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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.

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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.

White House Begins Review Of EPA-DOT Final Vehicle GHG Rule Rollback

The White House has begun inter-agency review of EPA and the Transportation Department’s (DOT) final rule rolling back Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards, amid continued sharp opposition to the plan from California and even a rebuke from some automakers. The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) says it received the draft final rule Aug. 2, a milestone that aligns with prior expectations that the rule could be completed by late September or early October. Industry and other...

Facing Risks, EPA’s Counsel Defends ‘Bold’ ACE Rule Legal Interpretation

AUSTIN, TX -- EPA General Counsel Matt Leopold is strongly defending the agency’s “bold” legal interpretation in its Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) utility climate rule that the Clean Air Act only allows “inside-the-fence” regulation, despite caution from some that the move carries significant risks for the Trump administration. “We believe section 111 of the Clean Air Act is not ambiguous,” Leopold told an Aug. 2 session of the Texas Environmental Superconference here. “We have not chosen to ask the court...

EPA Makes Creative Arguments To Parry Critics Of ACE Climate Rule

EPA is making several creative arguments to parry conservative and environmentalist criticism of its narrow climate standards for existing power plants, including by embracing Obama-era legal interpretations that the agency has threshold power to regulate greenhouse gases even as it roundly criticizes other key legal findings by the prior administration. Also, while Trump EPA officials in general have sought to sharply curb the Obama-era social cost of carbon (SCC) metric to estimate the climate benefits of rules, they argue that...

Rejecting Criticism, EPA Moves To Codify NSR ‘Project Accounting’ Guide

EPA Aug. 1 issued its proposed rule that seeks to codify controversial earlier guidance easing new source review (NSR) rules governing “project emissions accounting” while rejecting critics’ claims that it must take additional action to prevent permit applicants from evading in-depth permit review that could trigger tougher pollution controls. The proposed rule allows industry to include both emissions increases and decreases in the first step of NSR analysis, in order to determine whether a particular project results in a net...


Wheeler Plan For NAAQS Expert ‘Pool’ Risks ‘Cherry Picking,’ Critics Claim

A “pool” of experts EPA is organizing to assist the agency’s top science advisors with overseeing reviews of federal national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) might give EPA biased advice that could lead to “cherry picking” of scientific data to fit pre-determined policy decisions on revising NAAQS, critics say. The expert pool approach is “completely unprecedented and inappropriate,” says former EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Chairman Chris Frey, an environmental engineering professor at North Carolina State University. He...

EPA oil & gas NSPS plan could preclude future rules

EPA’s forthcoming proposal to review the Obama administration’s first-time methane rule for new oil and gas facilities will tee up several threshold issues that could ultimately allow the agency to preclude further regulation for existing sources in the sector. EPA will be issuing the proposal in the “near future,” according to EPA Region 6 official Erin Chancellor, who spoke during an Aug. 1 session of the Texas Environmental Superconference, filling in for acting air chief Anne Idsal. She added that...

EPW Democrats query Wheeler on order to slash advisory panels

Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) are asking EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to explain how the agency plans to implement President Donald Trump’s executive order requiring the elimination of at least one-third of federal advisory committees and limiting the creation of new panels. “With the Order’s mandate to eliminate some of EPA’s advisory committees entirely, we are concerned that such actions would jeopardize human health and the environment by further limiting the role of science in...


D.C. Circuit sets October arguments in three air act cases

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has scheduled separate oral arguments in October to hear three Clean Air Act suits challenging EPA policies on renewable fuel standard (RFS) small refiner waivers, “work practices” to limit power plant emissions during startup and shutdown, and screening tools designed to ease air permitting for industry. In a July 30 order, the court scheduled argument for Oct. 25 in Advanced Biofuels Association v. EPA, et al. , a case...

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