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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.

Environmentalists join suits over NHTSA bar on California GHG rules

A broad coalition of environmental groups is joining legal challenges to the Trump administration’s preemption of California’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards, after nearly two dozen states filed similar litigation against the preemption rule one week ago. Like the state litigation, the environmentalists’ Sept. 27 suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, targeting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHSTA) rule that claims the state’s GHG and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rules are preempted under the...

Refiners file more suits over EPA’s RFS waiver denials

Small refiners are filing more lawsuits over EPA’s denial of their applications for economic hardship waivers from renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending mandates, as the agency defends its policy from attacks by both refiners angered by denials and biofuels groups opposed to the issuance of waivers in general. In a suit filed Sept. 20 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Sinclair Wyoming Refining seeks to protect its legal challenge against EPA’s Aug. 9...

OMB reviewing EPA ‘ambient air’ permitting guidance

EPA has appears to have sent the final version of guidance narrowing the definition of “ambient air” for the purposes of air permitting to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review, as the agency seeks to ease new source review (NSR) permit requirements for industry. The agency sent a notice on “Ambient Air Policy for Air Quality Analyses in Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting” for White House review Sept. 26, according to a brief statement...

Feinstein seeks probe of EPA ‘political interference’ in California

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is asking EPA Inspector General (IG) Charles Sheehan to look into what she calls EPA’s “political interference . . . unfairly targeting” California, specifically the agency’s recent threat to withhold federal highway funding over incomplete state plans to meet federal air quality standards. The senator writes in a Sept. 27 letter that Sheehan should investigate “whether there was inappropriate political interference in the recent threat” to withhold billions of dollars in transportation funding from the state...

Ozone ISA Finds Weaker Health Impacts But Warns Of Environmental Harm

EPA staff’s integrated science assessment (ISA) of the latest data on ozone air pollution finds weaker evidence of a link between ozone exposure and public health harm but sees stronger evidence of the pollutant’s environmental damage, mixed findings that could complicate the agency’s ongoing review of its ozone ambient air standard. The draft ISA , published in the Sept. 26 Federal Register , is an early step in the review of the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS)...

‘Shadow’ EPA Advisers Prepare To Review PM NAAQS Policy Options

Several former members of a disbanded EPA panel advising on national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) reviews are preparing the first meeting of a “shadow” advisory committee not affiliated with the agency, to review a draft EPA policy assessment (PA) that argues in favor of tightening the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) NAAQS. Although whatever the shadow panel decides on the adequacy of the existing PM2.5 limit will have no binding impact on the agency, it could help boost proponents of...

Senate FY20 report includes multiple policy directives to EPA

Senate appropriators in a report released alongside their draft fiscal year 2020 spending bill for EPA offer numerous directives to the agency on a range of topics, including suggesting that the agency use its controversial authority to block a high-profile mining project. Both the FY20 spending bill and the accompanying report language were approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee Sept. 26, though there is broader uncertainty about whether Congress can enact many spending bills this year or whether they...

States, biomass group join calls to pause ACE suit

State opponents of EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule along with a biogenic carbon group are joining environmentalists in urging an appellate court to pause litigation over the rule while the agency considers administrative petitions for reconsideration -- even as EPA is seeking to expedite the court case. The 22 states and the District of Columbia along with eight city and county governments say in a Sept. 26 motion in American Lung Association, et al. v....

House Panel Advances Asbestos, PFAS Bills On Primarily Partisan Vote

A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel has advanced on a primarily partisan basis a bill to ban all uses of asbestos and a package of 13 bills to deal with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), though one PFAS bill drew broad bipartisan support and Republicans said they are open to negotiating with Democrats on several others before a full committee vote. “I had hoped that, at this point, members of the committee on both sides of the aisle would...

California Argues EPA Threats On Air, Water Shift Blame, Ring Hollow

California and environmentalists are branding EPA’s threat to block the state from receiving highway funds based on incomplete air pollution plans as a political attack that ignores the need for new federal emission curbs and the implausibility that the pro-deregulation Trump administration would impose such limits. EPA’s threats related to air pollution -- followed up just days later with similar attacks on the state’s implementation of clean water standards -- are almost surely intended as retribution for the state’s strident...

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