EPA Proposed Tier 3 Emissions And Fuel Standards For Passenger Cars and Trucks
On March 29, 2013, EPA proposed Tier 3 motor vehicle emissions and fuel standards for passenger cars and trucks. The program proposes to set new vehicle emissions standards and lower the sulfur content of gasoline beginning in 2017. According to EPA, the Tier 3 standards would cost about a penny per gallon of gasoline and about $130 per vehicle. The proposed rule and fact sheets can be accessed here.
EPA Proposes Amendments to NSPS For Oil and Gas Sector
On April 12, 2013, EPA proposed amendments to its final NSPS for the oil and natural gas sector regarding implementation of the rule’s storage vessel provisions. These amendments are proposed in response to a number of industry petitions for reconsideration. The link to proposed rule can be accessed here.
6th Circuit Rules That EPA Can Challenge Plant Emissions Projections
On March 28, 2013, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the district court’s ruling that EPA cannot challenge an operator’s emissions projections for a construction project before there is post-construction data to prove or disprove whether a project constitutes a major modification. In a 2-to-1 decision, the court found that, “[w]hile the regulations allow operators to undertake projects without having EPA second-guess their projections, EPA is not categorically prevented from challenging even blatant violations of its regulations until long after modifications are made. The district court’s sweeping reading of the regulations to that effect is at odds with the Clean Air Act.” The court’s opinion is available here.
EPA Finalizes Air Toxics Rule for New Power Plants
On March 28, 2013, EPA finalized updates to certain emission limits for new power plants under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). This includes emission limits for mercury, particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), acid gases and certain individual metals. Additionally, certain monitoring and testing requirements that apply to new sources were adjusted. The new standards affect only new coal‐ and oil‐fired power plants that will be built in the future, and the update does not change the final emission limits for existing power plants. The final rule can be accessed here.
EPA Published Proposed Rule To Approve SIPs For The 1997 and 2006 PM 2.5 NAAQS For Seven Region 4 States
On February 20, 2013, U.S. EPA published a proposed rule to approve infrastructure state implementation plans (SIPs) for the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for seven Region 4 states (Alabama; Georgia; Kentucky; Mississippi; North Carolina; South Carolina; and Tennessee) insofar as they relate to the visibility requirement, because they rely on the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) as an alternative to regional haze source-specific BART (best available retrofit technology). The proposed rule is represents a change in EPA’s position on regional haze SIPs that rely on CAIR. After the promulgation of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and before the D.C. Circuit’s August 2012 decision in EME Homer City Generation v. EPA vacating and remanding CSAPR, EPA had been issuing limited disapprovals of states’ regional haze SIPs insofar as they relied on CAIR and promulgating Federal Implementation Plans that substituted CSAPR for CAIR. The proposed rule can be accessed here.
Institute For Policy Integrity At NYU School of Law Petitioned U.S. EPA To Initiate A Rulemaking To Regulate GHGs Under The Clean Air Act
On February 19, 2013, the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law petitioned U.S. EPA to initiate a broad rulemaking to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) under several Clean Air Act provisions. The petition seeks regulation under: (i) Section 115, which requires states to include provisions in their state implementation plans (SIPs) to prevent emissions endangering those in foreign nations, (ii) Title VI concerning stratospheric ozone protection, (iii) section 111 pertaining to standards of performance for new stationary sources (NSPS), and (iv) Title II concerning emission standards for mobile sources and fuel standards. The petition can be accessed here.
EPA Proposed Volume Requirements And Percentage Standards For RFS Program for Four Fuel Categories
On January 31, 2013, EPA proposed the volume requirements and associated percentage standards that would apply under the Renewable Fuel Standard program for 2013 for four fuel categories. The four fuel categories are : (1) biomass-based diesel; (2) advanced biofuels; (3) cellulosic biofuels; and (4) total renewable fuels. EPA is proposing a 62% increase in the amount of cellulosic biofuels that refiners must blend into their gasoline and diesel. EPA says that its proposal is consistent with the D.C. Circuit’s January 2013 decision that struck down the 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard target for cellulosic fuels. In all, EPA is proposing that refiners blend more than 1.35 billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2012. EPA is also proposing a voluntary quality assurance program for verifying the validity of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). The proposal is intended to enhance confidence in RIN trading and to improve the overall liquidity in the RIN market. EPA’s Fact Sheets on the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards can be accessed here, and Voluntary Quality Assurance Program can be accessed here.
