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.

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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.

Refiners, Biofuels Groups Seek To Sway Biden EPA On 2021 RFS Targets

Oil refiners and biofuels groups are pitching competing plans to EPA Administrator Michael Regan for how to craft long-overdue renewable fuel standard (RFS) production goals for 2021, with refiners saying a surge in the price of RFS credits justifies slashing targets from 2020 levels while biofuels advocates urge a hike in the targets. Under the RFS, refiners must blend increasing volumes of biofuel into the fuel supply each year that have lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional gasoline. EPA...


EPA Pledges To Back State, Regional Actions To Curb Greenhouse Gases

The Biden EPA is promising to support efforts by groups of states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, amid questions from some state regulators on how their existing initiatives, such as a novel emissions trading program for states to reduce transportation sector GHGs, will comport with potential future federal climate policies. “We see our role as supporting and building on the great work that the states are doing,” Vicki Arroyo, associate administrator for policy at EPA, said March 17 during a...

Regan relaunches EPA climate website, reversing Trump action

EPA Administrator Michael Regan is relaunching the agency’s climate change website and reversing Trump-era efforts to significantly scale it back, saying the site will provide a broad range of information on greenhouse gases and the impacts of climate change, which he calls a “crisis” that EPA will tackle with “urgency.” “For the first time in four years, EPA now has a webpage to guide the public to a range of information, including greenhouse gas emissions data, climate change impacts, scientific...


8th Circuit Rehearing In Mine Air Dispute Tests NSR ‘Aggregation’ Policy

A federal appeals court’s decision to reconsider its ruling in a dispute over North Dakota’s right to interpret EPA Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) policies poses a test for whether the Biden administration will reverse a Trump-era policy on when emissions from industrial facilities must be “aggregated” for air permitting purposes. The case, Casey Voigt, et al v. Coyote Creek Mining Co., LLC, pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, focuses on a...

EPA Seeks Vacatur Of Trump Bar On GHG Rules To ‘Re-Examine’ Policy

The Biden administration, in an unopposed motion, is asking an appellate court to vacate an 11th-hour Trump EPA policy effectively barring Clean Air Act regulation of greenhouse gases from most industries beyond utilities, agreeing with critics that the agency unlawfully issued the rule while vowing to “re-examine” the entire policy. “EPA acknowledges that it failed to provide any public notice or opportunity for comment on the central elements of the Significant Contribution Rule, rendering it unlawful,” the Justice Department (DOJ)...


CEI Asks Congress To Block EPA From Using SCC To Boost Climate Plans

The free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) think tank is asking Congress to block the Biden administration from using the social cost of carbon (SCC) metric to bolster its climate change regulatory agenda at EPA and other agencies, one of several recommendations the group is floating on energy and environmental policies. CEI says that the SCC estimates of future damages from climate change, for which the Biden administration just issued an interim value at $51 per ton , are “too subjective...


Refiner files 10th Circuit suit over EPA’s RFS waiver response

A Wyoming refiner is suing EPA over the Trump administration’s 11th-hour response to the company’s petition seeking renewable fuel standard (RFS) waivers for two of its facilities, pursuing the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that previously issued a ruling significantly limiting EPA’s power to issue such waivers. The March 15 suit challenges a Jan. 14 decision signed by former Trump agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler on the company’s request to grant RFS compliance extensions to...

D.C. Circuit grants EPA bid to further delay RMP rollback rule case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted EPA’s request for a 90-day stay of consolidated litigation contesting the Trump EPA’s rule reversing Obama-era chemical disaster safety mandates for facilities. The D.C. Circuit March 16 granted the extended stay in Air Alliance Houston, et al. v. EPA , after EPA, in an unopposed March 12 motion , asked for an additional stay in the case, noting that the rule is part of the Biden White...

Final CSAPR Rule Revision Retains Trump EPA Proposed NOx Reductions

EPA’s final rule revising its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program appears to make few changes from the Trump proposal, largely retaining the draft plan’s mandate for 12 states to further reduce ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) while leaving steeper NOx-reduction mandates for a future rulemaking. In the final rule , released March 15 in response to an appeals court remand and district court deadline, EPA does make one change from the Trump-era proposal, to include “optimization” of selective...


Jockeying Continues To Influence Biden’s Vehicle GHG Standards Plan

A report that some automakers want new near-term federal vehicle greenhouse gas rules weaker than California’s deal with five companies appears to be the latest sign that both industry and environmentalists are working to influence the Biden administration’s course prior to a formal announcement. The March 12 report from the Associated Press is already prompting environmentalists to urge that the Biden administration ignore appeals to consider approaches weaker than California’s or risk undercutting its prior statements in support of...

In RFS Waiver Dispute, 9th Circuit Orders EPA To Explain RIN Remedy

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is ordering EPA to quickly provide an explanation for its decision to return renewable fuel standard (RFS) credits to a California refiner when it granted the company’s request for an RFS compliance waiver, though the court stops short of directing the agency on how to craft its response. In an unpublished March 15 order in the sealed case Kern Oil & Refining Co. v. EPA , a three-judge panel gives the...


Top Biden EPA Air Officials Might Seek CAAAC Input On NAAQS Reviews

Top political officials in the Biden EPA Office of Air & Radiation (OAR) are signaling that they might seek input from its Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) on how to proceed with the agency’s review of Trump-era decisions to retain and not tighten the existing ambient air limits for ozone and particulate matter (PM). At a March 15 CAAAC meeting, panel member Andrew Hoekzma, director of regional services for the Capital Area Council of Governments in Austin, TX, asked...

Supreme Court schedules April argument in RFS waivers case

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument for April 27 in litigation filed by refiners urging the justices to overturn a federal appeals court ruling, supported by the Biden EPA, that might effectively bar most small refiners from winning compliance waivers from renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending mandates. The case, HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC, et al., v. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), et al. , pits small refiners against biofuels supporters in a dispute over the U.S. Court of Appeals...

Environmentalists Urge EPA To ‘Disavow’ Trump Title V Air Permit Policy

Sierra Club and other environmental groups are urging EPA Administrator Michael Regan to “disavow” a Trump-era policy of deferring to states when the agency reviews their Clean Air Act Title V operating permits, saying such an action would strengthen permitting and resolve a split among federal appeals courts over the policy. Title V permits are “umbrella” documents designed to include all “applicable requirements” for industry permit applicants, including underlying new source review (NSR) permits that impose substantive emissions control mandates...

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