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.

Health Advocates, Industry Make Closing Pitches Over PM Standards Plan

Public health advocates and industry groups are making closing arguments to the White House on the agency’s plan to possibly tighten federal air standards for particulate matter (PM), with health groups and environmentalists pushing for much tougher limits and industry seeking to avoid any such tightening in an EPA proposal expected within weeks. White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials are close to completing a series of meetings with supporters and opponents of tougher PM national ambient air...

CARB Adopts Ozone SIP With Novel Measures But Presses EPA For More

The California air board is advancing a plan to meet a federal ozone standard by 2037 that features innovative new rules on a variety of pollution sources, including a ban on the sale of new gas-fired space and water heaters beginning in 2030, and several first-time rules targeting federally regulated mobile sources such as locomotives, ships and aircraft. But board officials are also renewing calls for EPA to do much more to reduce pollution from transportation sources it regulates. “We...


Top Official Touts EPA Methane Rule, Permit Bill As Key Post-IRA Steps

AUSTIN, TX -- Ali Zaidi, the White House domestic climate advisor, is highlighting EPA’s forthcoming supplemental proposed oil and gas methane rule and proposed permit streamlining legislation for electric transmission lines as two key options for meeting the administration’s GHG goals after enactment of major climate legislation. “We will meet that 50 percent [target]. And we have a line of sight on exactly how to do it,” he said during Sept. 23 remarks here at the Texas Tribune Festival, referring...

EPA sued over failure to act on Colorado ozone plan

Environmental group WildEarth Guardians is suing EPA over the agency’s failure to act on a Colorado air plan designed to address the Denver area’s persistent ozone problem, only days after the agency reclassified the area to “severe” ozone nonattainment status, triggering the need for another plan containing tougher-still control measures. In a lawsuit filed Sept. 19 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, WildEarth says EPA missed a statutory deadline to approve or disapprove Colorado’s state implementation...

Biofuel Sector Urges EPA To Prioritize Cellulosic Approvals In RFS ‘Set’ Rule

Biofuels advocates are asking EPA to prioritize approval of pending applications for credit under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for cellulosic ethanol production methods ahead of credit for electricity generated from biomass, as the agency crafts its rule to “set” biofuel blending volumes for the years 2023 and beyond. The “set” rule is expected to finally specify how producers of renewable electricity, using sources such as landfill gas, can generate RFS credits known as renewable identification numbers (RINs) for electricity...

McCabe Offers Infrastructure Spending Principles As OIG Raises Concern

PARK CITY, UT -- EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe is outlining several principles that are guiding the agency’s dispersion of billions of dollars in infrastructure funding to communities, providing an indirect response to a recent report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that found the agency is not ready to disperse the funds. In Sept. 19 comments to the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) fall meeting here, McCabe emphasized the need for inclusion and transparency to ensure the...

Bloomberg launches ‘Beyond Petrochemicals’

Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Ambition & Solutions, is launching “Beyond Petrochemicals,” a new campaign seeking to halt the rapid expansion of petrochemical and plastic pollution. The $85 million campaign, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, will aim to block construction of more than 120 planned projects, and will mirror the Sierra Club’s successful “Beyond Coal” campaign, which Bloomberg also supported, as well as his “Beyond Carbon” initiative. The petrochemical campaign will “turbocharge existing efforts led by frontline...

Distinct Secondary NAAQS Would Take Air Act Into ‘Uncharted’ Terrain

EPA advisers and environmentalists are once again urging the agency to set a first-time unique “secondary” ozone standard distinct from the primary health-based limit, raising questions for the agency, states and industry over how to enforce such a limit that one state regulatory expert says would take the Clean Air Act into “uncharted territory.” EPA has never set a secondary national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) -- which protect the environment -- using a different “form,” “indicator” and stringency than...

CARB Eyes Tighter Methane Rules For Oil & Gas Sector Amid EPA Actions

California air board officials are floating concepts to tighten methane emission-control rules for the oil and gas sector, in part to align with pending first-time EPA rules for the industrial sources as well as to increase emission reductions to meet the state’s longer-term climate targets. The longer-term concepts include prohibiting “venting from intermittent pneumatic controllers”; prohibiting “venting of associated gas”; and allowing alternative leak detection and repair (LDAR) “approaches that achieve equivalent or better emission reductions,” according to a California...

Advocates Laud EPA’s EJ Office Merger As Fears Over Agenda’s Pace Grows

Correction Appended Environmental justice (EJ) advocates are welcoming news that EPA is poised to merge its Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) and its External Civil Rights Compliance Office (ECRCO) into a national program office even as they are growing increasingly frustrated with the slow and bureaucratic pace of the Biden administration’s EJ work. The news that EPA is creating the office, while expected, is “very significant . . . in so many ways” because until now, “EJ and civil...

