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Court Upholds Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (April 15, 2014)
The U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling that upheld EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which was issued on February 16, 2012 (White Stallion Energy Center, LLC, v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1100). MATS is designed to reduce emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units. The rule was challenged in numerous cases (subsequently consolidated) brought by industry, labor groups, environmental organizations and some states on a variety of issues, all of which the court denied in a 2-1 ruling. Among the issues some of the petitioners raised was the fact that EPA did not consider cost in deciding whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate the source category. The court concluded that the Clean Air Act did not require EPA to consider costs but, rather, only whether or not the emissions constituted a significant risk to public health. For further information: 

http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/284AC47088C07D0985257CBB004F0795/%24file/12-1100-1488346.pdf

NACAA Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing Regarding EPA’s FY 2015 Budget (April 10, 2014)
Bill Becker testified on behalf of NACAA at a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding the President’s request for FY 2015 grants to state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. Also testifying regarding EPA funding for state agencies was Dick Pederson of Oregon on behalf of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS). NACAA’s testimony recommended an increase of $35 million above the President’s request for state and local air grants and requested that state and local air agencies be given the flexibility to use the additional funds for the highest priority activities in their areas. The association also opposed EPA’s proposal to shift funding for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) monitoring from Section 103 to Section 105 authority and requested that it be left under Section 103 authority. During the hearing, the Subcommittee Chairman, Ken Calvert (R-CA), expressed dismay that EPA had proposed eliminating funding for the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program. Bill Becker noted that NACAA had worked with others on the establishment of the DERA program and that the association was supportive of continued funding for it. Rep. Michael Simpson (R-ID) asked Bill about the differences between Section 103 and Section 105 funding.


EPA issues Four-Year Strategic Plan (April 10, 2014)
EPA has issued a new Strategic Plan for FY 2014-2018, which outlines the agency’s primary goals for the next four years. EPA’s five strategic goals are: addressing climate change and improving air quality; protecting America’s waters; cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development; ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution; and protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance. As part of the Strategic Plan, EPA identified four cross-agency strategies: working toward a sustainable future; working to make a visible difference in communities; launching a new era of state, tribal, local, and international partnerships; and embracing EPA as a high-performing organization. In announcing the new plan, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy emphasized the importance of heeding the President’s call for action on climate change, referring to it as, “the biggest challenge for our generation and those to come” and noted that EPA would act on it “by building strong partnerships at home and around the world. We are working to mitigate this threat by reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse-gas emissions and by focusing on efficiency improvements in homes, buildings and appliances.”


NACAA Comments on EPA’s FY 2015 Draft National Program Manager Guidance Addenda (April 3, 2014)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s FY 2015 Draft National Program Manager Guidance Addenda, which contains information on the agency’s priorities and activities (including for state and local air grantees) for the next fiscal year. NACAA noted that, while the association is pleased that the FY 2015 budget request called for increased funds, it did not support the reduction of $9 million from core activities and recommends instead that the FY 2015 budget be increased by $35 million. NACAA also recommended that state and local agencies be given the flexibility to use the increased funds on the highest priority activities in states or local areas. Additionally, NACAA provided specific comments on elements of the proposed guidance.


NACAA Submits Testimony to House Subcommittee Regarding EPA’s FY 2015 Budget (April 3, 2014)
NACAA submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding the President’s request for grants to state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act in FY 2015. Bill Becker will deliver NACAA’s testimony at the subcommittee hearing on April 10, 2014. The President’s request calls for $243.2 million in Sections 103 and 105 grants, which is an increase of approximately $15 million above FY 2014, but also includes a reduction of $9 million in core program funding. NACAA’s testimony recommended an increase of $35 million above the President’s request for state and local air grants and requested that state and local air agencies be given the flexibility to use the additional funds for the highest priority activities in their areas. The association also opposed EPA’s proposal to shift funding for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) monitoring from Section 103 to Section 105 authority and requested that it be left under Section 103 authority. NACAA plans to submit similar testimony to the corresponding Senate subcommittee in May.


EPA Issues Detailed Congressional Justification for FY 2015 Proposed Budget (March 25, 2014)
EPA has made available the agency’s Fiscal Year 2015 Justification of Appropriation Estimates for the Committee on Appropriations, which is a 1,139-page document providing details about the President’s proposed budget announced on March 4, 2014. A similar document is submitted each year to Congress to provide additional detail about the President’s annual request. The information on state and local air grants discusses some of the activities that agencies will be required to carry out during the fiscal year and specifies that the budget request includes an increase of $19.8 million in grants for states to begin to develop approvable section 111(d) plans, an increase of $4.5 million for the collection, review and use of GHG emission data and for permitting activities, and a decrease of $9.3 million from continuing environmental programs. With respect to the latter, the justification states that states may experience delays in completing monitoring networks and in compiling updated emissions inventories. The section on “Goal 1 – Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality” begins on page 11, the details on state and local air grants begins on page 771 and the section discussing the discontinuation of funding for the Diesel Emission Reductions Act program begins on page 810. For further information:http://www2.epa.gov/planandbudget/fy-2015-congressional-justification


NACAA Comments on EPA’s Proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review for Three Source Categories (March 10, 2014)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s proposed National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Residual Risk and Technology Review for Acrylic and Modacrylic Fibers Production, Polycarbonate Production and Amino/Phenolic Resins Production, which were published in the Federal Register on January 9, 2014 (79 Federal Register 1676). NACAA recommended improvements to EPA’s risk assessment methodology and expressed support for some of the additional measures EPA had proposed. These included more stringent leak detection and repair programs for the Acrylic and Modacrylic Fiber and Polycarbonate Production source categories, more stringent thresholds for storage vessel size and vapor pressure for new sources in the Amino/Phenolic Resins source category; and amendments to decrease emissions from previously unregulated emission points in the Acrylic and Modacrylic Fibers Production and the Amino/Phenolic Resins Production source categories.


President’s Proposed FY2015 Budget Announced, Includes Climate Change and Air Grant Increases (March 4, 2014)
President Barack Obama announced the Administration's proposed FY 2015 federal budget, which includes $7.89 billion for EPA. While this represents a decrease of $309.9 million below FY 2014 levels, it includes an increase of $45.2 million over FY 2014 levels for climate change activities, for a total of $234.7 million (the increase includes additional air grants, detailed below). The budget proposes to increase federal grants to state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act by $15 million over FY 2014 levels, for a total of $243.2 million. Details of the budget will not be available until next week, but NACAA has learned that, while the total for air grants would increase overall, there would be shifts within the air program that would include some decreases for core programs and monitoring. Specifically, the budget would (1) add $19.8 million to air grants for state work in support of the Climate Action Plan, including the development of state plans; (2) add $4.5 million in air grants for state greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting activities, including the collection and use of GHG emission data; and (3) reduce $9.3 million in air grants from continuing environmental state programs, including the completion of monitoring networks and the compilation of updated emission inventories for updating SIPs. Among the other cuts in the proposed budget is the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant program, which received $20 million in FY 2014 but would be cut entirely under the FY 2015 budget proposal. In "Budget in Brief" document, see page 13 for Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality and page 71 for grant details. Additional details will be public next week, but click here for preliminary information.

NACAA Welcomes Final Tier 3 Rule (March 3, 2014)
This morning, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy held a press call to announce the final Tier 3 motor vehicle emission and fuels standards. In announcing this final rule, she was joined by George (Tad) S. Aburn, Jr., Co-President of NACAA and Director of the Maryland Department of the Environment - Air and Radiation Management Administration, as well as Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, and Mike Robinson, a Vice President of General Motors. The final rule includes tighter vehicle emission standards beginning with model year 2017 and an average fuel sulfur standard of 10 ppm to take effect January 1, 2017. Of the new rule, NACAA Executive Director, S. William Becker, said the following: “This rule is a huge deal. Every metropolitan area in the country will benefit from it. We know of no other air pollution control strategy that provides as substantial, cost-effective and immediate emission reductions as Tier 3. It’s expected to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions – which cause smog and soot – by over 260,000 tons, literally overnight, at a cost of less than a penny a gallon. According to a NACAA study, that magnitude of reduction is equivalent to taking 33 million cars off the road.” To view NACAA's study click here. For more information on EPA's final rule, click here.
 

NACAA Urges Final Promulgation of Tier 3 Rule by Feb 28 (February 6, 2014)
In a letter to the Deputy Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Howard Shelanski, and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, NACAA urged the two agencies to complete review and finalize of the Tier 3 vehicle emissions and gasoline standards by no later than the end of this month. The association indicates in its letter that promulgation of the Tier 3 rule by February 28, 2014 is critical so that the program will take effect with the 2017 model year and there will be no delay in the public health, air quality and economic benefits. NACAA also emphasizes that state and local air agencies are counting on the Tier 3 rule as proposed by EPA in order to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards as well as to make meaningful strides in addressing toxic air pollution, regional haze and other environmental problems. To see NACAA’s letter, click here.


EPA Issues 2012 Toxics Release Inventory Data (February 4, 2014)
EPA has issued its annual report of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which showed a decrease of 12 percent in total releases of toxic chemicals to the air, water and land from 2011 to 2012. During that time, releases to the air decreased by 8 percent, largely due to reductions in hazardous air pollutant (acid gas) emissions from electric utilities brought about by control technologies and a shift from coal to other fuels. According to EPA, from 2003 to 2012, total releases have decreased 19 percent, while air releases have diminished by; 54 percent. According to the 2012 TRI, 3.63 billion pounds of toxic substances were released into the environment or otherwise disposed of. Of that total, 21 percent were air pollution on-site releases, 6 percent were water on-site releases, 61 percent were land on-site releases and 12 percent were off-site disposal. The 2012 data is the first that includes information on hydrogen sulfide, showing that 25.8 million pounds were reported to the TRI, mostly as air emissions from paper, petroleum and chemical manufacturing plants. Another change to the TRI this year is that facilities in Indian country were required to submit reports to EPA and the relevant tribe, rather than to the states in which they are located. Additionally, enhancements to the TRI program include additional analyses and interactive maps, information on industry activities, and an expanded search tool.


Congress Agrees on Omnibus Spending Bill for FY 2014, Including Air Grant Increases (January 14, 2014)
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have announced their agreement on an omnibus bill that will provide funding for federal programs for FY 2014, including increases for state and local air quality grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. The omnibus bill (Senate amendment to H.R. 3547) calls for $228.2 million for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105, which is $4.8 million above the FY 2013 level after the sequestration cuts took effect, but $29 million below the President’s FY 2014 request. The total appropriation for EPA is $8.2 billion, which is $299 more than the FY 2013 post-sequestration amount, and $47 million above the President’s request. The bill calls for $20 million for funding under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), which is $1.1 million above FY 2013 post-sequestration levels and $14 million above the President’s request. The bill does not contain some of the more sweeping air-related provisions contemplated during earlier Congressional discussions (e.g., prohibitions on regulations for GHG from utilities) but it does contain several air-specific provisions that were in the House and Senate recommendations from last summer, including: requiring EPA to continue funding PM2.5 monitoring under Section 103 of the Clean Air Act; directing EPA to allocate state and local air quality funds using the same formula as in FY 2012; prohibiting EPA from implementing regulations calling for greenhouse gas (GHG) Title V permits related to livestock; and calling upon EPA to collaborate with state, local and tribal agencies on updating cost and modeling information related to dispersion models used for visibility and regional haze. This omnibus bill incorporates agreed-upon budget caps and thus averts the second round of sequestration cuts that were to have taken place in mid-January without Congressional intervention. Before adopting the omnibus, Congress is expected to adopt a short-term (likely three-day) Continuing Resolution to provide time for passage of the omnibus spending bill that will avert another federal shutdown (the current Continuing Resolution expires on Wednesday, January 15, 2014). House Bill Summary http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/01.13.14_fy_2014_omnibus_-_interior_-_summary.pdf;  Senate Bill Summary
 http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=5aa8e660-f52e-4074-945f-9618eb963ae9; Bill text (EPA portion begins on page 775) http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-h3547-hamdt2samdt_xml.pdf; Explanatory Statements (Regional Haze-page 35; Grant Allocation-page 38; Livestock-page 53; Grant Tables-pages 81-88) – http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/113-HR3547-JSOM-G-I.pdf;
FY 2014 Categorical Program Grants
 http://4cleanair.org/Documents/OmnibusSTAG_CAT_Grants_2014-Omnibus.xls;
and FY 2014 Resources by Appropriation
http://4cleanair.org/Documents/OmnibusAppropriationsSummary_2014Omnibus-totalEPA.xls.


NACAA Comments on EPA’s Proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review for Flexible Polyurethane Foam (December 4, 2013)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed “National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Residual Risk and Technology Review for Flexible Polyurethane Foam Production,” which were published in the Federal Register on November 4, 2013 (78 Federal Register 66108). In the comments, NACAA expressed support for EPA’s proposal to prohibit the use of auxiliary blowing agents based on hazardous air pollutants for slabstock foam production. NACAA also raised concerns about deficiencies in the risk assessment methodology upon which EPA based its proposal and recommended that the agency address them prior to issuing a final standard. These concerns addressed the use of actual emissions, rather than allowable in the assessments; the focus on the centroid of census blocks to assess the impact to the most highly exposed receptors; improvements that are necessary to EPA’s methods for evaluating environmental justice; and the use of Acute Exposure Guideline Levels or Emergency Response Planning Guidelines to address acute exposures.


EPA Proposes Updated Agency Strategic Plan and Requests Public Comment (November 19, 2013)
EPA has issued its draft updated Strategic Plan, covering fiscal years 2014-2018, and is seeking public comment by January 3, 2014. The document, Draft FY 2014-2018 EPA Strategic Plan, is one of the regular updates to the EPA strategic plan that is required by the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act of 2010. The final updated plan is expected to be submitted to Congress in February 2014. According to EPA, the Strategic Plan “provides the Agency's long-term direction and strategies for advancing human health and the environment” and the agency is most interested in public comment on the strategies included in the goal narratives, cross-cutting fundamental strategies, and strategic measures. The five main goals included in the draft plan are: 1) Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality, 2) Protecting America’s Waters, 3) Cleaning Up Communities and Advancing Sustainable Development, 4) Ensuring the Safety of Chemicals and Preventing Pollution and 5) Protecting Human Health and the Environment by Enforcing Laws and Assuring Compliance. EPA also highlights several proposed “Cross-Cutting Fundamental Strategies,” which include 1) Working Toward a Sustainable Future, 2) Working to Make a Visible Difference in Communities, 3) Launching a New Era of State, Tribal, Local, and International Partnerships and 4) Embracing EPA as a High-Performing Organization. The plan includes new Agency Priority Goals specifically for FY 2014-2015 that are designed to align with the agency’s highest priorities. For the Climate Change and Air Quality goal, the specific priority goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and trucks. See also:
http://4cleanair.org/Documents/Graphic-of-FY-2014-2018-Strategic-Plan-Raising-Visibility-of-Administrator-Themes-11-14-13.pdf
http://4cleanair.org/Documents/XCFS-Comparison-Chart-FY-2014-2018-Strategic-Plan-11-14-2013.pdf
http://4cleanair.org/Documents/ECOS-Planning-Committee-Call-Administrators-themes-11-14-13.pdf.

New Chairman for House Appropriations Subcommittee with Jurisdiction over EPA Budget (November 13, 2013)
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) has been named the new Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction over EPA’s budget, among other things. Rep. Calvert replaces Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who has been named chair of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee. The shuffling of chairmanships within the House Appropriations Committee is the result of the recent death of Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) and the retirement of Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA), both of whom chaired subcommittees. Rep. Calvert represents the 42nd District in California, which is approximately midway between Los Angeles and San Diego.


NACAA Comments on RICE Reconsideration (November 4, 2013)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s Notice of Reconsideration of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) and the New Source Performance Standards for Stationary Internal Combustion Engines, which were published in the Federal Register on September 5, 2013 (78 Federal Register 54606). NACAA’s comments address the three areas for which EPA requested input. With respect to the timing for compliance with the ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel requirement for emergency compression ignition stationary engines that operate for emergency-demand response, NACAA recommended that ULSD fuel be required for RICE units earlier than the January 1, 2015 deadline in the current RICE regulations. NACAA also recommended that the reporting requirements call for sources to submit information as soon as practicable and earlier than the current deadline of March 31, 2016. Finally, NACAA stated that uncontrolled RICE units should not be used as demand response engines unless there is a bona fide emergency.


Federal Government Shutdown Ends, EPA Resumes Operations (October 17, 2013)
Congress adopted and the President signed H.R. 2775, the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014,” which provides continued funding for the federal government at generally FY 2013 levels until January 15, 2014 and raised the federal government’s debt limit until February 7, 2014. That action ended the 16-day federal government shutdown that began with the new fiscal year on October 1, 2013. Federal workers, including EPA, went back to work on Thursday, October 17, 2013 and will be paid for the time the government was closed. Congress will now begin negotiations to address funding for the remainder of FY 2014, among other things. For more information, see www.whitehouse.gov http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=355718 and http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=46d731df-2bbd-4b17-94ce-22e9428bdd76.

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Petitions to Review EPA’s GHG Permitting Authority (October 15, 2013)
The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order today granting petitions by industry groups and states to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upholding a suite of EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations. The Court will limit its review to the following issue: “Whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.” The order granting six petitions for review of the lower court’s decision (12-1146, 11-1248, 12-1254, 12-1268, 12-1269 and 12-1272) and rejecting three others (12-1152, 12-1153 and 12-1253) is available here (relevant text begins at bottom of page 2). The six petitions have been consolidated and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument.
The D.C. Circuit’s June 26, 2012 decision upholding EPA’s GHG rules (Coalition for Responsible Regulation, et al. v. EPA, No. 09-1322 and consolidated cases) is available here


State and Local Air Agencies Feel the Effects of Federal Government Shutdown (October 8, 2013)
NACAA asked state and local air quality agencies across the country what impacts on their programs they foresee if the federal government shutdown (which began on October 1, 2013) were to go on for a short period (e.g., a week) or a longer period. The federal government began a partial shutdown because Congress has not yet adopted appropriations legislation to fund the government for FY 2014. Among the agencies that has ceased operating is EPA. State and local agencies generally reported that the short-term impacts of an EPA shutdown would likely be minimal. However, while the effects of a longer-term shutdown are still unknown, many agencies predicted that the impacts would be troubling. These include, among others, delays in monitoring, permitting, SIP development, enforcement, rule development and emissions inventory work; an inability to report and/or retrieve essential data from EPA databases; delays in the issuance of grant funds; cessation in certain permitting work; and furloughs of staff.


EPA to Reconsider Three Elements of RICE Rule (September 3, 2013)
EPA has announced that it will reconsider three specific issues related to the final National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) that the agency issued in 2010 and amended on January 30, 2013. The three issues on which EPA is focusing its reconsideration are the following: 1) the timing for compliance with the ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel requirement for emergency compression ignition stationary engines that operate for emergency-demand response, voltage/frequency deviations or local reliability; 2) the timing of and information required for the reporting requirement for emergency stationary engines that operate for emergency demand response, voltage/frequency deviations or local reliability; and 3) the conditions for operation of an engine for up to 50 hours annually in non‐emergency situations as part of a financial arrangement with another entity. EPA will accept public comment on only the three identified issues for 60 days after the publication of the announcement in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly. See EPA’s website for additional information: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/rice/ricepg.html.


NACAA Submits to EPA Principles for Setting GHG Emissions Guidelines for Existing Power Plants (August 21, 2013)
NACAA sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy containing principles to guide the agency in its drafting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions guidelines for existing power plants. As noted in the June 24-28, 2013 edition of the Washington Update, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan on June 25, 2013, and issued a memorandum to EPA setting out a schedule for the agency to propose and finalize GHG emissions guidelines for existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. NACAA’s principles include the following: EPA should work closely with state and local air agencies in developing emissions guidelines; EPA should establish a flexible program that recognizes that end-use energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, policies and programs and shifting utilization towards lower emitting power plants reduce GHG emissions from the electrical system as a whole; the emissions guidelines should take into account the different makeup of existing fossil fuel generation in each state and provide compliance pathways or mechanisms that recognize such state variations and the different levels of effort that may be required, while maintaining the overall stringency of the emissions guidelines; EPA should provide flexibility and resources to assist state and local agencies in quantifying the benefits of end-use energy efficiency and renewables, while ensuring that methods for quantifying benefits are consistent across the country; and EPA should allow states or groups of states to demonstrate that their GHG reduction programs achieve equivalent or greater GHG reductions from the power sector than if they had implemented EPA’s proposal.


Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Announces FY 2014 Funding Recommendations (August 1, 2013)
Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, released their proposed funding bill for FY 2014, providing greater funding for EPA than the President’s request and the House bill. The Senate bill calls for $8.48 billion for EPA, as compared to $8.15 billion in the President’s request and $5.5 billion in the House version. The Senate also calls for $240.3 million for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105, which is $5 million more than FY 2013 levels, and $49.4 million above the House bill ($190.9 million), but approximately $17 million less than the President’s request of $257.2 million. The bill calls for $15 million for Diesel Emission Reductions Act (DERA) programs, as compared to $6 million in the President’s request and $18.9 million in the House version. The Senate bill, like the House version, would retain PM2.5 monitoring grants under Section 103, rather than shifting it to Section 105, as the President’s budget proposed doing. The Senate draft also directs EPA to allocate state and local air grants according to the same formula used in FY 2012. However, the bill does not have the list of policy riders on greenhouse gases and other issues that the House version contains. For further information: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=d1037190-bf9c-420c-a8a5-79c0ef9c495c (see starting on page 32 [narrative] and 91 [tables]) and http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=b3e22f9d-a060-45eb-90ef-1225244125a7 (see starting on page 69).


ECOS Asks Congress to Reduce Cuts to State Environmental Grants (July 30, 2013)
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee expressing concerns about the Committee’s proposed drastic cuts to EPA’s FY 2014 budget and asking that the Committee reduce the size of the proposed cuts to state grants. ECOS thanked the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies for not including rescissions in EPA’s budget, but expressed disappointment that EPA’s budget was singled out for the largest reductions of any agency. Specifically, ECOS noted that cuts in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account are actually cuts to state funding, rather than to EPA’s own budget. When coupled with projected future cuts related to the sequestration, these reductions impose an unfunded mandate on states and cities. Reductions to media-specific categorical grants would total almost 20 percent and would impede states’ abilities to review permits, monitor, conduct inspections, enforce regulations, among other things.


House Appropriations Subcommittee Marks-up FY 2014 Bill with Steep Cuts to EPA (July 23, 2013)
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies just marked up a bill containing FY 2014 funding for EPA and passed it by a party-line vote of 7-4.  In his opening statement, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Rep. James Moran (D-VA), referred to the bill as a “disgrace” and walked out of the mark-up in protest.  Click here to see the bill the Subcommittee adopted. One provision in the bill calls for the retention of PM2.5 monitoring funds under Section 103 authority, rather than being shifted to Section 105 authority as the President’s proposed budget recommended.  Click here to see a document containing all of the environmental riders contained in the bill. Report language containing additional details about the bill, including media-specific funding levels, will probably not be released officially until after full Committee mark-up, which has not been scheduled, but will likely be next week.  However, we have heard unofficially that air quality grants for state and local agencies under Sections 103 and 105 will be $190.9 million, which is a reduction of $33 million (14.7 percent) from the FY 2013 level of $223.9 million and a reduction of $66.3 million (25.8 percent) to the President’s requested amount of $257.2 million.  The bill also calls for $5.5 billion for EPA’s total budget, which is a reduction of 34 percent ($2.8 billion) from FY 2013 levels.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Draft SO2 Modeling and Monitoring Technical Assistance Documents (July 22, 2013)
NACAA has submitted written comments to EPA on the agency’s “Draft SO2 NAAQS Designations Modeling Technical Assistance Document” and “Draft SO2 NAAQS Designations Source-Oriented Monitoring Technical Assistance Document.”  The draft TADs comprise EPA’s recommendations to air pollution control agencies on appropriate modeling and monitoring techniques for characterizing ambient air quality near large sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions sources, for the purpose of making area designations under the 2010 1-hour SO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).   NACAA urges EPA to adopt its anticipated “data requirements rule” as soon as possible so that air pollution control agencies know how many SO2 emissions sources within their jurisdictions will require ambient air characterization.  NACAA also recommends that EPA consider reconciling the timelines for modeling- and monitoring-based area designations.  NACAA comments on several issues raised by the draft Modeling TAD concerning emissions inputs and meteorological data.   With respect to the draft Monitoring TAD, NACAA urges EPA to provide definitive criteria for what constitutes an adequate monitoring network, and it makes recommendations concerning exploratory monitoring methods, the need for monitor shutdown criteria, and lack of funding.  To view the comments, click here


House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to Mark-Up FY 2014 Bill with Steep Cuts to EPA (July 22, 2013)
On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies is scheduled to mark-up a bill containing EPA’s budget that includes a cut of 34 percent ($2.8 billion) to EPA funding, compared to FY 2013 levels, for a total of $5.5 billion. Click here to view the bill language: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2014-Interior-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf  (EPA’s budget is addressed on pages 56-66, with the State and Territorial Assistance Grants language beginning on page 60). According to the Subcommittee’s summary, the bill contains efforts to “rein in the EPA – an agency that has been rife with governmental overreach, overspending on ineffective and unnecessary programs, and costly and questionable regulations.” The bill includes a number of specific provisions affecting the air program, including the following: prohibit EPA from finalizing, implementing or enforcing the Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards (page 138); prohibit the use of funds for the development, implementation or enforcement of any Section 111 regulation applicable to greenhouse gas emissions by any new or existing electric utility generating unit (page 135); retain PM2.5 monitoring funds under Section 103 authority, rather than being shifted to Section 105 authority as the President’s proposed budget recommended (page 63); prohibit the use of any funds to promulgate or implement any regulation that requires the issuance of Title V permits for emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor or methane emissions from livestock production. (page 119); prohibit the use of any funds to implement any provisions requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems (page 120); begin development of a EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual, including comment from state, local and tribal agencies (page 136); begin the process of revising the agency’s ‘‘Guideline on Air Quality Models’’ to “allow flexible modeling approaches and to adopt the most recent CALPUFF modeling system as a preferred model (page 136); and require the Administration to submit to Congress a comprehensive report on all federal funding for climate change programs in FY 2011-2013 (page 119). To read the Subcommittee’s summary of the bill, click: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=343384.

NACAA Updates Tally of MATS Compliance Extension Requests (July 11, 2013)
NACAA has updated the results of its recent survey about requests state and local air agencies have received for extensions to the compliance deadline under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The rule calls for a three-year compliance period for existing sources, with a deadline of April 16, 2015, but provides for an extra year, upon request, for sources that need additional time to comply. NACAA received responses from 47 agencies in 37 states, DC and Puerto Rico. According to the updated tally, there have been 60 extension requests, of which 56 have been granted so far (some are still under consideration) and none has been refused, to date. The respondents indicated that approximately five more requests may be forthcoming.


NACAA Supports EPA’s Proposed Tier 3 Rule (June 28, 2013)
NACAA submitted written comments to the EPA docket in support of the agency’s proposed Tier 3 vehicle emission and fuel standards. To view the comments, click here. In the comment letter, the NACAA Mobile Sources and Fuels Committee Co-Chairs, Nancy L. Seidman (MA) and Barry R. Wallerstein (Los Angeles, CA), state, on behalf of the association, that “we know of no other strategy that can achieve such substantial, immediate and cost-effective reductions in air pollution as Tier 3.” Drawing on findings presented in NACAA’s October 2011 report, Cleaner Cars, Cleaner Fuels, Cleaner Air: The Need for and Benefits of Tier 3 Vehicle and Fuel Regulations, as well as other recent analyses, the association emphasizes the following points: 1) the proposed Tier 3 vehicle and gasoline sulfur standards will provide significant emission reductions and air quality benefits, 2) the benefits of Tier 3 come at modest cost, 3) the cost effectiveness of Tier 3 is high, 4) Tier 3 will create jobs, 5) Tier 3 vehicle technologies and gasoline are already available and 6) federal action on Tier 3 – including final adoption of the program by no later than December 31, 2013 – is imperative. In addition, the association offers comments on several other aspects of the Tier 3 proposal including the use of ethanol in certification fuel, the US06 PM standards and evaporative emission standards

NACAA Compiles Tally of MATS Compliance Extension Requests (June 27, 2013)
NACAA surveyed its members about requests they have received for extensions to the compliance deadline under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The rule, published in the Federal Register on February 16, 2012, is intended to limit emissions of mercury, acid gases and other toxic pollution from power plants. MATS calls for a three-year compliance period for existing sources, with a deadline of April 16, 2015, but provides for an extra year, upon request, for sources that need additional time to comply. NACAA received responses from 41 agencies in 31 states, DC and Puerto Rico. According to the responses, there have been 51 extension requests, of which 48 have been granted so far (some are still under consideration) and none has been refused, to date. The respondents indicated that approximately four more requests may be forthcoming.


President Unveils Climate Action Plan; Sets Out Schedule for Issuing GHG Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants (June 25, 2013)
President Barack Obama unveiled a Climate Action Plan that focuses on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from power plants and mobile sources, preparing the nation for the impacts of climate change and leading international efforts to combat climate change. With respect to reducing GHG emissions from power plants, the President in his plan noted that he was issuing a separate memorandum to the EPA Administrator with a timeline and guidance for moving forward. For new power plants, the President directed EPA to issue a revised proposal by September 20, 2013. (EPA proposed carbon dioxide emissions standards for new power plants in April 2012.) For modified, reconstructed and existing power plants, the President directed EPA to issue a proposal by June 1, 2014, issue final standards by June 1, 2015, and to include in the guidelines requirements that state submit implementation plans required under section 111(d) by no later than June 30, 2016. The memorandum also directs EPA to launch the effort on modified, reconstructed and existing power plants “through direct engagement with States, as they will play a central role in establishing and implementing standards for existing power plants.” The President’s Climate Action Plan also provides that the Administration will develop post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy duty vehicles. Other initiatives included in the plan are: setting a goal of doubling renewable electricity generation by 2020; setting a goal that efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings will reduce GHG emissions by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030; reducing emissions of methane and hydrofluorocarbons; establishing a state, local and tribal leaders task force on climate preparedness; and providing a toolkit for climate resilience. Click here for the action plan. Click here for the memorandum.


EPA Issues Final National Program Manager Guidance for FY 2014 (June 14, 2013)
EPA has published the final National Program Manager Guidance for FY 2014, which discusses EPA’s priorities and plans for the use of FY 2014 funds (including Sections 103 and 105 grants) and provides general information and guidance on the allocation of FY 2014 air grants. In addition to the final guidance and an overview, EPA has also issued its response to the comments it received on the draft guidance, including those NACAA submitted on May 9, 2013. While EPA was receptive to many of NACAA’s comments (several of which were complimentary), there were few actual changes made to the guidance in response to input from NACAA and others. The guidance reflects the amount of funds requested in the President’s budget proposal. However, the final appropriations Congress provides may be different, so there will likely be additional changes to EPA’s final plans after Congress completes its process.


NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Draft Guidance for PM2.5 Permit Modeling (May 31, 2013)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s “Draft Guidance for PM2.5 Permit Modeling,” which was released on March 4, 2013. NACAA commends EPA for making significant progress in establishing standard approaches to modeling PM2.5 and encourages the agency to develop additional, more specific guidance in the future. NACAA urges EPA to revisit the technical recommendations made by NACAA’s PM2.5 Modeling Implementation Workgroup in its January 7, 2011 report, particularly those related to emissions inventories and background concentrations. NACAA also makes several additional specific recommendations to clarify and improve the Draft Guidance.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Mineral Wool/Wool Fiberglass RTR Reproposal (May 28, 2013)
NACAA has submitted comments on the “National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Mineral Wool Production and Wool Fiberglass Manufacturing; National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Gas-Fired Melting Furnaces Located at Wool Fiberglass Manufacturing Area Sources,” which were published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2013 (78 Federal Register 22370). The notice was a reproposal of the Residual Risk and Technology Review standard for the source category, as well as a proposal to add certain related sources to the area source list and require controls. NACAA expressed support for EPA’s conclusion that additional requirements beyond the original MACT are warranted and referred the agency to the association’s previous comments of January 31, 2012. Additionally, NACAA commended EPA for proposing measures for certain types of area sources within the source category.


NACAA Comments on EPA Draft National Program Manager Guidance (May 9, 2013)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA Office of Air and Radiation’s Draft National Program Manager Guidance and Overview (issued by EPA on April 11, 2013). EPA’s draft guidance discusses the agency’s priorities and plans for the use of FY 2014 funds (including Sections 103 and 105 grants) and provides general information and guidance on the allocation of FY 2014 air grants. NACAA’s comments support the proposed grant increases and compliment EPA for recognizing that there are not sufficient resources for all the work that must be done. NACAA commends EPA’s understanding of the need for flexibility as state, local and regional officials determine how best to target scarce resources. Additionally, NACAA complimented EPA on the new streamlined format of the guidance and offered specific suggestions for clarifying and improving it.

EPA Submits FY 2013 Operating Plan to Congress Reflecting CR and Sequester Cuts (May 7, 2013)
EPA has submitted to Congress its FY 2013 Enacted Operating Plan, which reflects the funding levels for FY 2013 contained in the Continuing Resolution adopted on March 21, 2013 and includes the reductions pursuant to the Sequestration adopted on March 1, 2013. It details the funds available for the fiscal year that ends on September 30, 2013. The end of the document includes a brief statement about the approach EPA took in meeting the reductions in the Sequestration. As previously announced, state and local air quality grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act are being reduced by approximately $11.8 million as a result of the Sequestration. Additionally, EPA’s FY 2013 budget is subject to a rescission of 0.2 percent (for state and local air grants, this is $470,000). Therefore, Section 103/105 grants, which were $235.7 million in FY 2012, now total $223.4 million for FY 2013. Now that EPA has presented the Operating Plan to Congress, the agency is shortly expected to provide details on how the specific cuts (e.g., state and local air grants) will be apportioned.


NACAA Submits Testimony to Senate on EPA’s FY 2014 Budget (April 29, 2013)
NACAA has submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies expressing support for the Administration’s FY 2014 request for grants to state and local air pollution control agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. The President’s proposed budget calls for a $21.5-million increase over the FY 2012 enacted budget for state and local air grants (for a total of $257.2 million). NACAA articulates in the testimony the need for significant increases in state and local air grants, but recognizes that the current economic situation makes full funding impossible. Therefore, NACAA supports the Administration’s proposed increase, even though it is not full funding. Additionally, NACAA’s testimony expresses concern about EPA’s proposed transfer of funding for fine particulate matter monitoring from Section 103 to Section 105 authority and requests that it remain under Section 103 authority.

NACAA Submits Testimony on EPA’s FY 2014 Budget (April 25, 2013)
NACAA has submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies supporting the Administration’s FY 2014 request for grants to state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. The Administration’s proposed budget calls for a $21.5-million increase (over the FY 2012 enacted budget) in Sections 103 and 105 grants, for a total of $257.2 million. NACAA’s testimony articulates the need for significant increases in funding for state and local air activities grants, but recognizes that the current economic difficulties make full funding impossible. Therefore, the association supports the proposed increase in the Administration’s request, even though it does not represent full funding. In addition, NACAA’s testimony expresses concern about EPA’s proposal to transfer funding for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) monitoring from Section 103 to Section 105 authority and requests that it be left under Section 103 authority.

NACAA Testifies in Support of EPA’s Tier 3 Proposal (April 24, 2013)
NACAA, represented by Nancy L. Seidman, Assistant Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Co-Chair of the NACAA Mobile Sources and Fuels Committee, presented testimony at EPA’s public hearing in Philadelphia on the proposed Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standard. In the testimony, NACAA expresses strong support for the Tier 3 proposal, stating that “we know of no other strategy that can achieve such substantial, immediate and cost-effective reductions in air pollution as Tier 3.” Among the key points NACAA makes in the testimony are that the proposed Tier 3 vehicle and gasoline sulfur standards will provide significant emission reductions and air quality benefits, the benefits of Tier 3 come at modest cost, the cost effectiveness of Tier 3 is high, Tier 3 will create jobs, Tier 3 vehicle technologies and gasoline are already available and federal action on Tier 3 – including final adoption of the program by no later than December 31, 2013 – is imperative. To view NACAA’s Tier 3 testimony, click here.

President Proposed FY 2014 Budget Including $21.5-Million Increase for Air Grants (April 10, 2013)
The President has announced the proposed budget for FY 2014, calling for an increase of $21.5 million over FY 2012 enacted levels ($25.9 million above the amount contained in the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution [CR]) for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act, for a total of $257.2 million. According to EPA, the increase is to provide “funds to States to support the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, facilitating States' collection, review, and use of GHG emissions data. Additionally, funds will support GHG permitting to provide state and local agencies the resources to review permit applications and issue permits to large sources of greenhouse gas emissions.” (page 18 of “Budget in Brief”) The budget request includes $6 million for the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program, which is a reduction of approximately $19 million from the amount provided in the FY 2013 CR. The request for EPA’s total FY 2014 budget is $8.15 billion, which is a decrease of $296.4 million from the FY 2012 enacted level and $348 million from the CR. EPA has provided several documents related to the proposed budget. The “Budget in Brief” http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/fy2014bib.pdf contains information on, among other things, “Taking Action on Climate Change and Improving Air Quality” (page 23) and categorical grants, including state and local air grants and DERA (page 105). Additionally, there is a press release about the budget
http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/2013%20Press%20Releases!OpenView.


EPA Proposes Tier 3 Vehicle and Gasoline Sulfur Standards (March 29, 2013)
EPA released the long-awaited proposed Tier 3 vehicle emissions and gasoline sulfur standards. The proposed Tier 3 program, to take effect in 2017 and phase in through 2025, would harmonize with California’s Low-Emission Vehicle III (LEV III) program, enabling the auto industry to manufacture and sell one vehicle across the country. The program includes significantly tighter volatile organic compound (VOC), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) tailpipe standards, as well as vehicle evaporative emission standards, a revised certification test fuel to better reflect in-use gasoline in 2017 and regulatory streamlining and harmonizing changes in accordance with the President’s Regulatory Review Initiative. Because compliance with the Tier 3/LEV III tailpipe standards depends on the use of lower-sulfur gasoline, EPA also proposes to reduce sulfur in gasoline by about 60 percent to an average of 10 parts per million in 2017 (versus the current average of 30 ppm); 10-ppm-sulfur fuel is already in use in California as well as in the European Union, Japan and South Korea. EPA further proposes to either retain the per-gallon sulfur caps of 80 ppm at the refinery gate and 95 ppm at retail outlets or reduce the per-gallon caps to 50 ppm and 65 ppm, respectively. Of the 111 refineries potentially affected by Tier 3, EPA estimates that only 16 would have to install new equipment to comply. Twenty-nine of the remaining refineries either already meet the Tier 3 gasoline standard or could do so by making operational changes alone and the other 66 could meet the Tier 3 gasoline standard by modifying existing equipment. Significantly, EPA proposes a number of flexibilities for the Tier 3 fuel program, all of which have been successfully used in other EPA fuel programs, including 1) an annual average standard with a “sufficiently high” per-gallon cap; 2) an early credit program to phase in the sulfur standard between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2019; 3) relief for small refiners and refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels per day in the form of a three-year delay, until December 31, 2019 (which is consistent with the end of the early credit phase-in for large refiners) – this provision would apply to a total of 35 refineries, which represent 10 percent of gasoline production; 4) economic and technical hardship provisions that would be available to all refiners. EPA projects that the emissions impact of the Tier 3 program would include, in 2017 when the program takes effect, an 8-percent reduction in the national onroad NOx inventory, 3 percent reduction in VOCs, 4 percent reduction in carbon monoxide (CO), 4 percent reduction in benzene and 3 percent reduction in total air toxics. In 2030, once the program is fully effective, the emission reductions would increase to 28 percent NOx, 23 percent VOCs, 10 percent PM2.5, 30 percent CO, 36 percent benzene and 23 percent total air toxics. Additional emission reductions are expected to accrue after 2030 as the fleet continues to turn over to Tier 3. In terms of costs and benefits, EPA projects the gasoline sulfur standard would cost 0.89 cents per gallon and the vehicle standards would cost $130 per vehicle in 2025. Annual costs in 2030 would be $2.0 billion for the vehicle program and $1.3 billion for the fuel program for a total of $3.3 billion. Compare this to the total monetized benefits of the program in 2030, which are estimated to be between $8 billion and $23 billion. EPA will accept public comments on the Tier 3 proposal for 30 days after publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. Information on the dates and locations of public hearings has not yet been announced. For further information: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/tier3.htm.


NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Draft Quality Standards (March 26, 2013)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s Draft Quality Standard For Environmental Data Collection, Production, and Use By Non-EPA (External) Organizations and two associated quality assurance (QA) handbooks, all of which were announced in the Federal Register on December 26, 2012 (77 Federal Register 76035). NACAA’s comments centered around two main themes: 1) the proposed standards and draft handbooks could result in a significant expansion of state and local QA activities, which could be overly burdensome, and 2) the proposal advocates a centralized quality system that may be different from current state and local practices and difficult and costly to implement. NACAA requested that EPA repropose the standard and work collaboratively with state and local agencies to develop provisions achieving the stated goals without creating any unintended adverse impacts. The comment deadline closes on March 29, 2013. Any state or local air agencies that wish to submit more detailed comments to EPA are urged to do so at www.regulations.gov. For further information: http://www.4cleanair.org/Documents/NACAA_QAPP_Comments.pdf

President Obama Nominates McCarthy to Serve as EPA Administrator (March 4, 2013)
President Barack Obama has nominated Regina (Gina) McCarthy to serve as Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency. McCarthy was confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis in 2009 to her current role as Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Prior to EPA, McCarthy worked as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and as Governor Mitt Romney’s energy and climate advisor in Massachusetts. Click here for further information.

White House Issues State-by-State Sequester Estimates for Air and Water (February 25, 2013)
Unless Congress takes action, the budget sequester will take effect on March 1, 2013, requiring across-the-board cuts to federal programs.  The White House has issued state-by-state reports identifying some of the impacts of the possible sequester, including effects on “Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water.” In each state’s report, the Administration includes the following passage, :[State name] would lose about [dollar figure] in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, [state name] could lose another [dollar figure] in grants for fish and wildlife protection.”  The White House Council on Environmental Quality has also issued an email containing a table that compiles all the state-by-state amounts for environmental protection and fish and wildlife protection that are contained in the individual state reports.  While NACAA has not been able to learn how the air/water figures are calculated, it is presumed that they include federal grants to state and local agencies. 

EPA EPA Issues SSM Petition Response; Includes SIP Calls for 36 of 39 States Named in Petition (February 13, 2013)
EPA has issued a proposal in response to a petition from the Sierra Club regarding alleged inadequacies in 39 state SIPs regarding exemptions for emissions during startup, shutdown and malfunctions (SSM). EPA is proposing to grant the petitioner’s claim for 36 of the 39 states identified in the petition, by proposing to determine that these 36 states have approved SIPs that include one or more SSM provisions that are inconsistent with the Clean Air Act. EPA is proposing a SIP Call for each of those 36 states. In addition, EPA is proposing findings that the SSM provisions in the SIPs of these 36 states do not meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act (“findings of inadequacy”). EPA is proposing to give the 36 affected states 18 months to correct and submit their state plans to the Agency. The 18-month clock would start when EPA makes its final findings of inadequacy. EPA is also proposing to deny the request in the petition that EPA prohibit affirmative defenses in SIPs. Rather, EPA is revising its previous policy to continue to allow affirmative defenses in SIPs (for states that choose to provide them) for excess emissions that occur when a facility is experiencing a malfunction (an unplanned event) but not for excess emissions that occur when a facility is operating in a planned startup or shutdown mode. Finally, EPA is proposing to deny the request in the petition that EPA discontinue reliance on interpretive letters from states to clarify any potential ambiguity in the state's SIP submission. EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. If a public hearing is requested, EPA will hold one in Washington, DC, on March 12, 2013, and will extend the comment period to 30 days beyond the hearing date. Click here for the proposal and here for the fact sheet.


EPA Issues 2011 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from Large Facilities (February 5, 2013)
EPA has publicly released 2011 greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions data, which provides information by sector, greenhouse gas and geographic region (e.g., county or state). The 2011 data was collected pursuant to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and includes information about 41 source categories across nine industrial sectors that emit large quantities of GHGs. The list contains 12 new source categories from last year’s data, including petroleum and natural gas systems and coal mines. According to the data, in 2011, approximately 8,000 facilities reported direct emissions of 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. EPA reports that power plants are still the largest stationary source of GHG emissions, responsible for approximately one-third of total GHG emissions in the U.S., but that emissions in 2011 were 4.6 percent below the previous year. To access the data, click http://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/.


NACAA Urges EPA Administrator to Propose and Promulgate Tier 3 Rule This Year (January 22, 2013)
NACAA sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson urging her to propose the Tier 3 vehicle and gasoline standards as soon as possible this winter and promulgate the final rule by no later than December 31, 2013.  Citing NACAA’s October 2011 report, Cleaner Cars, Cleaner Fuels, Cleaner Air: The Need for and Benefits of Tier 3 Vehicle and Fuel Regulations, and its June 27, 2011 letter to the Administrator, the association reiterated its recommendations that the Tier 3 program include vehicle standards model after California’s Low-Emission Vehicle III program and an average annual gasoline sulfur concentration of 10 parts per million or lower.  Among the findings presented in NACAA’s report and highlighted in the letter are that reducing sulfur in gasoline would not only enable the use of improved emissions control technology on new cars and light trucks, but also achieve an overnight reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the existing fleet on the order of about 260,000 tons, which is equivalent to taking 33 million cars off our nation’s roads in 2017 when the Tier 3 program begins.  By 2030, Tier 3 would result in reductions in onroad mobile source emissions of NOx, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide of about 29, 26 and 38 percent, respectively.  The additional cost to consumers would be less than a penny a gallon for the cleaner gasoline and about $150, on average, for a cleaner Tier 3 vehicle.  NACAA also notes in its letter that reducing emissions that cause air pollution is a zero-sum game: “If our nation foregoes, or dilutes, Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards, states and localities will have no choice but to turn to other, more expensive, less cost-effective measures – for example, placing additional controls on stationary sources and small ‘mom and pop’ businesses and instituting transportation control measures – to garner the emissions reductions needed to attain and maintain clean air goals.”  Further, the Tier program would promote innovation in the automotive sector and create jobs in the refining industry.

Federal Government Defends MATS against Legal Challenges (January 22, 2013)
The federal government has filed its brief defending the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) against lawsuits challenging the regulations, issued on February 21, 2012. The suits have been filed by industry groups and some states opposed to the regulations that are designed to reduce emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric generation units. The cases have been consolidated into White Stallion v. EPA by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In defending the rule, the Administration states that “[b]ased on extensive study and analyses, EPA has determined that regulation of coal and oil-fired EGUs under section 7412 is ‘appropriate and necessary’ and has promulgated the emission standards at issue. The promulgated standards will secure substantial reductions in hazardous pollutant emissions from EGUs using controls that are readily available.” EPA further characterizes its compilation of scientific information as “exhaustive” and cites the use of “expert scientific judgment” in making its determinations.


Issues National Toxics Release Inventory Data for 2011 (January 16, 2013)
EPA has released the 2011 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data to the public. The TRI is a national EPA database containing details on the disposal or release of over 650 listed chemicals from thousands of facilities that are required to report these data to EPA. According to the 2011 data, total toxic air releases in 2011 decreased by 8 percent from 2010 levels, primarily due to declines in emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) emissions. Hydrochloric acid and mercury were among the HAP emissions showing decreases. According to EPA, these decreases over the last few years are likely due to installation of control technologies at coal-fired power plants and switching to other fuel sources. EPA’s analysis of the data showed that in the U.S., coal-fired power plants are the largest emitter of mercury air emissions . In 2011, Coal- and oil-fired power plants in the U.S. accounted for 65 percent of the mercury or mercury compounds emitted into the air and reported to the TRI. Overall, for 2011 EPA received data from 20,927 facilities nationwide, reporting total on- and off-site disposal or other releases of 4.09 billion pounds of toxic chemicals. Of that total, 800 million pounds were air emissions. From 2003 to 2011, there has been an 8-percent decrease in total disposal and releases, largely driven by air emission reductions. However, from 2010 to 2011, there was an overall increase of 8 percent in disposal or other releases, primarily due to the metal mining sector.


EPA Issues RICE Rule Reconsideration (January 15, 2013)
EPA has issued a final rule amending the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE), which is the result of a reconsideration of portions of the RICE rule issued in 2010. The reconsideration was proposed on May 22, 2012. The new amendments address several types of sources, including stationary engines used for emergency demand response. Among the new requirements are for emergency engines of 100 horsepower or larger that operate or commit to operate for more than 15 hours per year and up to 100 hours to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and to report information about their location and usage to EPA. In addition to emergency demand response engines, the amendments apply to engines used in sparsely populated areas for oil and gas production and in remote areas of Alaska; units scheduled to be replaced in the next few years due to state or local requirements; certain engines installed in 2006; engines testing for formaldehyde emissions; and engines for offshore vessels on the Outer Continental Shelf. For EPA’s Fact Sheet on the RICE Reconsideration, click here. For EPA’s Fact Sheet on RICE Emergency Engines, click here. For more information from EPA, see http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/rice/ricepg.html.

Draft National Climate Assessment Released for Public Review (January 14, 2013)
The U.S. Global Change Research Program released for public review a draft of the National Climate Assessment (NCA. The NCA concludes that “[c]limate change is already affecting the American people.” Evidence for this “abounds,” according to the report – sea levels are rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic, glaciers and sea ice are melting extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heavy precipitation events and heat waves are increasing. It also concludes that “[m]uch of the climate change of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities.” The report notes that “[a]s climate change and its impacts become more prevalent, Americans face choices.” Large reductions in emissions would be needed to avoid some of the worst impacts and risks of climate change, yet global emissions are still rising and are on track to be even higher than the high emissions scenario analyzed in the report. And, because the climate will change due to emissions already in the atmosphere, Americans must take steps to adapt to these changes. “[T]he pace and magnitude of observed and projected changes emphasize the need for being prepared for a wide variety and intensity of climate impacts” as the past climate is no longer a good guide to what to expect in the future, according to the NCA. Comments are due by April 12, 2013.

U.S. Marks Warmest Year on Record in 2012 (January 8, 2013)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that 2012 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit (°F), 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. In addition, the U.S. Climate Extremes Index, which evaluates extremes in temperature and precipitation, as well as tropical cyclones that hit land, indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation. Also of note, July 2012 was the hottest month ever observed for the contiguous United States, with an average temperature of 76.9°F, 3.6°F above average. The eighth warmest June, record hottest July and a warmer-than-average August resulted in a summer average temperature of 73.8°F, the second hottest summer on record by only hundredths of a degree. An estimated 99.1 million people experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures greater than 100°F, nearly one-third of the nation’s population. Click here for further information.


EPA Issues Final Amendments to Portland Cement Toxics Rule (December 20, 2012)
EPA has issued final amendments to the Portland Cement National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and New Source Performance Standards, which had been proposed in the Federal Register on July 18, 2012. Among other things, the amendments extend the compliance deadline for existing kilns from September 9, 2013 until September 9, 2015; facilities may request an additional year if needed. The final rule also: adjusts the monitoring method, and resulting emissions limits, required for particulate matter (PM); allows kilns with PM or organic air toxic emissions below 75 percent of the final emissions limits greater flexibility in meeting daily operating limits; treats coal mills that use kiln exhaust as part of the cement kiln; allows facilities to choose from a list of work practices to control fugitive emissions; and revises the alternative emission limit for organic air toxics. Final emissions limits in the rule include: 1) for mercury, 55 pounds per million tons of clinker, averaged over 30 days, for existing sources, and 21 pounds per million tons for new facilities; for total hydrocarbons, 24 parts per million by volume (ppmv), averaged over 30 days, for new and existing facilities; for organic air toxics, an alternative limit of 12 ppmv for new and existing facilities; for PM, 0.07 pounds per ton of clinker for existing facilities and 0.02 pounds per ton of clinker for new facilities; and for hydrochloric acid, 3 ppmv, averaged over 30 days, for new and existing facilities. EPA had issued the earlier rules in September 2010. In December 2011, a court remanded the rules to EPA and instructed the agency to review them in light of possible overlap with a separate rule that could designate some cement kilns as incinerators. Additionally, EPA had received four requests for reconsideration regarding the standards. For further information, click here.


EPA Issues Boiler and CISWI Rules (December 20, 2012)
EPA has issued the final reconsidered Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at major and area sources, as well as the Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI) hazardous air pollution (HAP) rule. EPA made adjustments to the rules in order to reflect operating conditions of specific types of boilers. For example, EPA adjusted emissions limits for certain pollutants in certain categories of major boilers and CISWI, which resulted in both less and more stringent emission limits, depending on what the new data demonstrated. Furthermore, EPA added to and refined the list of boiler subcategories. EPA also extended the compliance deadlines to 2016 and 2018 for major boilers and CISWI units, respectively. In a separate but related rulemaking, EPA revised the non-hazardous materials rule to define which materials are “solid waste” when burned in a combustion unit, which helps determine which standards, either boiler or CISWI, apply at a unit that burns these materials. The boiler MACT, area source MACT and CISWI HAP rules had been issued in final form in the Federal Register on March 21, 2011, but at that time EPA announced that it would reconsider the regulations. The effective date for the final rules was May 20, 2011, but EPA issued No Action Assurance letters (in effect until December 31, 2012) for certain initial deadlines. EPA proposed the reconsideration on December 23, 2011 and accepted comments until February 21, 2012. Click here for further information.


EPA Issues Final PM NAAQS (December 14, 2012)
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson signed a final rule establishing new and revised National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM); the agency was under a court-ordered deadline to complete this action by today. In the final rule, EPA sets an annual PM2.5 standard of 12 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3), down from the existing annual standard of 15 µg/m3, established in 1997. EPA’s proposal was to set the annual PM2.5 standard at a level in the range of 12 to 13 µg/m3. The agency finalized its proposal to retain the existing 24-hour PM2.5 standard of 35 µg/m3, set in 2006, and the existing PM10 standard of 150 µg/m3, which has been in place since 1997. With respect to the secondary NAAQS, EPA is retaining the existing standards of 15 µg/m3 for annual PM2.5, 35 µg/m3 for 24-hour PM2.5 and 150 µg/m3 for 24-hour PM10. The agency did not finalize a separate standard to protect against visibility impairment as it had proposed to do; instead, it will rely on the existing secondary 24-hour PM2.5 standard to provide this protection and in the final rule determines that 30 deciviews is the appropriate target level of protection for a visibility index with a 24-hour averaging time. In addition to the standards, the rule adds requirements for near-roadway monitoring of PM2.5 at one location in each Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSA) with a population of 1 million or greater, to be phased in beginning with the largest CBSAs (those with a population of 2.5 million or greater) by January 1, 2015 and completing the remaining areas by January 1, 2017. The size of the PM2.5 monitoring network, currently consisting of 900 monitors, will not be increased, but EPA expects that states will be able to relocate, “at little or no additional cost,” about 52 existing monitors to comply with the near-roadway requirements. EPA also grandfathers certain Prevention of Significant Determination PM2.5 permits so as not to delay some pending permits, and updates the Air Quality Index (AQI) for PM2.5 by converting concentrations for fine particles to a number on a scale from zero to 500 and setting breakpoints for the various AQI categories. With respect to designations, EPA anticipates the following: 1) states and tribes recommend area designations by December 2013; 2) EPA responds to recommendations by August 2014 (states and tribes will then have the chance to comment and provide additional information on any modifications to their recommendations); 3) EPA makes final designations by December 2014; 4) designations likely become effective in early 2015 (60 days after publication in the Federal Register); 5) implementation plans are due to EPA in 2018; and 6) states are required to meet the standards in 2020 but may request an extension to 2025 depending on the severity of an area’s nonattainment problem and availability of control measures. Click here for further information.


NACAA Submits Comments on Proposed EPA Rule to Phase Implementation of Near Road NO2 Monitoring Requirements (November 19, 2012)
NACAA submitted comments on Revision to Ambient Nitrogen Dioxide Monitoring Requirements (“Proposed Revision”), which was published in the Federal Register on October 19, 2012 (77 Federal Register 64244). The association supported the proposed rule, which would establish a phased approach to implementing the near road nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monitoring network, requiring one monitor in core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) with a population of 1 million or more to be operational by January 1, 2014; a second monitor in CBSAs with a population of 2.5 million or more to be operational by January 1, 2015; and one monitor in CBSAs with a population of 500,000 or more, but less than 1 million, to be operational by January 1, 2017. Under the current rule, all required near road NO2 monitors – one in each CBSA with a population of 500,000 or more and a second monitor in CBSAs with a population of 2.5 million or more – are to begin operation by January 1, 2013. NACAA commended EPA for responding to the recommendations of state and local agencies to implement a phased approach to deployment of the NO2 near road network via rulemaking and continued to encourage EPA to consult with state and local agencies on important implementation issues that are raised by the network and nonattainment area designations. Click here further information.


EPA Proposes New Source Provisions for MATS (November 16, 2012)
EPA has proposed updated provisions for new coal- and oil-fired electric utilities under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The proposal calls for new emission limits for mercury, particulate matter, acid gases and some individual metals. Additionally, the proposal would revise and clarify startup and shutdown provisions in MATS and in the related Utility New Source Performance Standards that were issued with MATS. EPA has stated that the new proposal will call for the same type of state-of-the-art control technologies that the previous MATS required. The agency also calculated that the proposal will not result in significant changes in cost, emission reductions or health benefits from the previous new source MATS. EPA originally issued the final MATS on December 16, 2011. Subsequently, the regulation was subject to several legal challenges. On July 20, 2012, EPA agreed to reconsider certain elements of the new source provisions, including the data used to determine the standards and startup and shutdown provisions. This proposal is the result of that reconsideration. There will be a 30-day public comment period once the proposal is published in the Federal Register (an expedited publication schedule is expected). EPA will hold a public hearing on December 18, 2012, if requested. A final rule is due by March 2013.


NACAA Develops Fact Sheet on Impacts of Possible Budget Sequestration or “Fiscal Cliff” (November 13, 2012)
As previously reported, there could be a budget “sequestration” (also called the “Fiscal Cliff”) beginning on January 2, 2013 that will result in significant across-the-board cuts to federal programs. Unless Congress adopts an alternative deficit-reduction plan before the end of 2012, there will be an estimated across-the-board reduction of 8.2 percent to non-exempt nondefense discretionary funding, which includes EPA’s budget. While the details of exactly how any cuts would be implemented are not available, such reductions would likely be very harmful to state and local clean air programs that rely on federal grants. NACAA has prepared a fact sheet that discusses some of the air quality activities and programs that could be affected by an across-the-board cut. The programs that could be adversely affected include monitoring, SIP work, permitting, MACT implementation, inspections, enforcement, training, etc. NACAA’s document is designed for state and local air officials to use to educate policy-makers and elected officials about the possible ramifications of the sequestration. Members should feel free to tailor this document to include details about their own programs.

EPA Finalizes Amendments to NSR Program for Condensable PM (October 12, 2012)
EPA finalized changes to the definition of “regulated NSR pollutant” under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) Program regarding emissions of condensable particulate matter (PM). The rule: 1) clarifies the requirement that condensable PM be included as part of the emissions measurements for regulation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and coarse particulate matter (PM10); and 2) removes an “inadvertent” requirement, contained in the 2008 PM2.5 NSR Implementation Rule, that condensable PM be included as part of the emissions measurements for regulation of larger “particulate matter emissions.” Click here for further information.


EPA Proposes Rule to Phase Implementation of NO2 Near Road Monitoring Requirements (October 5, 2012)
EPA issued a proposed rule that would phase implementation of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) near road monitoring requirements. Under the current rule, all required near road NO2 monitors – one in each core-based statistical area (CBSA) with a population of 500,000 or more and a second monitor in CBSAs with a population of 2.5 million or more – are to begin operation by January 1, 2013. The proposed rule would revise the current deadline to establish a phased approach to implementing the network, requiring one monitor in CBSAs with a population of 1 million or more to be operational by January 1, 2014; a second monitor in CBSAs with a population of 2.5 million or more to be operational by January 1, 2015; and one monitor in CBSAs with a population of 500,000 or more, but less than 1 million, to be operational by January 1, 2017. EPA is also proposing to give the appropriate EPA Regional Administrator authority to approve annual NO2 monitoring network plans, consistent with the approval authority for other criteria pollutants. The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Click here for further information.


Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Issues Recommended Funding Levels for EPA for FY 2013 (September 25, 2012)
The leadership of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies issued a bipartisan recommended bill that would fund several agencies and departments, including EPA in FY 2013. The bill calls for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 to be funded at FY 2012 levels – $235.7 million – which is $65.8 million less than the President’s request. Likewise, the Senate recommended level funding for programs under the Diesel Emissions Control Act (DERA) – $30 million – which is $15 million more than the President’s request. The Senate bill also called for PM monitoring funds to remain under the authority of Section 103, rather than shifting them to Section 105, where state and local matching funds would be necessary. While Congress adopted a Continuing Resolution on September 22, 2012 to keep the government in operation after the start of the new fiscal year at roughly FY 2012 levels, it is expected that Congress will take up the issue of FY 2013 appropriations after the election. With this proposal, the Senate has a recommendation from which to start negotiations with the House. The House Appropriations Committee had approved a bill in July 2012 calling for $200.7 million for state and local air grants, representing a cut of 14.8 percent – or $35 million – from the amount appropriated in FY 2012, and a reduction of over $100 million from the President’s FY 2013 budget request. For further information:
http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=fc23708b-fb33-4569-99b4-6cf0d0254457, information about state and local air grants begins on page 65 of the bill language and page 25 of the table.


