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.

Biofuels Supporters Launch Campaign Against Biden’s Push For EVs

Biofuels advocacy groups are launching a campaign against President Joe Biden’s push for greater use of electric vehicles (EVs) to help combat climate change, arguing that the administration should create a major role for biofuels to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions through EPA’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) and other programs. Speaking Jan. 26 during the virtual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), said, “Coastal elites are trying to dictate our energy...

C2ES, Companies Urge Quick EPA Start To Talks On Cutting Utility GHGs

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) think tank and several major companies are urging EPA to quickly convene stakeholder talks on options for reducing power plant greenhouse gas emissions given uncertainty about prospects in Congress for a clean energy standard (CES) or other policies that could replace agency utility GHG rules. The call is part of a new “policy brief” issued Jan. 26 by C2ES, which describes itself as a nonpartisan organization seeking “practical solutions” to climate change...


EPA Pulls Five More Trump Policies From OMB Pre-Publication Review

EPA has withdrawn from White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review five more air and water policies developed by the Trump administration following Biden White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain’s announcement of a regulatory freeze in order to reconsider pending Trump EPA actions. The items pulled from OMB review Jan. 25 are renewable fuel standards for 2021 and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2022; a notice about considering adding 1-bromopropane (1-BP) to the list of Hazardous Air Pollutants;...

Fox’s EPA Role Allows Early Start On Reversing Trump-Era Water Policies

President Joe Biden’s decision to name Radhika Fox as the principal deputy assistant administrator for water at EPA, a position that does not require Senate confirmation, allows Fox to immediately begin work on reversing Trump-era policies as a prelude to Biden formally nominating her to lead the Office of Water, sources say. Biden announced Fox’s appointment Jan. 21, along with several other people named to key policy roles in other agency offices who are already working at EPA because the...

Environmentalists file suit over Trump EPA’s cost-benefit rule

A coalition of three environmental groups is suing EPA over its Trump-era rule revising how the agency accounts for the costs and benefits of air regulations, which critics say would systematically undervalue the benefits of reducing pollution and discourage the agency from adopting stringent emissions rules to protect public health. California Communities Against Toxics, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club filed suit Jan. 25 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit against...

D.C. Circuit assigns three-judge panel for EPA landfill air rule suit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has assigned Judges Douglas Ginsburg, David Tatel and Justin Walker to hear litigation filed by several states and environmentalists over the Trump EPA’s landfill methane emissions rule, but the Biden administration could try to halt the case while it weighs making regulatory changes. Ginsburg is a Reagan appointee to the court who is a former chief judge, Tatel is a Clinton appointee, and Walker took the bench last fall...

Biden EPA Grapples With Long-Running Fights Over Regional Haze Policy

The Biden EPA will have to grapple with how to resolve long-running disputes over Trump-era policies on reducing emissions that cause regional haze, including its response to a slew of lawsuits filed by environmentalists challenging several states’ agency-approved haze reductions plans as falling short of the haze program’s requirements. The regional haze program requires states to write state implementation plans (SIPs) including strategies to restore visibility to natural conditions in “Class I” national parks and wilderness areas by 2064. EPA...


Trump EPA Supporters Likely To Seek High Court Review Of ACE Vacatur

Supporters of the Trump EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule that was vacated by a federal appeals court are likely to ask the Supreme Court to reverse the decision and reinstate the rule, sources say, potentially complicating the Biden administration’s plans for regulating GHGs from the utility industry. But it is unclear whether ACE’s supporters will petition for high court review now or wait to litigate over the Biden EPA’s eventual replacement for the key Trump...

Judges Doubt Truckers’ Appeal Of EPA Waiver For CARB Off-Road Rules

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit at Jan. 22 oral arguments appeared skeptical of a trucking and construction industry challenge to an Obama-era EPA Clean Air Act (CAA) waiver of federal preemption authorizing California to issue stricter emission regulations for “non-road” diesel engines. The judges also appeared disinclined to address the question of whether EPA used the appropriate test for evaluating the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) waiver request under the CAA because...

Biden EO Might Signal Two-Track Plan For Vehicle GHG Rulemaking

President Joe Biden’s recent climate executive order (EO) might signal EPA will pursue a two-track plan for regulating vehicle greenhouse gases, with one track a swift reversal of the Trump administration’s rollback of GHG rules through model year (MY) 2026 but a longer track pursuing stricter GHG rules for later years, sources say. The EO that Biden signed Jan. 20 includes an array of preliminary deadlines for revisiting numerous Trump administration policies, including a July timeframe for initial action on...

Volkswagen asks Supreme Court to hear Clean Air Act preemption suit

Volkswagen Group of America is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit allowing local governments to sue the automaker for installing defeat devices in millions of vehicles, even after the company paid $20 billion in a landmark settlement with EPA over Clean Air Act violations. The company notified the 9th Circuit in a Jan. 21 letter that it asked the high court to grant its petition for a writ...

EPA Pulls Biogenic GHG Emissions Rule, Air Modeling Guide From OMB

The Biden EPA has withdrawn from White House pre-publication review a long-pending Trump administration proposal to exempt some biogenic greenhouse gas emissions from Clean Air Act permitting mandates, and it has also pulled a separate proposed guidance on modeling ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions. The two withdrawals took place Jan. 21 one day after President Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff Ronald Klain issued a memo to EPA and all other agencies announcing a “freeze” of all pending regulations...

As Biden EPA Reviews Texas Air Plan, State Wages Fight On Court Venue

The Biden administration is reviewing and might reverse the Trump EPA’s approvals of Dallas- and Houston-area air quality plans that drop protections against increases in air pollution known as “backsliding,” while Texas and its industry supporters fight the agency to keep litigation over the approvals in a regional federal appeals court. A list of Trump EPA actions the new administration intends to review, released just ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20, includes the agency’s April 6 approval of...


Refiners seek to exclude biofuels groups from RFS waiver suit

Small refiners suing EPA over its 2020 denial of their petitions for waivers from renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance mandates are seeking to block biofuels advocacy groups from intervening in the case to defend the agency’s decisions, as legal battles ramp up that might determine the fate of EPA’s RFS waiver policy. In a Jan. 21 filing in the consolidated U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit suit Kern Oil and Refining Co., v. EPA , small...

EPA opts against tightening cyanide air toxics limits

In one of its final actions before leaving office, the Trump EPA proposed to leave air toxics emissions standards for cyanide chemicals manufacturing plants essentially unchanged, an action that echoes a lengthy list of air toxics rule reviews during the Trump administration but that could face reversal by the Biden EPA. The Jan. 15 proposal is the result of a Clean Air Act-mandated risk and technology review (RTR). The law requires the agency to review its sector-specific national emissions standards...


Industry sets condition for direct EPA methane rules for oil & gas

Major industry groups say they support EPA directly regulating the potent greenhouse gas methane from new and existing oil and gas operations, though they say the agency must first make a threshold risk finding that the sector’s emissions are “significant” enough to merit regulation. Revised statements on EPA regulation from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- floated in updated press releases and comments to news outlets -- come as the Biden administration is promising...

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