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Clean Air Report - 07/13/2017

  • Unions Urge White House To Include NSR Reform With CPP Replacement

    Labor groups are urging the Trump administration to make controversial reforms to the Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) program as part of any rule to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP), potentially providing key support for overhauling the contentious NSR permit program even though EPA has not yet decided whether to replace the CPP.

    1603 words

  • House GOP Bills Aim To Achieve Industry's Renewed Bid To Overhaul NSR

    House Republicans have introduced two bills that would relax several Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) permitting requirements, which could help industry groups achieve some of the NSR overhauls that they have urged EPA to make as part of its ongoing regulatory review initiative weighing revisions to agency policies.

    947 words

  • Public Power Group Seeks 'Early' DOE Role In EPA Review Of NSR, CPP

    A Florida public power association is calling for the Department of Energy (DOE) to take a major role in potential efforts to revise EPA's new source review (NSR) program and develop a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) greenhouse gas limits on power plants, suggesting other power sector groups may make similar calls.

    1046 words

  • EPA Sees Potential For Long-Term RFS Obstacle With Ethanol 'Blend Wall'

    EPA's proposed rule setting renewable fuel standard (RFS) blending goals for 2018 indicates that the agency sees the potential for a progressively worsening long-term obstacle to increased ethanol use in the "blend wall," the limit on how much ethanol can be blended into the fuel supply given infrastructure and vehicle constraints.

    981 words

  • EPA's 2018 RFS Targets Biofuel Fraud But Avoids 'Obligation' Point Debate

    EPA in its proposed renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes rule for 2018 is seeking public input on potential steps it could take to avoid fraud in the program and improve the RFS' market for biofuels credits, but avoids taking a position in the contentious debate over which stakeholders should be subject to the rule's compliance "obligation" point.

    545 words

  • EPA Proposes To Maintain 2018 RFS Targets But Lowers Cellulosic Volumes

    EPA's just-released 2018 renewable fuel standard (RFS) proposal calls for maintaining 2017 requirements that in effect call for blending 15 billion gallons of conventional, corn-based, renewable fuel -- though the plan would also use EPA's waiver authority to lower volumes for low-carbon cellulosic biofuel below legislative targets.

    1554 words

  • EPA Starts Work On Rule To Reset Statutory RFS Biofuel Volume Mandates

    EPA is starting technical analysis required to craft an upcoming rule resetting the mandatory biofuel production requirements under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), paving the way for the Trump administration to fundamentally alter the program's goals -- likely by reducing statutory mandates for cellulosic biofuel production.

    962 words

  • Open Government Group Sues EPA Over Pruitt, Icahn FOIA Requests

    An open government advocacy group is suing EPA over the agency's alleged failure to respond to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information on agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's relationship with fossil fuel companies, and about presidential adviser Carl Icahn's input on renewable fuel standard (RFS) policy.

    620 words

  • Barrasso Distances Himself From Possible Bipartisan Vehicle GHG Statement

    The Senate environment committee's top Republican is distancing himself from a nascent effort, first reported by Inside EPA, to craft a bipartisan letter floating near-term flexibility under light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards in exchange for continued progress on emissions in later years.

    1239 words

  • Volvo Electrification Plan May Boost Backers Of EPA's Vehicle GHG Rules

    Volvo's announcement that all of its new car models beginning in 2019 will be hybrids or electric vehicles -- signaling an end to a reliance on gasoline- or diesel-only powertrains -- is boosting backers of EPA's vehicle greenhouse gas rules who say it highlights an industry shift to clean vehicles that runs counter to any Trump administration moves to weaken the standards.

    1226 words

  • Eyeing January Proposal, EPA Pushes Ahead With Aircraft GHG Standards

    EPA is pushing ahead with developing greenhouse gas standards for new aircraft engines consistent with a global pact on reducing aircraft GHGs, a move that runs counter to the administration's many efforts to roll back energy-sector GHG rules and ultimately could make it more difficult for Trump officials to target EPA's GHG endangerment finding.

    797 words

  • EPA Expected To Cite '112 Exclusion' In CPP Repeal To Exempt Coal Plants

    The draft EPA proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) currently under review by the White House is thought to include as one justification for rolling back the Obama-era rule the argument that EPA is barred from regulating coal plants' greenhouse gases under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act because it already regulates their air toxics under section 112.

    2048 words

  • Environmentalists Urge White House To Retain Clean Power Plan

    Representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in a recent meeting with White House officials launched a push to persuade the Trump administration to keep EPA's Clean Power Plan (CPP) regulation to cut greenhouse gases from the power sector.

    490 words

  • White House Sees Slight EPA Increase In FY19 But Renews Bid For Overhaul

    The White House budget office has released new guidance for fiscal year 2019 reiterating that EPA could see a slight increase over what the administration sought for FY18, though the office touts the request as an opportunity to present a "comprehensive plan" for "reforming" the government and cutting its workforce, telegraphing continued steep cuts despite signs of Capitol Hill blowback.