Congress Adopts Continuing Resolution to Fund Federal Government until March 2013 (September 22, 2012)
The Senate voted on September 22, 2012 to approve H.J. Res. 117, a Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue federal funding at approximately current levels until March 27, 2013. The vote was 62-30. The House had approved the measure on September 13, 2012. President Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly. The CR was necessary because Congress has not adopted a bill to fund the federal government after October 1, 2013, which is the start of FY 2013. The CR is consistent with the $1.047-trillion discretionary cap included in debt-limit legislation adopted in August 2011. However, the debt limit bill contains levels higher than current levels, so the CR provides increases of 0.6 percent for most federal agencies. Since FY 2012 levels for Section 103 and 105 grants were $235.7 million, if the 0.6 percent increase is provided to Section 103/105 grants, the CR amount would be $237.1 million. To date, the House Appropriations Committee had approved all 12 FY 2013 spending bills and the full House adopted seven. In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee had approved 11 of the 12 bills (not including the bill containing EPA’s budget), but the full Senate did not vote on any of the bills. For further information:
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app13.html.

NACAA Testifies in Support of California’s Waiver Request for Advanced Clean Car Program (September 19, 2012)
NACAA presented testimony at EPA’s public hearing on the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) request for a waiver of federal preemption under Clean Air Act section 209(b) for the states Advanced Clean Car (ACC) program. NACAA offered strong support for full and prompt approval CARB’s request, noting that the ACC program clearly meets the statutory tests upon which EPA must base its determination and, further, that the program will yield important public health, environmental and economic benefits. To view the testimony, click here.


NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Proposed Revisions to the PM NAAQS (August 31, 2012)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s proposed rule, National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, which was published in the Federal Register on June 29, 2012 (77 Federal Register 38890). The association supported EPA’s proposals to tighten the primary annual PM2.5 standard to a level in the range of 12-13 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) and retain the primary 24-hour PM2.5 standard of 35 µg/m3, as well as the agency’s proposal to retain the current “suite” of secondary standards for PM2.5 and PM10 to address other non-visibility welfare effects. While NACAA offered no comments with regard to EPA’s proposal to establish a new secondary visibility standard for PM2.5, the association noted several implementation concerns that should be addressed if the standard goes forward. These include focusing implementation of the secondary visibility standard primarily in urban areas, ensuring that it does not overlap or conflict with the Regional Haze Program, and relying primarily on the Chemical Speciation Network, rather than the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments Network, to provide associated monitoring data. In addition to those regarding the proposed standards, NACAA also provided comments regarding EPA’s approach for implementing the revised standards, including supporting the agency’s proposed transition provisions for the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program. Finally, NACAA provided detailed comments regarding EPA’s proposed revisions to the PM2.5 monitoring provisions, including the near roadway network, data handling, and quality assurance. Click here for further information.


EPA and NHTSA Issue Joint Final Rulemaking Establishing GHG Emissions and CAFE Standards for 2017 and Later Model Years Light-Duty Vehicles (August 28, 2012)
EPA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final rule establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light-duty trucks for Model Years (MY) 2017 – 2025. The standards will increase fuel economy for light-duty vehicles to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by MY 2025. In addition to benefits achieved through the MY 2012 – 2016 standards, which increased fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg, the MY 2017 – 2025 standards are estimated to reduce oil consumption by approximately 4 billion barrels and reduce GHG emissions by 2 billion metric tons. Program flexibilities offered to auto manufacturers include: credit banking and trading; air conditioning improvement credits; off-cycle credits; incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, and compressed natural gas vehicles; incentives for advanced technologies including hybridization for full-size pickup trucks; treatment of compressed natural gas, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and flexible fuel vehicles; and provisions for intermediate and small volume manufacturers. Click here for further information.


CSAPR Vacated by U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (August 21, 2012)
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision vacating the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), ruling that EPA exceeded its statutory authority in promulgating the rule. The court said the Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to require upwind states to reduce “only their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment. [Yet under CSAPR,] upwind States may be required to reduce emissions by more than their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment.” Furthermore, the Act gives states the initial opportunity to implement the required reductions, but under CSAPR, EPA issued FIPs without first providing states with the opportunity to put together SIPs. The court thus vacated CSAPR and the CSAPR FIPs and remanded the case to EPA for action consistent with the decision. The court directed EPA to continue administering the Clean Air Interstate Rule “pending the promulgation of a valid replacement.” Click here for the court decision.


NACAA Sends Letter to EPA in Support of NATA (August 15, 2012)
NACAA has sent a letter to EPA expressing support for EPA’s National-scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), urging EPA to continue to provide this valuable tool to state and local air agencies and the public and recommending several improvements to it. NACAA noted that the information NATA provides is valuable to state and local agencies’ efforts to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The benefits of NATA include a consistent evaluation of the National Emission Inventory for HAPs; information about air quality and risks in areas without HAP monitoring data; periodic assessments that are useful for planning and priority setting; communication with the public about HAPs; information about trends; and evaluation of data that cut across stationary, mobile and background sources. NACAA recommended ways that NATA could be improved, including making it more timely, reducing reliance on Toxic Release Inventory data and developing improved caveats that would help state and local agencies to educate the public.


NACAA Comments on Proposed RICE Amendments (August 9, 2012)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s proposed amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and New Source Performance Standards for stationary Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE), which were proposed in the Federal Register on June 7, 2012 (77 FR 33812). NACAA expressed concern that EPA’s proposal to expand the hours that certain RICE can operate without emission limits could result in a significant increase in diesel and other emissions, often in highly populated areas, and adversely affect public health. Also problematic is the fact that these engines would most likely operate on high electricity demand days in the summer, contributing to the formation of ozone. NACAA noted that EPA has proposed the rule without adequate information about the number and location of affected sources, which is necessary to evaluate the impact of the proposal on public health. The association recommended that EPA collect additional information about the affected units and conduct further analysis of the consequences of the rule before concluding that the expanded hours of the exemptions would not pose a problem. With respect to Remote Spark-Ignition Engines, NACAA recommended that the exemption be extended to certain agricultural compression ignition engines at area sources if they are in attainment areas and areas that do not significantly impact nonattainment areas.


Congressional Leaders Announce Six-Month Continuing Resolution for FY 2013 (July 31, 2012)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced their agreement to a six-month Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the federal government for the first half of FY 2013, from October 1, 2012 until March 30, 2013, at current levels. They also announced that President Barack Obama had agreed to sign such a CR. The agreement corresponds to a $1.047-trillion funding level, which is the cap agreed to last summer during the debt-ceiling debates. Congress will vote to approve the FY 2013 CR in September, after it returns from its recess. This agreement ensures that the federal government will not have to shut down due to a cessation of federal funding. Current funding (FY 2012) for state and local air grants under Section 103/105 of the Clean Air Act is $235.7 million. As previously announced, the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill calling for $200.7 million for Section 103/105 grants in FY 2013, while the Senate had not yet acted.


EPA Publishes Proposed Amendments to Portland Cement Toxics Rule (July 18, 2012)
EPA has published in the Federal Register proposed amendments to the Portland Cement National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and New Source Performance Standards that the agency announced on June 25, 2012. Publication in the Federal Register begins the 30-day public comment period, which ends on August 17, 2012. The proposal would extend the compliance deadline for existing kilns from September 9, 2013 until September 9, 2015. It would also change the method for the continuous monitoring of particulate matter (PM) emissions and adjust the PM emissions limits. The proposal would also allow facilities to select from a list of work practices to control fugitive emissions from open clinker piles and would change alternative emission limits for organic air toxics (allowing kilns to meet the alternative limit instead of a total hydrocarbon limit). EPA is required by a court order to issue the final rule by December 20, 2012.


Federal Court Upholds 1-Hour NO2 Standard (July 17, 2012)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied challenges by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and others against the 2010 1-hour nitrogen dioxide (NO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), upholding the standard. In American Petroleum Institute and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA (No. 10-1079) the court, in an unanimous opinion, dismissed claims that EPA’s latest revision to the NO2 NAAQS, which established a 1-hour standard of 100 parts per billion (ppb), was arbitrary and capricious and found that the revision was in line with the Clean Air Act. The court also dismissed a claim by petitioners that EPA ran afoul of the Act by noting that applicants for Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits would initially need to demonstrate that their projects would not cause or contribute to a violation of the revised NO2 NAAQS, finding that EPA’s statement to this effect in the final rule preamble was not final agency action and therefore the court did not have jurisdiction to review it. Click here for further information.


NACAA Testifies on Proposed PM NAAQS (July 17, 2012)
This week, NACAA will testify at EPA’s two public hearings on the agency’s proposed PM NAAQS. In its testimony, NACAA focuses on just a few key issues, based on a preliminary review of the proposal, related to the proposed PM2.5 NAAQS, monitoring and implementation. Click here to view the testimony Thomas Huynh (Philadelphia, PA) will provide on behalf of NACAA at the July 17 hearing in Philadelphia. Click here to view the testimony Larry Greene (Sacramento, CA) will provide on behalf of NACAA at the July 19 hearing in Sacramento. The association will continue to study the proposal over the next several weeks and provide more comprehensive written comments to EPA by the August 31 comment deadline.

EPA Releases Step 3 of GHG Tailoring Rule; Retains Existing GHG Permitting Thresholds (July 3, 2012)

EPA released Step 3 of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Tailoring Rule, in which the agency did not revise the GHG permitting thresholds established in Steps 1 and 2 of the GHG Tailoring Rule. EPA determined that state permitting authorities have not had sufficient time to develop necessary permitting infrastructure and to increase their GHG permitting expertise and capacity. Furthermore, EPA and the state permitting authorities have not had the opportunity to develop and implement streamlining approaches, according to EPA. In the Step 3 Rule, however, EPA finalized an approach that will improve the usefulness of plantwide applicability limitations (PALs) for GHG emissions by allowing GHG PALs to be established on a carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) basis in addition to the already available mass-basis. In addition, EPA also revised its regulations to allow a source that emits or has the potential to emit GHGs at levels above 100,000 tons per year CO2e but that have emissions of other regulated pollutants at minor source levels to apply for a GHG PAL while still maintaining its minor source status. Click here for further information.


Federal Courts Upholds EPA’s GHG Regulations (June 26, 2012)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld four EPA rules regulating emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs): 1) Endangerment and Cause or Contribution Finding under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act (“Endangerment Finding”), 74 Federal Register 66496 (December 15, 2009); 2) Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (“Light-Duty Vehicle Rule), 75 Federal Register 25324 (May 7, 2010); 3) Reconsideration of Interpretation of Regulations that Determine Pollutants Covered by Clean Air Act Permitting Programs (“Johnson Memo Reconsideration”), 75 Federal Register 17004 (April 2, 2010); and Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V GHG Tailoring Rule (“Tailoring Rule”), 75 Federal Register 31514 (June 3, 2010). In a combined opinion, the court denied petitioners’ challenges to the Endangerment Finding and Light-Duty Vehicle Rule, holding that EPA’s promulgation of the rules was neither arbitrary nor capricious, and that the Endangerment Finding is consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, adheres to the Clean Air Act, and is adequately supported by the administrative record. The court also denied petitioners’ challenges to EPA’s longstanding interpretation that the Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program applies to any regulated pollutant, holding that, while certain petitioners have standing to challenge the rules due to the recent inclusion of GHGs, EPA is statutorily compelled to require PSD permits for major emitters of any regulated pollutant. Finally, the court dismissed petitioners’ challenges to the Johnson Memo Reconsideration and Tailoring Rule, holding that no petitioner has standing to challenge the rules as they all failed to establish an injury in fact. Multiple petitions for review of all four rules were consolidated in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA (Nos. 09-1322, 10-1073, and 10-1092) and American Chemistry Council v. EPA (No. 10-1167). Click here for further information.


House Appropriations Subcommittee Votes to Slash EPA Budget, Including Air Grants (June 20, 2012)
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies held mark-up on the appropriations bill containing EPA’s FY 2013 budget, voting for deep cuts to the agency. The bill provides $7 billion for EPA, which is $1.4 billion (17 percent) below FY 2012 levels. While full details and report language have not yet been made available, NACAA has heard unofficial reports that Section 103/105 funding is slated for a steep reduction as well – the bill reportedly calling for $200.7 million in Section 103/105 grants, which is a cut of $35 million (14.8 percent) from the FY 2012 level of $235.7 million. Please note that the information specifically regarding Section 103/105 levels is pending confirmation. On a positive note, consistent with NACAA’s recommendations to Congress, the Subcommittee voted to retain funding for the particulate matter monitoring program under Section 103 of the Clean Air Act, rather than shifting it to Section 105, as recommended by the Administration, where additional matching funds would be required. The bill includes even deeper cuts to the overall State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) account, calling for $2.6 billion for STAG, which is a cut of over $1 billion from FY 2012 levels (28 percent). The bill language includes several air-related provisions, such as: the Administration must submit a report to Congress on all federal funding for climate change programs, projects and activities; federal funds may not be used to promulgate or implement any regulation requiring Title V permits for carbon dioxide, NOx, water vapor or methane from biological processes associated with livestock production; and funds may not be used to implement provisions requiring mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases from manure management systems. In addition, a rider to the bill would allow ocean-going vessels that participate in a 48-month “pilot program” to be deemed in compliance with requirements of the North American Emission Control Area (ECA) program under which ocean-going vessels operating within 200 miles of a North American Coast are required to use low-sulfur. Additional air-related provisions are likely to be included in the report language that has not been made public. Finally, the Subcommittee included $30 million for DERA funding, consistent with FY 2012 levels. The full Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the bill next week. Click here for a copy of the bill. Click here for text of legislative riders to the bill (including the ECA pilot program). See the Program Funding page for additional documents.

EPA Proposes to Revise PM2.5 NAAQS (June 14, 2012)
EPA proposed revisions to strengthen the current annual, primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particular matter (PM2.5) to a level within the range of 12 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) to 13 μg/m3. The proposal would retain the existing 24-hour PM2.5 standard at 35 μg/m3 and set a new PM2.5 standard for visibility at either 30 deciviews or 28 deciviews. EPA is proposing to retain the current 24-hour standard for coarse particulate matter (PM10) of 150 μg/m3, as well as the existing secondary standards for both PM2.5 and PM10. The proposal also contains updates to the PM2.5 monitoring network, including relocation of a number of PM2.5 monitors near roadways. The proposal would require one PM2.5 monitor, collocated with a near road nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monitoring site, in each core-based statistical area with a population of 1 million or greater beginning January 1, 2015. EPA estimates that this would require the relocation of approximately 52 monitors nationwide. Finally, EPA is proposing to grandfather certain preconstruction permitting applications from compliance with the revised standard. The agency anticipates making initial designations by December 2014; those designations would likely take effect in December 2015, giving states until 2020 to meet the standard, with the possibility of an extension to 2025 in certain circumstances. EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule for 63 days after publication in the Federal Register. Public hearings will be held in Philadelphia, PA and Sacramento, CA, with details to be announced in a separate notice. Final standards will be issued by December 14, 2012. Click here for further information.

EPA Agrees to Sign Final PM NAAQS by December 14, Asks for Additional Week to Sign Proposal (June 5, 2012)
EPA and plaintiffs in the case American Lung Association v. EPA (No. 1:12-cv-243) reached a tentative settlement agreement under which the agency agreed to sign the final revised particulate matter (PM) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) by December 14, 2012. EPA also asked the court to allow the agency until June 14, 2012 to sign a proposed rule and to postpone a June 11 hearing to determine a timeline for signing the final revised NAAQS. Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered EPA to sign the proposed PM NAAQS by June 7, 2012, expedite the rule’s publication in the Federal Register, and accept public comments for a period of nine weeks. The case was filed by the American Lung Association and National Parks Conservation Association, along with the states of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, to compel EPA to issue the revised NAAQS. The tentative settlement agreement calls for parities to draft a proposed consent decree by June 15, 2012. Click here for further information.


Federal Court Orders EPA to Sign Proposed PM NAAQS by June 7 (June 1, 2012)
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered EPA to sign a revised particulate matter (PM) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) by June 7, 2012. The case before the court, American Lung Association v. EPA (No. 1:12-cv-243), was filed by the American Lung Association and National Parks Conservation Association, along with the states of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, to compel EPA to issue the revised NAAQS. In addition to setting a deadline of June 7 for the agency to sign a proposed rule, the court ordered EPA to expedite the rule’s publication in the Federal Register and accept public comments for a period of nine weeks. A hearing on the timeline for issuance of the final revised PM NAAQS, during which the court has asked to hear from EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy, is scheduled for June 11, 2012. Click here for further information.


EPA Releases White Paper with Option for SO2 Implementation (May 22, 2012)
EPA released a white paper, entitled “Implementation of the 2010 Primary 1-Hour SO2 NAAQS,” that contains options for implementation of the primary sulfur dioxide (SO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). Provided in order to facilitate discussion during the agency’s upcoming stakeholder meetings, which are scheduled later this month in Research Triangle Park, NC, the white paper identifies options for determining whether air quality meets the SO2 NAAQS and evaluate possibilities for requiring the use of ambient air monitoring and/or modeling for this purpose. The white paper also solicits input regarding ways of implementing a final approach. The state/local/tribal SO2 stakeholder session is scheduled for May 31, 2012. EPA will accept written comments on the white paper through June 22, 2012. Click here for further information.


EPA Revises New Source Performance Standards for Nitric Acid Plants (May 14, 2012)
EPA issued a final rule revising New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for nitric acid plants. Under the revised standards, new, modified, and reconstructed nitric acid plants are required to meet a nitrogen oxides (NOX) limit of 0.50 pounds NOX per ton of nitric acid produced, calculated using a 30-day average emission rate. The revised limit also applies during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction. In addition to meeting the revised NOX limit, source are required to install, calibrate, maintain, and operate continuous emission monitors to measure NOX. EPA is not taking final action to establish a limit for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the revised NSPS, but encourages nitric acid plants to consider technologies that reduce both NOX and nitrous oxide (N2O). Click here for further information.


EPA To Hold Public Hearings on May 24 on Proposed GHG Power Plant Performance Standards; Extends Comment Period on Proposal (May 4, 2012)
In a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication on May 4, 2012, EPA announced that it will hold two public hearing on its proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for power plants. The hearings will be held on May 24, 2012, in Washington, DC, and in Chicago, IL. In addition, EPA announced that it is extending the comment period on the proposal to June 25, 2012. EPA’s proposed GHG NSPS would set a standard of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour (lb CO2/MWhr) for new natural gas- and coal-fired base load and intermediate load power plants. EPA provides an alternative compliance option for coal-fired power plants; they may meet an 1800 lb CO2/MWhr standard for ten years and then drop down to 600 lb CO2/MWhr for the next 20 years. Click here for further information.


NACAA Submits Comments on Proposed GHG Tailoring Rule Step 3 (April 20, 2012)
NACAA submitted comments on Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule Step 3, GHG Plantwide Applicability Limitations and GHG Synthetic Minor Limits (77 Federal Register 14226), EPA’s proposed Step 3 under the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Tailoring Rule. The association supported EPA’s proposal to retain the existing Tailoring Rule applicability thresholds of 100,000 / 75,000 tons per year carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). NACAA also commented on streamlining approaches for GHG permitting, generally supporting EPA’s proposals to provide additional flexibility for the use of Plantwide Applicability Limitations (PALs) for GHGs and to allow EPA to issue GHG synthetic minor permits in areas where the agency is the permitting authority. However, the association asked EPA to clarify its proposed approach to providing flexibility for the use of GHG PALs by proposing specific rule language for review and comment and to make clear that the proposed requirements for EPA-issued GHG synthetic minor permits do not apply to states and localities with existing synthetic minor authority. As an additional streamlining measure, NACAA also asked EPA to move forward with an exclusion for “empty” Title V GHG permits by proposing specific language to effectuate the exemption for public review and comment. Finally, NACAA noted that EPA’s request for states to submit additional burden information is unnecessary and recommended that the agency work with NACAA to identify less burdensome options for collecting additional information if required. Click here for further information.


