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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.

SAB Gives Largely Critical Responses To EPA Science Transparency Rule

EPA science advisors are giving largely critical responses to the agency’s narrow questions about how to implement protections of trade secret or personal medical information as part of its effort to advance the science transparency rule that aims to bar agency decision-makers from relying on any information that is not publicly available. Several members of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) expressed their dismay in a just-released consultation report at the limited charge they were given on the proposed rule. Some...

D.C. Circuit Vacates CSAPR ‘Close-Out,’ Sets Rehearing Petition Deadline

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has vacated EPA’s rule “closing-out” the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program and set a tight deadline for rehearing petitions, adding further confusion to the agency’s interstate air policy following a separate court defeat over an earlier version of CSAPR. Meanwhile, environmentalists and potentially some East Coast states are launching fresh legal action against EPA to force issuance of state ozone-reduction plans to compensate for CSAPR’s shortcomings...

Ameren Ordered To Install Scrubbers In Long-Pending NSR Suit, Vows Appeal

A federal district judge is ordering the Missouri-based utility Ameren to install scrubbers to capture sulfur dioxide (SO2) at its Rush Island coal plant among other remedy requirements in a just-issued judgment in a long-running, high-profile EPA new source review (NSR) enforcement case. The remedy is in line with what the Department of Justice , on behalf of EPA, and intervenor Sierra Club sought, but Ameren is already vowing to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for...

RFS Small Business Review Serves As Proxy For Wider Battles Over Program

EPA’s ongoing review of the impacts on small businesses of its renewable fuel standard (RFS) is serving as a proxy for wider battles over the biofuels program, with refiners and ethanol proponents using their input on the review to advance competing arguments over broader RFS issues including whether the program should continue. The agency took comment through Sept. 23 on its review of the RFS’ 2010 implementing regulations, as required by section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act that mandates...

EPA extends comment period on scrapping ‘once in’ air toxics policy

EPA is extending by 30 days, from Sept. 24 to Nov. 2, the deadline for public input on its controversial plan to scrap the long-running “once in, always in” policy that requires “major” air toxics sources to always be subject to stringent emissions controls, after a group representing state air officials asked for more time to comment. The agency is slated to announce in an Oct. 2 Federal Register notice that it is granting the extension request filed by...

Citing ‘unstable’ environment, EtO-emitting Illinois plant to shut down

The controversial sterilization plant near Chicago that spurred a new wave of legislative and regulatory attention from EPA and Illinois on the potential carcinogen ethylene oxide (EtO) is abandoning operations in the area, with its parent company blaming “the unstable legislative and regulatory landscape in Illinois” for the decision. Chicago’s WGN television news team reports that the sterilization firm Sterigenics announced Sept. 30 that it “could not reach an agreement” to renew a lease for one its facilities in the...

Former EPA Chief Reilly Blasts Trump Attack On California Auto Rules

Former EPA Administrator William Reilly is lambasting the Trump administration’s attack on California’s vehicle emissions rules, directing particular fire at its move to preempt California’s zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) program that the agency first authorized during his tenure in President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Reilly’s critiques could become particularly relevant as defenders of strong vehicle greenhouse gas standards -- including California and its state allies -- argue in mushrooming litigation over the administration’s preemption rule that Trump officials are ignoring...

Environmentalists Attack ‘Unlawful’ EPA Plan To Scrap ‘Once In’ Air Policy

Correction Appended Environmentalists, backed by some state regulators, are urging EPA to scrap its proposed rule that would codify a guidance eliminating the longstanding “once in, always in” policy subjecting air toxics sources to strict emissions controls, warning the “reckless and unlawful” plan could increase air pollution. Industry groups, in contrast, are rejecting the concerns about an increase in air toxics and counter that the rule would incentivize companies to reduce their overall toxic emissions. EPA took...

New Bipartisan Carbon Tax Bill Floated In House, Adding To Prior Options

A Republican House lawmaker is leading a new bipartisan carbon tax bill that would replace the federal gas tax and direct revenue to infrastructure projects, adding to the wide menu of carbon pricing bills that have been floated this Congress as supporters try to build momentum behind the policy. Sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the “Market Choice Act” was introduced Sept. 26. Co-sponsors of H.R. 4520 include Reps. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Scott Peters (D-CA). “We...

EPA Argues Battery Storage Infeasible As BACT For California Gas Plant

EPA is detailing its justification for rejecting battery storage as best available control technology (BACT) in permitting a California natural gas-fired power plant, in response to environmentalists’ lawsuit arguing the Clean Air Act requires battery storage to prevent harmful pollution. “Batteries have never been used in lieu of [natural gas-fired] duct burners,” states a Sept. 26 brief filed by Department of Justice (DOJ) and EPA attorneys with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. “And Petitioners offered scant...

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