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.


SBA urges CEQ to include small business in EJ scorecard

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is urging the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to include federal agencies’ success in reducing barriers to small businesses in disadvantaged communities as part of its environmental justice (EJ) scorecard that is open for public comment. The office made the request in Oct. 3 comments that note minorities are underrepresented in small business ownership, at just 18.3 percent, while the “success of small entity entrepreneurs is an important way to improve...

Most Parties Back Path For EPA GHG Rule Case After High Court Ruling

The Biden administration, together with most other parties in litigation over the Trump EPA’s approach to power plant greenhouse gas standards, are offering a plan for how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit should proceed with the case after the Supreme Court narrowed the agency’s authority. According to a joint Oct. 3 motion to govern future proceedings in American Lung Association, et al. v. EPA, et al. , almost all parties in the case say...

Louisiana, Formosa appeal air permit vacatur

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEA) and Formosa Plastics are appealing a high-profile ruling by a state judge vacating Clean Air Act permits the state issued to the company for a nearly $10 billion chemical manufacturing complex in “cancer alley” in St. James Paris. The Sept. 27 notice in RISE St. James, et al. v. LDEQ says the state will appeal the ruling to the Louisiana Court of Appeal, First Circuit. The Sept. 12 decision to vacate the...

EPA Preparing Multiple Policy Shifts In State Air Planning, Permitting

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to correctly attribute the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies. EPA is planning a series of changes to numerous air policies using both regulations and new or revised guidance documents -- including state air quality planning; plant startup, shutdown and malfunction waivers; air permitting; and air quality modeling -- according to presentations by EPA officials at a recent state air regulators’ meeting. In a Sept. 29 presentation to the Association...

EPA poised to propose key finding on leaded aviation fuel

EPA is poised to soon propose its finding that lead in aviation fuel used by piston-engine aircraft endangers public health and welfare, a key step toward an eventual phaseout of such leaded fuel, after its draft finding cleared review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The proposed “endangerment finding” completed prepublication review Sept. 30, according to OMB’s website, clearing the way for publication in the Federal Register . If EPA as expected finds that lead in...

Former Trump Officials Urge EPA To Speed Louisiana CCS Permit Power

Former Trump EPA officials are urging the Biden administration to quickly approve Louisiana and other states’ pending applications for “primacy” to permit carbon dioxide storage projects, arguing it would help fulfill the agency’s pledge to encourage states’ applications and would help the administration’s decarbonization goals. In a Sept. 28 analysis , lawyers Dave Ross and Anna Wildeman, the two top officials in the Trump EPA’s Office of Water (OW) who now practice law at Troutman Pepper, charge that EPA has...

NEJAC Readies Advice On ‘Transformative’ Monitoring Modeled After TMDLs

Members of EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) are readying advice for how EPA can transform its air quality monitoring plan and model it after the Clean Water Act’s total maximum daily load (TMDL) program to better protect overburdened communities from cumulative impacts as the agency prepares to distribute $50 million that Congress approved in 2021. At a Sept. 28 meeting, the full NEJAC approved sending a letter of recommendation to EPA Administrator Michael Regan outlining the approach. According...


Environmentalists Urge EPA Standards To Curb Cryptocurrency Emissions

Environmentalists are joining a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) call for EPA to craft standards to curb harmful climate and other impacts of cryptocurrency “mining,” asking “regulators at all levels” to join the effort, as Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, aims to slash emissions through a shift in operations. In their September report , “The Energy Bomb -- How Proof-of-Work Cryptocurrency Mining Worsens the Climate Crisis and Harms Communities Now,” Sierra Club and Earthjustice catalog what...

EPA sends site remediation air toxics rule for OMB review

EPA has sent for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pre-publication review its long-awaited final air toxics rule for site remediation, which will address regulatory exemptions from the air rule for federally overseen cleanups under other statutes, waivers that environmental groups oppose. OMB received the rule from EPA Sept. 29, according to OMB’s website. The rulemaking would modify national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for site remediation, originally issued in 2003 and revised by the Trump...

