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.

District court judge finds BP violated air limits at Indiana refinery

A federal district court judge has found that oil company BP repeatedly violated Clean Air Act emissions limits for particulate matter (PM) at its Whiting, IN, refinery, marking a victory for environmentalists in their ongoing legal bid to force emissions cuts from one of the largest air pollution sources in the Chicago metropolitan area. In a recent opinion , Judge Philip Simon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana upholds an earlier recommendation by Magistrate Judge...


Ahead Of Argument, Refiners Criticize EPA ‘Flip-Flop’ In RFS Waivers Case

Refiners are accusing EPA of a “flip-flop” in Supreme Court litigation over an appellate ruling that, if upheld, might significantly curtail the agency’s ability to issue renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waivers, saying the justices should undo the ruling even though the Biden administration has now decided to expressly support it. In an April 15 response brief filed with the high court in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC, et al., v. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), et al. , which is the...


Sierra Club Seeks Stricter EPA Air Toxics Rules For Cyanide, Polyurethane

Sierra Club is asking the Biden EPA to strengthen Trump-era proposed air toxics rules for the cyanide products and polyurethane foam production sectors, including tougher emissions limits, more air monitoring mandates and rejecting Clean Air Act violation waivers for pollution during “force majeure” events. In recent written comments submitted on the two January proposals ahead of EPA’s deadline for input this month, Sierra Club praises some steps that EPA has taken to fill in regulatory gaps for hazardous air pollutants...


EPA sends advance notice of 1-BP HAP listing rule to OMB

EPA has sent for White House pre-publication review a new version of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on listing the solvent 1-bromopropane (1-BP) as a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) under the Clean Air Act, an action that the Trump administration floated but never finished that could lead to stricter air rules for 1-BP. According to OMB’s website, it received the pre-rule from EPA on April 15 for mandatory interagency review, which typically takes 90 days but can take...

House Panel Eyes Broad Climate ‘Justice’ Provisions For Infrastructure Bill

House Democrats are weighing a wide range of measures addressing climate impacts on minority and low-income neighborhoods in their upcoming infrastructure legislation, including measures to bolster waste cleanups, tighten coal ash disposal rules, reform permitting and strengthening enforcement of EPA rules, among other proposals. Member of the House Energy and Commerce environment and climate change subcommittee held an April 15 legislative hearing on the Democrats’ so-called CLEAN Future Act, a broad climate bill aimed at achieving President Joe Biden’s goal...

OIG finds EPA discouraged EtO risk communication to residents

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is criticizing the agency for not properly informing residents of the risks of ethylene oxide (EtO) exposure at medical sterilization sites and other facilities, finding in a new report that Trump EPA officials discouraged risk communication and that the Biden administration has yet to correct these alleged failures. In a report issued April 15 in response to several requests from Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), environment panel Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) and...


Grassley calls for biofuels aid in Biden infrastructure plan

Ethanol industry advocate Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is pressing President Joe Biden to include aid for biofuels in his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes extensive measures designed to boost use of electric vehicles (EVs) but no specific provisions to increase use of biofuels in transportation. In remarks reported April 14 by the rural news service NAFB and website NewsDakota.com, Grassley criticizes the Biden administration for its focus on EVs and what the senator sees as neglect of biofuels in...

Environmentalists Step Up Calls For Increased Focus On Methane Releases

Correction Appended Environmentalists are stepping up calls for the Biden administration to increase its focus on emissions of methane, the potent greenhouse gas, after new EPA inventory data showed an increase in releases from the oil and gas sector -- though environmentalists say the agency continues to undercount releases. The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) and Earthworks Action are urging EPA to improve how methane emissions are reported to its annual GHG inventory while also urging the White House to...

EPA, Illinois reach refinery air enforcement deal with ExxonMobil

EPA and Illinois have reached an agreement with refiner ExxonMobil Oil Corp. to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at the firm’s oil refinery in Joliet, IL, resulting in $1.5 million in penalties and another $10 million of improvements that the company will invest in to reduce air emissions from the facility. “I’m pleased that the agreement announced today with ExxonMobil will reduce air emissions from their Joliet refinery,” said acting EPA enforcement chief Larry Starfield in an April 13...

OTC Weighs NOx Emissions Cuts From Non-Power Plant Sources, Trucks

The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) of 12 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states is eyeing rules and other efforts to cut ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from sources beyond the utilities OTC typically targets, including waste combustors, industrial boilers and trucks, as member states struggle to attain EPA ozone standards. During an April 13 virtual stakeholder briefing, OTC officials detailed the group’s activities, which are focusing on issues beyond NOx emissions from power plants that have long dominated debate over how to...

Environmentalists Bolster Years-Old Petition For EPA To Set CO2 NAAQS

Environmentalists are supplementing their years-old petition for EPA to set a national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for carbon dioxide, submitting additional data on the science that has evolved since their original 2009 petition to the agency that the Trump EPA rejected but the Biden administration reinstated. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and 350.org sent an April 14 letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan offering new scientific information in support of their petition to set a CO2 NAAQS. The...

Medical researchers warn of link between COVID-19, PM2.5 harms

Medical researchers are stressing the need to reduce global air pollution, in response to findings that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) worsens health outcomes from COVID-19. In a commentary published April 5 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society , researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston review current research on the potential relationships among pollution, respiratory viruses and health disparities. “A multitude of studies show that exposure to higher long-term ambient air pollution...

D.C. Circuit Doubts EPA Power For Waiver Allowing Year-Round E15 Sales

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at April 13 oral argument doubted the legality of the Trump EPA’s waiver allowing year-round sales of previously restricted 15-percent ethanol fuel (E15), faulting the agency’s revised interpretation of its Clean Air Act authority to justify the decision. Judges Robert Wilkins, Nina Pillard and Judith Rogers were skeptical of EPA’s new interpretation that it can extend an existing Clean Air Act waiver for E10 fuel...

Environmentalists, Industry Petition EPA To Impose HFC Use Limits

Multiple environmental and industry groups are urging EPA to ban the use of select climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in various air conditioning and refrigeration applications, marking the first use of such petition authority under a new statute Congress authorized late last year. The requested end-use HFC restrictions -- spelled out in a set of five April 13 petitions to the agency -- would complement a separate draft proposal EPA has submitted to the White House to phase down HFC production, a...

Pennsylvania, Industries Fight OTC Push For Strict State Ozone Controls

Pennsylvania and Midwestern industry groups are fighting a petition filed by a majority of the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) asking EPA to impose stricter ozone emission controls on the Keystone State, saying OTC has failed to prove its claim that the limits are vital for ensuring Eastern states can attain federal ozone air standards. But OTC member states Delaware and Maryland counter that EPA should grant the “critical” request from OTC as a necessary step for attaining the 2008 and...

Washington Officials Approve LCFS, Creating West Coast Clean Fuel Market

Washington state lawmakers have approved a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) modeled after programs operating in California and Oregon, completing a long-envisioned West Coast market for cleaner vehicle fuels that officials hope will help meet states’ greenhouse gas-reduction and climate change objectives. The Washington Senate has also narrowly approved a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program after bitter debate, sending that measure to the state House, though its fate is unclear as the legislative session ends on April 25 and there is some...

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