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.

CSAPR Remand Marks First Biden EPA Air Policy Sent For OMB Review

EPA has sent for White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) pre-publication review its final rule that responds to an appellate court ruling forcing it to strengthen the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program, a move required by a legal deadline but that also represents the first Biden EPA air rule to seek OMB approval. According to OMB’s website, EPA sent the final rule for pre-publication review Feb. 24, making it likely the first major air rule...

EPA Sends Recommendations For Trump-Era Rule Rescissions To OMB

EPA met its Feb. 19 administrative deadline for sending the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) a preliminary list of Trump-era rules that it is targeting for revising or rescinding, confirming that the list includes vehicle greenhouse gas deregulatory actions among other Trump rules environmentalists oppose. The agency is keeping the full list under seal, which some sources suggest might be in order to avoid attracting too much attention to the plan before the Senate schedules a floor...

CBD urges court to sever its PM NAAQS endangered species suit

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is urging a federal appeals court to sever its novel lawsuit against the Trump EPA’s decision to retain Obama-era federal standards for particulate matter (PM) from other PM cases, arguing that the group’s suit raises unique endangered species claims distinct from the other challenges. In a Feb. 23 filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, CBD asks the court to sever its case, CBD v. EPA, et al....

Conservative Group Says States’ Ozone Suit ‘Trojan Horse’ For GHG Limits

Energy Policy Advocates, a conservative-leaning group focused on transparency in federal energy policy, claims that a lawsuit filed by 15 states and 14 environmental organizations over the Trump EPA’s rule retaining Obama-era ozone air standards is a “Trojan Horse” that ultimately aims for tighter regulation of greenhouse gases. In a Feb. 22 amicus brief filed in State of New York, et al. v. EPA , the group says that the real purpose behind the lawsuit is to force the...


Environmentalists Seek Interim Auto GHG Rules Stricter Than California’s

Environmentalists are ramping up their advocacy in support of near-term federal greenhouse gas rules that are stricter than those contained in the deal between California and several automakers, drafting a letter to be sent as soon as Feb. 25 to President Joe Biden urging stronger action as part of efforts to decarbonize the vehicle sector. The environmental community is “trying to figure out how best to articulate concerns” over the California agreement, says one source. The effort comes amid persistent...

OIG Urges EPA To Reconsider Decision Against Warning On EtO Air Risks

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is urging the agency’s new political leadership to reconsider the Trump administration’s decision that rejected an OIG recommendation for EPA to communicate the adverse health risks of ethylene oxide (EtO) exposure to communities living near facilities emitting the solvent. In a Feb. 22 letter to Acting EPA Administrator Jane Nishida, Inspector General Sean O’Donnell says, “I request that you reconsider former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s decision to close our recommendation to interactively communicate significant...


Environmentalists detail legal attacks on Trump EPA ‘once in’ air rule

Environmentalists are detailing their legal attacks on the Trump EPA’s rule ending a longstanding “once in, always in” policy that required “major” sources of air toxics to always meet stringent pollution control requirements even if they lower emissions significantly, saying in a new filing that the decision violates key Clean Air Act provisions. But the Biden administration is asking a federal appeals court that is hearing the challenge over the policy to place the case in abeyance so that it...

States outline legal arguments against Trump EPA cost-benefit air rule

A coalition of 17 mostly Democratic-led states is outlining its legal arguments against the Trump EPA’s rule revising cost-benefit procedures for Clean Air Act rulemakings, arguing the policy unlawfully downplays the benefits of air regulation and therefore would violate the agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment. EPA in the same pending U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit case over the rule is seeking to place the legal challenge in abeyance while the agency...

D.C. Circuit agrees to partial stay of mandate in utility GHG suit

A federal appeals court is granting EPA’s unopposed request to partially stay the mandate for its ruling that vacated the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule and scrapped a repeal of the broader Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP), giving the agency more time to weigh how to regulate utility GHGs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a Feb. 22 order in American Lung Association, et al. v. EPA, et al .,...

Backing 10th Circuit, EPA Eyes Major Limit On Issuing Future RFS Waivers

EPA is announcing that it now supports a federal appeals court ruling that largely bars the agency from granting small refiners’ requests for renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waivers, signaling that the Biden administration is likely to place a major limit on the exemptions compared to the Trump EPA that issued dozens of RFS waivers. In a Feb. 22 statement, the agency notes that its position backing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit is a change from...

D.C. Circuit Halts RFS Waivers Suit, Shifting Focus To 10th Circuit Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted a request from EPA and biofuels groups to halt litigation filed by renewable fuel producers over three Trump-era renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waivers issued to refineries, shifting focus to a related 10th Circuit legal battle over RFS exemptions. In a Feb. 20 per curiam order in Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) v. EPA , D.C. Circuit Judges Patricia Millett and David Tatel grant the abeyance requests,...


Virginia poised to adopt California vehicle GHG, ZEV programs

The Virginia Senate has approved legislation adopting California’s low-emission vehicle (LEV) and zero emissions vehicle programs, paving the way for the state to become the first state in the South, and the 15th state nationally, to embrace California’s LEV rules. The state senate’s move comes with the Biden administration expected to reaffirm California and other states’ authority to implement vehicle GHG emissions programs more-stringent than federal standards, under decades old Clean Air Act language allowing other states to adopt California’s...

Divided Refiners, Biofuels Groups Spar Over RFS ‘Severe Hardship’ Waivers

Refiners are clashing with each other and biofuels groups over requests from states and some small refiners for “severe economic harm” waivers from renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending obligations, in a dispute similar to a fight over hardship waivers for small refiners that biofuels advocates fiercely oppose. EPA took public comment through Feb. 18 on its Jan. 19 notice asking for comment on six states’ requests for RFS waivers for the compliance years 2019 and 2020, and also environmentalists’...

Refiners, Biofuels Groups Oppose EPA Bid To Pause Suit Over 2020 RFS

Oil sector and biofuels industry groups are opposing EPA’s bid to pause litigation over the 2020 renewable fuel standard (RFS), saying the Supreme Court’s eventual ruling over related questions on small refiners’ waivers from RFS compliance will not moot broader arguments and does not justify abeyance in the litigation as the agency claims. In the consolidated lawsuit RFS Power Coalition v. EPA, et al., refiners are suing EPA over its biofuel blending volumes rule for 2020 under the RFS,...


EPA settles with two Delaware companies on aftermarket devices

EPA has reached settlements with two Delaware companies over their sale of installation of aftermarket devices designed to defeat emission controls for heavy-duty diesel engines. The agency’s Region 3 in a Feb. 18 press release announced the settlement with the two repair shops, Delaware Speed and Custom LLC in Milton, which will pay a $12,500 penalty, and Bo Daddy’s Diesel and Auto Repair in Seaford, which will pay a $6,000 penalty. Both have also certified they are now in compliance...

Chicago seeks information from EPA on air permit civil rights probe

The City of Chicago is pressing EPA for more information and a timeline on its recently launched investigation into alleged Civil Rights Act Title VI violations by Illinois environmental regulators when they issued a Clean Air Act permit allowing a scrap metal recycler to relocate facilities to the city’s heavily polluted Southeast Side. In a Feb. 17 letter to EPA Region V, which includes Illinois, Chicago Deputy Corporation Counsel John Hendricks offers support for the probe, but also asks for...

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