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.

DOJ defends since-shelved auto GHG antitrust probe

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is defending its decision to launch a now-closed antitrust inquiry into four automakers that agreed to work with California on vehicle greenhouse gas standards, telling a Senate Democrat that it was evaluating if the companies reached illegal agreement among themselves on the issue. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), however, says he is not satisfied with DOJ’s explanation and is urging House lawmakers to press the department further on the issue during a scheduled June 24 House...

EPA Extends SSM Air Waiver To Iowa But Denies National Policy Change

EPA is proposing to add Iowa to the list of states that can offer companies Clean Air Act regulatory waivers for excess pollution during periods of facility startup, shutdown or malfunction (SSM), but the agency continues to deny it is making a national policy change on SSM that would be subject a key federal appeals court’s review. In a June 22 Federal Register notice , the agency proposes approval of an Iowa state implementation plan (SIP) for attaining sulfur...

Colorado Halts ‘Illegal’ Forest Clearing For Coal Mine Amid Federal Inaction

Colorado officials have halted what environmentalists say is illegal forest clearing by a coal company for a controversial mine expansion project, with the company pressing ahead even though a federal appeals court overturned its approval for the work due to a flawed environmental review. State officials were forced to issue a June 18 stop-work order , according to environmental groups involved in the case, after the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) signaled it would not block the clearing of a pristine...

Court sets schedule in suit over EPA existing source methane rule

A federal district court has set a briefing schedule in litigation seeking to force EPA issuance of methane limits on existing oil and gas facilities, pressing ahead with the case even though Trump officials appear poised to complete a regulation in the coming weeks that would undercut the legal basis for such controls. The move by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in State of New York, et al., v. EPA, et al. , could be rendered...

Despite EPA Rollback, California Will Retain Strict Wood Stove Air Policy

California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) is warning retailers of residential wood heaters that the state intends to enforce a prohibition on sales of heaters that fail to meet stringent EPA emissions standards that went into effect May 15, despite an agency proposal to provide more time for retailers to sell their non-compliant stock. The Obama EPA’s 2015 new source performance standards (NSPS) for wood heaters, including stoves and related devices, set a May 15, 2020, deadline for retailers to...

Sens. Thune, Shaheen float bill to accelerate RFS fuel approvals

Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have introduced a bill to accelerate EPA’s approval of some advanced and cellulosic biofuels for renewable fuel standard (RFS) credit, reflecting growing frustration among producers of advanced biofuels about apparent agency obstruction of new production methods. In their bill, S. 3986, introduced in the Senate June 17, Thune and Shaheen set time limits for EPA to approve some longstanding applications for RFS credit. Advanced and cellulosic fuels must attain a higher GHG...

Environmentalists Launch Legal Bid To Undo Rollback Of Obama-Era MATS

Environmentalists are launching a legal bid to undo the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era mercury and air toxics standards (MATS) for power plants, saying EPA’s rule that scraps the cost-benefit finding justifying MATS but leaves the regulation in place is a “bogus excuse” for coal companies to ask a court to kill the overall air toxics policy. The lawsuit creates complicated legal questions, including whether the environmental groups have legal standing to sue over the rollback, and whether EPA can...

EPA announces 33 new members for revived rural affairs panel

EPA has selected 33 new members to sit on its revived advisory committee for farm and rural issues, which will advise the agency on topics of relevance to the agency’s policy and other decisions. “One of my priorities for EPA has been to restore trust for our agency among agricultural stakeholders and rural communities,” said agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a June 17 statement. “President Trump has been clear about the Administration’s commitment to agriculture and rural America, and as...

Wheeler tours swing states to tout Trump environment record

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s efforts to burnish the Trump administration’s environment record are drawing notice as he travels to a series of states in recent days that are expected to be key the outcome of the November presidential contest. A Washington Post report notes that Wheeler has traveled to Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia within the past month. The trio of Midwest states all broke narrowly for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and electoral observers believe they...

EPA Weighs Dozens Of ‘Gap Year’ RFS Waivers But Plans Ethanol Boost

EPA is weighing 52 requests from small refiners for unprecedented “gap year” waivers of renewable fuel standard (RFS) blending mandates for prior compliance years that biofuel makers warn are unlawful, but the agency is also planning a supplemental proposal to hike years-old ethanol production mandates alongside the waivers. The seemingly contradictory plans are unlikely to satisfy either refiners who want repeal or massive reform of the RFS, or biofuels producers who have long faulted RFS waivers for damaging demand for...

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