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.

Senators urge caution on electricity, jet fuel in RFS ‘set’

A bipartisan group of 13 Midwestern senators is urging EPA to boost ethanol production in its forthcoming rule to “set” biofuel blending volumes under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for 2023 and beyond -- but is warning the agency not to advance the interests of electrical power generators or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at ethanol’s expense. The group, led by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), sent an Oct. 19 letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, calling for...

EPA Rejects Importers’ Calls For More Recent Baseline In HFC Program

EPA is broadly rejecting calls from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) importers to alter the agency’s baseline for allocating credits to various companies under its program to sharply phase down production and imports of the climate-warming chemicals, with the agency proposing to largely retain its initial allocation methodology. The baseline is a calculation of how much HFCs a company produced or used in a range of years, which drives how many credits it will receive under the program. HFC manufacturers generally favor EPA’s...

EPA Officials Tout Staffing, Hiring Plans For EJ, Civil Rights Office

EPA officials are touting their plans to bolster environmental justice (EJ) and external civil rights staffing, along with ambitious hiring plans, to fill the new program office launched last month, saying that while hiring notices have yet to be posted, when the agency starts filling these roles they will look to advocates as potential employees. “We are going to be moving to have more than 200 people [at] EPA dedicated to environmental justice and civil rights and conflict prevention,” Marianne...

10th Circuit Requires EPA To Reconsider Definition Of ‘Refinery’ In RFS Suit

A federal appeals court is requiring EPA to reconsider its definition of the term “refinery,” in a decision scrapping the agency’s 2019 rejection of small refinery waivers from renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending mandates for Colorado oil refineries, finding EPA wrongly combined two separate refineries for the purposes of RFS compliance. In its unanimous Oct. 17 decision , the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit finds that EPA wrongly denied the waivers for Suncor, which operates facilities...

NASEM Report Suggests Improvements In Fuels’ Lifecycle GHG Analysis

Federal science advisors are recommending a series of steps to improve the assessment of various fuels’ lifecycle greenhouse gas profile, finding that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach and that modeling should be tailored to answer specific questions to best estimate emissions. In an Oct. 19 report , a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) makes an extensive list of recommendations about how to improve upon lifecycle analysis (LCA) in general, and how to improve methods...

Regan Rejects Title V Petition But Scraps Narrow Trump-Era Review Policy

EPA Administrator Michael Regan has denied Sierra Club’s bid to force a tougher air permit for a Utah power plant even as he announces a major policy shift that will allow broader agency review of Title V air operating permits, ending a Trump-era policy that bars “second-guessing” states’ decisions, and reverting to an earlier approach. On its face, Regan’s Sept. 27 decision denying Sierra Club’s latest petition for an agency objection to the Title V permit for the Hunter coal-fired...


SAB Urges EPA To Bolster Quantitative Evaluation Of Air Rules’ EJ Impacts

EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) is urging the agency to begin to systematically quantify the environmental justice (EJ) benefits of its air pollution rules, a potentially sweeping recommendation that could help the agency justify stricter controls on mobile and stationary sources. The recommendation is spelled out in a Sept. 27 draft SAB report on EPA’s proposed phase 3 heavy-duty truck and engine rule recently posted to the board’s website ahead of a Nov. 3 meeting where the advisors are slated...

Petitioners Detail ‘Major Questions’ Claims In EPA GHG Risk Finding Suit

A free-market group seeking to invalidate EPA’s landmark greenhouse gas endangerment finding is detailing its claims that courts should subject the agency’s scientific findings to greater scrutiny because it forms the basis of “massively consequential” climate mitigation policy. “The endangerment finding is the most consequential agency scientific determination in the history of the American administrative state,” argues an Oct. 14 opening brief from petitioners in Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council (CHECC) v. EPA, et al. , pending in the U.S...


Draft SAB Report Urges EPA To Monetize Truck Rule’s NO2 Benefits

EPA’s science advisors are urging the agency to better quantify the public health benefits of reducing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from its proposed heavy-duty truck and engine rule, a key part of a draft report that also recommends the agency bolster the environmental justice (EJ) analyses associated with its air rules and monetize the climate benefits of the truck plan. In the Sept. 27 draft report , which the Science Advisory Board (SAB) is slated to discuss at its Nov. 3...

