Tag Archives: Clean Air Act

EPA Facility Safety Rule (and Others) Delayed until March 21, 2017

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Yesterday, EPA posted a pre-publication version of a new final rule (the Delay Rule) delaying the effective date of the Risk Management Program (RMP) Facility Safety Rule until March 21, 2017.[1]  The RMP Rule is one of 30 regulations listed in the Delay Rule that have been published in the Federal Register but have not yet taken effect—so-called “Midnight Rules” promulgated at the end of the Obama administration.  As a result of the Delay Rule, the new effective date for all 30 Midnight Rules is now March 21, though EPA left open the possibility that effective dates could be further delayed. The [...]Read more

EPA Confirms Vehicle Emission Standards for 2022-2025

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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 Final Facility Safety Rule Still Faces Uncertain Future

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Yesterday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the agency’s final Facility Safety Rule.[1]  The rule, which contains some significant changes from the draft version, will be published in the Federal Register within the next few weeks and will take effect 60 days after publication.  That is, if it is not somehow blocked. The final rule codifies many of the safety requirements in the draft rule, including consideration of inherently safer technology and third party audits after reportable releases.  It also includes notable changes to address security concerns raised both by industry and [...]Read more

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

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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

New EPA Facility Safety Rule Faces Uncertain Future

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On October 14, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its final revised facility safety rule to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review. The rule would update EPA’s Risk Management Plan (RMP), a program established under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to improve the safety of industrial plants that use or store more than a threshold quantity of a hazardous substances. The current rule requires only that covered companies submit to EPA a plan to reduce the risk of future accidents from releases; the February 25, 2016 version of [...]Read more

Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule

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The United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 overturning part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPAs) permitting program for greenhouse gas emissions. The opinion in the case of Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA determined that EPA had gone beyond its limits in requiring stationary sources to obtain air pollution permits and install pollution controls. The court also determined that part of the regulation does not comply with the Clean Air Act (CAA), as EPA revised numeric thresholds for greenhouse gases that forced power plants, industrial facilities, and factories to obtain a permit. [...]Read more

Supreme Court Rules EPA Did Not Violate CAA With Cross-State Air Rule

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The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Environmental Protection Agency et al. v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., et al and American Lung Association et al., v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., et al.  The cases focuses on efforts of Congress and EPA to address the problem of air pollution emitted in one state, which has caused harm in other states.  As part of the Clean Air Act (CAA), Congress included a Good Neighbor Provision.  This provision calls on States to prohibit in-state sources “from emitting any air pollutant which will…contribute significantly to downwind states [...]Read more

EPA to Review Consent Decrees To Ensure Compliance

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EPA is increasing oversight of its open consent decrees. First as part of EPA’s FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, the agency has set the goal of maintaining reviews of the overall compliance status of 100 percent of open consent decrees by 2018.  EPA claims that it reviewed 91 percent in FY 2013, a drop from 100 percent in 2009. While EPA may have reviewed most consent decrees, it did not address not all instances of noncompliance, and likely does not have the means to do so. While some may hope that lax enforcement continues, the petroleum refining sector (at minimum), should take action now to [...]Read more

EPA’s “Affirmative Defense” Air Policy Under Attack

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an “affirmative defense” policy which allows industry to obtain exemptions for some Clean Air Act (CAA) emission limit violations if the violation was unavoidable and was not caused by poor planning or other conditions. EPA has developed the policy so it may not apply to planned spikes in emission level, only accidental exceedances. Environmentalists believe that the “affirmative defense” is illegal under the CAA as it is a means for the executive branch to tell courts what penalties to impose, and that industry could use it to get around all [...]Read more