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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.


Capacity Limits May Hinder EPA Plan To Finish PM NAAQS Review By 2020

Members of EPA's overhauled Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), dozens of former panelists, clean air advocates and even some major industry groups are warning that CASAC lacks the capacity to properly review the agency's federal particulate matter (PM) standards, hindering EPA's plan to finish the review by 2020. The concerns, raised in comments at the first day of a Dec. 12-13 CASAC meeting on the ongoing review of the PM air limits, follow other criticisms of the Trump administration's...

Despite Few Real-World Impacts, NSPS Coal Proposal To Face Challenges

EPA is acknowledging that its new proposal to weaken greenhouse gas limits for new coal plants will have few real-world effects because no new domestic coal plants are planned, though environmentalists are strongly opposing the measure anyway in part because it could allow a dangerous precedent of setting lax Clean Air Act standards. In addition, few observers expect EPA to take action on a portion of the Dec. 6 plan that questions the threshold legal finding that power plants' GHGs...

Wehrum says ACE NSR changes won't expand to other sectors

EPA air chief Bill Wehrum says the agency does not currently plan to extend its proposed power sector-specific Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) alternative emissions test to other industries, even as the agency moves to ease separate NSR mandates for other sectors. According to a Dec. 10 Bloomberg BNA story , Wehrum in an interview said “The answer is no” on applying the emissions test policy shift to other sectors. “It doesn't mean forever, but for now,...

House Democrats Eye RFS Reform Despite Worsening Prospects For Deal

House Democrats plan to hold hearings on reforming EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS) with a greater focus on the program's environmental impacts when they take over the lower chamber in January, but sources note that push-back on reform options at a Dec. 11 House hearing shows prospects for achieving a legislative deal are worsening. Lawmakers have failed to reach any deal on overhauling the program despite years of efforts, amid long-running claims from the oil sector that it leads to...


States cite climate report in urging EPA to withdraw GHG rollbacks

Led by New York and California, a coalition of 29 states, counties and cities are citing the Trump administration's recent National Climate Assessment (NCA) that forecasts dire impacts from climate change to urge EPA to withdraw its proposals to roll back greenhouse gas regulations on vehicles and power plants. “The science is clear: climate change is having an increasingly destructive and deadly impact on people, communities, and our economy,” New York Attorney General (AG) Barbara Underwood (D) says in a...

Possible Stay Looms As Barrier To EPA Vehicle GHG Rollback Certainty

Critics of the Trump administration's plans to roll back strict vehicle efficiency standards are increasingly suggesting courts could stay the controversial effort, underscoring the growing pressure on the administration to either shore up its justification for the rollback or modify it, as well as industry's present inability to bank on the plan. Stays of such federal regulations are exceedingly rare -- and often result from industry pleas to defer regulations seen as overly burdensome. But the Trump administration's proposal to...

Economists Slam Vehicle GHG Rule Freeze, Critique 'Flawed' Cost Analysis

Economists are renewing their strong criticism of the Trump administration's proposal to freeze vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, detailing the plan's “pessimistic” stance on the cost of meeting current standards and floating a “safety valve” that could limit such costs without rolling back the rules. The researchers' Dec. 7 analysis in Science does not fully outline a cost containment tool for the vehicle rules -- though they liken it to existing provisions in cap-and-trade programs, such as...

Former CASAC Members, Scientists Urge Broader EPA PM NAAQS Review

Former members of a terminated specialized EPA particulate matter (PM) advisory panel and hundreds of scientists are urging the agency to reinstate the panel for the ongoing review of the PM national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), or risk producing an inadequate review that could be vulnerable to potential legal challenges. “The myriad of changes to the [NAAQS] review process are collectively harmful to the quality, credibility, and integrity of the scientific review process,” says a Dec. 10 letter to...

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