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.

EPA Seeks To Bolster Intra-Agency Committee To Advance TSCA Program

Amid overlapping efforts with some offices, EPA’s chemicals leaders are working to bolster coordination across a range of agency programs to improve TSCA risk evaluations and the risk management required by the findings, expanding on early efforts begun by Trump officials to form an intra-agency committee. “The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention [OCSPP] believes that robust intra-agency coordination is vital to the success of TSCA implementation,” an EPA spokesperson tells Inside TSCA . “While the previous Administration provided...

SCAQMD Chief’s Criticism Of EJ Groups Over Trucks Draws New Line

The chief of the Los Angeles-area air district is strongly criticizing a coalition of environmental justice (EJ) groups over their opposition to district funding for cleaner natural gas trucks to replace dirty diesel models as a way to cut nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, marking a new line between the regulators and the growing EJ and equity movement, sources say. One environmentalist says Wayne Nastri's letter to EJ groups reflects the district’s “need for major emission reductions from trucking...

EPA Will Boost Air Enforcement At Scrap Metal Recycling Facilities

EPA is signaling that it will boost Clean Air Act enforcement efforts at scrap metal recyclers across the country, issuing an enforcement alert late last month that identifies emission violations at facilities that shred cars and appliances while also bringing an action at a Rhode Island facility that one former official says is a warning to other operators. The July alert signals to the more than 250 metal shredding operations that both EPA and states have found emission violations at...

Truckers Charge Air Law Preempts L.A. District’s Landmark Warehouse Rule

The California Trucking Association (CTA) is suing the Los Angeles air district over its recently approved landmark warehouse “indirect source rule” (ISR), charging that it illegally regulates heavy-duty trucks in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and another major federal transportation- and freight-related law. “Dissatisfied with the pace of fleet turnover already mandated by the California Air Resources Board [CARB], the District has seized for itself powers reserved to the [EPA] and CARB under what the United States Supreme...

EPA Excludes Biofuels From Vehicle GHG Plan, In Sector’s Latest Blow

EPA’s near-term proposal to curb greenhouse gases from light-duty vehicles entirely excludes any discussion of biofuels as a means to limit emissions, in the latest blow to biofuels advocates who are promoting higher biofuel blends as a faster and easier way to cut GHGs than reliance on electric vehicles (EVs). The proposed rule , unveiled Aug. 5, is part of a broader administration effort that will include trucks and long-term light-duty standards, mandated by a new executive order (EO) by...

Citing IPCC Report, Officials Push Dual Focus On Curbing Methane, CO2

A top Biden administration official and environmentalists are citing drastic findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to call for a heightened focus on curbing emissions of methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas over the short term than carbon dioxide. They argue that significantly slashing methane from oil and gas operations, landfills, and the agriculture sector can provide major near-term benefits from slowing global warming, buying policymakers space to continue longer-range efforts to decarbonize the...

EPA Faults Texas Air Permits Amid Looming Fight Over Trump-Era Policy

EPA Administrator Michael Regan in recent decisions has twice faulted Texas air regulators for their failure to ensure state-issued air quality permits are fully enforceable but the instant disputes did not present an opportunity for the agency to address environmentalists’ broader calls to reverse a Trump-era policy of deferring to state permit decisions. In responses to petitions filed by Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Sierra Club, Regan over the past few weeks has held that the Texas Commission on Environmental...

Biogas producers seek rehearing of RFS ‘eRINs’ issues

Biogas electricity producers are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for panel rehearing of their case against the agency’s 2019 renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing the court relied on EPA arguments outside of the rulemaking record when rejecting their case for the program to credit power for transportation. In an Aug. 6 petition , RFS Power Coalition, a group of biogas producers seeking RFS credit for electricity they generate for transportation, asks the court...

Midwestern Utilities Pursue Broad Legal Assault On Revised CSAPR

Midwestern utilities are launching a broad legal attack on EPA’s methods for controlling interstate ozone pollution in their lawsuit over the agency’s strengthened Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), signaling their likely opposition to any future federal rules for controlling interstate emissions that might use a similar approach. In its July 28 statement of issues to be raised in litigation, the Midwest Ozone Group (MOG) of utilities and other industrial companies faults many aspects of EPA’s methodology behind the tougher CSAPR,...

