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Clean Air Report - 11/16/2017

  • Wehrum Could Revert To EPA NAAQS Process With Earlier Political Input

    Newly confirmed EPA Office of Air & Radiation (OAR) chief William Wehrum could now undo an Obama-era policy memo on ambient air standard reviews and reinstate a process from Wehrum's prior tenure at EPA during the George W. Bush administration that gave political leadership more control earlier in the reviews, sources say.

    1037 words

  • Critics Float Legal Theories To Challenge Scott Pruitt's Science Adviser Policy

    House Democrats and a Columbia University law professor are detailing possible legal arguments that could be used to challenge EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's controversial new directive barring scientists who are receiving an EPA research grant from serving on one of its scientific advisory committees.

    1181 words

  • Senate Democrats Ask GAO To Review New EPA Science Adviser Policy

    A group of Senate Democrats is asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to expand its review of EPA's policies and procedures for its advisory committees to also include Administrator Scott Pruitt's new policy barring any scientist who is receiving EPA grant funding from serving on any of its advisory committees.

    551 words

  • EPA Floats New Air Law Interpretation To Scrap 'Glider' Truck GHG Limits

    EPA is floating a new interpretation of the Clean Air Act to justify its new proposal to scrap Obama-era greenhouse gas limits for heavy-duty "glider" trucks that combine a new body with a rebuilt powertrain, saying the "most reasonable" reading of its air law authority is that the trucks are not "new motor vehicles" subject to regulation.

    1400 words

  • Truckers Fear 50-State Rule Patchwork If EPA Loses Trailer GHG Authority

    Truckers and other industry groups that support the Obama EPA's phase 2 greenhouse gas rule for medium- and heavy-duty trucks are questioning trailer manufacturers' successful legal bid to halt, at least temporarily, the rule's trailer provisions, fearing it will lead to a permanent ban and open the door to a patchwork of 50 different state standards.

    1698 words

  • California Plan To Adopt Trailer GHG Rules May Spur Clash With Manufacturers

    California air board officials are outlining a schedule to adopt a set of state-specific greenhouse gas standards for truck trailers after a federal court stayed EPA's national rules for the equipment, setting up a potential clash with trailer manufacturers.

    1674 words

  • Vehicle GHG Rules Supporters Fear DOT Schedule Could Limit EPA Input

    A new Department of Transportation (DOT) update indicating that initial drafting of its next vehicle fuel economy rules might be nearly complete is underscoring concerns of some environmentalists that Trump administration officials might ultimately de-emphasize EPA analysis that could support strong greenhouse gas standards.

    1466 words

  • EPA Floats Extended Methane NSPS 'Phase-In' As Alternative To Rule Stay

    EPA is floating new legal "theories" and regulatory options to delay implementation of key mandates in the Obama-era rule setting first-time limits on the greenhouse gas methane from new oil and gas drilling -- a possible legal foundation for an alternative approach to its prior plan to outright stay major parts of the rule for two years.

    1543 words

  • EPA Sees GHG Cuts From Oil & Gas Settlements But Declines To Quantify

    EPA officials say they expect that settlement agreements announced Oct. 31 with oil company Exxon Mobil and oil and gas producer PCD Energy requiring cuts in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions will have a "co-benefit" of reducing sector greenhouse gases, though agency officials are declining to quantify the exact benefit.

    1167 words

  • Federal Climate Report Creates Additional Hurdle For GHG Risk Finding Foes

    The latest federal assessment of climate change finding it "extremely likely" humans are the dominant force behind observed warming adds another political and legal hurdle for any attempt to challenge EPA's landmark 2009 greenhouse gas endangerment finding, according to several legal experts.

    1009 words

  • EPA Faces New Environmentalist Suit Aiming To Block GHG Rule Rollback

    The Clean Air Council (CAC) is pursuing a new legal strategy against the Trump administration, seeking to broadly prevent EPA and other agencies' bids to roll back Obama-era greenhouse gas rules in a new complaint in federal court filed on behalf of two children who allege they are personally impacted by climate change.

    719 words

  • Democrats' Election Victories Could Boost State GHG Trading Efforts

    Democrats' election victories in several key state races Nov. 7 could boost prospects for enlarging regional greenhouse gas trading programs on both the East and West coasts, bolstering climate policy advocates who are struggling to curtail Trump administration efforts to roll back EPA and other federal climate programs.

    1266 words

  • Clean Air Task Force Blasts Negative Health Impacts Of Coal Subsidy Plan

    The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is blasting what it says are the negative health impacts that would occur if federal energy regulators adopt a Trump administration plan that would subsidize coal and nuclear electricity, warning it would keep high-emitting coal plants running longer and cause thousands of premature deaths every year through increased exposure to fine particle (PM2.5) pollution.

