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Clean Air Report - 10/18/2018

  • Former CASAC Chair Says Panel Dismissals Will Weaken NAAQS' Legality

    Former EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Chairman Chris Frey is warning the agency's sudden disbanding of advisory panels for reviewing its ozone and particulate matter (PM) standards will weaken the quality of the reviews and make the resulting standards more vulnerable to legal challenges.

    1319 words

  • Industries Urge EPA To Narrow NSR 'Adjacency' Test Beyond Draft Guide

    Major industry groups are praising EPA's draft guidance narrowing when the agency will “aggregate” pollution sources as one source for new source review (NSR) permitting purposes, but are urging EPA to further reduce the scope of aggregation by creating a more-limited definition of when sources are deemed “adjacent” for NSR.

    983 words

  • 5th Circuit Finds No Time Bar On EPA Injunctive Relief For NSR Violations

    A federal appeals court has backed EPA's claim of no time bar on its ability to pursue injunctive relief such as forcing emissions cuts from companies for violations of Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) requirements, rejecting a utility's claim that any bid for injunctive relief must happen within five years of an alleged NSR violation.

    1388 words

  • Sierra Club Says EPA Air Permit Petition Denial Unlawfully Sets New Policy

    Sierra Club is attacking EPA's landmark denial of the group's petition asking it to object to a Utah-issued Clean Air Act permit for a coal-fired power plant, claiming the decision unlawfully reverses national air permitting policy by excluding consideration of underlying permit conditions in assessing the merits of air law “Title V” air permits.

    1247 words

  • Environmentalists ask EAB to scrap Arizona gas utility's air permit

    An Arizona county and power company are fighting Sierra Club's Environmental Appeals Board challenge that claims a gas plant's 'minor source' air permit is 'unenforceable.'

    530 words

  • D.C. Circuit Judges Ask Tough Questions In Suit Over EPA CSAPR Update

    A three-judge appellate panel at Oct. 3 oral argument asked tough questions of all sides in litigation over the Obama EPA's “update” to its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), including what authority the agency has to craft interstate air pollution rules that fail to guarantee states will attain federal air standards by statutory deadlines.

    2029 words

  • Kavanaugh To Face Recusal Pressure In High Court Suits Over Utility GHGs

    Newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is expected to face pressure to recuse himself from any high court case addressing EPA greenhouse gas limits for power plants given his role hearing litigation over agency climate rules while serving as an appellate judge.

    1133 words

  • DOJ Plans To Renew Call For Supreme Court To Halt Youth Climate Case

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is planning to renew its call for the Supreme Court to halt a novel climate change case brought by 21 youth plaintiffs, just weeks before the long-pending and high-profile matter is scheduled to go to trail in a federal district court in Oregon.

    1513 words

  • Despite Setbacks, Climate Nuisance Suit Backers Eye Long-Term Success

    Local and state governments appear largely undeterred in their campaign to bring climate change nuisance suits against major oil and gas producers, despite early setbacks such as a pair of adverse federal court rulings and increased opposition to the effort from industry and Republican officials.

    1734 words

  • Environmentalists threaten EPA with suit to force states' SO2 plans

    Environmental groups claim that EPA is violating the Clean Air Act by not compelling several states to submit plans for meeting the agency's sulfur dioxide (SO2) air standard.

    320 words

  • California, Environmentalists Ask Court To Revive 'Once In' Air Toxics Policy

    California and environmental groups are asking a federal appeals court to restore EPA's former “once in, always in” (OIAI) policy of regulating industrial facilities as “major” air toxics sources even when they cut emissions below major source thresholds, arguing the Trump administration's decision to scrap the policy is unlawful and will boost pollution.

    1230 words

  • EPA Finalizes Rule Weakening Obama-Era Resins Manufacturing NESHAP

    EPA has finalized a rule that weakens an Obama-era national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) rule for amino-phenolic resins manufacturing and is also delaying implementation of the softened rule, in response to petitions from resin products urging the Trump administration to revise the regulation.

    655 words

  • Trump Order Approving Year-Round E15 Sales Divides Critics, Supporters

    President Donald Trump's issuance of a directive Oct. 9 for EPA to authorize year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15) is drawing contrasting reaction from biofuels advocates, their oil industry opponents, environmentalists and others, with supporters saying it will boost E15 while critics warn it risks harming vehicle engines and air quality.

    974 words

  • D.C. Circuit Searches For Ways To Review EPA's RFS Compliance 'Point'

    Appellate judges at oral argument in two related suits over EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS) appeared to be searching for ways to review refiners' long-running claims that the agency's compliance “point of obligation” is unfair, querying EPA on whether it has attempted to unlawfully shield the obligation point from judicial review.

    1467 words

  • Critics Cite High Court To Fight Trump Claim Of Car GHG Rule's Risk

    Critics are pouncing on the Trump administration's claim that its proposed rollback of vehicle greenhouse gas standards is justified because it would only result in a "minimal" rise in global temperatures, with opponents of the rollback poised to cite the claim as in conflict with a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

    1114 words

  • EPA Faulted For Relying On State Methane Rules But Not Tallying Emissions

    EPA's claims that it can rely on state programs to limit methane leaks at oil and gas operations in lieu of federal rules are drawing fire from environmentalists who say that EPA's analysis for its methane rule rollback proposal fails to quantify the pollution cuts -- or lack thereof -- from the state programs.

    1261 words

  • In Bid To Sway States, Industry, NRDC Pitch HFC Ban Dates To California

    Industry groups and environmentalists are jointly recommending dates by which companies must phase out the use of greenhouse gas chemicals in air conditioning equipment under pending California rules that generally would codify vacated EPA limits, though they are also urging a new deadline to limit the chemicals in residential air conditioners.

    1025 words

  • High Court Declines To Review Ruling Limiting EPA's Power To Curb HFCs

    The Supreme Court is letting stand an appellate decision that largely vacated EPA's rules restricting the use of refrigerant chemicals that act as potent greenhouse gases, rejecting without comment petitions from environmentalists and some chemical companies that support alternative substances that are less damaging to the climate.

    589 words

  • Senate GOP Eyes 'Secret Science' Bill To Adopt Policy In EPA's Proposal

    Senate environment committee Republicans are suggesting they will try in the next Congress to move legislation that largely adopts a controversial EPA proposal to bar the agency in rulemaking from relying on scientific data that is not publicly available, with a GOP staffer saying lawmakers' preference is to enact such policies through statute.

    1226 words