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 settles with two Delaware companies on aftermarket devices

EPA has reached settlements with two Delaware companies over their sale of installation of aftermarket devices designed to defeat emission controls for heavy-duty diesel engines. The agency’s Region 3 in a Feb. 18 press release announced the settlement with the two repair shops, Delaware Speed and Custom LLC in Milton, which will pay a $12,500 penalty, and Bo Daddy’s Diesel and Auto Repair in Seaford, which will pay a $6,000 penalty. Both have also certified they are now in compliance...

Chicago seeks information from EPA on air permit civil rights probe

The City of Chicago is pressing EPA for more information and a timeline on its recently launched investigation into alleged Civil Rights Act Title VI violations by Illinois environmental regulators when they issued a Clean Air Act permit allowing a scrap metal recycler to relocate facilities to the city’s heavily polluted Southeast Side. In a Feb. 17 letter to EPA Region V, which includes Illinois, Chicago Deputy Corporation Counsel John Hendricks offers support for the probe, but also asks for...

CEQ Withdraws Trump NEPA GHG Guide, Revives Broader Obama Policy

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is revoking draft Trump-era guidance for how federal agencies should incorporate greenhouse gas impacts in their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, reviving a broader Obama administration NEPA GHG policy while also planning a review of that document. In a notice slated for publication in the Feb. 19 Federal Register , CEQ cites President Joe Biden’s climate change executive order, which explicitly calls for the rescission of the 2019 draft guide. “CEQ...

Biden Faces Call For Broad SCC Reform To Bolster Value Of GHG Policies

Days before a Biden administration working group releases an “interim” value for the social cost of carbon (SCC) used to estimate the benefits of greenhouse gas reduction measures, a top legal scholar is urging a broad reform of the SCC and the associated “discount rate” of future impacts in order to bolster the value of new EPA GHG rules. Under a Jan. 20 executive order from President Joe Biden, an interagency working group must decide by Feb. 19 on an...

EPA extends comment deadline for Pennsylvania ozone petition

EPA is extending from March 8 to April 7 the public comment period on the Ozone Transport Commission’s (OTC) petition asking the agency to force tougher controls on ozone-forming air emissions from Pennsylvania power plants, after a request for more time to weigh in from Maryland, which spurred the OTC petition. In a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication Feb. 19, EPA announces that it is granting Maryland’s Jan. 28 request to delay the deadline for filing written comments...


OIG investigating pandemic’s impact on EPA auto, fuels testing

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is investigating any potential adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of EPA’s vehicles and fuels testing facility in Ann Arbor, MI, and any resulting negative impacts from a reduction in laboratory activity on the agency’s assurance of compliance with auto emissions regulations. Patrick Gilbride, director of the OIG’s directorate of environmental research programs, sent a Feb. 16 letter to acting EPA air chief Joe Goffman advising the agency that the OIG...

Industry Groups Seek ‘Ample’ Public Comment On Biden’s SCC Update

Nearly a dozen major industry groups are pressing the Biden administration to provide “ample” public comment opportunities as it strengthens the social cost of carbon (SCC) metric over the next year, even as White House officials in the coming days are poised to release “interim” revisions that will boost Trump-era estimates. “We believe that the directives associated with updating these values should adhere to rigorous methodology including ample channels and opportunities for public and stakeholder input,” the 11 groups write...

EPA touts ongoing decline in power plant air pollution

Citing recently released data, EPA is touting a “marked decline” in emissions of key air pollutants from power plants in 2020, continuing a long-term trend toward lower emissions from the sector as a result of reduced coal-fired generation, and a rise in natural gas-fired plants and renewable energy. In a Feb. 16 statement, EPA said that 2020 data on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and mercury “shows a marked decline in emissions of these...

VW Wins Broad Support For Supreme Court Petition On Air Act Preemption

Former EPA and California air regulators are joining automotive groups in backing Volkswagen’s effort to have the Supreme Court overturn a ruling that the Clean Air Act does not preempt state and local governments from enforcing against post-sale updates to vehicle emissions systems, saying such enforcement is a federal responsibility. Supporters of the automaker VW’s position outlined their arguments in four amicus briefs filed Feb. 16 in Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., v. the Environmental Protection Commission...

