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.

CARB Plans To Expand ZEV Truck Fleet Rule’s Flexibility, May Speed ICE Ban

California air board members are directing their staff to expand a host of compliance flexibilities in a landmark proposed rule requiring medium- and heavy-duty truck fleets to begin purchasing zero-emission models in 2024, even as members are divided on two options that would significantly strengthen the policy. In line with a broad environmental and labor group coalition, some board members favor accelerating a ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) trucks -- from 2040 to 2036 --...

States Question EPA Plan Allowing Permit Denials Due To Rights Concerns

State officials are meeting with EPA to hash out a number of questions they have about the agency’s recent frequently asked questions (FAQ) document that advises regulators to deny permits if the applicant does not demonstrate compliance with civil rights law in addition to compliance with the environmental requirements of the permit. A source with the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) says the group had a 90-minute “back-and-forth with EPA about it” this month, “but we haven’t seen...

EPA Issues Final Lead Strategy, With Deadlines For Key Regulatory Policies

EPA is laying the foundation for implementing its government-wide approach for curbing lead exposures in the coming decade, especially in overburdened communities, releasing a final multi-media strategy that sets first-time milestones for some key upcoming policy changes and new metrics to track its progress. “Combined with the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this strategy will accelerate our efforts to identify lead exposures early on and eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in blood-lead levels by connecting communities with...


Wyoming Revives Old Clash With EPA Over Power Plant Haze Plan

Wyoming is renewing a fight about EPA’s 2014 denial of the state’s plan to limit nitrogen oxides (NOx) from a coal-fired power plant, the last unresolved clash of several related conflicts over such NOx plans, with arguments now focused on whether states can rely on EPA’s “presumptive” emissions limits in its regional haze program. In an Oct. 25 brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in State of Wyoming v. EPA, et al. , Wyoming...

New Study Urges Location-Based Air Rules To Close PM2.5 Equity Gap

As EPA prepares to propose a likely tightening of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standards in part to address equity concerns, a just-published study finds that the agency should adopt a new “location-specific” strategy for its air rules because current statutory approaches are inadequate to mitigate racial and economic inequities stemming from adverse health impacts. The study , “Location-specific strategies for eliminating US national racial-ethnic PM2.5 exposure inequality,” published Oct. 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS),...

CASAC Backs Trump-Era Ozone Science But Opens Door To Stricter Limits

EPA’s clean air science advisers are broadly backing Trump-era science as adequate for reconsideration of federal ozone limits, but are calling for less emphasis on human-exposure studies, full consideration of data impacted by wildfire smoke, and a first-time distinct “secondary” ozone limit -- changes that could favor tougher limits. In an Oct. 25 draft letter to Administrator Michael Regan, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) says that a 2020 integrated science assessment (ISA), performed by EPA to support the...


Environmentalists Outline Calls For EPA’s HFC Reclamation, Leakage Rule

Environmentalists are detailing a series of recommendations for how EPA should shape its forthcoming rule to increase reclamation and mitigate leaks of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and other equipment, arguing those are necessary steps alongside the agency’s existing programs to restrict the chemicals. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and two other groups outline their stance in an Oct. 20 guide for lifecycle refrigeration management (LRM), suggesting a mix of regulatory, incentive-based, and voluntary programs, broken...

U.S. Sugar Corp. Files First Of Several Likely Suits Over EPA Boiler MACT

U.S. Sugar is again suing EPA over its air toxics rule for large industrial, commercial and institutional boilers, citing issues that it says will impact its Florida production facility, in what may be the first of several lawsuits over the revised regulation, with legal action also likely from environmentalists who say the rule is too weak. In a suit filed Oct. 24 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, U.S. Sugar seeks judicial review of...

Fuels Groups Flag ‘Major Questions’ In Suit On California Auto GHG Rules

Liquid fuels interests challenging EPA’s reinstated approval of California’s vehicle greenhouse gas rules are focusing their legal attacks on claims that the move improperly addresses issues of “vast significance” without clear Clean Air Act (CAA) authority, teeing up a “major questions” argument after the Supreme Court’s elevation of the issue. The arguments in a joint Oct. 24 brief in State of Ohio, et al. v EPA supplement arguments from GOP-led states that EPA’s reinstated preemption waiver for California’s rules...

