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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.

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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.

Oil & Gas Sector Faces New Scrutiny Over Air Pollution In Western States

The booming oil and gas industry is facing new scrutiny over its Clean Air Act permits covering methane and air toxics emissions in Western states, particularly in Colorado where Democrats are codifying sweeping new limits on drilling and more than a dozen companies are facing citizen suits over their allegedly lax air permits. Environmentalists are initially focused on the Centennial State, pressuring regulators there to close a 90-day regulatory “loophole” allowing drillers to start up operations without air permits. But...

Vehicle Technology Shifts Tee Up Long-Term Emissions Puzzle For EPA

Multiple potentially transformative technological shifts among passenger vehicles are creating a long-term challenge for EPA as it tries to limit carbon and conventional air emissions from the sector, with one top agency official warning of a possible pollution “dystopia” if increased vehicle trips from ride hailing are not paired with vehicle electrification. Particularly from a climate change perspective, the dynamic is exacerbated by the Trump administration's aggressive plan to roll back Obama-era light-duty vehicle GHG and fuel economy standards by...

EPA floats nine new candidates for CASAC vacancy

EPA is floating nine candidates to fill one vacancy on its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), the panel charged with overseeing reviews of federal air quality standards that has been facing a volley of criticism in recent months from former panel members, Democrats and environmentalists. In a list published for public comment April 9, EPA outlines the experience and qualifications of the replacement candidates to fill a seat once occupied by a departing former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...


DeGette bill targets refinery ‘loophole’ for hydrogen cyanide

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) is floating legislation that aims to force EPA to set a health-protective limit for hydrogen cyanide (HCN) emitted by oil refineries, closing what DeGette calls a “loophole” that allows refiners to emit the neurotoxin in unsafe amounts. The bill , H.R. 2092, would require EPA to set numeric limits for air emissions of HCN under the Clean Air Act’s air toxics program. The legislation would require EPA to set an HCN emission standard that “will fully...

Senate Environment Panel Approves Carbon Capture, Diesel Emissions Bills

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) is advancing two bipartisan bills, the first an effort to promote carbon capture and reuse that reflects Republicans’ reliance on technological innovation to mitigate climate change, and a second to reauthorize a widely popular EPA diesel engine retrofit program. EPW members on April 10 approved the measures by voice vote, clearing the way for Senate floor consideration. The carbon capture bill, S. 383, is known as the USE IT Act. It enjoys...

EPA faces possible ‘dystopia’ from transportation technology shift

EPA’s top transportation air policy official is warning that technological changes sweeping the sector such as increased ride hailing services and autonomous vehicles could create a “dystopia” of increased air pollution, forcing the agency to re-think how it seeks to limit emissions. Speaking at an April 2 meeting of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee’s (CAAAC) mobile sources panel in Arlington, VA, Chris Grundler, head of EPA’s Office of Transportation & Air Quality, said that EPA is wrestling with how...

10th Circuit dismisses appeal of BLM methane rule delay

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit is dismissing a challenge to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) effort to delay implementing Obama-era methane limits for oil and gas operations on federal land, holding that the case is moot because BLM has since finalized a replacement rule scrapping much of the standards. The court issued the April 9 order in Wyoming, et al. v. Department of the Interior, et al., without holding oral argument. “After examining the...

As key NSR trial begins, parties spar over remedy

Parties to a major EPA enforcement case over the Clean Air Act’s new source review (NSR) program are sparring over what penalties Ameren, a utility, should face for its violations, with a judge agreeing with Justice Department (DOJ) and environmentalist claims that he can force the company to install pollution controls, while the utility disagrees. Judge Rodney Sippel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri is presiding over the remedy phase trial, which began April 8...

DOJ Claims Wide EPA 'Discretion' Over Vehicle GHG Standards Finding

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging appellate judges to give EPA wide latitude regarding the reasons for its conclusion that it must weaken Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas standards, even as it argues that state and environmentalist litigation over the finding is not ripe for court review. DOJ's arguments in an April 8 response brief in California, et al., v. EPA , in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, push back against plaintiffs' claims that...

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