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Clean Air Report - 01/11/2018

  • 2018 Will Be Crucial Year For EPA To Decide On Air Rule Reconsiderations

    EPA faces several crucial tests in 2018 for deciding whether its months-long review of Obama-era Clean Air Act rules will result in repeal or revision of the regulations or leaving the policies in place, with an appellate court that hears most challenges to air rules signaling its impatience with some of the ongoing reconsiderations.

    1569 words

  • EPA Weighs Shifting Lead To States For Reducing Interstate Air Pollution

    EPA air chief William Wehrum is hoping to have states take the lead on curbing interstate transport of air pollution, moving away from the agency's past approach of using federal mandates to address the problem and putting the burden on states to undertake air modeling and craft emissions strategies.

    1570 words

  • 2018 Seen As Big Test For Pruitt To Finalize Obama-Era Rule Rollbacks

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has vowed to undo much of the Obama administration's regulatory imprint on the agency, particularly regarding climate change rules, and while he has started the process of repealing many of them, sources say 2018 will be a major test of whether he can deliver final deregulatory actions and keep strong momentum on other efforts.

    1683 words

  • Industry Certainty Might Prove Elusive Despite Pruitt's Deregulatory Push

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's deregulatory agenda is unlikely to provide certainty for many industries despite promises of streamlined environmental rules, according to industry and other observers who cite legal challenges and early policy proposals that create major uncertainty for some sectors investing in cleaner technologies.

    1465 words

  • Democratic States' Climate Efforts Aim To Counter Trump EPA Rollbacks

    Efforts by a slew of Democratic-led states to enact new or expanded climate mitigation policies in the coming months could counterbalance some of the Trump EPA's broad regulatory rollbacks, though it is unlikely that state programs would fully offset the greenhouse gas emissions impact of relaxed federal policies.

    1238 words

  • EPA Eyes Steps To Ease Implementation Of Contested 2015 Ozone NAAQS

    EPA's updated regulatory agenda includes several priority actions designed to ease implementation of the Obama-era tightening of the ozone standard to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from the prior 75 ppb limit, including issuing guidance on waivers from compliance with the standard and easing air permitting under the stricter ozone limit.

    946 words

  • EPA Floats New Ozone Nonattainment Areas But Changes Still Possible

    EPA is suggesting that several counties should be designated as out of attainment with the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS), but affected states can attempt to change those findings to attainment and at least one area might be able to claim a Clean Air Act waiver for "exceptional" air pollution to avoid nonattainment.

    1010 words

  • Environmentalists Seek To Force Binding Ozone Designations Deadline

    Environmentalists and some states are urging a federal appeals court to make binding EPA's goal of completing by April 30 all designations for which areas of the country are attaining or violating the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS), a process that the Clean Air Act required EPA to have done by Oct. 1 last year.

    666 words

  • EPA Publication Of SO2 NAAQS Designations Starts Clock For Lawsuits

    EPA published in the Jan. 9 Federal Register its third round of designations for which areas are either attaining or in nonattainment with the 2010 sulfur dioxide (SO2) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) of 75 parts per billion (ppb) over one hour, starting a Clean Air Act 60-day clock for filing suits over the findings.

    296 words

  • Harvard Study Suggests PM2.5, Ozone Risks Below Federal Air Standard

    A new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health shows increased mortality risk from exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone at levels below EPA's current regulatory limits, suggesting that current limits need to be tougher, the study authors say.

    438 words

  • Industry Seeks Presumptive BACT Guide In Bid To Extend EPA's NSR Relief

    Industry officials are stepping up their push for EPA to grant additional relief from new source review (NSR) permitting requirements, including providing presumptive best available control technology (BACT) guidance, in the wake of the agency's new policy deferring to facility operators to determine whether they are subject to NSR.

    1649 words

  • Oil State Senators Draft RFS Reform After Early Compromise Effort Fails

    Oil state senators led by Republican Sens. John Cornyn (TX) and James Inhofe (OK) are crafting new principles for reforming EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS), sources say, after an earlier reform effort led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that included changes to the RFS credit system failed due to opposition from corn state GOP senators.

    1576 words

  • Biofuels Groups Praise Agency's Approval Of Grain Sorghum Oil For RFS

    Biofuels groups are praising EPA's proposed approval of grain sorghum oil as a feedstock for general biofuels production that qualifies for use under the agency's renewable fuel standard (RFS), countering prior suggestions from some observers that the Trump administration is hesitant to approve new RFS "pathway" fuels.

    503 words

  • EPA Eyes 'Comprehensive' Air Strategy For CAFOs But Mandates Unclear

    EPA is developing a "comprehensive strategy" to address air pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that includes a nationwide study of the facilities' emissions and reviewing Clean Air Act (CAA) "tools" for them, but it remains unclear whether the plan will include any mandates for CAFOs to reduce their emissions.