Colorado Threatens Suit After EPA Denies Reformulated Gasoline Waiver

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) is threatening legal action against EPA, after Administrator Michael Regan denied the Denver area a precedent-setting waiver from a Clean Air Act requirement to use reformulated gasoline (RFG) in areas with high ozone and claimed RFG would cost consumers in the state only three cents per gallon extra. “Gov. Polis has been clear that he will pursue all legal strategies to avoid this outdated and ineffective requirement for reformulated gasoline,” a spokesman told the Colorado...

Industry Seeks To Ease Rules On Solvents Used To Make HFC Alternatives

Chemical manufacturers are pressing EPA not to impose strict toxics rules on a key solvent used to make refrigerants with a lower global warming potential (GWP) than hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which the agency is sharply phasing down as part of a congressionally mandated climate mitigation program. At issue is EPA’s risk evaluations and potential future standards for carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and other halogenated solvents under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The chemical sector is pressing EPA to narrow its evaluation...

Environmentalists Threaten Suit To Force Stricter EPA Gas Plant NOx Rule

Correction Appended The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Sierra Club are formally threatening to sue EPA over its failure to update new source performance standards (NSPS) for smog-forming pollution from natural gas-fired power plants, even as the agency is developing stronger rules for climate-warming emissions from the plants. The two groups filed a Sept. 29 notice of intent (NOI) to sue to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, charging the agency has failed to perform its mandatory statutory duty to review...


CBD Urges Court To Scrap RFS Rule Over Lack Of Species Consultation

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is urging a federal appeals court to scrap EPA’s June rule setting biofuel blending volumes for 2020, 2021 and 2022 under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing the agency’s failure to formally consult other federal bodies about endangered species effects is unlawful and violates two legal precedents. CBD was the first group to file suit over the rule, but its objections differ fundamentally from other litigants. Refiners argue volumes should be lower, and biofuels...

House Science Panel Floats Bills To Boost Methane Emissions Scrutiny

Lawmakers on the House science committee are floating three bills to ramp up scrutiny of methane emissions by multiple federal agencies, including legislation that would direct EPA to conduct a pilot study quantifying oil and gas operations’ methane emissions in a prelude to a possible national methane “census.” The proposals build on a prior committee report and hearing that developed recommendations for improving monitoring, quantification and control of methane emissions, at a time when EPA is developing first-time rules to...

EPA Science Board Forms Panels For Air Health Benefits, Rural Monitoring

EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) has formed its new panel to examine the agency’s BenMap tool, used to determine the projected health benefits that are key to justifying major air rules, and is in the process of forming another group to probe EPA’s CASTNET rural air monitoring system. In a Sept. 21 memo , SAB announced the creation of the BenMAP and Benefits Methods Panel that will review the BenMap model. The model is “an open-source computer program that calculates...

Appellate Judges Give Few Signs On Legality Of 2021 Cross-State Air Rule

Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit are giving few indications of whether they will uphold EPA’s 2021 revision of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) in the face of industry’s legal attacks, following oral arguments in a case that could affect the agency’s pending plan to significantly expand the rule. During Sept. 28 oral argument in Midwest Ozone Group (MOG) v. EPA, et al., Judges Robert Wilkins, Neomi Rao and J. Michelle...

Biden Jet Fuel Plan Adds Pressure On EPA To Maximize Biofuel Feedstocks

The Biden administration’s “roadmap” for massively boosting low-carbon, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production, just released by multiple federal agencies, underscores the urgent need for EPA to approve production from as many biofuel feedstocks as possible, including use of food crops that environmentalists oppose as unsustainable. The SAF Grand Challenge Roadmap unveiled Sept. 26 is the result of a collaboration between the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy and Department of Transportation, outlining measures the federal government can take to realize...

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