Category Archives: Air Quality

Forthcoming California Phase 2 GHG Emission Regulations Foreshadow Compliance Challenges

Written by and
Last August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized the more stringent “Phase 2” greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.  As discussed at a CARB hearing on February 6, California will propose its own Phase 2 GHG emission standards this summer, and is predicted to release the proposed rule for public comment in September.  California’s rules are expected to differ from and go beyond the EPA Phase 2 rules.  They will move forward [...]Read more

EPA Confirms Vehicle Emission Standards for 2022-2025

Written by and
As expected, on January 12, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Final Determination affirming the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for model year 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles.  While EPA had until April 1, 2018 to issue this Final Determination, it did so quickly,  less than two weeks following the close of the public comment period on the agency’s Proposed Determination, detailed in our prior blog here.  This Final Determination makes it much more difficult for the new administration to change course. EPA’s Final Determination was originally anticipated [...]Read more

EPA Provides Early Affirmation of Vehicle Emission Standards for 2022-2025

Written by and
On November 30, 2016, EPA issued a Proposed Determination as part of its Midterm Evaluation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for model year 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles.  EPA has concluded, in this proposed adjudicatory determination, that these GHG standards, established in 2012, remain appropriate under the Clean Air Act (CAA).  EPA is required by regulation (40 CFR 86.1818-12(h)) to consider factors such as the availability and effectiveness of technology, appropriate lead time for technology, costs to manufacturers and consumers, and the feasibility and practicality of the standards [...]Read more

CARB Launches Rulemaking for Heavy-Duty Engine Low NOx Standard

Written by and
On November 3, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced plans for a new low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard for heavy-duty engines sold in the state.  CARB intends to adopt the new NOx standard—of 0.02 grams per brake horse power-hour (g/bhp-hr)—in 2019.  This standard would apply beginning with 2023 model year engines sold in California.  CARB stated that this new rulemaking will combine amendments to: The heavy-duty engine NOx standards, including a low load certification cycle; The Not-to-Exceed in-use compliance program; The useful life and durability requirements [...]Read more

EPA and NHTSA Finalize Stringent Emission and Fuel Efficiency Standards

Written by and
Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized more stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.  This “Phase 2” rule, applies to: 1) combination tractors; 2) trailers pulled by combination tractors; 3) heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans; and 4) vocational vehicles, such as buses, garbage trucks and concrete mixers, as well as engines that power combination tractors and vocational vehicles, and covers model years 2021 through [...]Read more

NOx Emission Reductions for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks Forthcoming

Written by and
The timeline for federal NOx emission reductions for medium and heavy-duty trucks is uncertain, but expected in California in 2017.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is expected to issue a NOx standard in 2017 that should reduce NOx emissions by up to 90 percent:  the expected lower standard is 0.02 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr), a significant decrease for the current 0.2 g/bhp-hr.  Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), California may issue emission standards that are more stringent than federal standards.  While California is the only state with such authority, other states [...]Read more

CARB’s March 2, 2015 Reporting Deadline is Approaching Fast – Do you need an extension?

Written by
The reporting deadline for makers of consumer products, office supply products, garden supply, pool, personal care, automotive, and many other product types (see full list of product categories in Appendix A) is fast approaching. We previously blogged and released an Advisory about the CARB (California Air Resources Board) reporting requirement and the need to think about protecting your product’s trade secrets. It is possible the March 2, 2015 reporting deadline will be extended.  Even if it is not, CARB has stated that it will consider extensions of this deadline on a case-by-case basis. But [...]Read more

EPA to Begin Enforcing New Low Sulfur Fuel Standards for Vessels

Written by and
EPA is increasing enforcement of vessel pollution cases—specifically violations of fuel sulfur standards—in the North American and U.S. Caribbean Emissions Control Areas ("ECAs"), as demonstrated through its recent release of the “EPA Penalty Policy for Violations by Ships of the Sulfur in Fuel Standard and Related Provisions.”  This policy outlines how EPA will calculate penalties assessed for violations of Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the law that implements MARPOL, Annex VI.  The release of this policy coincides with the December 31, 2014 significant reduction in fuel sulfur [...]Read more

EPA Administrator Testifies Before Senate Committee

Written by
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) regarding EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. McCarthy wrote in her testimony that, “The science is clear. The risks are clear. And the high costs of climate inaction are clear.” McCarthy stated the proposed plan “will cut hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution and hundreds of thousands of tons of other harmful air pollutants from existing power plants.” She continued on to say that these reductions will provide health benefits to the most vulnerable citizens, including children. [...]Read more

Sentate to Hold Hearing on Clean Power Rule

Written by
Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing at 9:30AM in the Dirksen Building to discuss EPA’s Clean Power Rule, which was published last month. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to testify at the hearing. The hearing is entitled, “Oversight Hearing: EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants.” More information, including the testimony once published, can be found at the EPW’s website. [...]Read more