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.

Topic Subtitle
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.

CBD signals likely lawsuit over secondary NAAQS plan

EPA’s plan to leave “secondary” national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) largely unchanged, without requirements for emissions reductions, appears headed for likely litigation should the agency finalize the rule as proposed, with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) criticizing the plan’s lack of endangered species analysis. “The EPA is required to assess harms to endangered species when it sets pollution standards,” said Ryan Maher, a staff attorney for CBD, in an April 15 statement. “Air pollution standards must protect endangered...

Republican-led States File Court Challenge To EPA MY27-32 Auto Limits

Over two dozen GOP-led states are quickly filing suit over EPA’s vehicle emissions standards for model year 2027-2032, beginning long-expected litigation against the rule from both states and likely liquid fuel groups as the 60-day window begins for challenges to the rule. The April 18 petition for review , led by Kentucky and West Virginia and joined by 23 other states, was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the same day that...

Steel Groups Sue EPA Over Electric Arc Furnaces NSPS Rule ‘Correction’

Steel industry groups are filing suit over EPA’s February rule correcting errors in the agency’s recently revised new source performance standards (NSPS) for electric arc furnaces (EAFs) used in steel recycling, combining their new lawsuit with existing litigation over the regulations that industry associations fault as “infeasible.” The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Steel Manufacturers Association, and Specialty Steel Industry of North America in an April 15 lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of...

EIP’s Schaeffer To Retire, Driving Leadership Change At Enforcement Group

Eric Schaeffer, a former EPA civil enforcement chief, is poised to retire May 25 as executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), the enforcement-focused group he founded in 2002 after leaving the agency due to concerns about the Bush administration’s policies undercutting enforcement of the new source review (NSR) program. “I’d say only that while I haven’t lost my passion for the work we do, I’ve had more than my share of opportunities and it’s time to give someone...

GOP Governors Seek To Pause PM NAAQS Compliance, Ease Implementation

A coalition of 22 Republican governors is urging EPA to pause implementation of its recently strengthened national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter PM2.5, and to issue improved tools to ease compliance, including better air modeling, de minimis pollution thresholds, wildfire waivers and exemptions for foreign pollution. “Setting aside the legal concerns we have about the final rule, the new standard poses significant challenges for our states and ignores the progress made in reducing particulate matter...


Environmentalists Press EPA To Further Tighten Waste Combustor Plan

Environmental and public health groups are pushing EPA to toughen its proposal to cut air emissions from large municipal waste combustors (LMWCs), calling it a “welcome, if overdue, step in the right direction,” but saying that “the Clean Air Act compels EPA to go even further” to cut emissions of PFAS and other harmful pollutants. Environmental groups and community organizations have long targeted the large waste combustors as a source requiring tougher regulation, given concerns over toxic air emissions’ impacts...

States Fault Public Notice Mandate In EPA’s Narrow Air Permit Review Plan

States are faulting a key public notice mandate in EPA’s proposal limiting federal review of Clean Air Act Title V air operating permits, a plan they otherwise mostly support, saying the provision is unclear and lacks statutory authority, confusing an already complex regulatory regime and unnecessarily reopening underlying permits to review. In recent comments, regulators from across the spectrum echoed early industry arguments that EPA lacks legal authority to object to some permits on the grounds of insufficient opportunity for...

4th Circuit denies EPA’s request for ‘good neighbor’ SIP case rehearing

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has denied EPA’s petition for rehearing of its split ruling against dismissing or transferring to the D.C. Circuit litigation over the agency’s disapproval of West Virginia’s plan for curbing interstate ozone, rejecting the agency’s bid on procedural grounds. In a brief April 16 order , the 4th Circuit in State of West Virginia denies EPA’s petition for rehearing of the case by the full court sitting en banc because...

D.C. Circuit Panel Doubts EPA Basis For RFS Refinery Waiver Denials

Correction Appended Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appear to doubt EPA’s basis for denying dozens of economic hardship waivers for small refineries from renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance, questioning the agency’s cost “passthrough” theory and specifically its requirement for “ratable” surrender of RFS credits. At oral argument April 16 in Sinclair Wyoming Refining, et al. v. EPA, et al., Judges Nina Pillard, Neomi Rao and Florence Pan pressed attorneys for...