    563 words

  • D.C. Circuit Judges Lean Against Abeyance For Industry's Brick MACT Suit

    Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appear to be leaning against granting EPA's request to separate out and put in abeyance brick manufacturers' suit over an Obama-era air toxics rule for the sector, faulting EPA's rationale for putting the case on hold while the agency reconsiders several parts of the rule.

    1203 words

  • High Court Urged To Hear 'Jobs' Review Suit Despite EPA Vow On Study

    A free-market group is urging the Supreme Court to hear coal firms' case seeking a ruling that forces EPA to pursue a sweeping review of the employment impacts of its Clean Air Act rules, saying Administrator Scott Pruitt's pledge to pursue the study as part of the agency's energy sector burden-reduction plan is only a non-binding vow.

    952 words

  • D.C. Circuit Extends Stay Of Clean Power Plan Litigation For 60 Days

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is extending its stay of litigation over the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) greenhouse gas limits for existing power plants, given the Trump administration's ongoing efforts to repeal the regulation.

    363 words

  • D.C. Circuit Court Transfers Texas SO2 Nonattainment Suits To 5th Circuit

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has agreed to transfer to the 5th Circuit lawsuits filed by Texas and utilities contesting Obama-era EPA designations of parts of the state as "nonattainment" for federal sulfur dioxide (SO2) standards, over the objections of the Trump EPA that sought to keep the suits in the D.C. Circuit.

    511 words

  • EPA's Critics Fault Ozone Designations In Effort To Preserve Pending Suit

    Several states and environmentalists are criticizing EPA's recent delayed issuance of designations for areas attaining the 2015 ozone air standard as unlawful because it falls shorts of Clean Air Act mandates to also issue nonattainment findings, as they seek to preserve a lawsuit challenging a rescinded agency delay of the designations.

    1122 words

  • EPA Reopens Public Comment On Ozone Information Collection Request

    EPA has reopened until Dec. 8 the recently closed public comment period on its information collection request (ICR) seeking input from states on the burdens their face in supplying the agency with data about their efforts to attain federal ozone standards, amid uncertainty about whether EPA will revoke the most recent ozone limit set in 2015.

    385 words

  • EPA Poised To Defend Rule Allowing Air Trading As Regional Haze Control

    EPA later this week will defend at oral argument an Obama-era rule that allows power plants to rely on participation in the agency's interstate emissions trading program as an alternative to imposing source-specific regional haze air pollution controls, with the rule facing challenges from environmentalists, utilities, and some states.

    1020 words

  • EPA Fights Supreme Court Review Of NSR Preconstruction Permit Policy

    EPA is fighting electric utilities' call for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a ruling backing the agency's long-running policy on when a facility must obtain a Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) permit prior to construction, with EPA saying it wants to avoid a high court ruling on the issue while it weighs major reforms to NSR.

    817 words

  • Biofuels Producers Urge Trump To Increase RFS Cellulosic Fuel Volumes

    Producers of advanced and cellulosic biofuels are mounting a last-ditch push to persuade the Trump administration to mandate higher volumes of low-carbon cellulosic biofuels required under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) than proposed, asking President Donald Trump directly to boost volumes that EPA will set in a final rule expected by a Nov. 30 deadline.

    685 words

  • Federal Prosecutors Subpoena Data On Carl Icahn's RFS Policy Role

    Federal prosecutors have issued billionaire investor and former Trump economic adviser Carl Icahn with subpoenas seeking information about his role in shaping administration policy on the renewable fuel standard (RFS), amid widespread allegations that he exploited his position to manipulate biofuels credit markets to his advantage.

    529 words

  • Hurricanes Revive Debate On EPA 'Force Majeure' Refinery Air Rule Waiver

    Recent major hurricanes and other extreme weather events are reviving debate over an Obama EPA air toxics rule that allows refineries a waiver from the regulation due to force majeure -- unforeseen and uncontrollable events -- with environmentalists urging the agency to scrap the exemption in its ongoing reconsideration of the rule.

    1314 words

  • Environmentalists Blast Trump Administration's Exxon SEP As Inadequate

    Environmentalists are blasting as inadequate a supplemental environmental project (SEP) that involves tree planting that the Trump administration included in a proposed Clean Air Act settlement with Exxon Mobil after the Justice Department (DOJ) reportedly dropped a series of other SEPs from the deal.

    631 words

  • Trump EPA Sets Stricter Test For 'Co-Benefits' Of Air Rules Than Obama

    EPA appears to be using a much stricter test than the Obama administration for when it will count the "co-benefits" of Clean Air Act rules also reducing other pollutants than those targeted in the regulations, sources say, based on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) repeal proposal that significantly downplays the policy's predicted co-benefits.

    1374 words