Long exposure of Hudson Yards and Midtown Manhattan across the Hudson River on a hazy day where the Canadian fire smoke engulfs the city including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building

EPA Clearly Wants the Haze Gone

On a clear day, you can’t actually see forever — if you follow the blue sky out to the horizon, you will often see it become somewhat more pale and opaque, owing to ‘visible pollution,’ or “haze” — the result of the interaction of sunlight with particulate matter in the air.

Before the modern industrial age, haze was largely attributed to wind-blown dust, soot from wild-fires, and other types of volatile organic compounds (VOC) released by trees and plants into the atmosphere from America’s vast …

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Wind, sun and water energy.

You Say You Want a (Heavily Subsidized) Revolution: New Clean-Fuel Tech could Provide Endless Green Mileage

Tech-savvy energy producers are currently looking for economically viable methods to create “green hydrogen” from water using renewable electricity. This technology, which can produce clean fuel for planes, ships, and trucks, could be the world’s biggest development in power generation since the 19th century. In particular, the creation of clean fuels for heavy vehicles could sharply reduce or even eliminate a major source of carbon emissions. Green hydrogen could also cut carbon pollution by providing an ingredient for fertilizers, or to refine steel, chemicals, and oil.

Electric motors can …

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Supreme_Court

Living in a De Novo World – Life after Chevron

On June 28, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court in Loper Bright Enterprises, et al. v. Raimondo Secretary of Commerce, et al., held that federal courts must exercise independent judgment in deciding whether a federal agency has acted within its statutory authority. This decision upends 40 years of precedent set forth by the court’s prior finding in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (“Chevron”). 

Until now, it was well known that Chevron was the legal standard in administrative law for determining …

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United States Environmental Protection Agency sign on the Clinton building

Won’t You Be My [Non-Emitting] Neighbor? SCOTUS Stays EPA’s Federal Emissions Plan for States

Last week, in a 5-4 opinion, in Ohio v. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Supreme Court granted applications for a stay of the implementation of the “Good Neighbor” Plan, the EPA’s federal emissions reduction rule, set in 2015. The application of this rule was intended to address transboundary ozone pollution that can exacerbate health hazards. As previously explained by ELM, the Clean Air Act’s Good Neighbor provision enabled the EPA to require each state to implement regulations meant to reduce emissions that would …

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power station

Federal Agencies Join White House in Outlining Principles for Voluntary Carbon Markets

On May 28, multiple federal agencies in conjunction with the White House published a Joint Policy Statement that laid out the principles for the further development of future, high-integrity voluntary carbon-credit markets.

The 12-page Joint Statement of Policy and New Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets was co-signed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Agricultural Secretary Thomas Vilsack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy John Podesta, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi.

The Joint Statement …

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Cargo train rolls through the desert

Emissions, Interstate Commerce, and Locomotives: California Seeks to Limit Older Trains from Doing the Loco-Motion

The California Air Resources Board has requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant California an authorization pursuant to § 209(e)(2) of the Clean Air Act to, among other things, prohibit locomotives that are 23 years of age or older from operating in California starting in 2030, a rule many in the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology subcommittee believe could cripple the railroad industry.

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has exclusive authority to set emission standards for new locomotives, whereas …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

EPA Releases Updated Guidance on Destroying and Disposing PFAS

In furtherance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, which our firm has written about frequently, the EPA released an updated guide on destroying and disposing of PFAS.

According to EPA, the updated guidance (found here) reflects the “latest, best available science” to provide information that managers of PFAS wastes can use to evaluate the most appropriate destruction, disposal, or storage method. EPA instructs that the primary audience of this guidance are decision makers who need to identify the most effective …

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Bitcoin mining farm. IT hardware.

Challenging Crypto Mining with Greenhouse Gas Limits

About two months ago, a New York Appeals Court reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the claims brought by two public service organizations in the matter of Clean Air Coalition of Western New York v. New York State Public Service Commission, 207 N.Y.S.3d 221 (3rd Dep’t 2024).

In that case, the Sierra Club and the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York filed an action for declaratory judgment against the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) for its review of an application to …

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Heap of rechargeable batteries of differentes sizes, NiMH rechargeable.

US EPA’s Proposed New Rule: An Assault on Batteries?

On June 5, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed limits on the use of N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), a solvent found in products such as arts and crafts supplies and paint remover. Manufacturers also use NMP during the production of semiconductors and lithium-ion batteries. Studies link NMP to a range of negative health effects, including miscarriages, reduced male fertility, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and immune and nervous systems.

The US EPA’s proposed rule bans the commercial use of NMP in automotive care products, cleaning and …

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AI background graphic

AI – Environmental Friend or Foe?

Recently, there’s been much discussion about the potential benefits that artificial intelligence can bring to climate change regulation. 

For example, advanced technology, such as satellite data, is being used to identify large emission events — (see ELM’s recent methane rule finalization coverage here and ELM’s previous AI coverage here). AI also is being used to monitor rising sea levels along the United States’ coastlines — (see ELM’s previous sea level coverage here). 

Less consideration, however, has been given to the potential adverse impacts …

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