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.

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...

Environmentalists threaten suit over New Mexico compressor permit

Environmental group WildEarth Guardians is threatening EPA with a lawsuit over the agency’s failure to respond to its petition for EPA to object to the air permit of a gas compressor station in New Mexico, claiming that the permit does not ensure compliance with federal ozone standards. In its Aug. 19 letter , recently uploaded to EPA’s website, the group says EPA missed a 60-day statutory window to respond to its petition for objection to the Clean Air Act Title...

Environmentalists Ramp Up Pressure Over EtO, After Massive Jury Award

Environmentalists are ramping up pressure on EPA to cut emissions of the industrial solvent ethylene oxide (EtO) after a jury awarded a Chicago-area plaintiff hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages for exposure to the solvent, which was released from a commercial sterilizer and is being blamed for causing cancer in Willowbrook, IL. Earthjustice, Clean Air Laredo Coalition and other groups are planning to hold a press conference Sept. 20 at the City Hall of Laredo, TX, to discuss...

Protesters Urge EPA To Strengthen Host Of Standards Ahead Of March

Grassroots advocates poised to march on EPA headquarters to protest what they say are inadequate regulations are urging officials to strengthen a range of policies across environmental media governing coal ash, sewage sludge, toxic chemicals and other substances in order to curb exposures that the advocates say are responsible for causing cancer clusters. “We need modern updates to outdated and outmoded regulatory frameworks that account for the latest in environmental science including the persistence and toxicity of chemicals like per-fluorinated...


Environmentalists intervene to seek SEP in coke case

Environmental groups are seeking to intervene in a Clean Air Act case the Department of Justice (DOJ) is pursuing on EPA’s behalf against a coke plant in Detroit in order to ensure that any outcome benefit the nearby community and hope to help negotiate a supplemental environmental project (SEP), a practice DOJ recently revived. Nicholas Leonard of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center says groups filed the Sept. 7 motion to intervene in United States v. EES Coke Battery LLC...

EPA Reclassifies Dozens Of Areas To Worsened Ozone Nonattainment Status

EPA is taking final action to reclassify dozens of areas across the country in worsened “nonattainment” with federal ozone standards, triggering the need for states to impose tougher pollution controls on local pollution sources, but also buying more time for the affected areas to comply with the standards set in 2008 and 2015. According to a rule signed by EPA Administrator Michael Regan Sept. 15 ahead of its forthcoming publication in the Federal Register , under the 2008 ozone national...

Oil Industry, Environmentalists Spar Over Gasoline Terminals Air Rule

Oil sector groups are clashing with environmentalists over EPA’s proposal to tighten air rules for bulk gasoline distribution terminals, with refining groups saying EPA goes too far and unlawfully fails to justify the proposal with cost-benefit analysis, while environmentalists say the plan is too timid and must be tougher to protect public health. EPA’s proposal would tighten air toxics limits under the national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) program, and also limit pollutants not classed as HAPs under...

In EJ Victory, Louisiana Court Tosses Air Permits For Plastics Plant

In a win for environmental justice (EJ) advocates, a Louisiana court has rejected 14 Clean Air Act permits issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) for a new plastics manufacturing complex after finding in part that regulators misapplied a Trump-era EPA guidance for estimating emissions and that the EJ analysis was flawed. But the plant’s developer, Formosa Plastics Group, has indicated it plans to appeal the decision. In a Sept. 12 ruling , Judge Trudy White of the...

EPA Pressing New Enforcement Crackdown Against Stationary Engines

EPA is warning owners and operators of stationary engines -- such as those used at power plants, gas compressors or in electricity “demand response” programs -- to verify their compliance with federal air regulations, after finding “numerous” violations, part of a new enforcement initiative that has drawn the attention of industry lawyers. In a Sept. 9 advisory to its clients, law firm Vinson and Elkins notes that EPA has “announced its latest priority for Clean Air Act enforcement: stationary engines.”...


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