Tag Archives: Clean Air Act

Core Functions and Cooperative Federalism: EPA’s Draft Strategic Plan

EPA’s draft strategic plan for 2018-2022 represents a dramatic shift in focus to supporting states and tribes as the locus of environmental law implementation and streamlining agency processes to accelerate decisions and increase efficiency. The plan identifies three overarching goals: re-focus EPA on its core mission, restore cooperative federalism and adhere to the “rule of law.” If implemented, the strategic plan should give states latitude to exercise primacy in both policy-setting and implementation of environmental laws.… Continue Reading

What’s Up with Air Quality Standards for Ozone?

In October 2015, EPA reduced the level of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (“NAAQS”) for ozone from 75 parts per billion (“ppb”) to 70 ppb. What is happening concerning implementation of those NAAQS? Although litigation over EPA’s decision to lower the ozone NAAQS remains in abeyance as the Trump Administration continues to consider whether … Continue Reading

Limits on the Timing of Administrative Review/Reconsideration: A Review of Several Recent Cases

As is almost always the case following a change in administration, many EPA policies and interpretations are being reviewed and, depending on your point of view, either appropriately reconsidered or “rolled back.” Front and center in this debate is the practical reality that such reviews take time, including in some cases the time necessary to … Continue Reading

The Rockets’ Red Glare…

Earlier this week, July 4, 2017, was the nation’s 241st birthday. In Washington, DC, and in countless other places across the country, the event was celebrated with dazzling fireworks displays. My childhood days are long behind me. But, a good fireworks display still evokes awe and gives me goose bumps. Although fireworks are synonymous with … Continue Reading

New Source Review for Existing Sources: Reform Is Needed–Will the New Administration Do It?

The New Source Review (NSR) Program of the Clean Air Act requires large new plants to go through an extensive, time-consuming and expensive review and permitting process prior to construction. Such sources are required through these permits, among other requirements, to install the best available control technologies (BACT) to reduce levels of specific regulated pollutants. The NSR program also applies to existing facilities if they are modified in substantial ways and if, as a result, emissions increase by significant amounts. For the first two decades of the NSR program, existing sources rarely triggered it. That is because EPA applied it in a way to be triggered only by unusual projects that would expand the capacity of the source. It is also because NSR is so time-consuming and expensive that sources generally avoided activities that would expand their capacities because they could trigger NSR. That all changed drastically in the late 1990s. … Continue Reading

US Chemical Safety Board Faces the Chopping Block

The fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint released by the Trump administration on March 16, 2017, proposes to zero out funding for the Chemical Safety Board (CSB or the Board). Elimination of CSB funding would reduce federal government expenditures by approximately $12 million annually.… Continue Reading

A New Perspective on Regional Haze Regulation?

During much of the Obama administration, states and EPA were in conflict about how to craft Clean Air Act plans to reduce “regional haze” impairment of visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. The technical and policy issues are daunting. Regional haze forms in the atmosphere from many sources’ air emissions — emissions from cars … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Takes on Agency Deference—Trump Beware!

Executive Branch agencies write vague rules.  Then they give them meaning through interpretation.  That meaning may change over time through re-interpretation.  Indeed, it is not hard to find examples of rules that meant one thing one day and the opposite the next.  See, e.g.,  Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, 135 S. Ct. 1199 (2015).  This … Continue Reading
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