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, CASAC Under Pressure To Quickly Wrap Review Of Ozone Science

Following a months-long delay, EPA and its advisors are under increasing pressure from environmentalists to quickly complete their review of the science supporting the agency’s reconsideration of federal ozone standards and clear the way for tough new limits, though the advisors are signaling they are unlikely to recommend the kind of scientific changes the advocates are seeking. As the special Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) panel overseeing EPA’s review of ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) prepares to...

EPA Floats Higher Climate Damage Values In Draft Carbon ‘Cost’ Update

EPA is issuing a draft update to the social cost of carbon (SCC) metric that floats significantly higher estimates of the climate-related damage caused by greenhouse gases than the Biden administration’s interim values, as well as a new dynamic approach to setting the “discount rate” used to reduce the value of future benefits from curbing emissions. The draft update , floated Nov. 11 alongside EPA’s just-issued supplemental oil and gas methane rule , is separate from an ongoing update to...

Supplemental EPA Methane Plan Would Cut Emissions 87 Percent By 2030

EPA is using its just-issued supplemental oil and gas methane proposal to tighten its initial proposed standards from last year, including by removing an emissions monitoring exemption for small wells and creating a “ground-breaking” third-party monitoring program to flag “super emitters.” The Biden administration is highlighting the policy as one of its flagship initiatives at this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with President Joe Biden poised to address the meeting Nov. 11 and tout the...

EPA Nears Release Of Key RFS ‘Set’ Plan As OMB Commences Review

EPA has taken a step closer to proposing its long-overdue “set” rule that will establish biofuel blending volumes for 2023 and beyond under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), sending the plan for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review ahead of an extended judicial deadline of Nov. 30 to release the precedent-setting regulation. According to OMB’s website, EPA sent the rule for review Nov. 9. Typically, OMB review can take up to 90 days, but can be faster...

LNG producer seeks 18-month extension to meet turbine rule

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer Cheniere Energy is asking Louisiana regulators for an additional 18 months to comply with EPA’s revived air toxics limits for stationary combustion gas turbines, after the agency refused the company a waiver and pipeline companies challenging the rule continue settlement talks with the agency. According to Reuters , Cheniere is asking Louisiana air regulators for the additional time to bring its Sabine Pass LNG facility into compliance with EPA’s formaldehyde limits for turbines. Less...

CARB Poised To Advance Locomotive Rule Amid Legal Threats, Pushback

The California air board is poised to advance a novel regulation to reduce emissions from locomotives through a clean technology-purchasing requirement and phaseout of dirtier engines, amid legal threats from engine makers who charge the rules are preempted by federal law and pushback from municipal railway operators. The proposed California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations “appear to establish emissions-related [zero emission (ZE)]-locomotive purchase mandates that amount to federally preempted emission standards for new locomotives,” and “unreasonably restrict the definitions of...

Prospect Of Tougher PM Limits Spurs Push For Stricter Vehicle Standards

EPA’s forthcoming proposal that is expected to tighten federal air quality standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is spurring debate over the role that reducing vehicle emissions could play in helping states to meet stricter limits, as emissions control manufacturers press officials for tougher vehicle standards, but others doubt their efficacy. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is still reviewing EPA’s proposal to modify or leave unchanged EPA’s national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for all forms...

EPA Offers Limited Response To California’s Calls For Strict Train Rules

EPA has agreed to take a limited series of steps in response to California regulators’ 2017 petition seeking stricter emissions rules for locomotive engines while potentially easing preemptions on state actions to adopt their own rules on the sector as state officials prepare to adopt strict requirements. “EPA has formed a team to evaluate how best to address air pollutant emissions from the locomotive sector. This team will develop a set of options and recommendations for possible EPA regulatory actions...

Narrow GOP Gains Signal Scrutiny Of Biden Agenda, Permitting Debate

Smaller-than-expected GOP gains in the Nov. 8 midterms appear to pave the way for Republican takeover of at least one Capitol Hill chamber and more aggressive oversight of Biden administration environment initiatives, even as some observers say a divided Congress could still produce legislation easing energy project permitting. But the surprise election result has left control of the Senate up for grabs as experts say the final result might be unknown for days or weeks, given ongoing vote counting in...

