Oct 6, 2014

Regional Grid Operators Consider a Price on Carbon

Regulations proposed by EPA under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act for the control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing sources would require States to meet assigned GHG reduction targets by deadlines set forth in the proposed regulations. States can either submit individual plans for meeting those reductions or participate in regional plans. The operators of two of the largest electricity grids in the country are evaluating whether to approach the targets regionally within their territories by, among other things, studying whether imposing a price on GHG emissions within the region might be the most efficient way to… Read more

Sep 25, 2014

Diesel Exhaust Emissions not Subject to RCRA Regulation

On August 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the diesel exhaust emissions of two railyards were not subject to regulation under the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (RCRA). The environmental advocates that brought the suit argued that the diesel emissions were solid waste that was disposed of when the emissions were “transported by wind and air currents” to the land and water surrounding the railyards. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, holding that the regulation of diesel fuel emissions fell under the Clean Air Act rather than the RCRA. The Court rejected the argument that releasing… Read more

May 2, 2014

DC Circuit Upholds EPA Rules Setting Standards for Mercury

On April 15, a Federal DC appeals court upheld the EPA’s February 2012 final rule setting air toxic standards for mercury. Under the rule, which applies to an estimate 600 power plants, power plants must now comply with more stringent emissions limits for mercury, filterable particulate matter as a surrogate for toxic metals, and hydrogen chloride as a surrogate for acid gases.  The three-judge panel found that the EPA was well within their discretion under the Clean Air Act (“Act”) to consider only the health benefits, and not the cost to the industry. For more information on this matter, contact… Read more

Mar 6, 2014

EPA Issues Statement Stating it is “On Track” to Issue Greenhouse Gas Rule for Existing Power Plants

The EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, stated on February 10 that it is “on track” to issue a proposed carbon dioxide emission standard for existing power plants in June of 2014. According to the EPA, generation of electricity is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately 33% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.  According to McCarthy, the new rule will “…encourage clean energy investment that expands domestic industries and secures good paying jobs here in the United States, while making sure there is space for a diverse fuel supply.” For more information, contact Phillip Hoover or… Read more

Feb 21, 2014

EPA Annual Report Claims Agency’s Partnerships Cut Emissions in 2012

In its annual report released on January 21, the EPA has found that, through its Climate Protection Partners Program, emissions of more than 365 million metric tons were prevented in the U.S. in 2012. According to the report, the reductions have provided about $13 billion in benefits to society by preventing damage from climate change. Organizations partnering with the EPA have invested an approximate $125 billion in energy efficiency technologies and practices. The EPA has partnered with more than 21,000 organizations through the climate protection partnership program, including the natural gas STAR program for promoting methane emissions reductions among oil… Read more

Aug 30, 2013

EPA Ruled 29 Areas in 16 States Violate Sulfur Standard

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) ruled on July 26 that 29 areas in 16 states, including Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, violate the 2010 air quality standard for sulfur dioxide, a pollutant that can cause respiratory issues.  The 29 nonattainment areas will have to reduce emissions from power plants, industrial facilities, and other pollution sources in order to attain its goal of meeting the sulfur dioxide standard in five years. In addition, companies located in the nonattainment areas requiring modification to their existing facilities, or new companies that desire to do business in the nonattainment areas, will be required to… Read more

Jul 5, 2013

Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Has Minimal Effect

The National Research Council issued a report on June 20, detailing its findings of the effect of tax policy on greenhouse gas emissions.  According to the report, current Federal tax expenditures and subsidies, including those focused on energy, have a limited effect on U.S. greenhouse gas levels.  The report took into account both energy related tax policies, such as tax credits and renewable energy and transportation fuel taxes, and broad-based tax policies that may have indirect effects on emissions, such as incentives for investment and machinery.  While the report found that the current policies are a poor tool for decreasing… Read more

Apr 8, 2013

Georgia and Florida Among 36 States Required to Revise Air Quality Implementation Plans

The States of Georgia and Florida are among 36 states that will be required to revise their State Implementation Plans to eliminate provisions allowing excess emissions during startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) events.  EPA has granted a petition filed by Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians seeking an end to the SSM emission allowances.  Once finalized, the proposed rule will require that revised State Implementation Plans be submitted by the 36 States affected.  EPA plans to publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register, after which it will accept comments on the rule.  Once finalized, States will have 18 months to… Read more

Dec 31, 2012

Court Dismisses Power Company Challenges to Proposed Carbon Limit

A federal appellate court dismisses challenges to EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions limit for new fossil fuel-fired power plants filed by power industry representatives as premature.  EPA’s proposed new source performance standard for carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants is “not final agency action subject to judicial review,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit says in an order granting EPA’s motion to dismiss the case. For more information, please contact Phillip Hoover or Josie Nackers.

Aug 22, 2012

EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

A three judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has scrapped the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule which was issued on July 2011.  The rule was the EPA’s attempt to address the problem of legally permitted emissions crossing state lines causing the downwind state to be out of compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.  Two of the judges on the panel sided with more than three dozen challengers to the EPA’s rule which imposed caps on emissions for 27 states.  The rule imposed a cap on sulfur dioxide which can lead to acid rain harmful… Read more