EPA’s Rejection Of Criticisms Signals Likely Suits Over Ozone Downgrades

EPA’s decisions to downgrade multiple areas’ “nonattainment” status with federal ozone standards appear likely to spur fresh litigation, given the agency’s rejection of many criticisms from state and industry officials of the reclassifications, according to recently published EPA responses to public comments. In a response to comments document recently uploaded to the agency’s regulatory docket, EPA outlines its rejection of the criticisms with regard to nonattainment areas reclassified from “serious” to “severe” nonattainment with the 2008 ozone national ambient air...

Groups Sue EPA In Bid To Toughen Air Toxics Rules For Waste Combustors

A coalition of environmentalists is suing EPA, seeking to force the agency to review and tighten air toxics emissions limits for hazardous waste combustors, part of a broader drive to force the agency to review its suite of rules governing incinerators, boilers and a range of other combustion units that they charge are currently not stringent enough. In their suit filed Oct. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, groups including Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League,...


Facing Suit, EPA Seeks To OK CARB Clean Bus Rule Amid Possible Easing

Facing a lawsuit from environmentalists to compel EPA action, the agency is proposing to approve the California air board’s clean bus rules as part of its state implementation plan (SIP) to attain federal air standards, amid new indications by the board that it will consider relaxing the rules because of transit agencies’ dire financial situations. In an Oct. 14 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register , EPA proposes to approve a revision to California’s SIP “concerning particulate...

EPA Floats Data To Inform Rule Bolstering HFC Reclamation, Limiting Leaks

EPA is warning of several challenges to increase reclamation of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants that act as potent greenhouse gases, with a draft agency report on the reclamation market aiming to inform a planned regulation to limit HFC leaks. The Oct. 17 draft report , titled “Analysis of the U.S. Hydrofluorocarbon Reclamation Market: Stakeholders, Drivers, and Practices,” notes that certified reclaimers have reclaimed 5 to 6 million pounds of HFCs each year, with numbers remaining relatively constant from 2017 to 2021...

EPA Poised To Disapprove San Joaquin SIP Over EJ, Civil Rights Concerns

Correction Appended EPA is for the first time proposing to “disapprove” a Clean Air Act state implementation plan (SIP) over environmental justice (EJ) and civil rights issues, after advocates raised these concerns in comments on the agency’s now-revoked plan to approve the SIP to meet the 2012 national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The proposed disapproval , published in the Oct. 5 Federal Register and open for comment through Nov. 21, would require...

Exxon Bid To Rehear Texas Air Suit Tests High Court Standing Precedent

Oil giant ExxonMobil is asking a federal appeals court for en banc rehearing of its landmark ruling imposing a record penalty on the firm for Clean Air Act violations at its Baytown, TX, refinery complex, challenging environmentalists’ standing to sue in what may prove to be a major test of recent Supreme Court precedent on the issue. In its Oct. 13 petition for rehearing en banc filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, Exxon...

Former CARB Chief Cites EPA Workforce As ‘Crucial’ To Climate Law

Former long-time California Air Resources Board (CARB) chief Mary Nichols says staffing and workforce morale will be a crucial priority for EPA and other federal agencies as they begin to implement the recently enacted climate law’s unprecedented $369 billion in climate-related investments. Her remarks underscore appraisals both in and out of government that the ultimate effect of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) -- as well as how it is perceived by the broader public -- will depend substantially on implementation...

NAS Backs EPA’s NAAQS ‘Causality’ Method But Seeks More Transparency

A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) panel is backing EPA’s contested method for determining whether air pollution “causes” adverse health and environmental effects, which the agency uses in national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) reviews, but the panel calls for greater transparency in the agency’s application of its technique. In the eagerly anticipated report released Oct. 14 , the panel finds that EPA’s “causality framework” is suitable for the task of assessing causation, which is a vital...

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