EPA Issues Memo Explaining Applicability of 6th Circuit Decision in Summit Petroleum
On December 21, 2012, EPA released a memorandum to explain the 6th Circuit’s decision in Summit Petroleum Corp. v. EPA, which vacated and remanded EPA’s title V applicability determination for Summit Petroleum’s oil and gas operations in Michigan. According to the memo, “EPA may no longer consider interrelatedness in determining adjacency when making source determination decisions in its title V or NSR permitting decisions in areas under the jurisdiction of the 6th Circuit, i.e., Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky.” EPA added that, at this time, it “does not intend to change its longstanding practice of considering interrelatedness in the EPA permitting actions in other jurisdictions” outside the 6th Circuit. EPA’s December 21 memo can be accessed here.
EPA Adopts Final PM 2.5 NAAQS
On December 14, 2012, EPA announced the final revised National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particles (PM2.5). EPA tightened the primary (public health) annual PM2.5 NAAQS from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 micrograms per cubic meter. EPA’s final rule, fact sheets and related information can be accessed here.
MATS Proposed Reconsideration Rule
On November 16, 2012, EPA issued its proposed reconsideration rule to update emission limits for new power plants under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). EPA is proposing to raise emission limits for new power plants under MATS. This includes limits for mercury, particulate matter, acid gases, and certain individual metals. New power plants will use the same types of state‐of‐the‐art control technologies to meet these proposed standards as they would have used under the previously finalized standards. EPA is also proposing to relax the requirements for certain emissions monitoring techniques. The proposal does not change the final emission limits for existing power plants. EPA plans to publish the rule under an expedited schedule in the Federal Register. Publication in the Federal Register will trigger a 30-day public comment period.
EPA says it remains on track to finalize the reconsideration rule in March 2013. April 13, 2013 is the effective date of the greenhouse gas (GHG) new source performance standards (NSPS) for the so-called “transitional” units impacted by the MATS new unit standards and the GHG NSPS.
Attached are EPA’s Proposed Rule and related Fact Sheet.
D.C. Circuit Issues Two HAPs Decisions
On November 9, 2012, the D.C. Circuit issued two decisions regarding U.S. EPA’s regulation of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) under the federal Clean Air Act: Sierra Club v. EPA and Desert Citizens Against Pollution v. EPA. A discussion of these cases can be accessed here.
To view the Air Quality Committee Hot News archive, click here.
Welcome to the Air Quality Committee home page. Our Committee provides a valuable forum and resources for lawyers, law students, and others interested in air quality issues. We seek to encourage membership participation and information exchange among air quality practitioners and other Environment, Energy and Resources Section committees. As significant Clean Air Act and related regulatory developments continue to occur at breakneck speed, we keep our members current on these developments, through timely and informative communications via our website, social media, Hot News email alerts, newsletters, conference programs, Quick Teleconferences, Committee Conference Calls, the Section’s Year-in-Review, and other publications. The Committee’s officers for 2012-2013 are identified in the “Leadership” box located on the right-hand side of this webpage. I encourage you to contact me or any of our vice chairs to ask questions, share information, suggest ideas for Committee activities or to become involved in our Committee activities and leadership.
Website and List Serve: Through our Hot News section on this webpage, the Committee distributes timely information on recent air quality developments and Section and Committee activities of interest. If you are aware of a new air quality case, law, or regulatory or technical development, feel free share it with me or any of the Committee vice chairs with communication responsibilities (Michael Balster, Cheri Budzynski, Kristin Gladd, Ben Snowden, or Laura Swingle) so that we might communicate these developments with the full membership.
Newsletter: Our Committee newsletter contributors report major happenings within each U.S. EPA region such as state and federal rulemakings and important judicial and administrative decisions addressing air quality regulation and policy. In addition to the regional reports, we are seeking guest articles from Committee members and non-members. Please contact Benjamin Lee Snowden or Kristin Hines Gladd, our Newsletter co-Vice Chairs, with any article submissions or ideas for future newsletter topics.
Social Media: Our Committee Vice Chairs for Social Media regularly post air quality developments and Section and Committee activities on LinkedIn and Twitter. We encourage you to join our Air Quality Subgroup on LinkedIn, and we invite you to engage in discussions and exchange information on air quality issues with Committee members using LinkedIn and Twitter.
Conference Programming: At the Spring Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, there will be a break-out session titled “NAAQS: Update and Implementation the What, When, Where and How”. Speakers include: Peter S. Glaser of Troutman Sanders in Washington, D.C.; Lorie Schmidt, Associate General Counsel, U.S. EPA, in Washington, D.C.; and Peter Zalazal, Staff Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund, in Boulder, Colorado. Bernard F. Hawkins, Jr., of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in Columbia, South Carolina will moderate. There will also be a break-out session titled “Expanding Trends in RCRA Litigation” that will address how RCRA suits have expanded to areas traditionally covered by the Clean Air Act and other statutes and a session titled “A Supreme Court and Appellate Court Update” that will include a discussion of American Trucking Association v. City of Los Angeles, involving allegations that trucking concession agreements—developed to address community air pollution concerns at the port—are preempted under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.