Democratic AGs Urge EPA To Adopt Tough Mandates In RMP Rule

Correction Appended A coalition of 20 Democratic attorneys general (AGs) is urging EPA to strengthen its proposed risk management program (RMP) rule, saying it should require facilities to adopt inherently safer technologies and other measures that the proposal makes optional, and bolster consideration of natural disasters worsened by climate change. The Oct. 31 comment letter from AGs of 19 Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia, as well as the county attorney for Harris County, TX, backs EPA’s move...

Bosch agrees to $25 million deal with California over emissions scandal

California officials have won a $25 million settlement with vehicle-equipment supplier Bosch for its role in the 2016 diesel emissions cheating scandals at Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler, Attorney General (AG) Rob Bonta (D) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced on Nov. 7. The settlement , which is subject to approval by San Diego County Superior Court, resolves allegations that Bosch participated in misconduct by providing hardware, software and software programming or calibration services to Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler,...

States Urge EPA To Double FY24 Grants As GOP Gains Threaten Funds

As likely Republican election gains threaten funding cuts for EPA, a group of state air regulators is urging the agency to double grant funding to states from current levels in fiscal year 2024 to restore states’ ability to implement the Clean Air Act after years of largely flat or declining funds, warning one-off boosts will not suffice. In a Nov. 8 letter to EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe, the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, representing 40 states and numerous...


EPA Poised To Release Methane Supplement, Amid U.N. Climate Meeting

The White House has completed its inter-agency review of EPA’s supplemental proposal to strengthen methane standards for oil and gas equipment, signaling the plan could be released in the coming days and potentially give U.S. officials a key talking point during the ongoing international climate conference. The looming release of the supplemental plan -- which environmentalists are hoping will include tighter restrictions on flaring and greater requirements for small wells, among other issues -- comes as the U.S., European Union...

White House Floats Cost-Benefit Update To Spur Nature-Based Climate Plans

The White House is pledging to release new guidance on how EPA and other agencies can better account for the cost savings and other benefits of “nature-based solutions” to protect ecosystems from climate change and other threats in their benefit-cost analysis (BCA) to support both regulatory and funding decisions. The announcement of the pending updates to BCA guidance comes as part of a broader “roadmap” on nature-based solutions released Nov. 8 to coincide with the opening days of the United...

EPA agrees to deadline to act on California’s transit plan

Weeks after proposing to approve the California air board’s clean bus rules as part of its state implementation plan (SIP) to attain federal air standards, EPA has reached a proposed consent decree with environmentalists on when it will act, agreeing to a January deadline to take final action on the plan. In the proposed deal published Nov. 3, EPA agrees to a Jan. 16 deadline to finally approve or reject the SIP based on the Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) Regulation...

Denka Eyes Options After EPA Again Rejects Call To Ease Chloroprene Value

A Louisiana chemical maker is “evaluating its options” after EPA again rejected its bid to loosen the 2010 Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) toxicity value for chloroprene, holding that its rationale for the previous denials “remains sound” though the company claims the assessment overstates cancer risks from its emissions of the chemical. “Denka Performance Elastomer [DPE] is disappointed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s continuing refusal to incorporate the best available science in its risk assessment of the chemical chloroprene,”...

EPA Appears On Track To Issue Final Heavy Truck NOx Rule By Year End

EPA has sent its draft final heavy-duty truck nitrogen oxides (NOx) rule for White House review, suggesting the agency will be able to issue the regulation by Dec. 31 and provide sufficient lead time to allow the new limits to apply in model year 2027 when new California standards and ‘phase 2’ federal GHG limits apply, a key demand by equipment suppliers. The agency sent the draft final heavy-duty rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)...

EPA Agrees To Deadline For Three Ozone Plans Under Expanded CSAPR

EPA has agreed to a March 2023 deadline to either accept state plans from Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia to curb interstate ozone emissions, or to issue federal implementation plans (FIPs) directly regulating the states instead under the agency’s forthcoming expansion of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) interstate emissions program. In a proposed consent decree with environmentalists announced in the Federal Register Nov. 3, EPA agrees to take final action with regard to the interstate “good neighbor” ozone plans...

District Court Clears Appellate Path For Former Officials’ CASAC Challenge

A federal district court has cleared a path for former EPA science advisers to appeal the court’s partial rejection of their suit that claims the agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) is unlawfully constituted, once more casting a possible shadow over several reviews of federal air quality standards on which the panel is currently advising EPA. In a Nov. 2 order , Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted plaintiffs’ request for...

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