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 poised to list 1-BP as hazardous air pollutant

EPA is set to issue its final rule listing the industrial solvent 1-bromopropane (1-BP) as a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) under the Clean Air Act, after the rule cleared White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review, paving the way for issuance of the first-time listing for a new HAP, which will impose controls and set a precedent. The rule cleared OMB review Dec. 20, according to OMB’s website. The listing would be the first of a new HAP,...

Environmentalists Sue EPA Over Trump-Era NSR ‘Project Accounting’ Rule

Environmentalists are suing EPA over its decision to retain a Trump-era rule that environmental groups say can allow project developers to avoid tough pollution control requirements under new source review (NSR) air permitting, after the agency said only it may look into the issue in the future. Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Integrity Project, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club filed suit Dec. 10 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. While the brief filing...

Environmentalists Broaden Efforts To Address Civil Rights Beyond EPA

Environmentalists are broadening their efforts to challenge state actions under the Civil Rights Act (CRA), teaming up with housing and other advocates to file petitions asking EPA and other agencies to investigate alleged discrimination in alignment with the Biden administration’s whole-of-government approach to environmental justice (EJ). Last week, for example, environmentalists and fair housing advocates teamed up in filing a Title VI complaint asking the federal Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to investigate discrimination allegations against Michigan housing...

EPA Tightens Vehicle GHG Standards, Citing Greater EV Deployment

EPA has finalized near-term light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards more stringent than originally proposed, with changes including higher projections of electric vehicle (EV) deployment that will aid compliance, and narrower compliance flexibility mechanisms in response to critiques from environmentalists and others. The agency says its Dec. 20 final rule -- particularly the stringency for model year 2026 vehicles -- is a “historic” action that reverses to the extent possible the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era standards covering MY21-25. Even so,...

As litigation restarts, D.C. Circuit remands SSM rules

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted EPA’s request to restart litigation over its 2015 ‘SIP Call’ rule that required 36 states to remove regulatory exemptions from state air plans, and is also remanding to the agency waivers from the policy the Trump administration granted to three states. In a brief order issued Dec. 17, the court restarted litigation in Environmental Committee of the Florida Electric Power Coordinating Group, Inc., v. EPA , the...

As EPA Plan Stalls, Researchers Press Direct Benefits Of Mercury Limits

Academic researchers are urging EPA to account for the direct benefits of cutting mercury in its forthcoming proposed threshold finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” (A&N) to regulate power plants’ air toxics, amid an ongoing delay in releasing the finding, possibly due to White House concerns over reliance on “co-benefits” to justify costs. As such, the Dec. 16 recommendations from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment (C-Change) to focus...

Manchin’s Budget Bill Stance Casts Doubt On Biden’s GHG Targets

Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) vow that he cannot support Democrats’ climate-heavy budget legislation as currently constructed is casting significant doubt on whether the Biden administration can meet its pledge to halve economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this decade. Nevertheless, White House officials, top Democrats and environmental groups are vowing to press forward with some version of the so-called Build Back Better Act, arguing that “failure is not an option” when it comes to addressing carbon emissions that...


EPA Finalizes Near-Term Auto GHG Rule With Tougher Requirements

EPA is finalizing an update to greenhouse gas standards for model year 2023-2026 light-duty vehicles, imposing requirements on automakers that will achieve “significant” emissions reductions including tighter standards than it initially proposed for later years covered by the rule. A prepublication version of the rule was issued Dec. 20, along with a regulatory impact analysis , and a fact sheet . Additionally, EPA says in a “by the numbers” document that the final rule “represents the most ambitious light-duty vehicle...

Judge Seeks More Briefing On States’ Standing, Biden Authority In SCC Case

A federal judge is seeking additional briefing on threshold questions in Republican states’ suit challenging Biden administration efforts to permanently revise Trump-era social cost of carbon (SCC) values, including whether the states have suffered a “concrete injury” sufficient to show standing and whether the president has the power to change the values. In an order issued earlier this month following a hearing on competing motions from the parties, Judge James Cain Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western...

