NAAQS

Pollution Control as Climate Policy

Tightening air quality standards will also reduce carbon emissions.

The Biden Administration is slowly grinding away at an important regulatory task: reconsidering the air quality standards for particulates and ozone.  Setting those standards is an arduous and time-consuming process, requiring consideration of reams of technical data. For instance, a preliminary staff report on fine particulates (PM2.5) is over 600 pages long. When the process …

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Air Quality as Environmental Justice

National air quality standards may be among the most powerful levers for environmental justice.

The environmental justice movement began with a focus on neighborhood struggles against toxic waste facilities and other local pollution sources.  The EJ focus now includes other measures to ensure that vulnerable communities get the benefit of climate regulations. The most powerful tool for assisting those communities, however, may be the National Ambient Air Quality Standards …

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Clearing the Air

The DC Circuit upholds a major air regulation.

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit decided Murray Energy v. EPA.  The court upheld EPA’s health-based 2015 air quality standards for ozone against challenges from industry (rules too strong) and environmental groups (rules too weak).  However, it rejected a grandfather clause that prevented the new standards from applying to plants whose permit applications were in-process when …

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EPA’s Magic Disappearance Trick

The Trump EPA has come up with a way to hide hundreds of deaths in plain view.

According to press reports, EPA is preparing to ignore possible deaths caused by concentrations of pollutants occurring below the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This is a key issue in a lot of decisions about pollution reduction.  For instance, there is no NAAQS for mercury, but pollution controls on mercury would, as a side …

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When EPA Pays Lip Service to Public Comment, the Environmental Community Steps Up

Environment and public health advocates voice their concerns about EPA’s regulatory reform efforts under EO 13777

The public health and environmental communities took a small victory on an EPA conference call yesterday. In a three-hour public comment call that could have been dominated by industry seeking regulatory rollbacks, about half of the speakers supported strengthening environmental and public health protections. And many of them took EPA to task for such a …

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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 …

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UARG Strikes Back

Will UARG Persuade the Supreme Court to Overturn New Air Quality Standards?

“UARG” sounds like the name of a monster in a children’s book or maybe some kind of strangled exclamation.  But it actually stands for Utility Air Regulatory Group, which represents utility companies in litigation.  UARG did well in two important Supreme Court cases last year, winning part of the case it brought against EPA climate change …

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Don’t Knock EPA’s Knack for NAAQS

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit decided American Petroleum Institute (API) v. EPA, an interesting case dealing with nitrogen oxide (NO2) levels.  The standard is supposed to include a margin of safety.Under the Clean Air Act, EPA sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for airborne substances that endanger human health or welfare.  EPA set such …

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New journal issue on using the Clean Air Act to address greenhouse gas emissions

UCLA’s Journal of Environmental Law and Policy has just published its current issue, Volume 30, with all its content available free online in pdf format.  This volume is a special symposium issue, featuring articles relating to the use of the Clean Air Act to address greenhouse gas emissions.  Several of the articles’ authors were speakers …

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The Ozone Rule: What Sunstein Didn’t Say

On September 2, Cass Sunstein wrote a letter to Lisa Jackson about the ozone rule, “requesting” that EPA withdraw the regulation.  Beyond the fact that it was written at all, the letter is remarkable for its significant silences: Although the letter notes that the rule was based on science that is five years old, it …

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