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.




9th Circuit Rejects Truckers’ Appeal Of EPA Waiver For CARB Off-Road Rules

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has rejected a trucking and construction industry challenge to an Obama-era EPA Clean Air Act (CAA) waiver of federal preemption authorizing California to issue stricter emission regulations for “non-road” diesel engines. “The EPA was not arbitrary and capricious in declining to find that ‘California does not need such California standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions’ . . . under the alternative version of the needs test,...

Supreme Court to quickly decide on VW air act petition

The Supreme Court will decide Feb. 19 whether to grant Volkswagen’s petition for a writ of certiorari asking it to overturn a lower court ruling that the Clean Air Act does not preempt state and local governments from pursuing emissions cheating enforcement lawsuits against the company -- a fast timeline as VW filed the petition on Jan. 21. The high court docket for the case, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., Petitioners v. The Environmental Protection Commission of...

CBD threatens suit over missing oil, gas measures for ozone plans

Environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Center for Environmental Health are threatening to sue EPA over its failure to ensure six states have measures in place to attain federal ozone standards, alleging that these states lack agency-approved plans to limit ozone-forming emissions from oil and gas production. In a Feb. 11 letter giving EPA 60 days’ notice of their intent to sue, the groups say EPA has missed Clean Air Act deadlines to issue findings that California, Delaware,...

Environmentalists File Suit To Overturn ‘Do Nothing’ EPA Ozone NAAQS

Environmentalists are suing EPA in a bid to overturn its Dec. 31 rule retaining Obama-era national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone, joining states’ effort to force the Biden administration to tighten the emissions standards in litigation that is expected to focus on the review process as much as adequacy of the limits. “The Trump administration corrupted and rushed the scientific review process of this rule as it walked out the door, just so industrial polluters can sit and...


EPA Jump-Starts Major HFC Regulation Using New Statutory Authority

The Biden EPA is taking the first step toward regulating climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under new Clean Air Act authority it received from a bipartisan law enacted late last year, floating a data notice to inform a pending rule setting production limits for the chemicals used in refrigeration and other sectors. A prepublication copy of the notice of data availability (NODA) , scheduled to be published in the Feb. 11 Federal Register , alerts the public to EPA’s data regarding HFC...

Health Effects Institute launches COVID, air pollution studies

The Health Effects Institute (HEI) research organization is launching five new studies to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on air pollution and health, including links between exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 health outcomes, aiming to provide clarity over possible exacerbation of the disease by air emissions. In a summary of the research projects recently posted to its website, HEI -- jointly funded by EPA, the auto industry and some other industry sectors and philanthropic organizations -- says...

Novel Suit Cites Species Review In Effort To Force Stricter EPA PM NAAQS

Environmentalists are pursuing a novel first-time lawsuit that aims to force EPA to account for adverse impacts from air pollution on endangered species when it reviews its ambient air standards, challenging the Trump administration’s decision to retain the existing suite of particulate matter (PM) limits and saying a species review would justify stricter standards. “This suit, which is the first of its kind, seeks to ensure that the EPA consults with agencies responsible for wildlife and plant protection to ensure...

Environmentalists threaten to sue EPA over delayed ozone plans

Environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Center for Environmental Health (CEH) are threatening to sue EPA over its failure to ensure that several states have Clean Air Act plans in place to implement federal ozone standards in major metropolitan areas including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. In a Feb. 10 letter to Acting EPA Administrator Jane Nishida, the groups give 60 days’ notice of their intent to sue EPA in federal district court, in order to force...

EPA Asks D.C. Circuit To Halt 2020 RFS Suit Over Challengers’ Objections

EPA is asking a federal appeals court to halt litigation over its renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending targets for 2020 pending the resolution of a Supreme Court case over EPA’s policy on RFS compliance waivers for small refineries, but renewable fuels groups and refiners challenging the rule say they oppose delaying the suit. In a Feb. 8 motion filed in RFS Power Coalition, et al., v. EPA, et al. , the agency asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for...


Environmentalists drop litigation over Trump SEP policy

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and The Surfrider Foundation are dropping their litigation over the Trump administration’s policy prohibiting the use of supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) in environmental enforcement settlements, after the Biden administration terminated the ban. In a Feb. 5 notice to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the environmental groups said they are voluntarily dismissing their suit filed in October , CLF v. U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) , noting the policy at issue in...

Auto Sector GHG Stance Signals Ongoing Industry Split, Observers Say

Automakers’ early advocacy regarding the Biden EPA’s push to re-strengthen federal greenhouse gas and fuel economy rules for the sector is prompting some observers to suggest that auto companies remain split on the stringency of near-term regulations. Specifically, a recent set of broad principles from automakers’ main trade association appears to embrace federal rules along the lines of a 2019 deal on GHG standards between California and five auto companies, though it also floats additional flexibilities that suggest softer requirements...

Refiners, Biofuels Groups Clash Over EPA Plan To Delay RFS Compliance

Refiners and biofuels groups are fighting over the Trump EPA’s proposal to delay renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance deadlines, with refining groups backing the move and urging the Biden administration to finalize it but biofuels groups condemning it as an 11th-hour effort by the Trump administration to “undermine” the RFS. The agency held a Feb. 9 virtual hearing to receive public input on its Jan. 15 proposal to push back compliance deadlines for small refiners for the 2019 RFS, and...

‘Plantwide’ Refinery Air Permit Spurs Dueling EPA Appeals Board Cases

A Trump EPA-issued air permit for an oil refiner based in the U.S. Virgin Islands is spurring dueling cases before the agency’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), with the company seeking to scrap a novel environmental justice emissions monitoring mandate while environmentalists pursue a challenge claiming the permit is too weak. EPA Region 2, which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands, in December issued a plantwide applicability limit (PAL) permit for the Limetree Bay refinery in St. Croix, enabling the facility to...

Environmentalists threaten suit over EPA chemical NSPS policy delay

Environmentalists are threatening EPA with a lawsuit over what they say is the agency’s “unreasonable delay” in issuing guidelines to implement a series of air performance standards for the synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry (SOCMI), saying the agency is decades behind a Clean Air Act schedule for publishing the guides. In a Jan. 19 letter to EPA, groups including California Communities Against Toxics, Environmental Integrity Project, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club and Texas Environmental Justice...


D.C. Circuit Suspends Lawsuit Over Preempting State Auto GHG Rules

An appellate court is suspending the consolidated legal challenge to the Trump administration’s preemption of state vehicle greenhouse gas programs, in response to a Biden administration request to pause the case while it considers whether to restore states’ authority under the Clean Air Act. However, the Feb. 8 order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit comes despite calls from a coalition of Republican-led states that the case be allowed to proceed. “[I]t is ordered...

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