Industry Seeks Economic Exception From Landmark New Jersey EJ Rule

Chemical and other industry groups are urging New Jersey regulators to provide an exemption for economically beneficial projects from the state’s landmark environmental justice (EJ) rule, which allows the state to deny permits for new facilities that bring adverse cumulative effects in overburdened communities (OBC). In recently filed comments, groups including the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (BIA) and the New Jersey Chemistry Council (NJCC) argue that including economic benefits to justify a “compelling public interest” -- for which...

EPA To Issue Supplemental Truck GHG Plan Due To New Climate Law

EPA is planning a supplemental proposal to toughen heavy-truck greenhouse gas standards, arguing its rules must account for incentives in the recent climate law that are projected to significantly boost electrification of the truck fleet and thus enable stronger environmental requirements. “The agency will be issuing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking later this year to consider stronger GHG standards for model years 2027-2029 than those originally proposed in March 2022,” EPA said in a Sept. 21 statement to Inside...

EPA Nears Final Approval Of Canola Oil For ‘Advanced’ Fuel Under RFS

EPA is nearing final approval of canola oil as a feedstock for the manufacture of “advanced” low-carbon fuels qualified to earn credit under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), an important step to attain Biden administration biofuels production goals including the massively scaled-up production of aviation fuel sourced from biomass. EPA sent a final rule on the issue to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review Sept. 19, according to OMB’s website. OMB review typically takes...

EPA Poised To Announce Merger Of Environmental Justice, Rights Offices

PARK CITY, UT -- EPA Administrator Michael Regan is poised to announce the creation of a new program office combining the agency’s existing environmental justice (EJ) and civil rights offices that will be co-equal with the current media-specific programs, fulfilling a long-standing Biden administration goal to strengthen the agency’s overall EJ efforts. Robin Morris Collin, Regan’s senior advisor for EJ, told state regulators here that EPA is creating a new EJ office as a national program office that will combine...

Senate Clears Key Hurdle To Ratifying Kigali Treaty To Phase Down HFCs

The Senate has cleared a key procedural hurdle to approving a major 2016 global agreement to sharply phase down climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a coda to EPA’s congressionally mandated rules, clearing the way for lawmakers to give final approval to the agreement as soon as Sept. 21. The chamber voted 64-30 on Sept. 20 to end debate on the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, with 17 Republicans joining 47 Democrats. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) office said a final vote...

Environmentalists Threaten Suit To Force Deadline For Sterilizer EtO Limits

Environmental groups are threatening to sue EPA to force the agency to quickly review and tighten its air regulations for commercial sterilizers, after the agency missed its self-imposed August deadline to propose a new measure and as concern mounts over the harm to health caused by ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from the facilities. “EPA has delayed for too long” updating its sterilizer rule “while communities suffer unnecessary toxic exposure and unacceptable cancer risks,” said Earthjustice attorney Marvin Brown, announcing a...

Protesters Vow To Continue EPA Advocacy After ‘Lackluster’ Responses

Organizers of a protest march on EPA headquarters say they plan to continue pressing the agency and other federal officials to address their calls for tougher regulatory policies to limit adverse effects of chemical pollution after holding what they say were “lackluster” talks with representatives of several offices on their demands. Susan Wind, the lead organizer of the Sept. 20 SAFE EPA Protest, told Inside EPA she’s “not going to stop” with her advocacy, and is only going to...

EPA Reorganizes Risk Forum, Delaying Updated Assessment Methods

EPA is reorganizing the advisory body responsible for developing a long-pending guidance on analyzing cumulative risks that experts see as key to addressing environmental justice (EJ) concerns, especially in TSCA evaluations, adding new delays to the document as well as a sweeping update of all agency risk assessment approaches, an EPA source says. Agency research officials are working both to reorganize the Risk Assessment Forum (RAF) and to develop a new charter for the Science Technology Policy Council (STPC) that...

EDF, GM Float ‘Principles’ For EPA’s Planned Multipollutant Auto Rules

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and General Motors (GM) are floating a set of “principles” for EPA’s next round of multipollutant standards for passenger vehicles, pressing the agency to quickly develop the rules and to chart a path to meeting the Biden administration’s goal of having 50 percent electric vehicle (EV) sales by 2030. The Sept. 20 environmental-industry pitch also includes a call for EPA to include an “innovation” compliance pathway that would be premised on accelerated deployment of zero-emission vehicles...

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