high-profile media study identifying air-toxics hot spots that pose cumulative cancer risks around environmental justice (EJ) communities in its rulemakings. In a Dec. 8 letter to Regan, LCA raises concerns that the administrator indicated recently that EPA planned to use a recent analysis by ProPublica that claimed to...

EPA Push To Remand AFO Emissions Reporting Waiver Sparks Court Clash

EPA’s request for a federal court to remand policies exempting animal feeding operations (AFOs) from reporting harmful air emissions under community right-to-know law while the agency reviews the issue is sparking a court clash, as environmentalists are urging the court to vacate the waiver while intervening farm groups are backing the agency. In their recent filings in Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, et al., v. EPA, et al. , environmentalists urge the U.S. District Court for the District of...

EPA Adds 1-BP To Air Toxics List But Eyes Rule To Detail Regulatory Effects

EPA has added the industrial solvent 1-bromopropane (1-BP) to its list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) regulated under the Clean Air Act, a first-time listing that sets a precedent for any future additions, though the agency has dropped plans for the listing to impose immediate regulatory obligations and is now planning a new rule to detail its plans. In a brief decision signed by Administrator Michael Regan Dec. 22, EPA added the chemical to the list of HAPs regulated under...

EPA Proposes Marginal Tightening Of Air Toxics Limits For Dry Cleaners

EPA is proposing slightly stricter air toxics standards for dry cleaners using perchloroethylene (PCE), or Perc, requiring facilities to use technology that has been commonplace for some years, in a move that will not result in major additional emissions cuts, but should prevent any backsliding toward greater emissions, the agency says. In the proposal , published in the Federal Register Dec. 27, EPA revises its national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for PCE dry cleaners, last reviewed...


Colorado county sues EPA over ozone designation

Weld County, CO, is suing EPA over its expansion of the Denver ozone “nonattainment” zone to include outlying areas producing oil and gas, saying that the Biden administration relied on outdated information and misapplied EPA’s criteria for determining which areas to include in nonattainment zones. The suit , Board of County Commissioners of Weld County, Colorado, v. EPA, et al ., filed Dec. 15 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, pits county officials against...

Democrats Urge EPA To Tighten Emission Rules On Freight-Related Sources

Fifty Democratic lawmakers are urging EPA to tighten emission standards for various freight-related mobile sources of pollution by 2025, including locomotives, ocean-going vessels, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, non-road diesel engines, and aircraft, to improve air quality in mostly poor minority areas near ports and railyards. “As you may know, 13 million people live near marine ports and rail yards and another 45 million live and attend school within 300 feet of the highway and rail corridors used to move freight,”...

EPA Panel Selections Reboot Air Standards Reviews For Key Pollutants

EPA’s selection of two special panels to assist the agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) has revived an overdue review of national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for the “ecological” standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter, and launched a fresh review for lead. According to two memos quietly posted to CASAC’s website earlier this month, the agency has completed panel selection for the two NAAQS reviews. The special panels will assist the seven-member chartered...

EPA Doubts PM Cuts From Aircraft Rule But Plans Study On EJ Impacts

EPA is proposing to craft particulate matter (PM) emissions standards for aircraft engines that match those agreed to in international negotiations, in a plan that would lock in current emissions and fail to reduce pollution near airports, though the agency says it will study the impact of such emissions on environmental justice communities near the facilities. In the proposal signed by EPA Administrator Michael Regan Dec. 17, but not yet published in the Federal Register , EPA plans to codify...


EPA Delays Cumulative Risk Guide To 2022 Amid Calls For Public Input

EPA has pushed its long-awaited guidelines for analyzing cumulative risks from overlapping chemical exposures and other hazards from a late 2021 target to “early 2022,” but the agency is maintaining that it will not take comments on the document despite stakeholders’ arguments that it is important enough to warrant a public-comment process. An agency spokesperson told Inside TSCA on Dec. 14 that the “draft document is currently undergoing internal review. . . . We anticipate publication of the Guidelines...

Industry Split On Pyrolysis Rules Deepens As Environmentalists Intervene

The split between the chemical and paper industries over how EPA should regulate pyrolysis and gasification technologies is deepening, as the chemical sector defends the processes as vital to plastics “recycling” and calls for retaining relaxed Trump-era approaches while paper firms and environmentalists say the methods are not recycling and must be regulated under strict “incineration” rules. In comments filed late last week, the chemical industry warns that it will almost certainly challenge any EPA effort to regulate the technologies...

Uncertainty Rises Over California’s Auto GHG Rules After Final EPA Rule

EPA’s adoption of updated greenhouse gas limits for model year 2023-2026 passenger vehicles is raising uncertainty about what standards various manufacturers will have to meet in California, including how the state will enforce alternative standards contained in 2020 voluntary agreements with five companies, sources say. “There is just uncertainty around exactly what that looks like,” says one environmentalist closely tracking the rules, referring to how the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will proceed after an expected decision by EPA to...

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