EPA Issues Final NSPS and NESHAP for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector (April 18, 2012)
EPA issued a final rule revising New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production and onshore natural gas processing plant source category and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for the Oil and Natural Gas Production and the Natural Gas Transmission and Storage source categories. The NSPS for the Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production source category regulates emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from gas wells, centrifugal compressors, reciprocating compressors, pneumatic controllers, storage vessels, and leaking components at onshore natural gas processing plants. Standards for fractured and refractured gas wells direct owners/operators to use Reduced Emissions Completions (RECs) or completion combustion devices, such as flaring, to achieve VOC reductions through 2014. Beginning January 1, 2015, the use of RECs and a completion combustion device will be required. The NSPS also includes standards regulating emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from onshore natural gas processing plants. Finally, the rule revises the NESHAP for glycol dehydration unit process vents, establishing Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards for “small” glycol dehydration units unregulated under the initial NESHAP for major sources at oil and natural gas production facilities and for “small” glycol dehydrators unregulated under the initial NESHAP for major sources at natural gas transmission and storage facilities. Click here for further information.


NACAA Submits Testimony to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee (April 17, 2012)
NACAA submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding FY 2013 federal grants to state and local air agencies. The Senate does not hold hearings for outside witnesses. NACAA expressed support for the increases the President requested for federal grants to state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act, which included an increase of $65.8 million over FY 2012, for a total of $301.5 million. NACAA stated that the proposed increases would support essential programs and recommended that Congress allow state and local agencies flexibility to determine which activities are most in need of additional funds in their areas. Most agencies will need additional grants for two major categories – core programs and monitoring. NACAA also requested that funds for PM2.5 monitoring remain under Section 103 authority, thus not requiring matching funds. The Administration is requesting that the monitoring funds be shifted to Section 105 authority in a five-year phase-in, beginning with FY 2013.


EPA Releases Final 2012 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report (April 16, 2012)
EPA released its 17th annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Report. The report, entitled “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990- 2010,” was prepared for submission to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and contains an official estimate of total U.S. GHG emissions. According to the final report, U.S. GHG emissions increased 3.2 percent in 2010 over the previous year and 10 percent overall from 1990 to 2010. Total GHG emissions for 2010 are estimated at 6,822 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Click here for further information.

EPA Sends Letter to States Outlining Next Steps for SO2 Implementation (April 12, 2012)

EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy sent a letter to states outlining the agency’s plans for moving forward with implementation of the 1-hour sulfur dioxide (SO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). As detailed in the letter, EPA plans to: 1) move forward with the current designations process as soon as possible; 2) initiate stakeholder outreach in the near future to ask for input on monitoring, modeling, and implementation issues, particularly for unclassifiable areas; and 3) no longer expect states’ June 2013 State Implementation Plan (SIP) submittal to contain modeling demonstrations showing attainment of the standard in unclassifiable areas. EPA recommends that states instead focus their June 2013 SIP submittal on traditional infrastructure elements contained in Clean Air Act sections 110(a)(1) and (2). Information regarding the planned stakeholder meetings will be available on EPA’s website soon. Click here for further information.

NACAA Report Cited in New York Times Editorial on Clean Fuels, Clean Cars (April 5, 2012)

A New York Times editorial published today (April 5, 2012) urges President Obama to propose the Tier 3 program, including requirements for lower levels of sulfur in gasoline and tighter motor vehicle emissions standards.  In making the case for Tier 3, the editorial cites a study published by NACAA last fall, Cleaner Cars, Cleaner Fuel, Cleaner Air: The Need for and Benefits of Tier 3 Vehicle and Fuel Regulations.

EPA Releases Proposed GHG NSPS for New Power Plants (March 27, 2012)
EPA released a proposed New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) covering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs). EPA is proposing that new fossil fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt‐hour (lb CO2/MWh gross). The proposal covers fossil fuel‐fired boilers, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) units and stationary combined cycle turbine units that generate electricity for sale and are larger than 25 megawatts (MW). The proposal would not cover existing units, including units that need permits for modifications, nor would it cover new power plant units that have permits and start construction within 12 months of this proposal or units looking to renew permits that are part of a Department of Energy demonstration project, provided that these units start construction within 12 months of this proposal. EPA is also proposing that plants may opt to meet a 30-year average of CO2 emissions to meet the standard, under which the plants would meet a 1800 lb CO2/MWh gross emissions standard for the first 10 years and then ratchet down to a 600 lb CO2/MWh gross emissions standard over the next 20 years. According to EPA, this would allow carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) to be transitioned in over 10 years in order to meet the lower standard. The comment period will be 60 days and will commence once the proposal is published in the Federal Register. EPA is will be holding public hearings on the proposal and the dates and times for these will be published later. For further information: http://epa.gov/carbonpollutionstandard/index.html.


NACAA Comments on EPA’s Draft FY 2013 National Program and Grant Guidance (March 26, 2012)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s draft FY 2013 Program and Grant Guidance (February 23, 2012). The guidance pertains to the President’s budget request for FY 2013 and covers EPA priorities and the use of Section 103 and 105 grants. It does not contain a detailed breakdown of how grants will be allocated among activities and regions. NACAA expressed support for the Administration’s FY 2013 budget proposal for Section 103/105 grants, calling for an increase of $65.8 million above FY 2012 levels, for a total of $301.5 million. NACAA also commended EPA for recognizing the importance of core programs in the draft guidance. NACAA offered specific comments and suggestions about a variety of issues in the draft program and grant guidance and included more detailed comments about the ambient monitoring program. For example, while NACAA expressed appreciation for the increase in monitoring funds contained in the President’s request, the association recommended that funding for PM2.5 monitoring not be shifted from Section 103 to Section 105 authority.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Chromium Electroplating and Steel Pickling Risk and Technology Review Proposal (March 26, 2012)

NACAA has submitted comments on the re-proposed National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks; and Steel Pickling-HCl Process Facilities and Hydrochloric Acid Regeneration Plants, which were published in the Federal Register on February 8, 2012. The proposed rule is the Residual Risk and Technology Review standard for the source category. NACAA commended EPA for collecting additional data and for proposing additional control requirements. However, the association expressed concerns about deficiencies in certain elements of the risk assessment methodology upon which EPA based the proposal, including evaluation of the most exposed individual, allowable versus actual emissions and environmental justice.


EPA Takes Final Action to Retain Current NOX/SOX Secondary NAAQS (March 20, 2012)
EPA issued a final rule retaining the existing secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and oxides of sulfur (SOX). For NOX, the current standard is 0.053 parts per million (ppm) NO2 averaged over a year; for SOX, the current standards is 0.5 ppm SO2 averaged over three hours , not to be exceeded more than once per year. As part of this review of the secondary NAAQS, EPA evaluated the possibility of establishing a multi-pollutant standard to “address deposition-related effects of NOX and SOX” and developed a formula, the Aquatic Acidification Index (AAI), for the purpose of relating NOX and SOX emissions to water quality. However, EPA determined that it does not yet have enough information to set a multi-pollutant standard at this time, and will instead collect and analyze additional information through a field monitoring pilot program. Information gathered from the pilot program will be used in the next review of the secondary NOX/SOX NAAQS and to inform the development of an appropriate monitoring network. Click here for further information.

NACAA Comments on Proposed O3 Area Classifications Rule (March 15, 2012)

NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency's proposed rule to establish a nonattainment area classifications approach and attainment deadlines under the 2008 ozone standard, as well as to revoke the 1997 ozone standard for purposes of transportation conformity. To view the comments, click here.


NACAA Submits Testimony to House Appropriations Subcommittee (March 12, 2012)
NACAA submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding FY 2013 federal grants to state and local air agencies. NACAA expressed support for the increases that the Administration has requested for federal grants to state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. The President’s request called for an increase of $65.8 million over FY 2012, for a total of $301.5 million. NACAA stated that the proposed increases would support essential programs and recommended that Congress allow state and local agencies flexibility to determine which activities are most in need of additional funds in their areas. Most agencies will need additional grants for two major categories – core programs and monitoring. NACAA also requested that funds for PM2.5 monitoring remain under Section 103 authority, thus not requiring matching funds. The Administration is requesting that the monitoring funds be shifted to Section 105 authority in a five-year phase-in, beginning with FY 2013. Bill Becker is scheduled to testify on behalf of NACAA before the subcommittee during a hearing for public witnesses on March 21, 2012.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Group IV Polymers and Resins, Pesticide Active Ingredient, and Polyether Polyols Production RTR Proposal (March 8, 2012)

NACAA has submitted comments on the proposed National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Group IV Polymers and Resins, Pesticide Active Ingredient and Polyether Polyols Production source categories, which were published in a single notice in the Federal Register on January 9, 2012 (77 Federal Register 1268). The proposed rule is the Residual Risk and Technology Review for the source category. NACAA commended EPA for proposing some additional measures for one of the source categories and for improvements to the residual risk assessment methodology that reflect some of the recommendations NACAA has made in comments on previous RTR proposals (e.g., environmental justice assessments). NACAA also commented and made recommendations on other elements of the risk assessment, including evaluation of the most exposed individual, allowable versus actual emissions and acute exposures.


EPA Releases Draft 2012 GHG Inventory Report for Public Comment (February 27, 2012)
EPA released for public comment a draft of its annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. Prepared for submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010” contains an official estimate of total U.S. GHG emissions for 2010. According to the draft report, GHG emissions increased 3.3 percent in 2010 over the previous year and 11 percent overall from 1990 to 2010. Total GHG emissions for 2010 are estimated at 6,866 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). EPA will accept comments on the draft report until March 28, 2012. Click here for further information.


NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Pulp and Paper Industry RTR Proposal (February 27, 2012)
NACAA has submitted comments on the proposed National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Pulp and Paper Industry, which were published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011 (76 Federal Register 81328). The proposed rule is the Residual Risk and Technology Review (RTR) for the source category. NACAA commended EPA for proposing some additional measures for the source category and for improvements to the residual risk assessment methodology that reflect some of the recommendations NACAA has made in comments on previous RTR proposals. These improvements address assessments of maximum individual receptors, acute exposures and environmental justice. NACAA also commented on and made recommendations on other elements of the risk assessment, including allowable vs. actual emissions and acute exposures.

EPA Proposes to Retain Current GHG Permitting Thresholds for PSD and Title V under Step 3 of the GHG Tailoring Rule (February 27, 2012)
After evaluating the progress of greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting under steps 1 and 2 of the GHG Tailoring Rule, EPA is proposing to retain the current GHG permitting thresholds for both the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting programs. As part of the GHG Tailoring Rule, promulgated on June 3, 2010, EPA is required to evaluate whether or not to lower the GHG permitting threshold down to 50,000 tons per year (tpy) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), from the current thresholds of 100,000 / 75,000 tpy CO2e, under step 3 of the Tailoring Rule’s phased approach to implementing GHG permitting requirements. Under the current proposal, EPA would retain the existing GHG permitting thresholds. The proposed rule also contains two streamlining approaches for GHG permitting that would: 1) increasing flexibility for the use of Plantwide Applicability Limits (PALs) for GHGs by allowing permitting authorities to issue GHG PALs on either a mass or CO2e basis and 2) allow EPA to issue GHG synthetic minor permits in areas where EPA is the PSD permitting authority. Finally, EPA is requesting information on: 1) GHG permitting activity and burden; 2) permitting authorities’ resources; 3) the impacts of lowering the GHG permitting thresholds; and 4) permit streamlining techniques. The proposed rule will be open for comment for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA has scheduled a hearing on the proposal for March 20, 2012 in Arlington, VA. Click here for further information.


NACAA Comments on EPA’s Proposed Reconsideration of Boiler and CISWI MACTs (February 21, 2012)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposals for reconsideration of the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boiler MACTs for area and major sources and the Commercial Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI) MACT, which were published in the Federal Register on December 23, 2012. EPA had published the final Boiler and CISWI rules on March 21, 2011, but immediately announced that it would reconsider elements of the regulations. The December 23 publication reflected EPA’s reconsideration and contained the agency’s proposed changes to the earlier rules. In its comments on the reconsideration, NACAA stated that the proposed rule could lead to significant reductions in emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) in a number of subcategories; however, flaws in EPA’s calculation procedures have created subcategories that are, for all practical purposes, exempt from control requirements. For example, EPA’s determination of variability in the sources’ data is generally overstated and for some categories produces grossly inaccurate results. In many cases, EPA’s methodology results in a new source MACT floor that is less stringent than the floor for existing sources. Additionally, the proposed emission limitations are currently being met by almost all units in many source categories, which is inconsistent with the intent of Congress to have MACT represent the 94th percentile of the best performing units. NACAA provided detailed comments on these calculation and variability issues, as well as addressing other issues, including work-practice standards.

EPA Issues Final Rule Extending MOVES Regional Conformity Grace Period (February 15, 2012)
EPA issued a final rule extending the grace period before the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator Model (MOVES2010a) is required for regional conformity analyses. The rule extends the grace period by one year, until March 2, 2013, but does not affect the agency’s previous approval of MOVES in state implementation plans nor the existing grace period before MOVES2010a must be used for carbon monoxide or particulate matter hot-spot analyses for project-level conformity determinations.

President Announces Proposed FY 2013 Budget Including $65.8-Million Increase for Air Grants (February 13, 2012)
The President has announced the proposed budget for FY 2013, calling for an increase of $65.8 million over FY 2012 appropriated levels for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act, for a total of $301.5 million. This represents an increase of 28 percent over FY 2012. The increase is targeted as follows: $24.3 million for expanded core workload related to NAAQS, $1.5 million for support for the greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rule, $25 million for state and local air agencies to develop capacity to permit large sources of GHG emissions, and $15 million for additional NAAQS monitors. EPA is also beginning a five-year phase-in of a shift of PM2.5 monitoring funding from Section 103 authority to Section 105 authority, which would require state and local recipients to supply matching funds. The budget request includes $15 million for the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program. The agency intends to use a new rebate and revolving loan program this year and to discontinue federal grants for the DERA program after this year. The request for EPA’s total FY 2013 budget is $8.34 billion, which is a decrease of $104.9 million from FY 2012’s appropriated level. EPA has provided several documents related to the proposed budget. The “Budget in Brief” document (http://www.epa.gov/planandbudget/annualplan/FY2013_BIB.pdf) contains information on, among other things, “Taking Action on Climate Change and Improving Air Quality” (page 21); categorical grants, including state and local air grants (page 95); and DERA (page 112). The more in-depth Congressional justification document regarding the FY 2013 budget request for EPA (http://www.epa.gov/planandbudget/annualplan/FY_2013_CJ.pdf) includes details about the increase for state and local air grants beginning on page 779.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Primary Aluminum Reduction Plants RTR Proposal (February 1, 2012)
NACAA has submitted comments on the proposed National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Primary Aluminum Reduction Plants, which were published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2011, (76 Federal Register 76260). NACAA recommended improvements to EPA’s risk assessment methodology, especially with respect to multi-pathway risks. Specifically, the association expressed disappointment that EPA outlined the steps for a detailed multi-pathway risk assessment but did not actually conduct the assessment for this source category, even though it was warranted. Additionally, NACAA recommended that EPA give further consideration to the welfare effects associated with fluoride deposition.


NACAA Comments on EPA’s Mineral Wool/Wool Fiberglass RTR Proposal (January 31, 2012)
NACAA has submitted comments on the proposed National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Mineral Wool Production and Wool Fiberglass Manufacturing, which were published in the Federal Register on November 25, 2011 (76 Federal Register 72770). NACAA recommended improvements to EPA’s risk assessment methodology and expressed support for some of the additional measures EPA had proposed. These included collecting additional information from sources, setting new or strengthened emission limits for certain pollutants and emission points, identifying technology that can be adapted for the source category and announcing an intention to list area sources to be regulated.


NACAA Comments on EPA’s Ferroalloys Proposal (January 24, 2012)
NACAA has submitted comments on the proposed National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Ferroalloys Production, which were published in the Federal Register on November 23, 2011. The proposal reflected EPA’s Residual Risk and Technology Review of the MACT standard that had been issued in 1999. NACAA’s comments made recommendations to improve EPA’s risk assessment methodology and expressed support for EPA’s proposed inclusion of additional control requirements. The additional measures will address, among other things, emissions of hazardous air pollutants that were not regulated in the earlier MACT or were only addressed for certain emission points. Additionally, EPA has proposed new limits that reflect technological advances in controls.

NACAA Testifies at Final Hearing on GHG-CAFE Proposal and Submits Written Comments to Docket (January 24, 2012)
NACAA, represented by Larry Greene (Sacramento, CA), Co-Chair of the association’s Global Warming Committee, will testify today at the public hearing in San Francisco, CA convened by EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the agencies’ joint proposal to establish greenhouse gas and Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for model year 2017 and later light-duty vehicles. NACAA also provided testimony at last week’s hearing in Philadelphia. In addition, the association has submitted to the EPA docket its final written comments on the joint EPA-NHTSA proposal. To view the San Francisco testimony, click here. To view NACAA’s final written comments, click here.

NACAA Testifies at Hearing on GHG-CAFE Proposal (January 19, 2012)
NACAA, represented by Nancy Seidman (MA), Co-Chair of the association’s Mobile Sources and Fuels Committee, testified at a public hearing in Philadelphia, PA convened by EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the agencies’ joint proposal to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) and Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for model year (MY) 2017 and later light-duty vehicles. In its testimony, NACAA supports the EPA-NHTSA proposal and highlights various important benefits of the rule, including not only GHG reductions, fuel savings and energy security, but also important co-benefits in the form of reductions in emissions of criteria pollutants and air toxics and mitigation of some of the disproportionate health impacts in environmental justice communities. The association also offers several comments and recommendations including ones related to 1) ensuring that the full measure of envisioned reductions is achieved, 2) the need for measures that will lead to greater penetration of cleaner vehicles earlier in the program to bring down the costs in future years and help further reduce GHGs and criteria pollutants, 3) upstream emissions and 4) ensuring that the final rule is promulgated by July 2012, as planned. To view the testimony, click here.


EPA Announces it Will Not Enforce Boiler MACT Administrative Notice Requirements Resulting from Vacatur of the Stay (January 18, 2012)
In a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that EPA will use its enforcement discretion and send new and existing Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers a “no action assurance letter” that states that they are not required to submit administrative notifications to permitting agencies indicating that they are subject to the Boiler MACT as issued on March 21, 2011. The letter follows the US. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit’s vacatur on January 9, 2012 of EPA’s stay of the Boiler MACT rules (the stay was issued on May 18, 2011). The vacatur meant that the Boiler MACT was effective immediately. However, the only near-term requirement on sources would have been the notification requirements. EPA plans to issue the final Boiler MACT within several months.


Court Vacates EPA Stay of Boiler and CISWI Rules (January 9, 2012)
The U.S. District Court for the DC Circuit has vacated EPA’s stay of the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boiler (Boiler) and Commercial and Institutional Solid Waste Incinerator (CISWI) rules. EPA had published the rules in the Federal Register on March 21, 2011, with an effective date of May 20, 2011. Along with the publication of the rules, EPA announced that it would reconsider portions of the regulations. On May 18, 2011, EPA issued a notice staying the effective date of the Boiler and CISWI rules until the legal challenges that followed the issuance of the rule were resolved or EPA completed its reconsideration process, whichever was earlier. The court has now ruled that the stay was arbitrary and capricious and that EPA did not, among other things, adequately justify the delay. With the vacatur of the stay, the Boiler and CISWI rules take effect immediately, meaning existing sources must comply by March 2014 and new sources must comply immediately. EPA staff have indicated that the agency is evaluating its position on the vacatur and an official response has not been announced.

EPA Issues Final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to Control Emissions of Air Toxics from Utilities (December 21, 2011)
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed on December 16, 2011 and announced to the public on December 21, 2011 the final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS – also referred to as the Utility MACT), which regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, from new and existing coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units.  The rule is expected to reduce emissions of mercury; arsenic; chromium; nickel; and acid gases, including hydrochloric acid (HCl) and hydrofluoric acid (HF).  The measure also includes revisions to the New Source Performance Standards for Fossil-Fuel-Fired Electric Utility, Industrial-Commercial-Institutional, and Small Industrial-Commercial-Institutional Steam Generating Units to address emissions of particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).  In general, the rule includes numerical emission limits for mercury, PM and HCl. It sets work practice standards for organic air toxics, including dioxin/furan, which include an annual performance test program for every unit, to include inspection, adjustments and maintenance and repairs in order to provide optimal combustion.  EPA estimates that the rule will prevent 90 percent of the mercury in coal burned in power plants from being emitted; decrease 88 percent of acid gas emissions from electric utilities; and reduce 41 percent of SO2 emissions from power plants, beyond the reductions from the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.  With respect to the compliance schedule, Section 112(i)(3)(B) of the Clean Air Act provides sources with three years to comply with the standards and allows permitting authorities to grant an additional year, if needed, for technology installation.  EPA has stated that the agency “expects this option to be broadly available.”  In addition, EPA indicated that it expects that the rule can be implemented with demonstrated, existing pollution control technologies.  However,  if there are documented reliability concerns, Section 113(a) of the Clean Air Act provides for an additional year beyond the four years Section 112 allows.  President Obama issued a “Memorandum for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency” on December 21, 2011 that discusses the flexibilities in the Clean Air Act relative to compliance with MATS and instructs EPA to, among other things, work with state and local permitting authorities to make the fourth year broadly available to sources.  EPA expects the costs of the rule to be far outweighed by the benefits, which include prevention of 11,000 premature deaths; 130,000 asthma attacks; 4,700 heart attacks; and 3.2 million days of restricted activity.  EPA estimates benefits of $3-$9 for every dollar spent on compliance with the rule.  Additionally, the agency estimates that MATS will result in 46,000 new short-term jobs and 8,000 long-term jobs. 

