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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.

IG finds EPA truck emissions program effective

EPA’s inspector general (IG) is finding that the agency’s compliance program for on-road heavy-duty trucks is “effective at detecting and preventing noncompliance,” though it is flagging several opportunities for improvement, including more formal ongoing evaluation of risks to the program’s environmental goals. EPA’s transportation air quality office “demonstrated that the existing controls for its on-road HD vehicle and engine compliance program are effective and operate in an integrated manner to detect and prevent noncompliance,” the IG says in a June...

E15 Waiver Poses Major Risks For Biofuels Makers Despite Apparent Win

Biofuels producers are welcoming EPA’s waiver allowing year-round sales of 15-percent ethanol (E15) but they face major risks from the decision if the waiver fails to deliver large boosts in ethanol sales, is struck down by a court, or is undermined by EPA’s exemption of refiners from renewable fuel standard (RFS) obligations. The final rule , released May 31, outlines a series of obstacles to adoption of E15 that seemingly contradict statements to the press by agency air chief Bill...

9th Circuit Poised To Hear Early DOJ Appeal Of Youth Climate Lawsuit

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is poised to hear high-profile oral argument on whether to accept the Trump administration’s request to dismiss a novel climate change lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs before a lower court has completed its review. The June 4 proceeding in Portland, OR, is expected to attract crowds and will pit Justice Department (DOJ) lawyers against lawyers for plaintiffs who allege the federal government is robbing them and...

RFF paper urges economists to stress climate urgency

A new paper by the think tank Resources for the Future (RFF) is pressing economists to integrate the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions into their analyses of climate change policy in a bid to increase the potential for near-term action. “For decades, economists have identified the climate change problem as an externality problem that leads to a market failure and a potential role for government intervention,” says the May 31 paper by RFF fellow Lawrence Goulder. “Yet economists can...

EPA Sees ‘Win-Win’ But E15 Waiver Appears To Be Loss For Refiners

EPA’s just-issued waiver allowing year-round sales of 15-percent ethanol (E15) drops earlier plans for a major overhaul of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) credit market, a significant loss for refiners that could undermine the Trump administration’s claim of a “win-win” policy for both biofuels producers and merchant refiners. The final rule announced May 31 authorizes E15 sales from June 1 to September 15, when they would otherwise be barred under federal restrictions on fuel volatility aimed at protecting air quality...

E15 Waiver Clears Path For Summer Sales, Punts On RFS Credit Reforms

Biofuels supporters are praising EPA’s final waiver released May 31 that clears the path for summertime sales of previously prohibited 15-percent ethanol fuel (E15) beginning June 1, but the agency is putting on hold proposed major changes to the renewable fuel standard (RFS) credit trading market that it had planned to issue alongside the waiver. The rule, yet to be published in the Federal Register , grants a waiver of one pound per square inch (psi) from federal fuel volatility...

Former EPA official urges reliance on air act to curb vehicle GHGs

Former EPA transportation air quality chief Margo Oge is urging Congress to amend or scrap current vehicle fuel economy law -- and instead rely on the Clean Air Act (CAA) -- to curb greenhouse gases from motor vehicles, saying existing law is inadequate to the climate challenge and has been used in an attempt to block state efforts to reduce GHGs. Oge's call opens up another front in the fuel economy/GHG wars between those pushing for tough EPA and state...

D.C. Circuit Rejects Sierra Club Suit On EPA Air Monitoring Policy ‘Tweaks’

A federal appellate court has soundly rejected Sierra Club’s suit over what the judges described says are “tweaks” to EPA air monitoring policy, dismissing one argument as time-barred, another for lack of legal standing, and denying a third claim outright because the group failed to adequately justify it. The unanimous May 31 decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was expected, after at least two of the judges at Dec...


As EPA Readies Rules, Study Backs Stricter Limits On Facilities Emitting EtO

A long-awaited EPA risk analysis has found that cancer risks from emissions of ethylene oxide (EtO) from a now-shuttered sterilization plant in a Chicago suburb could be lowered if further controls are installed at the facility, findings that suggest upcoming agency air toxics rules governing EtO emissions could seek to strengthen current requirements. EPA released the study at a May 29 community meeting, telling those present that their estimate of “risks at recent, pre-seal order operating/emissions levels [of the Willowbrook,...

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