GOP AGs Warn Of ‘Significant’ Litigation Over EPA’s Waste Combustors Plan

Republican attorneys general (AG) are strongly opposing EPA’s plan to cut air emissions from large municipal waste combustors, backing industry arguments that the proposal is unjustified, expensive and unlawful and will face “a significant amount of litigation” in part because of the agency’s failure to complete a “residual risk” review. While some municipalities are also warning of negative impacts from the plan, Northeastern air regulators are broadly supporting the proposal. In a March 25 letter to EPA, Indiana AG Todd...

DOJ Cites D.C. Circuit Vehicle Waiver Ruling To Defend EPA Standards

The Department of Justice (DOJ) says its recent victory against GOP states and others that challenged EPA’s permission for California vehicle emissions programs offers an additional legal precedent that undercuts states’ standing to challenge EPA’s model year 2023-26 light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards. The pitch surfaces in an April 15 letter formally notifying the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit about the court’s April 9 decision in State of Ohio, et al. v. EPA, et al....

EPA close to releasing tougher MATS rule

EPA appears poised to release its rule likely tightening the mercury and air toxics standards (MATS) for power plants, thought the measure appears to have cleared White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review earlier than anticipated as officials canceled previously scheduled meetings with industry groups. OMB completed interagency review April 12, according to its website, despite planned meetings on its schedule with the National Mining Association (NMA) and other industry groups out as far as April 24. EPA...

EPA Denies Air Toxics Waiver For Turbines, Prepares Multi-Pollutant Strategy

EPA has denied industry’s longstanding effort to “delist” over 1,000 stationary combustion turbines at 300 facilities from Clean Air Act air toxics regulations, a widely anticipated move that prepares the way for a broad new strategy that will address air toxics, ozone and greenhouse gases from the source category, the agency says. “Today’s action will ensure people who live, work and play near these facilities are protected from harmful air pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan, announcing the final decision...


EPA Power Plant GHG Rule May Expand Universe Of New Gas Plants

EPA’s power plant greenhouse gas standards that officials are scrambling to finalize by the end of the month may expand the universe of new gas plants that would face tough limits based on carbon capture and storage (CCS), and they are also expected to scrap limits based on the use of clean hydrogen. Regarding the applicability of GHG standards for new gas plants, environmentalists say they are optimistic EPA will expand the “baseload” category that must comply with a CCS-based...

Host Of Industry Groups Press EPA To Reject California Locomotive Waiver

Dozens of agricultural and other industry groups are pressing EPA to reject the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) request for a Clean Air Act waiver of federal preemption to implement its novel regulation to reduce pollution from existing locomotives, joining with a host of railroads to oppose the state’s request. “If the CARB regulations were authorized by EPA, we believe freight rail carriers and their rail customers would be significantly hindered financially and operationally. The inevitable increases in transportation costs...

EPA sets May hearing for secondary NAAQS rule

EPA will hold a virtual public hearing May 8 on its just-released proposal to leave “secondary,” or eco-system-based federal air standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) largely unchanged, floating only a revised SOx standard that the agency says will not require additional emissions cuts. EPA announced the public hearing in a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication April 15, when the agency will also publish the proposal in the Register . The plan...

GOP States Urge D.C. Circuit To Stay EPA’s Oil & Gas Methane Limits

A coalition of two dozen Republican-led states is urging an appellate court to pause implementation of EPA’s methane standards for the oil and gas sector, arguing the rule is “legally unsound” because it limits states’ discretion to write implementation plans for existing sources. “The rule’s sweeping reordering of our nation’s oil and gas industries deserves appropriate review. The court should stay this rule pending petitioners’ legal challenge,” says an April 12 motion to stay the rule, filed by the Oklahoma-led...

EPA Eyes Delay, Streamlining For Next Phase Of Regional Haze Program

As EPA struggles to implement the second phase of its regional haze program, officials are weighing a late start to the third phase, and are soliciting early input on streamlining measures such as reducing requirements for state haze plans, early exit from the program for states that have met their goals, and minimum thresholds for visibility improvement and cost-effectiveness. In an April 11 webinar presentation , agency staff outlined questions they are asking of states and others in preparation for...

Pages

Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive environmental policy reporting.