Environmentalists Eye Biden EPA To Revitalize Regional Haze Air Program

Environmentalists are looking to the Biden administration to push for more significant reductions in haze-forming air emissions when states submit their second round of pollution-cutting compliance plans this summer under EPA’s regional haze program, after the Trump administration eased haze controls in some states. EPA’s haze program aims to restore visibility to natural conditions in “Class I” national parks and wilderness areas by 2064, requiring states to submit implementation plans at specific intervals detailing the emissions reductions strategies that they...


Biofuels industry seeks automakers’ support amid push for EVs

Biofuels industry leaders are seeking support for their sector not only from the Biden administration but also from automakers, as some vehicle manufacturers pivot toward ramping up electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing that could shrink the market for liquid fuels and biofuels. During the 2021 virtual National Ethanol Conference Feb. 16, Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), said biofuels producers face twin policy initiatives by the Biden administration to boost EVs while supporting biofuels. The biofuels...

EPA Urged To Withdraw 1986 Catalyst Policy, Add To Anti-Tampering Plan

States are urging EPA to withdraw what they say is an outdated policy issued in 1986 for how the agency will pursue Clean Air Act enforcement actions against illegal aftermarket catalytic converters, and instead incorporate catalysts into its newly revised anti-tampering policy finalized late last year. EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA) last November completed a major update to its decades-old guidance documents for how it will enforce the Clean Air Act ban on engine tampering and installation...

Prospects For Easing California Vehicle GHG Deal Unlikely, Observers Say

Automakers are unlikely to win significant new regulatory flexibility from the Biden administration beyond California’s greenhouse gas deal with five companies that is already weaker than Obama-era rules, according to early appraisals from observers, amid signs of an ongoing auto sector split over the scope and stringency of future vehicle GHG rules. “How do they maintain credibility if they go weaker?” asks one industry source, citing the balancing act the administration faces between its pledge to pursue ambitious reversals of...

Echoing Hearing, Regan Vows To Bolster EPA’s Science, Equity Focus

Michael Regan, President Joe Biden’s nominee for EPA administrator, is vowing in written responses to Senate environment committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) to protect agency scientists from political interference and to make environmental justice (EJ) a cornerstone of EPA actions, echoing commitments from his confirmation hearing. Regan also commits to making per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) a top priority for the agency and to working to resolve a number of air and climate issues, including state air transport concerns methane...

Rep. Blunt-Rochester floats bill funding EPA grants to cut ports’ GHGs

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) has reintroduced legislation to create and fund a competitive EPA grants program that would help pay for programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ports. Blunt Rochester introduced her bill, H.R. 862, Feb. 5, along with co-sponsors Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jayapal Pramila (D-WA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA). The bill is a new version of the “Climate Action Planning for Ports Act of 2020,” which Blunt-Rochester, an...

Biden EPA Faces Pressure To Reissue Biomass Carbon Neutrality Policy

The Biden administration is facing industry pressure to reissue a scrapped EPA draft rule that would declare woody biomass to be carbon neutral for Clean Air Act permitting purposes, including a request to expand the types of biomass that qualify for the declaration to also include agricultural residues. Additionally, biomass advocates intend to broaden their advocacy beyond EPA, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where Secretary-designee Tom Vilsack is considered friendly to the sector. President Joe Biden revoked EPA’s...

EPA Asks D.C. Circuit To Delay Mandate In Decision Vacating CPP Repeal

EPA is asking a federal appeals court to delay issuing part of its mandate in its Jan. 19 ruling vacating the Trump-era Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) utility climate rule that also scrapped a regulation repealing the Obama EPA’s earlier Clean Power Plan (CPP), saying the agency needs time to consider its power plant climate rules “afresh.” “Staying the mandate for vacatur of the CPP Repeal Rule would remove any doubt about states’ and regulated entities’ obligations under the CPP during...

Pages

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