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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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

Big Wheel Keep on Turnin’, EPA Keep on Churnin’ Out Regulations

Stationary combustion turbines, often referred to as gas turbines, are used to generate high volumes of electricity at power stations, dams, and industrial centers. Despite their size, noise, and prodigious output, these engines are simple, with a design that dates, at least in concept, all the way back to 150 BC when a Greek inventor named “Hero” designed a ‘toy’ sitting on top of heated water, the gases of which caused the toy to spin.

This concept, compressing air and then injecting fuel and heat …

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Low angle view of airplane flying against sky,Tallinn Airport,Estonia

FAA to Implement Final Rules for Most Large Aircraft to be Built

As part of the United States Aviation Climate Action Plan – which strives to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions for United States Aviation by 2050 – the Federal Aviation Administration announced earlier this month its final rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from most large aircraft in U.S. airspace. 

The new rules go into effect on April 16, and requires aircraft built after January 1, 2028 to incorporate more fuel efficient technologies. The rule applies to aircraft of certain sizes, regardless of the fuel …

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United States Environmental Protection Agency

Highly Anticipated Proposed EtO Rules the EPA Just Announced: Were They Worth The Wait?

After years of delays – largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic – on April 11, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally issued two proposals that would reduce ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions affecting fence-line communities neighboring EtO sterilization facilities and establish direct protections for facility employees likely to be regularly exposed to this sterilizing chemical. The proposals, which fall under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), are expected to dramatically reduce EtO emissions by a whopping 80% …

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Silhouettes of city

EPA Proposes Revisions to Particulate Matter NAAQS Under the Clean Air Act

In early January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal to revise and strengthen a key national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for fine particle pollution, also known as PM2.5.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set two types of NAAQS: health-based standards, called primary standards, and standards to protect public welfare, called secondary standards. Based on the scientific evidence and technical information, EPA has set two primary standards for PM2.5, which work together to protect public health: the …

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The Pendulum Swings Back Again on Clean Air

In June 1989, then-President George H. W. Bush proposed revisions to the Clean Air Act designed to reduce what were perceived as three of the largest threats to the environment at the time: toxic air emissions, acid rain, and urban air pollution.

More specifically, Section 112r of what became the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required the EPA to publish guidance and regulations for chemical accident prevention by entities using compounds that posed the greatest risk of harm from accidental releases. These regulations were …

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Supreme Court Requires Specific Congressional Authorization For Regulations That Give Federal Agencies “Extravagant” Power Over The National Economy

As regular readers of this blog know, we have been keeping tabs on the Supreme Court’s review of West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, a case addressing how broadly executive agencies can interpret the legislation authorizing their activities.  Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion on the matter, holding that the “major questions” doctrine precluded the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to require energy producers to change the type of energy generation they use.

Under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, …

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Chevron Deference on Life Support?

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 15 issued a unanimous reversal of a lower appellate court, and in which, ruling against the federal government, struck down a Department of Health and Human Services rule significantly reducing Medicare prescription reimbursements to hospitals traditionally serving low-income patients.

Although the 2018 rule did not, on its face, seem to have anything to do with environmental rules or regulations, environmental lawyers, activists, and probably the Environmental Protection Agency itself closely watched the progress of American Hospital Association v. Becerra

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State tort damages loom for companies plausibly connected to climate change

In April, various California communities moved one step closer to holding energy companies liable for damage to public infrastructure allegedly caused by climate change.  The communities claimed this damage occurred due to the companies’ use of and advocacy for fossil fuels despite the companies’ understanding of those fuels’ negative environmental impacts.

Local governments argue that compensation of climate-related infrastructure damage, for which they bear the cost, is a parochial concern belonging in state court. In County of San Mateo v. Chevron, the Ninth Circuit—like …

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