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Clean Air Report - 11/29/2018

  • 'Shadow' Reviews By Former CASAC Members Could Help Defend NAAQS

    Former members of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) are planning "shadow" reviews of the agency's ozone and particulate matter (PM) air standards, generating data that could help defend the standards against any Trump administration bid to weaken them through its new, truncated CASAC review process.

    1822 words

  • Former CASAC Members Fault EPA's 'Harmful' Shortened NAAQS Review

    Former members of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) are attacking what they say is the agency's "harmful" decision to shorten its national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) review process, warning that it will weaken CASAC's input on the standards and undermine the quality of its advice and its reputation.

    1178 words

  • EPA's Truck Plan May Limit California But Officials Promise Collaboration

    EPA's plan to develop new rules to limit nitrogen oxide (NOx) from heavy-duty trucks could provide the sector leverage to negotiate flexibilities with California, which is planning its own rules, but the plan is also prompting cautious praise from environmentalists and others who suggest the effort may avoid the kind of clash occurring in the light-duty sector.

    1757 words

  • White House, California Talks Spur Guarded Optimism On Vehicle GHG Deal

    Recent negotiations between the White House and California on light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards are boosting optimism -- albeit slightly -- that the two sides can reach some kind of deal to avert a legal collision over the Trump administration's pending plan to freeze standards after model year 2020.

    859 words

  • D.C. Circuit Court Agrees To Hear Suit On EPA's Vehicle GHG 'Finding'

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has agreed to hear arguments from states and environmentalists who are challenging the Trump-EPA's threshold finding that it must weaken Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas standards, raising doubts about ongoing administration efforts to rewrite the standards.

    532 words

  • Colorado Adopts California Auto GHG Limits, Rebuking Trump Rollback Plan

    Colorado officials are adopting California's greenhouse gas and other emission limits for light-duty vehicles, issuing a formal rebuke to the Trump administration's proposal to freeze Obama-era GHG and fuel economy limits and revoke the Golden State's ability to impose tougher standards.

    881 words

  • EPA Touts Mexican Border Truck Anti-idling Plan To Cut Air Emissions

    EPA is touting the success of its partnership with Mexico to reduce air, water and waste pollution along the southern border, including a push to curb truck air emissions by dramatically reducing truck idling at border crossings.

    333 words

  • Federal Climate Study Gives GHG Rule Backers New Political, Legal Tools

    The Trump administration's recently released national assessment outlining increasingly serious effects from climate change is giving critics fresh political ammunition to challenge officials' efforts to dismiss the issue, and could also provide legal fodder for those fighting EPA's various climate rule rollbacks.

    1701 words

  • West Coast Leaders Prepare Pact On Forest Management, Carbon Storage

    As firefighters continue to work on extinguishing two devastating wildfires in California, leaders in the Golden State, Washington and British Columbia are preparing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to take steps to make forests more resilient to such fire risks and to pursue carbon sequestration projects across the West Coast.

    695 words

  • House GOP Floats Bill To Create National Octane Standard, Phase Out RFS

    House Republicans are floating draft legislation that would create a national standard to boost the octane rating of fuel in order to promote ethanol while phasing out EPA's contentious renewable fuel standard (RFS) program, on the eve of the agency's release of its 2019 RFS goals for producing ethanol and other fuels.

    1608 words

  • Pennsylvania, Refiner Monroe Petition EPA For State-Wide RFS Waivers

    Pennsylvania and a refiner based in the state are petitioning EPA to grant a state-wide waiver from renewable fuel standard (RFS) fuel blending mandates for 2018 and 2019 based on economic hardship, though biofuels sector supporters of the program are pushing back against requests for waivers and claiming they are unjustified.

    657 words

  • New York City Climate Nuisance Appeal Wins Support From States, Mayors

    Backers of municipalities' nuisance lawsuits against fossil fuel producers over their contribution to climate change are adding additional weight to the legal challenges, with major groups of states, cities, law professors and environmental groups weighing in on behalf of New York City's effort to overturn a district court's dismissal of its case.

    1530 words

  • Becerra Joins Legal Brief Backing NYC Climate Suit Against Oil Companies

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) is joining seven other states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief supporting New York City's appeal that aims to reverse a federal district court's dismissal earlier this year of its climate nuisance suit against major oil companies.

