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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.

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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.

Senate Panel Backs Sweeping Highway Bill, Despite EV, Permit Concerns

The Senate environment committee has unanimously approved a sweeping renewal of the federal highway program despite complaints from environmentalists about its provisions streamlining project permitting and some free-market groups concerned about funding for electric vehicle (EV) chargers. In addition, some farm state lawmakers are expressing reservations that the $1 billion program to encourage EV chargers and alternative vehicle fueling stations does not encourage biofuel-related equipment. Despite such concerns, the Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) on July 30 voted 21-0...

More opposition emerges to NRECA subbing for UARG in court

Environmental groups are opposing a request by the National Rural Electric Cooperative (NRECA) to substitute itself for the disbanded Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) in a lawsuit over EPA’s denial of Maryland’s request to address upwind sources of pollution, arguing that the co-op group fails to meet legal substitution requirements. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environmental Integrity Project, Environmental Defense Fund and others argue in a July 25 filing in State of Maryland v. EPA, in the U.S. Court of...

EPA proposes to partially approve California landfill methane plan

EPA is proposing to partially approve and partially disapprove California’s plan to satisfy Obama-era rules to reduce methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills, even though the agency is simultaneously proposing to dramatically extend states’ compliance timeline for the standards. “We are pleased to see U.S. EPA approving the bulk of our program; the remaining issues have to do with technical differences between the state and federal rules, which we will review,” a California Air Resources Board (CARB) spokesman says...


Senate Panel Speeds Action On Highway Bill With Landmark Climate Title

The Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee is accelerating its plan to advance a bipartisan transportation funding bill with a first-ever climate change title along with permit streamlining provisions, moving up its planned markup from Aug. 1 to July 30, just one day after the bill was introduced. The fact that the committee is speeding the markup suggests that there will be little opposition from committee members ahead of a weeks-long congressional recess. But the measure is likely to...

Environmentalists’ Lawsuit Challenges EPA’s Ozone ‘Interprecursor Trading’

Environmentalists are challenging EPA’s regulations allowing industrial pollution sources to trade in different ozone precursor chemicals, a facet of the agency’s efforts to ease implementation of federal ozone standards but which environmental groups claim undermines necessary emission reductions. Under the EPA rules, “a source can offset increased emissions of one precursor with fewer emissions of the other--thus abrogating the [Clean Air Act’s] express requirement that offsets must consist of ‘an equal or greater reduction . . . in actual emissions,’”...


Court sets EPA deadline for New York 126 petition

A federal district court has set a Sept. 13 deadline for EPA to issue a final response to New York’s landmark petition for direct regulation of hundreds of air pollution sources in other states upwind, after the agency issued a proposal to deny the petition, drawing legal threats from the state and environmentalists. In a July 25 order , Judge Jesse Furman, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, directs EPA to finalize its response...

Auto Deal Curbs CO2 Gains To Keep Push On Low-Carbon Technology

California’s agreement with four major automakers on vehicle fuel economy appears to significantly reduce environmental gains compared to current, Obama-era rules but would extend policies -- including generous credits for electric vehicles (EVs) -- that prod continued advancement in low-carbon vehicle technologies, observers say. The July 25 announcement of the voluntary deal is also prompting questions about how it would be implemented and if additional companies will join, even as auto suppliers are praising it for providing certainty that will...

Rejecting CASAC, EPA Curbs NAAQS Reviews To Meet Speedy Schedule

Rejecting calls from EPA’s science advisors, Administrator Andrew Wheeler has announced plans to scale back the advisors’ planned review of its particulate matter (PM) and ozone standards in order to meet an accelerated review schedule, intensifying criticism that the agency is artificially rushing the reviews to maintain or weaken the standards. In a July 25 letter to Tony Cox, chairman of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), Wheeler turns down the committee’s request for EPA to recreate a panel...

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