Congress Adopts FY 2012 Omnibus Budget Bill including EPA Funding (December 17, 2011)
Avoiding a government-wide shutdown, Congress adopted an omnibus funding package, H.R. 2055, that includes FY 2012 funding for the remaining nine appropriations bills, including EPA’s budget. The House of Representatives passed the omnibus funding bill by a vote of 296-121 on December 16 and the Senate adopted it on December 17 by a vote of 67-32. The President is expected to sign it shortly (Congress also adopted an additional Continuing Resolution until December 23 to allow time for the paperwork associated with the omnibus). While the omnibus bill cuts EPA’s budget by $233 million (from last year’s enacted level of $8.4 billion), it funds Section 103/105 grants at last year’s level of $236,107,000, although all programs may face a 0.16 percent across-the-board rescission. In the managers’ statement, the conferees “direct EPA to allocate funds for this [Section 105] program using the same formula as fiscal year 2011.” The bill also includes language that will retain the fine particulate matter monitoring grants under Section 103, rather than Section 105, obviating the need for state and local matching funds for those grants. H.R. 3671 also calls for $30 million for programs under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), but includes a rescission of $5 million from unobligated DERA funds. The managers’ statement addresses a number of other air pollution issues. For example, with respect to the Boiler MACT, it notes the “conferees are encouraged by the outcome of EPA’s reconsideration…and offer no directives regarding Boiler MACT standards. The proposed rule addresses substantive concerns by including additional flexibility with respect to compliance costs and a biomass exemption.” The conferees also weighed in on haze, acknowledging “states have raised legitimate concerns about the costs and compliance deadlines within EPA federal implementation plans,” directing EPA to “work with states as partners in order to resolve compliance and cost issues while adhering to the schedule.” The bill does not include most of the air-related riders and provisions that the House Appropriations Committee had adopted when it considered FY 2012 EPA funding last July. Those riders would have, among other things, prohibited funding for greenhouse gas standards for certain vehicles, utility MACT standards, interstate transport rules, implementation of the Portland Cement MACT, regulation of coarse particulate matter and ammonia emission regulations and called for a study on the economic impact of catalytic converters on certain engines. Three air-related riders remain, however, including ones exempting mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems, excluding Title V permits for carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor or methane emissions resulting from biological processes associated with live-stock production and transferring permitting authority for OCS activities to the Department of Interior. The multi-department omnibus appropriations bill was needed to provide funding for all the yet-unfunded programs before the Continuing Resolution expired on December 16, 2011. See http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app12.html for links to related documents.

NACAA Submits Comments on Proposed Regulations for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector (November 30, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector, which had been published in the Federal Register on August 23, 2011 (76 Federal Register 52738). In its comments, NACAA expressed support for EPA’s efforts to address emissions from well completions/recompletions; pneumatic devices; glycol dehydrators; crude oil, condensate and produced water tanks; and compressor stations. With respect to the hazardous air pollution provisions, NACAA expressed concern about elements of the methodology EPA used in its risk assessment and how the agency would address environmental justice, among other issues. NACAA also commented on EPA’s failure to set NSPS for methane and nitrogen oxide (NOx). Because EPA did not include an NSPS for methane or NOx in the proposal, NACAA said it recognized that the addition of such a standard would likely require reproposal of the rule and delay promulgation and implementation of the final regulation. Therefore, NACAA recommended that EPA move forward to finalize the current proposal, incorporating the recommendations included in the comments, and follow that with a reconsideration proposing NSPS for methane and NOx, which would allow for a robust discussion of such a requirement. In addition, NACAA made suggestions to improve EPA’s proposal so that it could better achieve the agency’s intended result of reducing emissions of air pollutants. Click here for the comments.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s ANPR Proposing Process to Follow in Reviewing NSPS (November 22, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) outlining a process for reviewing New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). In the letter, NACAA expresses support for the three criteria EPA proposes to use in deciding whether or not an NSPS needs to be updated. The first criterion considers whether there is new or updated control technology. According to the ANPR, “if available information on control technology indicates that review of the standard would not result in more stringent emission limits or no greater level of control, and would not provide improvements in air quality and health and welfare benefits, such standard would be listed as a potential candidate for no review.” The second criterion considers whether any new, modified or reconstructed sources are anticipated in a source category, which would trigger applicability under the NSPS in question over the next eight years. The third criterion asks whether there are other regulatory requirements that are applicable to the same pollutants (either directly or as surrogates) such that a revision of the NSPS would not result in the imposition of any more stringent reduction requirements. NACAA provides two suggestions in its comment letter. First, EPA should explicitly add to its criteria a consideration of whether the NSPS includes all of the pollutants of concern from the source category or a source subcategory. Second, EPA needs to explain more clearly how permitting considerations factor in the third criterion. NSPS serve as the floor for BACT determinations, so any BACT determination would necessarily be more stringent – or at least as stringent – as the NSPS being reviewed. Thus, the existence of BACT determinations could be used as an argument for never updating an NSPS. Click here for a copy of the comments.

Today, NACAA to Release Report on Tier 3 Vehicle and Fuel Standards (October 31, 2011)
This afternoon, NACAA will release a report on the benefits and costs of implementing the association’s recommendations for Tier 3 motor vehicle and gasoline standards (see NACAA’s June 27, 2011 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson at  (http://www.4cleanair.org/Documents/Tier3NACAALettertoEPAFinal062711.pdf). In Cleaner Cars, Cleaner Fuel, Cleaner Air: The Need for and Benefits of Tier 3 Vehicle and Fuel Regulations, we report that that the amount of air pollution that would be immediately reduced from lowering the sulfur content of gasoline to an average of 10-ppm is equivalent to removing 33 million cars and light trucks – approximately one in eight – from our roads. This result would come at a price of $0.008 – eight-tenths of a cent. Such cleaner gasoline would also enable improved technologies on cars and light trucks that could yield substantial vehicle emissions reductions at a cost of about $150 per car. Cleaner Cars, Cleaner Fuel, Cleaner Air – embargoed until 12:30 PM today – is available at http://www.4cleanair.org/documents/NACAATier3VehandFuelReport-EMBARGOED-Oct2011.pdf. To view a news release on this report, click here.

EPA Extends Comment Deadline for Draft SO2 Implementation Guidance (October 28, 2011)
EPA extended the deadline for submitting comments on its draft Guidance for 1-Hour SO2 SIP Submissions by 30 days, until December 2, 2011. The guidance, intended for state and local air pollution control agencies implementing the primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide (SO2), contains EPA’s recommendations for development of State Implementation Plans (SIPs) under sections 110 and 191 of the Clean Air Act. EPA also provided additional guidance on conducting the air quality modeling required to comply with the 1-hour standard, including modeling guidance for nonattainment areas and section 110(a)(1) plans and non-modeling technical demonstrations of attainment. Click here for further information.

EPA Issues Workgroup Report on Multi-Pollutant, Sector-Based Approaches (October 27, 2011)
EPA has released a report entitled, “Moving Towards Multi-Air Pollutant Reduction Strategies in Major U.S. Industry Sectors,” which is the result of a workgroup charged by the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee to examine opportunities and possible recommendations for increasing multi-pollutant, sector-based approaches to air quality. The workgroup included stakeholders from EPA, states, environmental groups and others. Among the workgroup’s conclusions are the following: the time is right to advance multi-pollutant, sector-based opportunities; while there are many benefits, these approaches are not without challenges; the approaches will vary across industrial sectors; and current efforts should continue within the structure of the existing Clean Air Act. Recommendations included consider criteria pollutants, hazardous air pollutants, and greenhouse gas emissions; build on current efforts within EPA to focus on multi pollutant, sector-based approaches; establish clear and transparent processes that consider existing and pending regulatory requirements; engage communities, and environmental justice organizations; identify and quantify air pollution co-benefits and trade-offs; simplify industrial source category definitions; explore approaches to multi-pollutant monitoring, record keeping, and reporting; and expand awareness and use of innovative permitting approaches, including plantwide applicability limits (PALs) and other flexible permitting approaches. The report will be discussed at the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee on November 16-17, 2011 meeting.

EPA Asks Court for One-Month Delay in Deadline for Issuance of Final Utility MACT (October 21, 2011)
EPA has filed a request with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia asking for a one-month extension to the deadline for the issuance of the final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (utility MACT). The deadline, which was November 16, 2011 pursuant to a consent decree, would be extended until December 16, 2011. Since EPA and the litigants – the American Nurses’ Association and a group of environmental organizations – agreed to the extension, it is expected to be granted. The utility MACT was proposed on May 3, 2011 and the original comment deadline in the proposal was extended for one month (until August 4, 2011), which EPA identifies as one of the reasons an extension to the deadline for the final rule is necessary.

Group of Attorneys General and Governor Ask Court for Additional Time for EPA to Issue Utility MACT (October 10, 2011)
Attorneys General from 24 states and one territory and one governor have submitted an amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit supporting a petition from the Utility Air Regulatory Group (filed October 7, 2011) seeking an additional year for EPA to issue the MACT standard for electric utilities.  Currently, the consent decree that contains the deadline for EPA to issue the standard calls for final action by November 16, 2011.  The brief requests until November 16, 2012 so that EPA can “fully and properly: (i) address the threat to a reliable electricity supply posed by the proposed EGU MACT rule; (ii) assess the economic impact of the proposed EGU MACT rule; and (iii) comply with the requirement of Executive Order No. 13563 to take into account the costs of cumulative EPA regulations on electricity generation.”  The attorneys general are from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.  The governor is from Iowa. 

Governors Request that EPA Withdraw and Repropose Utility MACT (October 7, 2011)
Eleven governors have written to President Obama requesting that EPA withdraw and repropose the MACT standard for electric utility steam generating units that the agency is to issue in final form by a court-ordered deadline of November 16, 2011.  The letter was signed by the governors of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and Virginia.  They note that there is not enough time for EPA to consider all the comments the agency received on the proposal and to evaluate the impact of the rule in conjunction with other regulations the agency has or will propose on utilities.  The governors note that the proposed rule will be expensive and will risk jobs, yet provide “marginal” benefits from reductions in mercury. 


EPA Issues Final Rules Providing Additional Flexibility to Electronics Manufacturing and Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries under GHG Mandatory Reporting Program (September 27, 2011)
EPA issued two rules allowing sources in the electronics manufacturing and petroleum and natural gas industries additional flexibility under the agency’s greenhouse gas (GHG) Mandatory Reporting Program (GHGRP). The first rule, Changes to Provisions for Electronics Manufacturing to Provide Flexibility (76 Federal Register 59542), amends GHGRP calculation and monitoring provisions for the largest semiconductor manufacturing facilities, defined as those that fabricate devices on wafers sized 300 millimeters or less and possess a manufacturing capacity of more than 10,500 square meters per year. Such facilities will be able to use the default emission factors in the regulations, rather than recipe-specific utilization and by-product formation rates for the plasma etching process type, to calculate their GHG emissions for years 2011, 2012, and 2013. The second rule, Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems: Revisions to Best Available Monitoring Method Provisions (76 Federal Register 59533), extends the deadline for allowing oil and natural gas facilities to use best available monitoring methods (BAMM) without first obtaining EPA approval. Facilities wishing to use the alternate emissions reporting requirements beyond 2011 must inform EPA by December 31, 2011; those that do so and file and BAMM request by March 30, 2012 will be granted automatic permission to use BAMM through June 20, 2012. Both rules take effect on September 30, 2011. Click here for further information.

EPA Issues Draft SO2 Implementation Guidance (September 22, 2011)
EPA issued its draft Guidance for 1-Hour SO2 NAAQS SIP Submissions, intended to guide state and local air pollution control agencies in implementing the primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide (SO2). The guidance contains EPA’s recommendations for development of State Implementation Plans (SIPs) under sections 110 and 191 of the Clean Air Act, specifically the section 110(a)(1) requirement that all areas submit a SIP by June 3, 2013 and the section 191 requirement that all areas designated nonattainment submit a SIP providing for attainment of the revised standard. EPA also provided additional guidance on conducting the air quality modeling required to comply with the 1-hour standard, including modeling guidance for nonattainment areas and section 110(a)(1) plans and non-modeling technical demonstrations of attainment. For areas initially designated nonattainment, SIPs outlining actions that will be taken to meet the new standard must be submitted 18 months from the effective date of the designations or by February 2014. For areas designated unclassifiable, SIPs are due by June 2013. Nonattainment areas must meet the 1-hour SO2 standard by August 2017. EPA will accept comments on the draft guidance for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Click here for further information.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Approves Bills Blocking Boiler and Cement Air Toxics Rules/NACAA Sent Letter in Opposition (September 21, 2011)
The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up H.R. 2250 – the “EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011” – and H.R. 2681 – the “Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011.” These bills would stay for 15 months the issuance of new rules affecting the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boiler and Portland Cement source categories, respectively, extend compliance deadlines for at least five years and call for EPA to adopt the “least burdensome” control options. The bills will now move to the House floor for a vote (likely the week of October 3, 2011). NACAA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, opposing the passage of H.R. 2250 and H.R. 2681 on September 19, 2011. This letter was nearly identical to NACAA’s September 12, 2011 letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, prior to the Subcommittee’s mark-up of the bills on September 13, 2011. While acknowledging that the rules have costs to industry associated with them, NACAA emphasized the overwhelming benefits that would result from the rules (far outweighing the costs) and expressed concern about the harm to human health and the environment that would result from further delay in implementing these regulations. [For further information: http://energycommerce.house.gov/.]

NACAA Opposes TRAIN Act (September 21, 2011)
NACAA sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi opposing H.R. 2401 – the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011, known as the TRAIN Act. In the letter, the association notes the adverse impacts that would result from enactment of this bill, including that it would create regulatory delays that could lead to thousands of premature deaths, remove important regulatory tools upon which states and localities depend, impose additional costs on government as well as small businesses, create regulatory uncertainty, cause job losses and defund the cost-effective DERA program. To view NACAA’s letter, click here.

NACAA Sends Letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Opposing Bills Blocking Boiler and Cement Air Toxics Rules (September 19, 2011)
NACAA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, opposing the passage of H.R. 2250 and H.R. 2681. This letter was nearly identical to NACAA’s September 12, 2011 letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power marked up and approved the bills without amendment on September 13, 2011. The full committee is expected to mark them up on September 20, 2011. H.R. 2250 – the “EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011” – and H.R. 2681 – the “Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011” – would stay the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boiler and Portland Cement air toxics rules, respectively, which EPA adopted during the last year, and would extend compliance deadlines, among other weakening changes. While acknowledging that the rules have costs to industry associated with them, NACAA emphasized the overwhelming benefits that would result from the rules (far outweighing the costs) and expressed concern about the harm to human health and the environment that would result from further delay in implementing these regulations.

NACAA Comments on ORVR Widespread Use NPRM (September 13, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to determine widespread use of onboard refueling vapor recovery (ORVR). In the comments, NACAA endorses EPA's efforts to make a widespread-use determination. Such a determination will allow areas that currently have Stage II to decommission these systems if they so choose and will also allow future ozone nonattainment areas to forego these systems. The association also notes, however, that numerous ozone nonattainment areas have derived significant benefits from Stage II - with respect not only to reduced volatile organic compound emissions, but also to toxic air contaminants, including benzene - and will likely continue to experience such benefits well after the proposed ORVR widespread-use date. NACAA urges EPA to ensure that in determining widespread use the agency makes clear that the decommissioning of Stage II systems is not mandatory but, rather, a decision reserved for individual states and localities. The association also calls upon EPA to include in the final rule a discussion of the environmental impacts of retaining or decommissioning Stage II and, for areas that choose to decommission, guidance on a streamlined SIP revision process. To view NACAA's comments to EPA, click here.

NACAA Sends Letter to House Energy and Power Subcommittee Opposing Bills Blocking Boiler and Cement Air Toxics Rules (September 12, 2011)
NACAA has sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, opposing the passage of H.R. 2250 and H.R. 2681, which the Subcommittee will be marking up on Tuesday, September 13, 2011. H.R. 2250 – the “EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011” – and H.R. 2681 – the “Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011” – would stay the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boiler and Portland Cement air toxics rules, respectively, which EPA adopted during the last year, and would extend compliance deadlines, among other weakening changes. While acknowledging that the rules have costs to industry associated with them, NACAA emphasized the overwhelming benefits that would result from the rules (far outweighing the costs) and expressed concern about the harm to human health and the environment that would result from further delay in implementing these regulations.

President Obama Decides to Withdraw Reconsideration of Ozone NAAQS (September 2, 2011)
President Barack Obama issued a statement saying that he has requested that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson withdraw the reconsideration of the 2008 ozone NAAQS. He based his decision on the “importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.” He noted that EPA began in 2006 a review of the science that would result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013 and that he “did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.” In his statement, he said his administration “will continue to vigorously oppose efforts to weaken EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act or dismantle the progress we have made.” Administrator Jackson issued a statement that EPA “will revisit the ozone standard, in compliance with the Clean Air Act.” Click here for the President’s statement and here for Administrator Jackson’s statement.

EPA Defers Reporting of Certain Data Elements under the GHG Mandatory Reporting Program (August 19, 2011)
EPA issued a final rule deferring reporting requirements for certain data elements that are inputs to emissions equations under the agency’s greenhouse gas (GHG) Mandatory Reporting Program (GHGRP). The deferral applies to direct emitters and includes facilities that are subject to subparts C through JJ, as well as subparts RR, SS, and TT, of the GHGRP. The deferral will also cover any direct emitter subparts that the agency finalizes in the future. As EPA is currently developing a process for determining the competitive harm likely to result from the public availability of each data element, the agency has deferred certain data elements, listed in the rule, according to how quickly it anticipates completing this process for each. Reporting for data elements that are further along in the process is deferred until March 31, 2013, while reporting for other data elements is deferred until March 31, 2015.

EPA Issues Final CO NAAQS and Monitoring Revisions (August 12, 2011)
EPA issued a final rule retaining the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for carbon monoxide (CO). For CO, the existing primary NAAQS are 9 parts per million (ppm) measured over 8 hours and 35 ppm measured over 1 hour. EPA declined to set a secondary standard at this time, concluding that current evidence does not provide support for establishing a secondary standard. The final rule also contains revisions to the CO monitoring network, requiring near road CO monitoring in core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) with a population of 2.5 million or more beginning January 1, 2015. Near road CO monitoring will be required in CBSAs with a population of 1 million or more beginning January 1, 2017. Only one monitor per CBSA will be required, resulting in approximately 52 near road CO monitors nationwide. The CO near road monitors will generally be co-located with near road NO2 monitors, though EPA is allowing flexibility for state and local agencies to use an alternative location on a case by case basis. EPA expects that in most cases it will be appropriate to move existing CO monitors to near road locations to satisfy the new requirements. Click here for further information.

NACAA Comments on Proposed Utility MACT and NSPS (August 4, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the Proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (Utility MACT) and Revisions to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Fossil Fuel-fired Electric Generating Units, which were published in the Federal Register on May 3, 2011 (76 FR 24976). In the comments, NACAA expressed strong support for the adoption of effective limitations on mercury, toxic acid gas, toxic metal emissions and other pollutants from these large sources and indicated that the standards are long overdue. Furthermore, the technology needed to meet the standards has been in use in this sector for many years and is effective and affordable. While NACAA believes the proposed provisions are generally protective of public health, the association articulated concerns with some of the assumptions and procedures EPA used in calculating some of the MACT floors and suggested they be revisited. Among the other specific comments and recommendations NACAA made are the following: the proposed subcategories are reasonable; the standards should be based on the application of MACT, not merely the calculation of the MACT floor; EPA should address organic HAP emissions; any work practice standards should be designed to achieve the same level of emission performance as would be achieved by implementation of an emission limitation; and EPA should include sufficient federal grant funding to state and local air agencies to carry out the work resulting from the regulations.

