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.

Briefs in suit over Trump vehicle GHG rule rollback might aid Biden

States and other petitioners suing the Trump administration over its rollback of federal vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy rules have filed legal briefs detailing their criticisms of the action, which might provide supporting rationales for the incoming Biden administration to undo the deregulatory move. The Jan. 14 merits briefs in Competitive Enterprise Institute, et al., v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), et al. , reiterate and in some cases expand upon a barrage of criticisms from opponents of...

D.C. Circuit Faults EPA For ‘Misconstruction’ Of 111(d) Power In ACE Rule

The divided appellate court panel that vacated the Trump EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule says the exiting administration relied on a “fundamental misconstruction” of its Clean Air Act authority when it scrapped the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) climate rule and replaced it with the narrower ACE policy. However, a dissenting judge is floating arguments that could invite conservative justices on the Supreme Court to review the ruling as a way to limit courts’ deference to agencies or curb...

Industry Expresses Optimism After High Court Arguments In Climate Suit

Several Supreme Court justices Jan. 19 indicated they thought Baltimore’s climate nuisance case against oil majors faces a difficult path forward, leaving industry attorneys hopeful they will prevail in efforts to either upend this and similar cases altogether or force them to be heard in federal court, which they see as a favorable venue. During oral arguments in BP, PLC, et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, Justices Stephen Breyer, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch told Baltimore...

Lawsuit Over EPA Air Toxics Policy Reversal Creates Early Test For Biden

A coalition of 10 environmental groups is suing the Trump EPA over its final rule scrapping a decades-old “once in, always in” policy that permanently subjected industrial sources of air toxics to strict emissions controls, creating an early test for the incoming Biden administration on how to respond to the suit and calls to undo the policy rollback. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and the other groups opposed to the rule filed suit Jan. 15...

D.C. Circuit Vacates Trump EPA’s ACE Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has vacated EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule, handing the agency a major defeat on the penultimate day of the Trump administration while easing the incoming Biden team’s ability to rewrite it. A three-judge panel of the court in a split Jan. 19 opinion vacated and remanded the ACE rule to EPA, while also vacating the agency’s separate action extending compliance timelines for all rules...


Backers See McCabe Playing Key Role On Climate Rules, Rebuilding EPA

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick of former EPA air chief Janet McCabe to serve as deputy administrator is garnering broad praise from former agency staff and other observers, with the one-time Obama official seen as an experienced hand who could aid the new administration’s focus on climate and broader efforts to strengthen the agency. “Substantively this is just who we need,” Ruth Greenspan Bell, a former EPA staffer and cofounder of the EPA alumni group Environmental Protection Network, told Inside EPA...


D.C. Circuit rejects request to stay EPA oil and gas rule rollback

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected a request by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and nine other environmental groups to stay portions of EPA’s rule rolling back leak detection and other mandates for oil and gas operations, finding they failed to meet the “stringent” requirements for a stay. In a brief Jan. 15 order , the court in EDF, et al., v. EPA rejects a motion filed in mid-November by environmentalists asking the...

Potential Nominees For EPA Air Chief Balance State, Agency Experience

President-elect Joe Biden is said to be considering potential nominees to head EPA’s air office that offer a mix of state-level and federal experience, sources say, with the incoming administration aiming to balance a need for “insider” knowledge with fresh perspectives on issues such as climate change and environmental justice (EJ). Sources confirm that there are at least three leading contenders for the key role of assistant administrator for the Office of Air & Radiation (OAR): former Obama EPA senior...

High Court May Rule Beyond Narrow Question In Climate Nuisance Case

The Supreme Court is poised to hear Jan. 19 oral arguments on a key jurisdictional question governing whether a raft of climate change nuisance cases against big oil companies can be heard in state or federal courts, though experts say conservative justices could opt to go beyond the question at issue and seek to tank the suits on the merits. The timing of the arguments is key because they come just one day before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, blunting...

EPA Takes Steps To Bolster Use Of E15 Fuel, Seeks Input On RFS Waivers

EPA is proposing to take further steps to bolster use of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15) by altering or removing gas pump labeling requirements, while also inviting public comment on how it should proceed with several states’ and refiners’ applications for exemptions from renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending mandates. The actions are likely among the last RFS-related policy decisions that the Trump administration will issue, despite earlier expectations EPA might release a slew of 11th-hour waiver approvals . In...

Northeastern States Press Biden EPA To Solve Interstate Ozone Problems

Northeastern states are calling on President-elect Joe Biden’s EPA to solve long-running air pollution problems they say have for years hindered the region’s ability to attain agency ozone standards, following what Trump administration critics say has been unnecessary delay and obstruction on the issue by the current EPA. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D), on a Jan. 14 webinar hosted by New York University School of Law, joined other Democratic AGs from Maryland, Massachusetts and Oregon in faulting EPA’s failure...


Coalition of states, environmentalists sue EPA over aircraft GHG rule

A coalition of 12 mainly Democratic-led states and three environmental groups including Sierra Club are filing legal challenges to EPA’s final rule setting first-time greenhouse gas standards for aircraft, saying the limits are unlawfully weak and do nothing to reduce GHGs below levels that the industry would achieve without the regulation. Announcing the states’ suit filed Jan. 15 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said, “The aviation industry...

Trump DOJ confirms ‘no further action’ on EPA coal plant NSPS

The Trump administration in a court filing is confirming that it will take “no further action” on its long-pending proposal to ease 2015 greenhouse gas standards for new coal-fired power plants, but is urging a court to continue a pause in litigation over that rule in order to give the incoming Biden administration time to assess the plan. In a Jan. 15 status report in the lawsuit over the Obama-era rule, the Justice Department (DOJ) notes that EPA on Jan...


D.C. Circuit replaces Garland in EPA trailer GHG rule suit

President-elect Joe Biden’s attorney general-designate Merrick Garland, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is being withdrawn from a three-judge panel hearing litigation over EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases from long-haul trailers and replaced by Trump appointee Judge Gregory Katsas. The decision to add Katsas to the panel, announced in a Jan. 12 order , suggests the other two judges, Patricia Millett and Justin Walker, are at odds because if they agreed...

Grappling With RFS Policy Decisions, EPA Floats Compliance Extensions

EPA is proposing to delay renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance deadlines for small refiners and others subject to the program’s biofuel blending mandates, giving the industry more time to comply while the agency grapples with whether to issue a slew of pending RFS compliance waivers and how to set RFS production goals for 2021. In addition, the agency has also issued its final finding that it need not adjust the RFS to compensate for increases in air pollution caused by...

Obama Veteran Floats Two-Stage Plan For Biden To Boost SCC Metric

One of the primary architects of the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon (SCC) climate damage metric is floating a two-part strategy for the incoming Biden administration to re-strengthen the tool which would help justify tough greenhouse gas regulations and potentially a suite of other climate policies. Michael Greenstone, a University of Chicago economist who helped write the Obama administration’s SCC as chief economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, issued a Jan. 14 working paper together with...

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