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.

EPA ‘indefinitely’ shelves 2021 RFS rule

EPA is “indefinitely” delaying its proposed biofuel blending mandates for 2021 under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), amid continued battles between the ethanol and oil sectors over the agency’s use of compliance waivers for small refiners. Reuters is reporting the indefinite delay, citing two sources familiar with the matter. A draft proposal has been under inter-agency review at the White House since mid-May, and sources had expected the proposal to be released by early July in order to meet...

Environmentalists sue EPA over MATS coal waste air rule

Environmental groups are suing EPA over a rule relaxing air emissions for power plants burning coal waste in order to make it easier for the facilities to comply with the Obama-era utility mercury and air toxics standards (MATS), at the same time as environmentalists and others are challenging the agency’s MATS rollback rule. Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Environmental Integrity Project and Sierra Club filed suit June 15 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in...

Biden announces new climate council to mobilize voters

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is launching a climate advisory council aimed at “mobilizing voters who care about climate change and environmental justice” in the lead up to the Nov. 3 general election, one of several recent announcements in which the campaign is seeking to bolster its focus on the issue. “The Climate Engagement Advisory Council will strengthen our efforts to engage climate voters to elect Joe Biden, so he can deliver on his plan to start a clean energy revolution...

Environmentalists sue EPA over North Carolina SSM waiver

Environmental groups are suing EPA over its approval of a North Carolina air quality plan that includes Clean Air Act waiver provisions for emissions limit violations during industry during periods of facility startup, shutdown or malfunction (SSM), adding to the groups’ legal challenges to approvals of similar plans in other states. Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Air Carolina, and Environmental Integrity Project filed suit June 29 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,...

Wheeler Eyes Swift Rollout Of U.S.-Mexico Water Projects Under USMCA

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the agency is preparing to swiftly roll out a slate of international work to cut ozone-depleting emissions, wastewater pollution and ocean debris under the newly implemented U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), including release of $300 million in one-time funds for high-impact projects. During a July 1 press call marking the effective date of the trade treaty, Wheeler said he has directed staff to “take a step back” in order to identify wastewater cleanup projects “that will have...

Divisions Over EPA’s PM Plan Raise Questions Over D.C. Circuit Deference

Legal experts say unprecedented divisions between EPA, its own staff, scientific advisers and advocacy groups make it likely the agency will face a lawsuit if it finalizes its plan to retain the suite of particulate matter (PM) air limits and that the fate of the rule could depend on how much deference a key federal appeals court gives EPA. “How much deference does EPA get when it ignores the recommendation of the overwhelming weight of mainstream science?” asks attorney Seth...

Court Curbs FERC’s Use Of ‘Tolling Orders’ To Delay Suits Over Gas Projects

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a sweeping decision is curbing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) use of “tolling orders” that it has long used to delay administrative reconsideration of natural gas infrastructure approvals and subsequent lawsuits over those projects. The decision could have the effect of accelerating legal challenges to pipelines and other gas projects by landowners, environmentalists and others, though some industry attorneys are arguing the ruling is narrow and...

Pollution Experts Fear EPA Cost-Benefit Rule Downplays Ozone Harms

Air pollution experts fear EPA’s proposed rule outlining changes to cost-benefit reviews for air policies would preclude counting a variety of important health-related benefits from emissions cuts, while exacerbating prior critiques of the agency’s recent scientific review for ozone that downplayed the certainty of such health harms. The issue surfaced during a July 1 public hearing held via teleconference on the cost-benefit plan that showcased widely divergent views on the merits of the regulation, with industry praising it as a...

Auto GHG Rollback Critics Detail New Flaws In Rule, Renew Prior Claims

Environmentalists and California-aligned states in fresh legal and administrative filings are detailing a host of new and existing critiques of the Trump administration’s rollback of vehicle greenhouse gas standards, including a new argument that the rule’s already meager claimed benefits evaporate due to flawed assessments of traffic congestion. That claim -- with critics arguing EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) essentially inflate the rollback’s benefits in easing congestion -- is just one of a barrage of alleged...

Environmentalists, Democrats Clash With Industries Over PM NAAQS Plan

Environmentalists, primarily Democratic-led states and lawmakers are clashing with major industry groups over EPA’s proposal to retain its suite of particulate matter (PM) ambient air standards, as critics of the plan say it will damage public health while supporters counter that the existing limits adequately curb PM health risks. The competing claims are detailed in written comments submitted ahead of EPA’s June 29 deadline for public input on its April 30 proposed rule that would leave the PM standards in...

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