NACAA Comments on Secondary Lead Smelting Residual Risk Proposal (July 26, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review standard for Secondary Lead Smelters, which was published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2011. NACAA commended EPA for proposing to strengthen the MACT standard and offered specific recommendations for improvements to the proposal. These include improvements to the risk assessment methodology EPA used in determining the residual risk that remains after the imposition of the MACT standard, greater attention to environmental justice concerns related to areas in the vicinity of secondary lead smelters and changes to the proposed provisions that would allow the use of ambient air monitoring in place of complete enclosures of lead-bearing processes. Click here for the comments.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Reconsideration of the Boiler and CISWI MACTs (July 14, 2011)
When EPA issued the final National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial/Commercial/Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters and mmercial/Institutional Solid Waste Incinerators on March 21, 2011, the agency announced the commencement of a process to reconsider portions of the regulations. EPA indicated that it was evaluating the scope of the reconsideration and would review any input from the public. NACAA submitted a letter to EPA recommending that EPA repropose any provisions that changed substantially between the proposal and final rule, which would make the final rule less likely to be delayed or overturned on procedural grounds. NACAA also recommended that EPA conduct the reconsideration in such a way that it minimizes the risk of significant delay. NACAA noted that lengthy delays would increase the possibility that state and local permitting authorities would be faced with case-by-case permit requirements under Section 112(j). Click here to see the letter.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Proposed PVC MACT (July 11, 2011)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology standard for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Copolymers Production, which were published in the Federal Register on May 20, 2011 (76 Federal Register 29528). EPA’s previous PVC MACT had been vacated by the court in June 2004. Out of concern that state and local agencies would be required to develop case-by-case MACT for PVC plants, NACAA (then STAPPA/ALAPCO) formed a workgroup that used information about existing PVC plants to develop presumptive MACT recommended control levels for PVC plants on July 6, 2006. As part of its comments on the recently proposed rule, NACAA submitted those recommendations and urged EPA to ensure that the final standard is at least as stringent as NACAA’s previously recommended levels.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Votes to Cut Air Grants Significantly (July 7, 2011)
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies marked up FY 2012 legislation, including EPA’s budget, calling for state and local air grants to be cut nearly 15 percent from the current year’s appropriation. The bill would provide only $201.6 million for air grants under Sections 103 and 105, which is $35 million less than in FY 2011 and $103.9 million less than the President’s request for FY 2012. This would be the lowest amount in 10 years. According to Subcommittee staff, the water program was cut similarly. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the bill during the week of July 11. While full details are not yet available, Subcommittee announcements and a draft of the bill released prior to the mark-up provided following information: categorical grants (which include state and local environmental grants for all the media) would be $1,002,393,000, which is $102 million less than FY 2011 levels; DERA would receive $30 million; PM monitoring would remain under Section 103 authority; EPA would be funded at $7.1 billion, which is $1.5 billion below FY 2011 levels, and $1.8 billion below the President’s request; EPA staffing levels would be capped at 2010 levels; and funding to regulate greenhouse gases would be decreased by $46 million from the President’s request (no detail on which accounts these funds would come from). The bill also includes several air-related prohibitions and instructions (beginning on page 121 of the draft). These include: an EPA report to Congress on all federal funding for climate change programs, projects and activities in FY 2011 and 2012; prohibitions on regulations to require the issuance of Title V permits for GHG pollutants and on mandatory reporting of GHG emissions from manure management systems; a one-year prohibition on regulations regarding GHG emissions from stationary sources to address climate change; a prohibition on EPA disapproving or preventing implementation of any flexible air permitting program that has been submitted as a SIP revision and adopted into the state’s SIP; codification of H.R. 2021, which includes an exemption on air permits issued to projects in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) from review from EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board and exempts emissions from vessels associated with or servicing an OCS from a permit’s control requirements; and a prohibition on funding for any actions that would result in the lowering of any exposure level that would be within or below background concentration levels in ambient air, public drinking water sources, soil, or sediment.

EPA Issues Three Year Deferral of Biogenic CO2 Emissions from PSD and Title V Permitting Requirements (July 1, 2011)
EPA issued a final rule deferring the application of stationary source permitting requirements to carbon dioxide (CO2) from biogenic sources for the next three years. The rule defers the application of both Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting requirements and applies only to the emissions of CO2 from bioenergy and other biogenic stationary sources. EPA plans to undertake a “detailed examination of the science associated with biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources” during this three year period. The examination will address technical issues that the agency has determined must be resolved before applying permitting requirements, and will include review by EPA’s Science Advisory Board. Click here for further information.

NACAA Sends Letter to EPA Requesting NACAA Involvement in Agency’s Development of Emission Estimation Methodologies for Air Emissions from AFOs (June 29, 2011)
NACAA sent a letter to EPA requesting that the agency involve NACAA in developing emission estimation methodologies for air emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs). EPA recently completed a monitoring study – called the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS) – that covered 24 sites at AFOs that raise pigs and broiler chickens, egg-laying operations and dairies. The sites were monitored for two years and EPA collected data for particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. NAEMS data was made available to the public on January 13, 2011. EPA is now in the process of developing emissions estimation methodologies that AFOs will use to determine whether their emissions exceed regulatory thresholds and thus they will need to apply for permits. In the letter, NACAA requests that the agency involve NACAA in developing the methodologies, since state and local air agencies will be affected by the methodologies EPA publishes (since they will determine who does or does not require a permit). The letter also poses questions to EPA about the agency’s process for developing the methodologies. Click here for the letter.

NACAA Sends Letter to Appropriations Leadership about Reduced Staffing Levels (June 28, 2011)
NACAA has written to the leadership of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies reiterating the need for increased federal funding for state and local air agencies in FY 2012 and providing information about state and local agencies’ staffing and budget losses in recent years. The letter included information gathered from a recent NACAA survey of the membership showing that agencies have experienced significant cuts in staffs and budgets, resulting in a host of programs that have been curtailed or eliminated. The letter notes that many agencies have reduced their staffs during the last four years; been subject to furloughs; suffered decreased budgets; and curtailed critical activities including monitoring, permitting, inspections, toxics programs, public education and outreach.

NACAA Makes Recommendations to EPA on Tier 3 Vehicle and Gas Standards (June 27, 2011)
NACAA sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging timely agency action to enact a federal “Tier 3” rule establishing another set of light-duty vehicle (LDV) emissions and gasoline standards to control conventional pollutants. To view the letter, click here. The association recommended that key components of the Tier 3 program should include 1) fleet average tailpipe emissions standards for NOx, PM and NMOG consistent with those established by CARB in its LEV III programs, as well as more stringent standards for mobile source air toxics; 2) an average gasoline sulfur concentration of 10 parts per million or lower – and a commensurate reduction in the gasoline sulfur cap should be considered in conjunction with; 3) evaporative emissions standards consistent with California’s zero-evaporative standard; 4) a new certification fuel that more closely matches real-world fuel; and 5) a fuel volatility standard that will maximize the effectiveness of zero-evaporative-emissions technology.

Bill to Delay Issuance of Boiler MACT is Introduced in Congress (June 22, 2011)
A bipartisan group of Representatives has introduced H.R. 2250 – the EPA Regulatory Relief Act – which would provide EPA with 15 months to repropose and issue new final standards to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants from Industrial/Commercial/Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters and Commercial/Institutional Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWIs). The final MACT standards for these source categories were published in the Federal Register on March 21, 2011. On May 18, 2011, EPA delayed the effective date of the new standards until after it completes the reconsideration of the rule or after the courts complete their review of the legal challenges (whichever is earlier). The 15 months provided by H.R. 2250 are designed to allow EPA the time it originally requested from the court (and was denied) to repropose and issue new final rules. The bill would also extend the compliance deadlines from three years to at least five, require EPA to allow sources to use a range of alternative fuels, direct EPA to be sure that the rules can be met by “real-world” facilities, and impose the least burdensome regulatory alternatives. Click here for more information.

EPA Extends Comment Period for Utility MACT and NSPS by 30 Days (June 21, 2011)
EPA has announced that it is extending by 30 days the public comment period for the Utility MACT and Electric Utility Generator NSPS proposal that was announced on March 16, 2011 and published in the Federal Register on May 3, 2011. The original comment deadline was July 5, 2011 and the new deadline is August 4, 2011. The extension to the comment period will not affect the deadline for the issuance of the final rules on November 16, 2011. In recent weeks, groups of Congressmen and Senators have written to EPA to request extensions of 60 days to the public comment period.

EPA Issues Final Rule Containing NSR Requirements in Indian Country (June 13, 2011)
EPA issued a final Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) containing new requirements for implementing New Source Review (NSR) in Indian Country. The FIP allows either EPA or the relevant tribe to take responsibility for issuing permits under the new requirements. EPA regional offices will be responsible for implementing the rules unless the tribe chooses to accept delegation or develop and obtain approval of a Tribal Implementation Plan (TIP). The FIP contains two NSR rules: 1) a minor NSR rule that applies to new and modified small facilities and minor modifications on tribal lands; and 2) a nonattainment NSR rule that applies to new major sources or significant modifications in nonattainment areas located on tribal lands. The minor NSR rule provides for the issuance of site-specific, general, and synthetic minor permits, and will be phased in over a 36 month period, with new and modified synthetic minors and major modifications subject to the rule 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. True minor sources will be subject to the rule either 36 months after its effective dates or 6 months after a general permit for a source category is published. Click here for further information.

NACAA Testifies in EPA Public Hearing on Utility MACT Proposal (May 24, 2011)
Dave Shaw (NY), Co-President of NACAA, testified on behalf of the association at a public hearing EPA held in Chicago, IL on May 24 regarding the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (utility MACT) that the agency had proposed on May 3, 2011. In the testimony Dave stated that the rule is overdue and should not be delayed, reducing emissions from power plants is important for public health and the environment, and controls are technically feasible and affordable. He noted that NACAA would review the proposal and comment in greater depth by the deadline. The public hearing was one of three that EPA held on May 24 (Chicago and Philadelphia) and May 26 (in Atlanta).

EPA Corrects Calculations in Utility MACT Proposal (May 18, 2011)
In response to industry statements that EPA had made errors in the analyses used to develop the proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (utility MACT), EPA has announced that it has updated some of the mercury emissions data and corrected a calculation error that it had made with a small amount of the data used to develop the standards. EPA reported that the data the agency received was in different units and some of it had to be converted. The agency made an error converting a small amount of that data and has now corrected it. EPA reported that the correction is not expected to change the types of pollution controls needed to comply with the rule. The agency will shortly post the corrected data on its website and place it in the docket, making it available for public review. Click here to view EPA's letter to the Utility Air Regulatory Group, which is the organization that had informed EPA of the errors.

EPA Stays Effectiveness of Boiler and CISWI Rules – Requests Public Input (May 16, 2011)
EPA announced that it will stay the effective date of the recently issued final rules for Industrial/Commercial/Institutional Boilers at major sources and Commercial/Institutional Solid Waste Incinerators for an undetermined period. The final rules, published on March 21, 2011, called for an effective date of May 20, 2011 (with compliance deadlines beginning three years later) and included an announcement that EPA would reconsider numerous provisions of the rules. EPA staff have indicated that the stay could remain in place until EPA completes the reconsideration process or until the legal process is complete (the rules have already been subject to legal challenges). Along with the announcement of the stay, EPA reported that it will seek additional public comment on the final rules (e.g., submissions of data) until July 15, 2011. Because the original boiler rule was vacated, there is no rule currently in place. Therefore, the Section 112(j) hammer provision could become a major issue for these sources. [For further information: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion]

EPA Issues Final Repeal of PM2.5 PSD Grandfathering Provision (May 10, 2011)
EPA issued a final rule repealing the grandfathering provision for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. Under the 2008 PM2.5 Implementation Rule, sources that submitted a complete permit application by July 15, 2008 were effectively “grandfathered” and allowed to continue to use the 1997 PM10 Surrogate Policy – whereby a source could demonstrate PSD compliance using coarse particulate matter (PM10) as a surrogate for PM2.5 – rather than directly demonstrate compliance with the PM2.5 standard. In the final rule, EPA also announced its decision to take no action on its earlier proposal to end early the 1997 PM10 Surrogate Policy. As a result, use of the policy will end as originally scheduled on May 16, 2011. Click here for further information.

NACAA Submits Appropriations Testimony to Senate Subcommittee (May 5, 2011)
NACAA submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, regarding the proposed budget for EPA in FY 2012. In its testimony, NACAA articulates support for the President’s request for $305.5 million in Section 103/105 grants in FY 2012 (an increase of $78.9 million over FY 2010 levels). NACAA notes that, while the resource needs of state and local air agencies are far greater, the increase the Administration requested will help support essential ongoing and new activities. NACAA also recommends that funding for monitoring remain under the authority of Section 103, rather than Section 105, obviating the need for additional matching funds. Finally, NACAA expresses support for $50 million for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.

EPA Issues Final FY 2012 Program and Grant Guidance (May 3, 2011)
EPA has issued its final FY 2012 National Program and Grant Guidance, which the agency proposed on February 25, 2011 and on which NACAA commented on March 17, 2011. The guidance pertains to the President’s budget request for FY 2012 and covers EPA priorities and the use of Section 103 and 105 grants. The final document still does not contain a detailed breakdown of how grants will be allocated among activities and regions, since EPA is still considering options for allocating the funds. The program and grant guidance is based upon the level of funding included in the President’s proposed budget. If Congress appropriates a different amount, EPA will have to make changes to its plans for FY 2012.

EPA Publishes Proposed MACT and NSPS for Utilities; Sets Comment Deadline (May 3, 2011)
EPA has published in the Federal Register the proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard and New Source Performance Standard to control emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric utilities, which the agency originally announced on March 16, 2011. The publication begins the 60-day public comment period on the rule, which closes on July 5, 2011. Last week, EPA announced that it will hold three public hearings on the proposal on May 24, 2011 in Chicago and Philadelphia and on May 26, 2011 in Atlanta. According to EPA, the proposed rule is expected to prevent 91 percent of mercury in coal from being emitted and reduces acid gases (hydrochloric acid as a surrogate) by 91 percent, sulfur dioxide by 55 percent and particulate matter (a surrogate for toxic metals) by 30 percent. The agency is required to issue the final standard by November 16, 2011. [For further information: 76 Federal Register 24976]

EPA Announces Public Hearing Details for Utility MACT (April 26, 2011)
EPA has announced the dates and locations for the public hearings for the proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology and New Source Performance Standards for coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units. The proposal was announced on March 16, 2011 and is expected to be published in the Federal Register (along with the official notice of the hearings) on May 3, 2011. There will be a 60-day comment period following publication. The hearings will be held on May 24, 2011 in Chicago and Philadelphia and on May 26, 2011 in Atlanta.

NACAA Asks Congress for Grant Increases in FY 2012 (April 14, 2011)
NACAA wrote to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies expressing support for the President’s proposed FY 2012 budget for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. The budget calls for $305.5 million in grants for state and local air agencies, which is an increase of $78.9 million above FY 2010. NACAA’s letter highlights the cost-effectiveness of air quality programs and notes that improvements in public health are beneficial to the economy and can lead to increases in jobs. Additionally, the associations reported that state and local programs have been severely underfunded, a situation that has been worsened by the downturn in the economy. Click here NACAA letter to the Senate and here for the letter to the House.

NACAA Submits Comments on Proposed Revisions to CO Monitoring Network (April 12, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments on proposed revisions to the carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring network contained in EPA’s Proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Carbon Monoxide (76 Federal Register 8158). The association supported EPA’s proposal to co-locate near roadway CO monitors at a subset of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) near roadway sites, while encouraging the agency to allow alterative near roadway siting of these monitors on a case by case basis to ensure the best possible measurement of near roadway CO concentrations. However, NACAA recommended that EPA raise the proposed threshold for CO near roadway monitoring to Core Based Statistical Areas with a population of 2.5 million or more. The association also continued to stress the need for full funding of all monitoring requirements, and recommended that EPA work with state and local agencies to develop a method for prioritizing new monitoring equipment purchases and implementation. NACAA further recommended that EPA take this opportunity to reevaluate the existing CO monitoring network and eliminate redundant and/or unnecessary sites. Finally, NACAA encouraged EPA to work with state and local agencies to address a number of complicated implementation issues that are raised by the proposed CO near roadway network and nonattainment area designations. Click here for further information.

Congress Agrees to FY 2011 Funding for Remainder of Fiscal Year (April 12, 2011)
On Friday, April 8, 2011, Congress agreed to provisions for funding the federal government through the remainder of FY 2011. Congress also adopted an additional Continuing Resolution, through April 15, 2011, to allow time for the agreed-upon FY 2011 appropriations legislative language to be written and for the necessary votes to take place. The House and Senate are scheduled to vote later this week and the bill is expected to pass. The bill includes several air-related cuts as compared to FY 2010. First, it reduces ALL FY 2011 categorical grants (e.g., air, water, solid waste) by a total of $10 million below last year’s (FY 2010) enacted levels. This would result in the elimination of the $82.5-million increase that the President proposed for air grants in FY 2011 and could mean possible additional cuts to air grants if the air program is subject to a share of the $10 million decrease in categorical grants (FY 2010 Section 103/105 air grants were $226.6 million). Second, it would eliminate $20 million for targeted airshed grants, which was designed to help areas with the highest levels of ozone and PM2.5. Third, it would cut $10 million for competitive grants to local communities for greenhouse gas projects. Finally, it would preserve the President’s FY 2011 budget request for DERA funds, reducing the grants from $60 million in FY 2010 to $50 million in FY 2011. None of the environmental riders contained in H.R. 1 (e.g., limiting EPA authority on Greenhouse Gases, etc.) was included in the final agreement. EPA’s budget was reduced by $1.6 billion, which is a decrease of 16 percent from FY 2010. The EPA cuts make up 61 percent of the reductions in the entire bill.

NACAA Submits Testimony to House Subcommittee Regarding Appropriations (March 31, 2011)
NACAA submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, regarding the proposed budget for EPA in FY 2012. NACAA’s testimony articulated the association’s support for the President’s request for $305.5 million in Section 103/105 grants in FY 2012 (an increase of $78.9 million over FY 2010 levels). NACAA noted that the actual resource needs of state and local air agencies are far greater, but that the increase the Administration has requested will help address essential ongoing and new responsibilities. NACAA also recommended that funding for monitoring remain under the authority of Section 103, rather than Section 105, eliminating the need for additional matching funds. Finally, NACAA expressed support for $50 million for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Draft FY 2012 Program and Grant Guidance (March 17, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s draft FY 2012 National Program and Grant Guidance, which the agency released on February 25, 2011. The guidance pertains to the President’s budget request for FY 2012 and covers EPA priorities and the use of Section 103 and 105 grants. However, it does not contain a detailed breakdown of how grants will be allocated among activities and regions. That allocation is yet to be determined. NACAA noted that the association supported the Administration’s FY 2012 budget request for Section 103/105 grants, calling for an increase of $78.9 million, for a total of $305.5 million. While this increase is not sufficient, it will still be helpful. Additionally, NACAA expressed support for the tone of the draft guidance, which emphasized the importance of partnership and collaboration with state and local air agencies. NACAA offered specific comments and suggestions about a variety of issues in the draft program and grant guidance, including the allocation of grant funds and monitoring. With respect to the former, NACAA noted that the grant increases provide EPA with an opportunity to begin distributing funds according to a formula that is updated but also provides every region with an increase. On the latter, NACAA focused on the need for collaboration with EPA to develop a method for prioritizing new monitoring equipment purchases and implementation of the requirements.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA Emissions Factors and WebFIRE Guidance Review Draft (March 17, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments on an EPA review draft, Recommended Procedures for Development of Emissions Factors and Use of the WebFIRE Emissions Factor Database, which updates guidance regarding the development of emissions factors and use of WebFIRE. While generally supporting EPA’s efforts to revise and update the guidance, NACAA expressed concern with EPA’s reliance on the Electronic Reporting Tool and alternate spreadsheet template for submitting data to WebFIRE, and recommended that the agency develop an emissions reporting tool based on a web-enabled technology platform. NACAA also encouraged EPA to: 1) further refine tools for quantitative comparison of data collected during an emissions test; 2) include functionality improvements in the final enhanced WebFIRE design; 3) ensure coordination between efforts to revise point source Source Classification Codes, enhancements to WebFIRE and data submission, and the experiences of data users; and 4) provide resources for developing augmented emissions factors. Click here for further information.

