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 Seeks To Suspend Suit Over Adverse Species Effects From PM NAAQS

EPA is once more rejecting an effort by some environmentalists to sever their Endangered Species Act (ESA) case from wider litigation against the Trump administration’s decision to retain Obama-era limits for particulate matter (PM), asking an appellate court to suspend the suit until it has strengthened the Trump-era decision. In State of California, et al. v. EPA, et al. , states and environmental groups are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to vacate the...

L.A. Air District Delays Port Sector ISR After Warehouse Rule Draws Suit

The Los Angeles air district is advancing efforts to craft a long-elusive deal with port operators to reduce emissions from trucks and other vehicles, rejecting staff advice to develop a controversial “indirect source rule” (ISR) just weeks after a similar rule dealing with warehouses drew a lawsuit from truckers. At an Aug. 6 meeting, the South Coast air district governing board voted 12-1 to pursue a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ports over the next four months on an...

Environmentalists Win Order In Key Bid To Enforce Against Pellet Plant

Environmentalists have won a court order granting them access to a Texas biomass pellet plant’s emissions stack test record and permitting documents, key information that the groups hope will help them enforce emissions controls at the last remaining facility to install such technologies, one source says. Judge Michael Truncale of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled Aug. 10 in Sierra Club v. Woodville Pellets LLC, that the plant cannot rely on the Texas audit...

EPA Nears Response To Industry Petition To Ease Disposal Of Railroad Ties

EPA has sent for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review its proposed response to a timber industry petition that seeks to further ease “unsupportable” limits on the use of railroad ties as “fuel,” rather than more tightly-regulated “waste,” following some easing of restrictions by both the Obama and Trump administrations. The proposal, currently slated for issuance in December, would respond to a December 2018 petition by the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), American Wood Council (AWC),...

Plaintiffs Seek To Retain Suit Seeking EPA Withdrawal Of GHG Finding

Several California-based companies are asking a federal court to preserve their suit seeking to force an EPA response to their 2017 petition urging the agency to revoke its threshold regulatory finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare. EPA in June urged the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to dismiss the suit, Liberty Packing Co., et al. v. EPA , arguing that it suffered multiple procedural flaws. But the companies, which are being represented...

Environmentalists sue EPA over SO2 SIP failures

Three environmental groups are suing EPA alleging the agency violated the Clean Air Act by failing to ensure portions of Michigan and Maryland have effective state plans for meeting sulfur dioxide (SO2) ambient air quality standards. The Aug. 11 suit , Center for Environmental Health, et al. v. Michael Regan , filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, charges that EPA has failed to ensure that Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties in Maryland and parts of...

EPA Renews Push For FERC To Assess ‘Climate Damages’ Of Gas Projects

EPA regional offices are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to offer more robust climate analyses of two proposed natural gas infrastructure projects, including use of the social cost of carbon (SCC) metric, adding to the increasing pressure on the commission for tougher climate reviews. The recent comments from the regional offices come after Biden EPA officials earlier this year pressed FERC to conduct more-thorough assessments of the climate implications of its gas pipeline approvals, even as industry groups...

Environmentalists Eye House To Ease Infrastructure Bill’s NEPA Provisions

Environmentalists are planning to press their House allies to revise or remove a series of provisions in the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill that overhaul the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including measures that make permanent expiring fast-track procedures, create new categorical exclusions and curb their ability to sue. “As of now, yes, we are focused on the House and trying to get these provisions eliminated or improved,” one environmentalist tells Inside EPA Aug. 12. But environmentalists appear to face...

EPA Seeks To Bolster Intra-Agency Committee To Advance TSCA Program

Amid overlapping efforts with some offices, EPA’s chemicals leaders are working to bolster coordination across a range of agency programs to improve TSCA risk evaluations and the risk management required by the findings, expanding on early efforts begun by Trump officials to form an intra-agency committee. “The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention [OCSPP] believes that robust intra-agency coordination is vital to the success of TSCA implementation,” an EPA spokesperson tells Inside TSCA . “While the previous Administration provided...

SCAQMD Chief’s Criticism Of EJ Groups Over Trucks Draws New Line

The chief of the Los Angeles-area air district is strongly criticizing a coalition of environmental justice (EJ) groups over their opposition to district funding for cleaner natural gas trucks to replace dirty diesel models as a way to cut nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, marking a new line between the regulators and the growing EJ and equity movement, sources say. One environmentalist says Wayne Nastri's letter to EJ groups reflects the district’s “need for major emission reductions from trucking...