Environmentalists File Fresh Lawsuit Over Pennsylvania Ozone Controls

Environmentalists are again suing EPA over its approval of Pennsylvania regulations setting ozone controls for power plants in the state, in a continuation of a long-running dispute over the adequacy of the Keystone State’s measures for curbing ozone-forming air emissions. In its lawsuit filed Oct. 18 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) challenges EPA’s Aug. 19 approval of Pennsylvania’s “case-by-case” determinations for reasonably available control technology (RACT) for six power...


Texas Launches Outreach Plan To Address EPA Civil Rights Concerns

Texas’ environmental regulators are launching a new requirement that permit applicants conduct outreach to environmental justice (EJ) communities about their projects, in part to address several EPA civil rights investigations into how the state runs its federal air permitting programs. The requirement, which takes effect next month, is a sign of the effect of the Biden EPA’s efforts to ramp up its efforts to address EJ under the Civil Rights Act, even from states like Texas which has questioned the...

Petitioners Say 8th Circuit Air Ruling Sets ‘Dangerous’ Deference Precedent

Two North Dakota ranchers are urging the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit to review a three-judge panel’s August ruling rejecting their challenge to EPA’s approval of a coal-fired power plant’s air permit, saying the decision “dangerously” expands courts’ Chevron deference afforded to EPA’s statutory interpretation. In their Oct. 14 petition , Casey and Julie Voigt ask for both panel and en banc rehearing of the Aug. 31 ruling in Casey Voigt v. EPA , in...

Environmentalists See Few Signs Truck Rules Cause ‘Pre-Buy’ Disruption

A new report commissioned by environmentalists finds little evidence that EPA’s prior heavy truck emissions rules have caused significant industry disruption from vehicle “pre-buys” and subsequent sales slumps, bolstering group’s calls for strong nitrogen oxides (NOx) rules and possibly tougher greenhouse gas limits in upcoming rules. The study , obtained by Inside EPA’s Climate Extra ahead of its release, pushes back against industry claims that EPA’s truck emissions regulations cause truck buyers to significantly boost vehicle purchases just prior...

Industry Warns 5th Circuit’s Standing Ruling Usurps States’ Authority

Industry groups are backing Exxon’s call for the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to review a panel ruling upholding a landmark clean air citizen suit against the company, warning the decision contradicts Supreme Court precedent on standing and may create a “sprawling,” “quasi-regulatory” program that displaces states’ authority. “Disregarding the fundamental Article III requirement that plaintiffs prove that they suffered injuries traceable to each violation, the panel majority crafted a standing test that included per se...

GOP States Detail Legal Claims Against California Vehicle GHG Rules

Republican-led states are detailing legal arguments against EPA’s reinstatement of a preemption waiver for California’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards, claiming the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) provisions for such waivers violate the Constitution and that this waiver specifically conflicts with federal fuel economy law. The arguments -- laid out in an Oct. 20 brief in State of Ohio et al. v. EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit -- represent a frontal assault on...

8th Circuit Rejects GOP States’ Challenge To Social Cost Of Carbon Metric

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit is rejecting a challenge by Missouri and other Republican-led states to the Biden administration’s social cost of carbon (SCC) tool, handing the latest defeat to GOP efforts to scrap the influential climate damages metric. A three-judge panel of the court in a unanimous decision in Missouri, et al. v. Biden upholds a lower court’s ruling that the states lack standing to bring the challenge. The states’ request that the court...

States’ Diverse Approaches To Haze Plans Set Stage For Clashes With EPA

States are taking divergent approaches in their latest wave of draft plans to curb regional haze, ranging from taking no action due to high cost or minimal benefit at one extreme, to requiring tough pollution controls at another, setting the stage for some clashes with EPA officials who favor stronger action, air quality experts say. Most states are now at an advanced stage of preparing their state implementation plans (SIPs) that will ensure “reasonable further progress” (RFP) in reducing haze...

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