    680 words

  • Youth Plaintiffs Oppose DOJ Petition To Dismiss Constitutional Climate Case

    Lawyers for 21 youth plaintiffs pursuing a constitutional climate case against the federal government are opposing the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) fourth request for an appellate court to issue a writ of mandamus blocking the case before it can go to trial at a federal district court in Oregon.

    564 words

  • States, NRDC Urge D.C. Circuit To Scrap EPA Guide Undoing HFC Limits

    A coalition of states and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are urging an appellate court to scrap an EPA guidance document that "effectively rescinds" an Obama-era rule limiting refrigerant chemicals that act as potent greenhouse gases, even though the rule at issue was only partially vacated by a prior court ruling.

    870 words

  • California, Other States Attack EPA Plan To Roll Back Refrigerant Air Rules

    California and Massachusetts are leading a coalition of 16 states in challenging EPA's plan to roll back Obama-era refrigerant management regulations, charging that the Trump administration action will hike emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and potent greenhouse gases such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

    650 words

  • EPA Proposes Wood Heater Air Rule Delay, Eyes Potential Weaker Limits

    EPA is proposing to delay full implementation of Obama-era emissions limits for some wood-burning heaters through May 2022 and seeking input on potentially delaying implementation of other limits for similar devices, while also eyeing a possible broader delay or weakening of emissions limits that are slated to take effect in 2020.

    748 words

  • Incoming Democratic House Panel Chairs Pledge To Hold Climate Hearings

    Top Democrats on a trio of House committees with jurisdiction over climate change issues are planning a blitz of hearings on risk and mitigation options in early January when the party regains control of the chamber, signaling a renewed challenge to plans by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) to create a special climate panel.

    443 words

  • House Democrats Split Over Pelosi Plan For New Climate Select Committee

    A plan by likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to recreate a special climate change panel is the latest flash-point in the divided Democratic caucus, with a key committee chairman indicating he sees no need for the panel while an incoming freshman is calling for the panel's jurisdiction to be expanded to allow it to write legislation.

    594 words

  • Trump Announces Plan To Nominate Wheeler As Permanent EPA Chief

    President Donald Trump says he intends to nominate acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to lead the agency on a permanent basis, and his confirmation could be eased by the midterm election results in which Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate.

    559 words

  • EPA Outlines Plans To Scrap Texas Counties' SO2 Nonattainment Findings

    EPA says it will within "weeks" propose to scrap the Obama-era designations of five Texas counties as out of attainment with the agency's 2010 sulfur dioxide (SO2) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS), a move which could end litigation filed by the Lone Star state contesting the designations.

    365 words

  • Clock Starts For Legal Challenges To EPA's 'Action' On NSR Aggregation

    EPA published in the Nov. 15 Federal Register its final "action" reviving a 2009 policy making it easier for industrial projects to avert tougher air permit mandates by avoiding being combined, or "aggregated," for the purposes of new source review (NSR) air permitting, starting a 60-day clock for groups to sue over the action.

    386 words

  • Local Governments Push EPA Air Law Exemption For 'Prescribed Burning'

    Local government policy advisers are urging EPA to grant broad Clean Air Act regulatory exemptions for emissions from "prescribed burning" of land that compromise attainment of federal air quality standards, echoing the view of some regulators in the West where increasingly severe and frequent wildfires are worsening air pollution.

    999 words

  • California Wildfires Generated Huge Air Pollution, Climate Change Risks

    The recent massive wildfires in California that have claimed many lives and left hundreds of people missing have also created major environmental risks for air quality and climate change, including potentially threatening the state's aggressive push toward clean energy.

    606 words

  • States Move Closer On RGGI-Like Plan For Transportation, But Path Unclear

    A wide variety of interested groups have reached consensus that a group of 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states should impose a regional carbon price to cut transportation greenhouse gases, which is similar to how the region limits utility emissions through a cap-and-trade program, though the states have not said they are ready to move on the concept.

    1106 words

  • Democrats' State-Level Gains Might Test EPA's 'Federalism' In Trump Era

    Democrats' state-level gains in the mid-term elections are likely to drive new efforts to strengthen climate, water and other rules in the face of the Trump EPA's deregulatory agenda -- potentially easing environmentalists' concerns about the agency's push to shift more responsibility to states and testing the Trump administration's commitment to cooperative federalism, sources say.

    1442 words