OIG Lays Out Ambitious Oversight Plans For Key EPA Priorities In 2022

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is laying out ambitious plans to oversee EPA’s work on addressing top Biden administration priorities in fiscal year 2022, including elevating environmental justice (EJ) and addressing climate change, even as several older, high-profile reports remain a source of friction between the office and the agency. IG Sean O’Donnell also told reporters during a recent roundtable that he plans a major focus on ensuring that the massive influx of cash EPA will receive through the...

EPA finds Pennsylvania, New York failed to submit ozone control plans

EPA has issued a formal finding that Pennsylvania and New York failed to submit air quality plans to the agency imposing controls on oil and gas sources for compliance with its 2015 ozone standard, triggering a Clean Air Act deadline for the states to submit acceptable plans or for EPA to directly regulate the facilities. In a Dec. 16 Federal Register notice , EPA issues the “findings of failure to submit” state implementation plans (SIPs) that are required to...

EPA Faces Major Legal Test Over Plan For Retroactive RFS Blending Cuts

EPA in its recent proposal to retroactively slash biofuel blending volumes under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) outlines a technical and legal rationale for doing so that relies on legal precedent, and unprecedented drops in fuel consumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that will be tested in all-but-certain litigation should the plan be finalized. In its proposal released Dec. 7, EPA says it will cut back 2020 biofuel blending mandates to reflect the actual volume of renewable fuels used that...

Study finds persistent air pollution disparities by race

A just-published study authored primarily by University of Washington researchers, including EPA’s current top clean air adviser, finds that disparities persist between racial and ethnic groups regarding air pollution exposure, with non-White groups exposed to higher levels of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The paper was published Dec. 15 by Jiawen Liu et al. in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives , and is titled Disparities in Air Pollution Exposure in the United States by Race/Ethnicity and Income,...

IG Plans To Ramp Up Hiring To Oversee EPA’s Infrastructure Spending

EPA’s Inspector General (IG) is raising concerns that the agency is not prepared to spend -- and adequately oversee -- the massive influx of cash it is getting from the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, and is planning to use millions of dollars in funds provided by the bill to ramp up his office’s hiring to increase its oversight. “The agency faces significant challenges in how it will manage the money it is getting,” IG Sean O’Donnell said at a Dec. 10...

EPA Highlights ‘Transformative’ Funds For Zero-Emission School Buses

An EPA official is highlighting $5 billion in the new infrastructure law for the agency to subsidize zero-emission and other “clean” school buses as a “transformative” opportunity to improve public health and advance low-carbon technology as regulators eye tougher greenhouse gas and air standards for the heavy truck sector. The agency is suggesting the infrastructure law’s funding could work in tandem with, and help support, these planned regulatory efforts, in line with the Biden administration’s whole-of-government efforts to adopt incentives...

Ameren to close plant rather than install controls

Ameren is announcing it long-expected plans to accelerate closure of its coal-fired Rush Island power plant rather than spend billions of dollars to add modern pollution controls as required by courts in a high-profile, decade-long new source review (NSR) enforcement case that EPA brought against the Missouri utility. In a Dec. 14 “motion to modify remedy ruling” in the district court case, United States, et al. v. Ameren Missouri , the company told the judge that it planned to close...

Industry Urges EPA Panels To Weigh More Factors For PFAS Grouping

A broad industry coalition is urging EPA’s science advisors to consider a host of additional factors as they prepare to advise officials on grouping per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for TSCA testing and future regulation under its various authorities, saying the advisors should recommend the agency reconsider its approach. The trade associations, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with groups representing the textile and apparel, paper and printing, petro-chemical, food and dairy and mining industry sectors, made their...


Senators introduce bill to block retroactive RFS cuts

Farm-state senators have introduced a companion to a House bill that aims to stop EPA from retroactively cutting Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending volumes, as biofuel advocates seek ways to limit such proposed cuts they say would hurt the sector. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bill Dec. 14, along with co-sponsors Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Joni Ernst (R-IA). The bill, which has yet to be allocated a number, is the Senate companion of H.R...

Pages

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