Air Quality

“States’ Rights” and Environmental Law: California on the Front Lines

EPA’s Assault on Air Quality Protection Will Aim at California’s Standards, While Other States Have Given Up Their Authority to Protect Public Health and the Environment More Strictly

This article just published in the Atlantic explains well one of the many ways that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may attempt to deeply harm our environment for decades to come: through declining to grant, or revoking, the waivers that allow California to regulate air pollution from new motor vehicle engines more strictly than the federal government does. …


Another California Regulatory Agency in Crisis: Southern California’s Air Quality Management District Fires Longtime Executive Officer

Barry Wallerstein’s Ouster from SCAQMD Signals Tilt Away from Protection of Public Health

In a move that shocked the environmental advocacy community and low-income communities of color that suffer most from the impacts of poor air quality in Los Angeles, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District fired its longtime executive officer Barry Wallerstein today, voting 7-6 in closed session to remove him from …


Air Pollution in China Shuts Down City of 11 Million

The airpocalypse is back. What should Chinese leaders do about it?

On Sunday, the start of the heating season in northern China brought the “airpocalypse” back with a vengeance (although some might say it never left).  Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province and home to 11 million people, registered fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution levels beyond 500 on the Chinese Air Quality Index, which is considered hazardous …


Federal Court Halts Implementation of Important Air Pollution Program

The Obama Administration’s cap-and-trade program to control air pollution that crosses state lines  (explained in detail here) will not go into effect this month as planned.  Instead, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has halted the program’s implementation temporarily until it decides on its legality. The program, known as the cross state …


Why we have the EPA

Air quality in Beijing over the past week has reached horrifically bad levels. The U.S. Embassy’s air quality tracker went from “Hazardous” to “Beyond Index” on Dec. 4. Check out the depressing details via Treehugger and France 24. It looks like the Great Smog of London from 1952. England passed its Clan Air Act 4 …


The California Supreme Court examines technology-based air quality emissions standards

The California Supreme Court granted review last week in a potentially important environmental case, National Paint and Coatings Association v. South Coast Air Quality Management District. The opinion of the Court of Appeal – certainly among the most colorfully-written appellate opinions I’ve ever read, and worth checking out for that reason alone – held that the …


Cows and Climate – Putting All of That Waste To Work

In many situations, public policies supporting greenhouse gas reduction also support other environmental goals.  But sometimes, different environmental policies bump up against each other.  It is left for enlightened public officials to sort it all out.  Here is a link to comments recently filed with the California Energy Commission by the Center for Law, Energy, …


New EPA air toxics report presents sobering assessment of cancer risk

A new U.S. EPA report released today presents a scary picture of our exposure to hazardous pollutants in our air.  The National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment for 2002, which analyzed health data based on chronic exposure to air toxics for 124 pollutants for which those data are available.  (The assessment’s name is potentially confusing; the report …