EPA Urges High Court Not To ‘Speculate’ About Future Utility GHG Rule

The Biden EPA and its allies are urging the Supreme Court to deny a push by Republican-led states and coal producers to review the agency’s Clean Air Act authority to limit greenhouse gases from power plants, arguing courts should not “speculate” about the potential approach of the agency’s forthcoming regulation. “Any further judicial clarification of the scope of EPA’s authority under [air act section 111(d)] would more appropriately occur at the conclusion of the upcoming rulemaking, when the courts can...


OIG Rejects EPA Plan To Bypass Air Toxics Risk Review For Key Pollutants

Clarification appended EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is again rejecting EPA’s air office refusal to commit to fresh risk-and-technology reviews (RTRs) of air toxics rules for industries emitting the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO) and the rubber component chloroprene, rejecting a recent effort at compromise by acting air chief Joe Goffman In an Aug. 5 letter to Goffman, Inspector General Sean O’Donnell says “based on the information and supporting documentation provided, we do not agree with the...

EPA sends air toxics rule for copper smelters to OMB

EPA has sent its proposed air toxics risk-and-technology review (RTR) rule for the primary copper smelting sector to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review, one of several such rules the agency is issuing under judicial deadlines. According to OMB’s website, EPA sent the proposal for review Aug. 4. OMB review typically takes up to 90 days, but can be faster or slower, depending on the circumstances. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required...

Biden Sets Long-Term Auto Strategy As Scramble Starts On EPA Plan

EPA’s just-issued proposal to strengthen near-term vehicle greenhouse gas standards is prompting a scramble to influence its final stringency and compliance flexibilities, even as President Joe Biden is simultaneously setting a longer-term electrification goal for industry and ordering future multi-pollutant standards for cars and heavy trucks. “Folks, the rest of the world is moving ahead. We’ve got to step up,” Biden said during an Aug. 5 event at the White House to announce a new executive order (EO) on developing...

EPA Launches ‘Targeted,’ Two-Step Process To Cut Truck Emissions

Driven by President Joe Biden’s executive order on vehicle emissions, EPA is launching a “targeted” two-step process to cut emissions from heavy-duty trucks, with a first phase that will impose tougher nitrogen oxides (NOx) limits for all trucks while tightening greenhouse gas standards for select segments, to be followed by more “robust” GHG reductions later for all trucks. In an Aug. 5 statement on EPA’s plans, the agency says the first rulemaking, to be finalized in 2022, will apply to...

EPA says PFAS council has completed initial recommendations

EPA’s council of senior staff tasked with developing strategies for addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has delivered its first slate of recommendations to Administrator Michael Regan but the agency is not releasing them publicly, a spokesperson tells Inside EPA . “The EPA Council on PFAS has met its commitment to share its initial recommendations with Administrator Regan within 100 days and is continuing to work internally on urgently needed near-term actions and the whole-of-EPA multi-year action plan,” the spokesperson...

OIG Reports EPA Has Yet To Resolve Dozens Of Its Recommendations

Updated Story EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) says the agency has yet to resolve 25 recommendations that were disputed by officials when they were first issued in numerous earlier investigations on a wide variety of topics -- and that EPA has not yet fully implemented over 100 other recommendations with which it had previously agreed. The OIG Aug. 4 released a “compendium” report that lists all of its recommendations that are still outstanding. The office counts...

Study highlights role of consumer products in ozone formation

A new air quality study shows the role played in ozone formation by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in industrial products and consumer products such as deodorants and cleaning agents is “as important to ozone production as fossil fuel VOCs” in urban areas, a finding that may require changes in air emissions modeling and regulation. The finding, published in the Aug. 10 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at several U.S. universities and the National...

Biden To Set Goal Of 50 Percent ZEVs By 2030, Order Further Auto Rules

President Joe Biden is poised to issue an executive order (EO) establishing a federal goal of making half of all light-duty vehicles sold in 2030 battery electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell vehicles, while also directing EPA and Transportation Department (DOT) officials to develop long-term standards for passenger cars and heavy trucks. In tandem with a slated White House event Aug. 5, EPA and DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are also poised to announce planned proposals for strengthening...

Deepening Split, 4th Circuit Finds U.S. Agencies Can Face State Air Penalties

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in a precedential decision has found that federal entities are not immune from state efforts to collect “punitive” civil penalties for Clean Air Act violations, while also backing a Justice Department (DOJ) drive to remove North Carolina’s case to federal court, deepening a circuit split on both issues. In its 2-1 ruling issued July 29 in State of North Carolina, ex rel.; Elizabeth S. Biser; North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality...

Pages

Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive environmental policy reporting.