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 again extends deadline for RFS blending volume proposal

EPA has agreed with biofuels supporters to extend the legal deadline for the agency to propose its much-anticipated rule under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), known as the “set,” that would fix biofuel blending volumes for 2023, 2024 and possibly beyond, delaying it by two weeks to Nov. 30. The set rule is already more than a year overdue. Under a consent decree agreement with ethanol group Growth Energy, EPA was previously required to issue the proposal by Nov. 16...

EPA Drops Supplemental GHG Truck Plan, Speeds Phase 3 Rule Timeline

EPA is dropping a plan to issue a supplemental greenhouse gas rule for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2027-2029 that it had contemplated in response to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and instead will advance its Phase 3 GHG truck rule earlier than expected with a proposal in March and a final rule by the end of 2023. EPA changed course after determining that skipping the supplemental proposal and moving straight to writing the Phase...

Regan touts environmental justice efforts In Puerto Rico

EPA Administrator Michael Regan is touting a series of actions the agency is taking across several regulatory and funding programs to address environmental justice (EJ) concerns on Puerto Rico, saying they respond to concerns he heard from communities during his tour of the island earlier this year. These “actions reflect Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building a better America and addressing environmental and health challenges in communities that are underserved and overburdened by pollution,” EPA said in a Nov. 4 statement...

EPA Eyes Third-Party Chemical Safety Criteria For ‘Sustainable’ Purchasing

EPA is inviting private groups to submit applications for the toxics office to add their standards and labeling programs to those officials use to identify products made with safer chemicals as “sustainable” for federal procurement, alongside other environmental metrics including climate safety. The agency called for submissions to its “Recommendations for Federal Purchasing” in a Nov. 2 Federal Register notice , asking interested groups to submit ecolabel options and other standards by Jan. 1, and named “safer chemicals (e.g.,...

CBD Seeks To Count ‘Temporary’ Drilling Emissions In Colorado Permits

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is seeking to force Colorado to count “temporary” construction emissions when deciding whether oil and gas operations require tough “major source” air permits, in a lawsuit that aims to scrap EPA’s approval of the state’s “inadequate” plan to meet federal ozone standards in the Denver region. In its Nov. 1 opening brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in CBD v. EPA, et al. , the group says EPA...

EPA Rejects GAO’s Calls On RFS Refinery Waivers, Intensifying Battle

EPA is rejecting calls from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to revise its policy declining all requests from small refiners for renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waivers, saying GAO’s analysis is “fundamentally flawed” and indicating it will maintain its current policy that is strongly opposed by refiners and their allies in Congress. GAO in a Nov. 3 report finds that EPA cannot justify its central contention that small refiners “pass through” their RFS compliance costs to customers and are hence...


GOP States Detail ‘Major Questions’ Claims Against EPA Auto GHG Rule

Republican-led states are detailing their legal claims against EPA’s revised light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards, asserting they “functionally force” a ramp up of electrification that threatens grid reliability and national security, and in doing so violate the Supreme Court’s “major questions” doctrine. The Texas-led coalition of 17 states in a Nov. 3 opening brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also claims that EPA’s GHG standards covering model years (MY) 2023-26 are arbitrary...

EPA’s ‘Groundbreaking’ Relocation Call Sparks Debate On EJ Remedies

EPA’s call for Louisiana regulators to consider relocating a school located near an emitting facility is sparking a debate over appropriate remedies to address environmental justice (EJ) concerns as industry lawyers say it shows officials recognize the difficulty of relocating costly plants, as EPA has also recently sought, while environmentalists say EPA should instead find the state in violation of civil rights law and require the plant’s permits be denied. Simone Jones, a founding attorney of Sidley Austin’s environmental justice...

Regan Touts Air Monitoring Grants But Long-Term Support In Question

Correction Appended EPA Administrator Michael Regan is touting the environmental justice benefits of recent spending bills that provide significant funding for bolstering community air monitoring but is also acknowledging that the prospects for long-term financial support for grant recipients, a key concern for state regulators, are far from certain. During a Nov. 2 White House call with senior clean energy advisor John Podesta to promote new grant funding for community monitoring, Regan and Podesta announced the award of 132...

Groups ask EPA to probe alleged civil rights violations in Indiana

An Indiana citizens group is asking EPA to investigate alleged discrimination by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) over its air permitting procedures, arguing that the state’s anti-discrimination policy imposes “only the most limited procedural requirements and no substantial obligations on its permit decisions and appeal legal rules.” Gary Advocates for Responsible Development (GARD) filed an Oct. 21 petition with EPA’s Office of External Civil Rights Compliance, which is conducting a jurisdictional review, according to EPA’s latest updated civil...