EPA Will Boost Air Enforcement At Scrap Metal Recycling Facilities

EPA is signaling that it will boost Clean Air Act enforcement efforts at scrap metal recyclers across the country, issuing an enforcement alert late last month that identifies emission violations at facilities that shred cars and appliances while also bringing an action at a Rhode Island facility that one former official says is a warning to other operators. The July alert signals to the more than 250 metal shredding operations that both EPA and states have found emission violations at...

Truckers Charge Air Law Preempts L.A. District’s Landmark Warehouse Rule

The California Trucking Association (CTA) is suing the Los Angeles air district over its recently approved landmark warehouse “indirect source rule” (ISR), charging that it illegally regulates heavy-duty trucks in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and another major federal transportation- and freight-related law. “Dissatisfied with the pace of fleet turnover already mandated by the California Air Resources Board [CARB], the District has seized for itself powers reserved to the [EPA] and CARB under what the United States Supreme...

EPA Excludes Biofuels From Vehicle GHG Plan, In Sector’s Latest Blow

EPA’s near-term proposal to curb greenhouse gases from light-duty vehicles entirely excludes any discussion of biofuels as a means to limit emissions, in the latest blow to biofuels advocates who are promoting higher biofuel blends as a faster and easier way to cut GHGs than reliance on electric vehicles (EVs). The proposed rule , unveiled Aug. 5, is part of a broader administration effort that will include trucks and long-term light-duty standards, mandated by a new executive order (EO) by...

Citing IPCC Report, Officials Push Dual Focus On Curbing Methane, CO2

A top Biden administration official and environmentalists are citing drastic findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to call for a heightened focus on curbing emissions of methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas over the short term than carbon dioxide. They argue that significantly slashing methane from oil and gas operations, landfills, and the agriculture sector can provide major near-term benefits from slowing global warming, buying policymakers space to continue longer-range efforts to decarbonize the...

EPA Faults Texas Air Permits Amid Looming Fight Over Trump-Era Policy

EPA Administrator Michael Regan in recent decisions has twice faulted Texas air regulators for their failure to ensure state-issued air quality permits are fully enforceable but the instant disputes did not present an opportunity for the agency to address environmentalists’ broader calls to reverse a Trump-era policy of deferring to state permit decisions. In responses to petitions filed by Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Sierra Club, Regan over the past few weeks has held that the Texas Commission on Environmental...

Biogas producers seek rehearing of RFS ‘eRINs’ issues

Biogas electricity producers are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for panel rehearing of their case against the agency’s 2019 renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing the court relied on EPA arguments outside of the rulemaking record when rejecting their case for the program to credit power for transportation. In an Aug. 6 petition , RFS Power Coalition, a group of biogas producers seeking RFS credit for electricity they generate for transportation, asks the court...

Midwestern Utilities Pursue Broad Legal Assault On Revised CSAPR

Midwestern utilities are launching a broad legal attack on EPA’s methods for controlling interstate ozone pollution in their lawsuit over the agency’s strengthened Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), signaling their likely opposition to any future federal rules for controlling interstate emissions that might use a similar approach. In its July 28 statement of issues to be raised in litigation, the Midwest Ozone Group (MOG) of utilities and other industrial companies faults many aspects of EPA’s methodology behind the tougher CSAPR,...

EPA Urges High Court Not To ‘Speculate’ About Future Utility GHG Rule

The Biden EPA and its allies are urging the Supreme Court to deny a push by Republican-led states and coal producers to review the agency’s Clean Air Act authority to limit greenhouse gases from power plants, arguing courts should not “speculate” about the potential approach of the agency’s forthcoming regulation. “Any further judicial clarification of the scope of EPA’s authority under [air act section 111(d)] would more appropriately occur at the conclusion of the upcoming rulemaking, when the courts can...


OIG Rejects EPA Plan To Bypass Air Toxics Risk Review For Key Pollutants

Clarification appended EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is again rejecting EPA’s air office refusal to commit to fresh risk-and-technology reviews (RTRs) of air toxics rules for industries emitting the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO) and the rubber component chloroprene, rejecting a recent effort at compromise by acting air chief Joe Goffman In an Aug. 5 letter to Goffman, Inspector General Sean O’Donnell says “based on the information and supporting documentation provided, we do not agree with the...

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