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.

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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.

Shipping Experts Split Over Use Of Biofuels To Achieve Emissions Goals

A split is emerging among shipping industry experts in the United States and other countries over the best strategies for switching from the use of high-emitting fossil fuels to power ships in order to reduce their emissions of conventional air pollutants and greenhouse gases, with some analysts pushing back on the use of biofuels to achieve the cuts. The division comes as the World Shipping Council (WSC), a U.S.-based body representing the global container shipping sector, is pressing the Biden...

EPA Moves To Reverse Trump-Era Attack On State Vehicle GHG Rules

EPA is starting the process to reinstate California and other states’ ability to develop their own vehicle greenhouse gas programs, by taking comment on whether the Trump administration acted improperly in 2019 when it withdrew permission for the programs under the Clean Air Act. The move, in the form of an April 26 notice of reconsideration, is the second Biden administration step toward reaffirming the state climate rules, following a separate but related April 22 proposal from the Department of...

EPA poised to publish CSAPR rule, starting lawsuit clock

EPA is poised to publish its revised Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) for power plant interstate air emissions trading in the April 30 Federal Register , starting a 60-day Clean Air Act clock for potential litigants to sue over the regulation that tightens state air pollution caps in response to a judicial remand. The rule , released March 15 ahead of its Register publication, reduces the caps, or “budgets,” for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in 12 Eastern states...

Republican States Ramp Up Lawsuits Over Biden’s Climate Agenda

Republican states are stepping up their attacks on the Biden administration’s climate plans, with a 10-state coalition suing over officials’ plans to revise the social cost of carbon (SCC) estimates while West Virginia is poised to ask the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling rejecting the Trump EPA’s narrow power plant greenhouse gas rule. The moves come as President Joe Biden this week held a high-profile climate summit to announce a new domestic goal of cutting GHGs by half over...

Groups Sue Over EPA’s Failure To Act On Petition To Withdraw GHG Finding

Led by a free-market advocacy group, several California-based companies and industry groups are asking a federal district court to require EPA to respond to their 2017 petition asking that it revoke its threshold regulatory finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare. The April 22 suit , Liberty Packing, et al. v. EPA, et al., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, says the agency’s failure to act on its nearly four-year-old-old...

Senators reintroduce bipartisan mercury monitoring bill

Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have reintroduced legislation to create a national mercury monitoring network to protect human health and the environment by measuring mercury in the air, water, fish and wildlife, and require periodic reports to Congress on assessing the needed reduction in mercury deposition rates. “Since the first Earth Day in 1970, we have made incredible strides when it comes to cleaner air and water in our country. Despite this progress, toxic mercury pollution still...


EPA Reverses Air Policy Waiver For Decommissioning Offshore Oil Rigs

Acting EPA air chief Joe Goffman is reversing a Trump-era decision that gave oil company Chevron USA a waiver from Clean Air Act regulations during the decommissioning of two offshore oil drilling platforms off the California coast, with Goffman saying EPA needs to examine emissions more closely from equipment used in the effort. “EPA did not sufficiently evaluate the possibility that additional activity conducted at the site or equipment used to dismantle the Platforms after the Pre-Abandonment and Abandonment phases...


Judge finds Title V air permit suits not subject to statute of limitations

A Colorado federal district court judge has rejected a coal mining company’s effort to dismiss environmental groups’ lawsuit against it alleging Clean Air Act permit violations, finding that litigation over such claims for Title V operating permits is not subject to the general five-year statute of limitations. Judge Raymond Moore of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado issued the finding in a recent interim ruling in WildEarth Guardians, et al. v. Mountain Coal Company, et al .,...

Setting Ambitious Goal, Biden Seeks To Cut GHGs 50-52% By 2030

The Biden administration, in tandem with this week’s Climate Leaders Summit, is setting a national goal of cutting greenhouse gases 50-52 percent economy-wide by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, and is moving to sell the goal as both a bold environmental measure and opportunity for domestic job creation. The upper-end of the target, which President Joe Biden is slated to formally unveil April 22 when he kicks off the summit, is slightly more ambitious than a 50 percent goal or...

ALA 'State of the Air’ report finds U.S. ozone levels falling, PM2.5 rising

The American Lung Association’s (ALA) annual “State of the Air” report shows a drop in unhealthy levels of ozone but also finds that levels of harmful fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are rising as a result of climate change-driven wildfires, with ALA saying the study shows a need for new federal policies to promote less-polluting energy sources. ALA’s report says “more than four in ten Americans (41.1%--more than 135 million Americans) are living in the 217 counties across the nation with...

EPA Plan To Add ‘Missing’ Air Toxics Limits Signals Shift To Stricter Policy

EPA says it will reconsider Trump-era air toxics rules for lime manufacturing plants and other facilities to establish emissions limits for pollutants not included when it first issued the regulations, backing a recent appellate court ruling that requires such “missing” limits and signaling a potential stricter Biden administration air toxics policy. The agency signals its plan in an April 20 motion filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Sierra Club v. EPA, et...


Regan Confirms Two-Stage Process For Federal Vehicle GHG Curbs

EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the agency is eyeing a two-stage process for tightening vehicle greenhouse gas regulations, starting with an expected July proposal and followed by a subsequent rulemaking, remarks that appear to ratify expectations EPA will pursue separate near- and long-term changes to its program. “We are, based on the president’s direction, looking at regulating tailpipe emissions [with] a notice of proposed rulemaking this July,” Regan told Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) during a broader April 20 hearing before...

DOJ pursues criminal charges in Fiat emissions cheating

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging two senior Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Italy managers with conspiracy to defraud U.S. regulators and consumers by making false and misleading statements about the emissions controls and fuel efficiency of more than 100,000 diesel vehicles Fiat sold in the United States. The charges stem from an $800 million settlement the company entered into with EPA in 2019 over the emissions cheating allegations -- one of several automakers including Volkswagen and Toyota to do...

States Oppose EPA Plan To Ease Storage Tank Rules For E15 Motor Fuel

States are opposing a Trump EPA proposal to ease underground storage tank (UST) mandates for motor fuel containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) while biofuels advocates are sparring with refiners over a related plan to ease E15 fuel pump labeling, highlighting key issues the Biden EPA will have to resolve if it decides to finalize the actions. In comments submitted ahead of an April 19 deadline for public input, several states and state organizations criticize the January 19 proposal to allow...


Air quality experts weigh changing sources of global PM2.5 pollution

Air quality experts are investigating the changing sources of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution in various countries, weighing the most cost-effective and locally effective ways to cut emissions and improve health in different areas -- including efforts to identify the best ways to cut harmful PM2.5 in the United States. During an April 20 virtual meeting hosted by the research organization Health Effects Institute (HEI), which is jointly funded by EPA and the auto industry, air quality researchers discussed...

OIG Seeks To Protect EPA Staff Input After Faulting Trump Auto Rule

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is urging the agency to craft a policy for future joint rulemakings with other agencies that ensures sufficient input from agency staff, after concluding that the “quality” of the Trump administration’s rollback of vehicle greenhouse gas standards suffered from multiple procedural shortcomings. But agency officials appear to be sidestepping the OIG’s advice, saying in response to an earlier draft of the just-issued report only that it “agrees to have discussions with partner agencies to...

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