Industry Urges EPA To Reconsider ‘Legally Vulnerable’ RMP Proposal

Chemical and other facility operators are urging EPA to reconsider its proposed rule strengthening the risk management program (RMP), charging that the agency has failed to consult adequately with its own experts, resulting in a plan that is “legally vulnerable” because the agency has underestimated its costs and failed to show it will reduce risks. “We found so many flaws in EPA’s analysis and places where EPA failed to make use of its own internal data that we are concerned...

Wyoming Haze Suits Test EPA’s Stance On Power Plants’ SCR Costs

In a test for EPA, the electric utility sector and environmental groups are again sparring over the stringency of Wyoming’s longstanding plans to reduce haze-forming emissions from power plants, as environmentalists seek to force use of costly selective catalytic reduction (SCR) while plant operator PacifiCorp seeks to avoid use of the technology. In recent filings with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, PacifiCorp criticizes an EPA federal implementation plan (FIP) for haze reduction as imposing unreasonably tough...

EPA Revises Definitions For ‘Cumulative Impacts,’ Clearing Policy Path

EPA has adopted final definitions of “cumulative impacts” and “cumulative impacts analysis” in response to advice from its science advisors, opening the door for the agency to begin to use the definitions in key environmental justice (EJ) policy- and decision-making, though it is unclear if EPA is able to address advisors’ broader concerns about their widespread adoption. Christopher Frey, EPA’s science advisor and assistant administrator for the Office of Research & Development (ORD), announced the definition’s adoption in a set...

Refiners Challenge RFS Small Refinery Alternative-Compliance Schedule

Refiners are filing suit against EPA’s “alternative” schedule for small refineries to turn in credits for renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance, in litigation that will likely allege the extended schedule merely further complicates an already delayed and complex situation that occurred because of EPA’s failure to issue RFS volume mandates on time. The San Antonio Refinery LLC and Countrymark Refining and Logistics LLC filed suit Oct. 28 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, without...

Facilities Face First-Time CARB PFAS Emissions-Reporting Requirements

Potentially thousands of California industrial facilities are facing first-time PFAS emissions-reporting requirements under recently expanded state air toxics “hot spots” program rules, underscoring continually growing concerns among state regulators about the “forever” chemicals’ potential impact on human health across several environmental media. “The recent amendments to the AB 2588 Air Toxics ‘Hot Spots’ Emission Inventory Criteria and Guidelines (EICG) Regulation added a new requirement to report the emissions or presence of PFAS at many facilities in California beginning with emissions...

Pennsylvania Lawsuit Tests EPA Power To Set ‘Reasonable’ Ozone Controls

A new lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania power plant operator will further test EPA’s direct imposition of controls to curb ozone-forming emissions from sources in the state -- part of a wider battle over limiting regional emissions -- while also testing EPA’s general discretion in deciding what controls are “reasonably available.” In its suit filed Oct. 27 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, Keystone-Conemaugh Projects LLC (Key-Con), operator of two power plants in the state, challenges...

California Withdraws SIP After Faulting EPA Over Lack Of Civil Rights Guide

Updated November 1 at 12:23 P.M. California regulators have withdrawn a proposed state implementation plan (SIP) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) after EPA, for the first time, threatened disapproval because it allegedly violated the Civil Rights Act. The state officials are also strongly criticizing EPA for failing to provide guidance for how SIPs can demonstrate compliance with the law’s nondiscrimination requirements. The friction highlights the state pushback EPA is facing as it seeks to elevate environmental justice...

EPA agrees to act on New Jersey air plans

EPA has agreed to a deal with environmentalists setting deadlines to act on several air quality plans from New Jersey limiting ozone, sulfur dioxide (SO2), fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that the agency failed to address within statutory timelines. In a notice published in the Federal Register Oct. 31 , EPA announces the proposed consent decree reached in Our Children’s Earth Foundation v. U.S. EPA , a suit filed Feb. 2 in the U.S. District Court...

Eying NOx Cuts, Eastern States Urge EPA To Grant California Truck Waivers

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic state officials are urging EPA to swiftly grant Clean Air Act preemption waivers for California’s heavy-duty truck rules that they say are vital for states in the region to drive a transition to electric vehicles, curb ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and reduce greenhouse gases. “Further delay could undermine state actions to achieve deep pollution cuts from diesel trucks and to transition to zero-emission vehicles, which are needed to attain air quality standards, protect communities from localized air...

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