Our Committee has submitted programming proposals on the following emerging issues for the Fall Meeting in Baltimore in October 2013: Hot Topics such as the boiler MACT and utility Mercury and Air Toxics Standards; Ambient Air Monitoring to Assess Air Quality and Health Impacts Associated with Oil and Gas and Other Sources of Emissions; The Renewable Crossroads: Future Directions for Biofuels: EPA Regulations, Policy Challenges, and the Courts; and Implications of the Changing Regulation of Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Events. Our Committee is also co-sponsoring program proposals on GHG and vapor intrusion regulatory developments. We welcome your ideas for meeting programs. If you have suggestions for programming or speakers, contact a Committee Vice Chair for Programming or me.
Quick Teleconferences/Webinars/Committee Conference Calls: In 2012, the Committee sponsored the following four Quick Teleconferences: (1) “Air Quality Regulatory Update for Oil and Gas Practitioners,” June 6, 2012; (2) “Environmental Enforcement: What Lies Ahead?” April 26, 2012; (3) “Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” February 21, 2012; and (4) “Hot Topics in Air Enforcement and Priorities for 2012,” January 24, 2012. If you have any recommendations for a Quick Teleconference, webinar, or Committee Conference Call, please contact Committee Vice Chairs for Programming, Jonathan Peress or Marty Booher, or me.
Year-in-Review: The Section’s Year-in-Review is an outstanding resource of important air quality case law and regulatory developments over the year. If you are interested in being a contributing author, please contact Committee Vice Chair Jonathan Martel or me.
SEER Publications: Interested in writing an article on an air quality topic for Trends, Natural Resources & Environment, or a Section book or other publication? If so, contact Linda Tsang, our Committee Vice Chair for Publications.
Membership: Our dinner during the Section’s Spring Meeting in Salt Lake City is a great opportunity to meet the members of the Committee. If you are interested in attending the dinner or joining the Committee, contact Committee Vice Chair Phil Bower or me for details.
Public Service: Our Committee Vice Chair for Membership, Phil Bower, recently organized a successful tree planting project in Madison, Wisconsin. We have also undertaken a Committee public service project concerning ground-level ozone and have posted on our web site suggestions for simple ways to help reduce ozone and provided links to several informative websites for additional information. We welcome your ideas for Committee public service projects.
Feel free to send comments or ideas for the Committee to me. You may access my contact information at my ABA profile. I hope to meet many of you during these upcoming events.
All the best,
Gale Lea Rubrecht
Air Quality Committee Chair, 2012-2013
One Million Trees Project: Help us reach our goal of planting one million trees by 2014 by liking the Facebook Page of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) located here. SEER will contribute $0.50 for every unique user “like” during the promotional period, up to $1,000, to purchase trees as part of the Section’s One Million Trees Project! The promotional period ends January 31, 2013, at midnight CST.
The Air Quality Committee provides a valuable forum and practical resources for lawyers interested in air-related issues to: (1) keep up to date on new developments, through extensive communications such as newsletters, satellite conferences and seminars; (2) exchange ideas and best practices with other practitioners around the country; and (3) stay involved with the environmental lawyer community by contributing to various Section publications and participating in Section events.
||Basic Practice Series: Clean Air Act, Second Edition|
The Clean Air Act is one of the more challenging environmental statutes and has generated a multitude of regulatory requirements. This volume, the mos... more
Committee newsletters provide current information on topics of interest to practitioners and news of committee activities.
View the full roster of Air Quality Committee leadership.
|U.S. EPA’s Boiler MACT and CISWI Rules: What You and Your Clients Need to Know for Compliance Now that the Reconsideration Process is Complete |
February 13, 2013
|U.S. EPA’s air toxics standards for industrial boilers and incinerators have been a long time coming, starting with the initial rules in 2004, which were vacated and reissued by the Agency in March 2011, only to be immediately reconsidered and reproposed at the end of 2011. EPA has now finalized its rules (published in the Federal Register on January 31, and February 1, 2013) following reconsideration and compliance timelines are starting. Find out what you need to know about these rules for planning compliance for existing and new units, what EPA changed, and what remained the same in this informative Quick Teleconference!|
|Environmental Enforcement: What Lies Ahead? |
April 26, 2012
|Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) |
February 21, 2012
|The Podcast for this QT is now available!|
|Hot Topics in Air Enforcement and Priorities for 2012 |
January 24, 2012
|EPA's Proposed Utility Air Toxics Rule: Requirements, Benefits, and Impacts |
June 23, 2011
|The Podcast for this QT is now available!|
|Status of Biomass Electricity Projects In Light of IB MACT Rule, GHG Rule, and EPA'S 3-Year Stay |
May 17, 2011
|The Podcast for this QT is now available!|
|Air Quality Regulatory Update for Oil and Gas Practitioners |
June 6, 2012
|Podcast now available!|