    1210 words

  • CPP Repeal Opponents Might Seek To Consolidate Suits With Prior Case

    When EPA finalizes its proposed repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) to cut utility greenhouse gas emissions, opponents of the repeal may ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to combine their new challenges with stayed litigation over the original CPP.

    1556 words

  • Supreme Court Declines To Hear Two Cases Testing Key Air Act Mandates

    The Supreme Court without comment is declining to hear two appeals testing key Clean Air Act mandates, including litigation over when states can rely on preexisting air pollution controls to meet requirements for "contingency measures" to cut emissions, and a suit over when EPA must review the jobs impacts of its air rules.

    918 words

  • Northeast States Sue EPA Over Rejected Ozone Transport Area Expansion

    Eight Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states are suing EPA over the agency's refusal to grant their petition asking it to expand the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) area, a 12-state region where tougher air emissions controls to reduce ozone air pollution apply than elsewhere in the United States.

    410 words

  • Environmentalists File Suit Over Missing PM2.5 State Implementation Plans

    Three environmental groups are suing EPA over the agency's failure to issue findings that areas in California, Idaho and Pennsylvania did not submit to EPA Clean Air Act-mandated state implementation plans (SIPs) detailing how they intend to meet the fine particulate matter national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).

    469 words

  • Delaware Threatens To Sue EPA Over Lacking Response To Air Petitions

    Delaware is threatening to sue EPA over the agency's failure to reply to its four outstanding petitions for direct federal regulation of power plants in upwind states that the First State says are contributing to its problems attaining the agency's ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).

    695 words

  • In 'Highly Unusual Move,' Trump EPA Reassigns Top Agency Air Lawyer

    Lorie Schmidt -- a top EPA Clean Air Act lawyer who had a leading role crafting the Clean Power Plan -- has been reassigned to work on "special projects," according to a notification sent to agency staff late last week, a move that appears to underscore efforts by Trump EPA officials to reverse the agency's course on a suite of air regulations.

    809 words

  • American Bakers Association Sues EPA Over Tougher Yeast Air Rule

    The American Bakers Association (ABA), representing more than 1,000 baking facilities and baking company suppliers, is suing EPA over its revised nutritional yeast manufacturing national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) that made the rule stricter, for example by scrapping some regulatory waivers.

    566 words

  • Environmentalists Push EPA To Craft Tougher Cement Plants Air Rule

    Environmentalists are calling on EPA to require selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to curb emissions from Portland cement plants when it concludes its review of the sector's air toxics rule, while industry groups are defending what they say is EPA's discretion to opt against requiring use of SCR at the facilities.

    500 words

  • EPA Issues Final Air Toxics Risk Review Rule For Wool Fiberglass Sector

    EPA has finalized a revised air toxics rule for wool fiberglass manufacturing, imposing some new emissions limits and reporting requirements on industry, but also keeping some emissions limits unchanged and rebuffing environmentalists' criticisms that the rule is unlawfully weak and fails to meet Clean Air Act stringency standards.

    404 words

  • EPA Settles Air Act NSR Violations With Three 'Carbon Black' Producers

    EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are proposing settlements with three producers of "carbon black" to resolve allegations that the companies violated the new source review (NSR) Clean Air Act program in enforcement actions first filed by the Obama administration against producers in Ohio, Kansas, Louisiana and Texas.

    700 words

  • Sen. Carper Probes EPA Enforcement Policies Under Administrator Pruitt

    Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), the top Democrat on the Senate environment committee, is asking EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to answer a series of questions about steps the agency has taken to ease enforcement in ways the senator says "may enable regulated industry to violate air and water pollution rules and to avoid accountability for any such violations."

    581 words

  • California Claims EPA Repeal Of 'Glider' Truck GHG Rules Will Hike Pollution

    California air board officials are urging EPA to scrap plans to repeal greenhouse gas regulations on "glider" trucks, charging that failing to do so may result in so much additional conventional pollution from such vehicles that it would more than offset emission reductions being achieved by the state's major heavy-duty truck regulations.

    967 words

  • California's Nichols Pushes Back On EPA 'Threats' Over State's Vehicle Waiver

    A top California air regulator is pushing back on recent statements from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that the state can "dictate" strong light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards for the rest of the country, arguing that the state would strongly oppose in court and the "political arena" any move to target its special waiver authority on the issue.

    486 words

  • EPA Crafting Rule To Increase 'Consistency' Of Agency Cost Estimates

    EPA is developing a new agency-wide rule that would "increase consistency across EPA divisions and offices" on how costs of its rules are assessed, according to a notice in its latest unified regulatory agenda, a step that could intensify criticism that the Trump administration is more focused on rules' costs than their benefits.

    757 words