    898 words

  • States Hopeful Pruitt Will Back Crucial Grants Despite Proposed FY18 Cuts

    Some state officials are hopeful that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will support continuing crucial grants to states for monitoring, cleanups, and other programs despite President Donald Trump's proposal to slash the grants in fiscal year 2018, with the officials citing Pruitt's weak defense of the cuts and ongoing agency issuance of the grants.

    895 words

  • SAB Panel Members Question Agency Method For Air Toxics Rule Reviews

    EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel members are questioning many of the agency's assumptions in its method for reviewing health risks from air toxics emitted by a host of industries, saying the approach might be too conservative by capturing too many emissions sources and could create too much work for EPA.

    1368 words

  • Backing EPA's SEP Policy, DOJ Seeks To Ease Fears Over Settlement Bar

    The Justice Department (DOJ) is seeking to ease fears that Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recent memo barring third-parties from receiving monetary payments in legal settlements will undercut EPA's popular supplemental environmental projects (SEPs), saying that projects that comply with EPA policy, which already prohibits third-party payments, will not be affected by Sessions' memo.

    1716 words

  • Democrats Fear Trump ENRD Pick Could Undermine GHG, Other EPA Rules

    Democratic lawmakers are strongly criticizing Jeffrey Clark, President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Justice Department's (DOJ) environment division, suggesting his prior antipathy toward climate regulation and his private sector work defending industry clients could drive him to help undermine EPA climate and environmental protections.

    1225 words

  • Trump Appears Closer To Nominating Hartnett White As CEQ Chief

    The Trump administration appears to be getting closer to nominating Kathleen Hartnett White, a prominent climate skeptic and supporter of domestic energy production, to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

    597 words

  • House Energy Committee Approves Bill To Delay Tougher Ozone NAAQS

    The House Energy & Commerce Committee June 28 voted to approve H.R. 806, a bill that would delay by eight years the implementation of EPA's tougher 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) and make far-reaching changes to the Clean Air Act that Democrats warn will harm public health.

    719 words

  • EPA Sends NO2 NAAQS Proposal To OMB For Pre-Publication Review

    EPA has sent for White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) pre-publication review its proposal on whether to revise the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) last updated in 2010, with the agency facing a looming July 14 settlement agreement deadline for publishing the proposed rule.

    392 words

  • States Eye Suit Over EPA Delay Crafting Methane Rule For Existing Drilling

    A coalition of 15 attorneys general (AGs) lead by New York AG Eric Schneiderman (D) is threatening to sue EPA for unreasonable delay in issuing methane emissions limits for existing oil and gas operations, ratcheting up a confrontation with the Trump EPA as it retreats from Obama-era climate strategies.

    915 words

  • Environmentalists Seek To Extend Methane NSPS Ruling To Delay Proposal

    Previewing written comments and possible future court action, environmentalists say that EPA's effort to delay by two years several requirements of the Obama-era methane limits for new oil and gas sources is an unlawful extension of the agency's earlier effort to administratively stay the rule for 90 days, which was recently vacated by a key appellate court.

    1590 words

  • Court Denies Rehearing In Animal Feeding Operation Air Reporting Suit

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has denied farm groups' petition for rehearing of the court's recent decision requiring animal feeding operations (AFOs) to report certain air emissions, effectively ending the litigation unless the groups ask the Supreme Court to review the ruling.

    625 words

  • California Officials Seek GOP Support For GHG Bill But May Lose Democrats

    The latest proposal to extend California's greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program to 2030 may restrict future regulations on the oil industry and extend a manufacturers' sales tax credit, sources say, as Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and state legislative leaders aim to draw more Republican support to achieve a two-thirds vote margin.

    1060 words

  • Critics Say Trump Officials' 'Red Team' Climate Review Would Mislead Public

    Trump administration critics say calls by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and other cabinet officials for a "red team, blue team" approach to refine climate change science would mislead the public because scientific findings already undergo a rigorous peer-review process and the new approach would give unwarranted weight to claims made by a small percentage of climate skeptics.

    591 words

  • House, Senate GOP Lawmakers Float Bill To Bar Use Of SCC Metric

    House and Senate Republicans are re-introducing legislation that would bar EPA and several other agencies from using the social cost of carbon (SCC) and related metrics for more-potent greenhouse gases in cost-benefit reviews of regulations that curb emissions.

    408 words

  • Finding No Jurisdiction, 4th Circuit Ends Mandate For EPA 'Jobs' Review

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in a unanimous ruling has vacated a lower court's order forcing EPA to conduct a sweeping review of the impact its Clean Air Act (CAA) rules have had on coal sector employment, saying courts lack jurisdiction to hear suits claiming the agency is violating the law by not performing the review.

    863 words