EPA Extends Reporting Deadline for 2010 Data Under GHG Mandatory Reporting Program to September 30, 2011 (March 17, 2011)
EPA issued a final rule extending the reporting deadline for 2010 data under the agency’s greenhouse gas (GHG) Mandatory Reporting Program to September 30, 2011. The action is intended to allow more time for review, refinement, and testing of the new online GHG reporting tool (e-GGRT). The deadline for registering with e-GGRT has also been effectively extended to August 1, 2011. EPA reiterated its commitment to making the 2010 data public by the end of this year. Click here for further information.

EPA Proposes Utility MACT Regulation ( March 16, 2011)
EPA announced its proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard to control emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric utilities. The proposed rule, under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, is expected to prevent 91 percent of mercury in coal from being emitted and reduces acid gases (hydrochloric acid as a surrogate) by 91 percent, sulfur dioxide by 55 percent and particulate matter (a surrogate for toxic metals) by 30 percent. EPA estimates there are 1,350 coal- and oil-fired units at 525 power plants affected by the proposal. EPA estimates that the cost will be approximately $11 billion annually, while the benefits will be $60-140 billion per year. The rule is expected to prevent 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks, 120,000 asthma attacks each year and to provide other health benefits. Sources have up to four years to comply (three years, plus an additional year if the technology cannot be installed in time). EPA had a court-ordered deadline of March 16, 2011 to propose the standard. The agency is required to issue the final standard by November 16, 2011. There will be a 60-day public comment period on the proposal beginning when it is published in the Federal Register.

EPA Proposes to Defer Biogenic CO2 from GHG Permitting Requirements and Issues Guidance for Bioenergy BACT (March 14, 2011)
Pursuant to its announcement earlier this year, EPA proposed to defer carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic stationary sources from Clean Air Act permitting requirements. The proposal would defer permitting requirements under the Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V programs for three years while the agency conducts a “detailed examination of the science” associated with CO2 emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic sources. EPA will accept comments on the proposal for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. In a related action, the agency issued “Guidance for Determining Best Available Control Technology for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Bioenergy Production.” The guidance is intended to assist permitting authorities in determinations regarding the use of biomass fuel as Best Available Control Technology until EPA takes final action on the proposed deferral. Click here for further information.

EPA Releases 2005 NATA Data to the Public (March 11, 2011)
EPA has released the 2005 National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) data, making it available to the public on the agency’s website. NATA uses emissions inventory data and modeling to estimate exposure and risk related to emissions into the air of 177 hazardous air pollutants and diesel particulate matter (PM). The risks are presented as both cancer and non-cancer risks (diesel PM is assessed for non-cancer health effects only). This most recent NATA release shows, among other things, that out of 66,000 census tracts across the country, 3,100 had cancer risks above 100 in a million. Nationwide, almost 45 percent of cancer risk was associated with exposure to formaldehyde and 15 percent to benzene. Seventy-five percent of the non-cancer risk was associated with exposure to acrolein.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Proposed GHG Reporting Deferral (March 7, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments opposing EPA’s proposal to defer reporting of data elements that are inputs to emissions equations from direct emitters under the agency’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). The agency proposed to defer reporting of these data elements for three years while it further considers whether or not data elements that are inputs to emissions equations may qualify as confidential business information (CBI) and be withheld from public release. NACAA urged EPA to collect and publicly release these data as required under the Clean Air Act, and expressed a number of concerns with the proposal. These include concerns that the proposal is overly broad and would inappropriately allow sources to effectively withhold emissions data that are integral to the GHGRP and other reporting programs and required to be released to the public, negatively affect the integrity and goals of the GHGRP, and impede data verification efforts. NACAA stressed that several data elements included in the proposed deferral are already publicly available and that the burden is on the source to demonstrate CBI. If EPA does finalize a reporting deferral, NACAA recommended that the deferral period should be no longer than one year and must not include information that is already publicly available. NACAA also recommended that third-party verification should be required if any deferral is finalized. Click here for further information.

American Lung Association Sends Letter to Senator Barbara Boxer on the Importance of Funding Increases for State and Local Air Agencies (March 2, 2011)
The American Lung Association (ALA) wrote to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, expressing support for increased funding for state and local air pollution control agencies and adequate resources for EPA to carry out its air pollution control activities. In its letter, ALA cites the recently published EPA document that reports the enormous benefits to public health that the Clean Air Act has provided, but notes that much work remains to be done. In addition to increased funds for state and local agencies, ALA calls for restored funds for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) programs; increases for civil enforcement to reduce toxic air pollution around schools and within at-risk communities; and resources for the development of federal stationary source regulations, tailpipe standards, and programs to control greenhouse gases.

EPA Releases Report Touting Considerable Benefits Achieved From Implementation of Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (March 1, 2011)
EPA released a report analyzing the benefits and costs of implementing the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, finding that the benefits will reach approximately $2.0 trillion in 2020, compared to compliance costs of $65 billion – a more than 30 to one benefit to cost ratio. The vast majority of the benefits (85 percent) stem from reduced risks of premature mortality from exposure to ambient fine particle pollution. EPA estimates that implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 will save 230,000 lives in 2020. The costs of complying with the amendments did not fall evenly among the major source sectors. According to the report, almost half of the year 2020 direct costs are to meet requirements for onroad vehicles and the fuels used to operate them. To derive its estimates, the agency modeled a scenario assuming that the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 were not implemented and compared this to a scenario with implementation of the 1990 amendments. The report builds on two prior studies conducted by EPA, the so-called Retrospective Study (looking at the benefits and costs through 1990 of programs implemented pursuant to the 1970 Clean Air Act and the 1977 Amendments) and the First Prospective Study (evaluating the incremental benefits and costs of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and associated programs through the year 2010, relative to controls in place as of 1990). Click here to access the report.

House Appropriations Committee Introduces Two-Week Continuing Resolution (February 25, 2011)
The House Appropriations Committee has recommended a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that would keep the federal government operating from the time the existing CR expires on March 4, 2011 until March 18, 2011. The CR would generally provide for funding at FY 2010 levels with the exception of $4 billion in cuts from discretionary spending for this fiscal year. The bill would not include the provisions and riders contained in H.R. 1 that would prevent the Administration from proceeding with environmental activities (e.g., prohibitions on implementing greenhouse gas regulations on stationary sources or the cement kiln air toxics rule). However, the bill does include cuts to certain Department of Energy programs that could have environmental ramifications, such as a reduction of $292 million for “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy” programs. If the House adopts the new CR this week (the members are scheduled to go back into session on Tuesday, March 1, 2011), the measure must go to the Senate for passage and be signed by the President. Without the adoption of an appropriations bill or an additional CR, there is the possibility that the federal government would have to shut down after March 4, 2011. Click these links for additional information:  http://appropriations.house.gov/ and http://rules.house.gov/Media/file/PDF_112_1/legislativetext/March-18-CR_xml.pdf

EPA Issues Final Boiler and CISWI Rules (February 23, 2011)
EPA is issuing the final air toxics standards for Industrial Boilers at major and area sources, the Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incinerator (CISWI) category and Sewage Sludge Incinerators today. Please click here for related fact sheets.

NACAA Comments on EPA Proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review for Shipbuilding and Repair and Wood Furniture Manufacturing (February 22, 2011)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review for two source categories – Shipbuilding and Ship Repair and Wood Furniture Manufacturing. NACAA expressed concern about some elements of the residual risk assessment EPA used for both source categories, including the use of the centroid of the census block to estimate impacts, EPA’s reliance on actual instead of allowable emissions, and consideration of environmental justice issues. Specifically for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair, NACAA expressed concern that EPA based its decision that no additional controls are needed in part on a lack of data and urged the agency to gather additional information before determining that no further controls are warranted. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2010 (75 Federal Register 80220).

NACAA Comments on Portland Cement Kiln MACT Prohibition in Amendment to H.R. 1 (February 17, 2011)
NACAA sent a letter to the members of the House of Representatives during consideration of H.R. 1 – the Continuing Resolution bill for the remainder of FY 2011 – opposing an amendment that would prevent EPA from implementing the Portland Cement MACT. NACAA noted that the rules EPA adopted are not only consistent with the provisions of the Clean Air Act, but are necessary to protect public health. Additionally, the rule is cost effective and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

NACAA Comments on Funding Levels and GHG Restrictions in H.R. 1 (February 16, 2011)
During the consideration of the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution bill – H.R. 1, sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives raising two significant concerns with the provisions The first addressed NACAA’s concerns over the proposed budget cuts; the bill would cut Section 103/105 grants below FY 2010 levels, or about $100 million from the FY 2011 budget request. The letter also expressed concern with the provision prohibiting EPA from spending any money on GHG permitting, NSPS and the approval of California’s vehicle waivers. NACAA commented, among other things, that this section will lead to uncertainty for states and industry.

NACAA Provides Updated State by State Summary of Status of GHG Permitting Rules (February 9, 2011)
NACAA has created a webpage with a state by state summary of the status of rules covering the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases (GHGs). As of the onset of the GHG permitting program, sources are able to get construction permits in nearly every state, either from the state or local permitting authority or from EPA under a federal program. Most states have also revised their rules to exempt small sources in line with the GHG Tailoring Rule. The webpage will be updated as new information becomes available. Click here for further information.


House and Senate Complete Selection of Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee Members (February 8, 2011)
The House and Senate have completed the process of identifying the members of the Appropriations Committees and its subcommittees, including the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittees, which have jurisdiction over EPA’s budget. The members will serve on the committees and subcommittees for the 112th Congress. NACAA has prepared an updated list of the committee and subcommittee members and has identified the new members in red. The list reflects the new leadership and membership that resulted from the switch in the majority party in the House, as well as other changes that resulted from changes in the composition of both the House and Senate. [For further information: Air Web – Top Headlines and Program Funding Committee page]


EPA Proposes to Retain Carbon Monoxide NAAQS But Change Monitoring Requirements (January 31, 2011)
EPA is proposing to retain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for carbon monoxide (CO), which are 9 parts per million (ppm) measured over 8 hours, and 35 ppm measured over 1 hour, concluding that they are sufficiently protective of public health. The agency is, however, proposing changes to the ambient air monitoring requirements for CO. EPA is proposing to require the co-location of CO monitors with “near-road” nitrogen oxide monitors in urban areas having populations of 1 million or more. EPA estimates that the proposed requirement to include CO monitors at these near-road stations would result in the operation of approximately 77 CO monitors within 53 urban areas, as part of the overall CO monitoring network. EPA is proposing to retain the existing implementation guidance and regulations for the CO NAAQS. EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. If a request for a public hearing is received by February 18, 2011, the agency will hold a public hearing on February 28, 2011. EPA will finalize the CO NAAQS by August 12, 2011. Click here for further information.

Court Grants EPA One Additional Month to Issue Boiler Rules (January 20, 2011)
In response to EPA’s request for an additional 15 months to issue the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) for Industrial Boilers, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision to grant a one-month extension, with a new deadline of February 21, 2011 for the final rules to be issued. The previous deadline had been January 16, 2011 (extended until January 21, 2011). EPA had requested on December 7, 2010 an extension until April 13, 2012 or, at a minimum, until July 15, 2011 to repropose the rule or at least respond to comments. Click here for the court opinion and here for the court order.

NACAA Sends Letter to EPA Endorsing Lesser Quantity Threshold for Mercury (January 13, 2011)
NACAA sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing support for the recommendations of the Quicksilver Caucus (QSC) that EPA amend the definition of a major source of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act to include a threshold for mercury of no more than 25 pounds per year. Currently, the major source threshold for HAPs is 10 tons per year of a single pollutant or 25 tons per year of a combination of HAPs, but provides the Administrator with the authority to establish a lesser-quantity threshold (LQT) for persistent and bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) pollutants. The QSC, of which NACAA is a member, sent a letter to EPA on January 5, 2011 containing its recommendations for the lesser quantity threshold for mercury (see Washington Update of January 7, 2011). The NACAA letter reported that on October 19, 2010, the NACAA Board of Directors unanimously endorsed the recommendation to lower the major source definition for mercury.

EPA Releases Results of Study Monitoring AFO Emissions (January 13, 2011)
EPA has released results of its two-year monitoring study of air emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs). Researchers monitored emissions at AFOs that raise pigs and broiler chickens, at egg-laying operations, and at dairies, with a total of 24 monitoring sites in nine states. A separate industry study monitored emissions from a broiler chicken operation in Kentucky. AFOs were monitored for ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. The monitoring study resulted from an industry-wide consent agreement that waived application of the Clean Air Act, the emergency notification provisions of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the hazardous substance release notification provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act for participating AFOs that paid a small penalty and agreed to have their sites monitored, if selected. EPA will use the monitoring data to help develop improved methodologies for estimating AFO emissions. EPA will make draft methodologies available for public review and comment on a rolling basis, beginning in spring 2011. In conjunction with the release of the study results, EPA is issuing a “Call for Information” seeking data from other studies monitoring air emissions of operations that raise pigs, chickens, turkeys and beef cattle, and for egg-laying and dairy cattle operations. (Beef cattle and turkey AFOs did not participate in the EPA monitoring study.) There will be a 45-day comment period on the “Call for Information” once it is published in the Federal Register. Click here for further information.

EPA Announces Plans to Defer GHG Permitting for Biomass for Three Years (January 12, 2011)
EPA announced plans to defer permitting requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass for three years. The agency committed to completing a rulemaking containing the deferral by July 2011, the date when Step 2 of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Tailoring Rule requires permits for major sources of GHG emissions regardless of whether or not the sources would be permitted anyway due to emissions of other pollutants. During the three year deferral, EPA plans to “seek further independent scientific analysis” regarding how biomass emissions should be treated under Clean Air Act permitting programs, and develop a longer-term rulemaking based on that analysis. In the meantime, the agency reiterated plans to issue guidance on the use of biomass fuel in Best Available Control Technology (BACT) determinations until it can complete rulemaking on the three year deferral. Finally, EPA announced that it will grant a petition from the National Alliance of Forest Owners to reconsider the biomass portions of the GHG Tailoring Rule. Click here for further information.

Quicksilver Caucus Urges EPA to Lower Major Source HAP Threshold for Mercury (January 5, 2011)
The Quicksilver Caucus (QSC), of which NACAA is a member, has sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting that EPA amend the definition of a major source of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) to include a threshold for mercury of no more than 25 pounds per year. Currently, the Clean Air Act sets the major source threshold at 10 tons per year of a single HAP or 25 tons per year of a combination of HAPs, but provides the Administrator with the authority to establish a lesser-quantity threshold (LQT) for persistent and bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) pollutants. The QSC argues that since mercury is a PBT and very low emissions can result in unacceptable impacts, it warrants an LQT. The QSC noted that several states currently have lower thresholds for mercury. During its meeting on October 19, 2010, the NACAA board unanimously endorsed the recommendation to lower the major source definition for mercury. As NACAA’s representative to the QSC, Vince Hellwig (MI), Co-Chair of the NACAA Air Toxics Committee, cosigned the QSC letter. The QSC is a group of state environmental associations including NACAA, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO), the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA), the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) and the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR).

EPA Issues Series of Rules to Facilitate GHG Permitting, Including Final GHG PSD FIP and Final Rules Narrowing SIPs to Tailoring Rule Thresholds for PSD and Title V (December 23, 2010)
EPA issued six rules intended to facilitate the onset of greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting under the Clean Air Act (CAA), which is scheduled to begin January 2, 2011. The first set of rules addresses authority to permit GHGs under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program in response to EPA’s Final Finding of Substantial Inadequacy and SIP Call, 75 Federal Register 77698, which found that programs in thirteen states do not have the authority to permit GHG under their PSD programs and called on the states to revise their State Implementation Plans (SIPs). Programs in seven of those states elected a SIP submittal deadline of December 22, 2010, with the understanding that if SIP revisions were not submitted by that date EPA would immediate promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP). In the first two rules issued today, Findings of Failure to Submit State Implementation Plan Changes for Seven States and Final Greenhouse Gas Prevention of Significant Deterioration Federal Implementation Plan, EPA found that eight programs in seven states – Pinal County Arizona, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, and Wyoming – did not submit SIP revisions to include GHGs by the December 22 deadline and promulgated a FIP giving the agency the authority to issue the GHG portion of PSD permits in those areas. EPA also issued two actions to ensure that PSD permitting authority for GHGs is available in Texas, which did not select an early SIP submittal date nor agree to revise its SIP to include GHGs. In the first action addressing Texas, Interim Final Texas Greenhouse Gas Prevention of Significant Deterioration Error Correction, State Implementation Plan Partial Approval/Disapproval, and Federal Implementation Plan, EPA issued an interim final rule converting the agency’s previous approval of the Texas SIP to a partial approval / partial disapproval using the error correction clause of the CAA and promulgated a FIP to allow EPA to issue PSD permits to covered GHG sources in the state. The interim final rule will be effective upon publication in the Federal Register and will expire on April 30, 2011. EPA also issued a proposed rule that mirrors the interim final rule and allows notice and comment on a longer-term action. Comments on the proposal will be accepted until February 12, 2011, with a public hearing scheduled for January 14, 2011. Finally, EPA issued a set of rules that narrow SIP-approved PSD programs to the GHG thresholds promulgated in the Tailoring Rule, ensuring that smaller sources do not need to obtain federal permits. The first action, Final State Implementation Plan Narrowing Rule for Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting for Greenhouse Gases, narrows SIP approvals to the Tailoring Rule thresholds for PSD programs in 24 states. The second action, Final Title V Permitting Programs Under the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, narrows SIP approvals to the Tailoring Rule thresholds for Title V programs in 33 states. Click here for further information.

EPA Issues Actions to Defer Reporting of Certain Data Elements Under the Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule (December 20, 2010)
In three related actions, EPA moved to defer reporting of certain data elements required under the agency’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Rule. In the first action, Interim Final Rule Deferring the Reporting Date for Certain Data Elements Required Under the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule, EPA deferred reporting of data elements that are inputs to emission equations until August 31, 2011. The interim final rule only affects data for calendar year 2010 that was due to be reported by March 31, 2011, and is intended to give the agency time to promulgate a longer-term deferral. In the second action, Proposed Change to the Reporting Date for Certain Data Elements Required Under the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule, EPA proposes deferring the reporting of data elements that are inputs to emission equations until March 31, 2014. This proposal would affect data for calendar years 2010, 2011, and 2012, and is intended to provide the agency time to collect and consider information regarding the public availability of the data elements at issue. In the final action, Call for Information on Inputs to Emission Equations Under the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule, EPA “requests information and comment to assist in evaluating issues related to reporting and public availability of inputs to emission equations.” Comments on the Proposed Change to the Reporting Date will be accepted for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register; if a hearing is held, the comment period will be extended to 45 days. Comments on the Call for Information on Inputs to Emission Equations will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Click here for further information.

EPA Issues Final Revisions to Lead Monitoring Requirements (December 14, 2010)
EPA issued its final revisions to the lead ambient air monitoring requirements. The revised requirements lower the emission threshold for source-oriented monitoring to 0.5 tons per year (tpy), from the current requirement of 1 tpy. The final rule also requires monitoring in large Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) with a population of 500,000 or more, which will be located along with urban multi-pollutant ambient monitoring sites, known as “NCore” sites. While EPA maintains the 1-tpy emission threshold for lead monitoring at airports, the rule revisions include a one-year monitoring pilot study at 15 additional airports in order to evaluate lead emissions at airports emitting more than 0.5 tpy, but less than 1 tpy. New monitors must be in place no later than one year after the final rule is published in the Federal Register. EPA estimates that the final revisions will result in a net increase of up to 76 lead monitors nationwide. Click here for the final rule.

NACAA Publishes Critique of Boiler Industry’s Study on the Cost of Proposed Boiler MACT (December 8, 2010)
NACAA has prepared a rebuttal to a study issued in August 2010 by the Council of Industrial Boiler Operators (CIBO), which projects very high costs (up to $113 billion and over 300,000 jobs “at risk”) associated with
EPA’s proposed boiler MACT. The CIBO document has been used extensively to lobby against the proposed boiler rule before Congress and EPA. NACAA’s report, EPA’s Proposed Regulations on Hazardous Air Pollutants from Boilers: A Critique of the Boiler Industry’s Excessive Cost Claims, refutes the exaggerated cost estimates in the CIBO report. NACAA describes some of the erroneous features of the industry analysis, including: (1) the number of sources that must install controls was grossly overestimated, (2) the “cost” of the rule did not incorporate positive economic benefits from new capital investment – including the creation of new jobs; (3) the positive impacts of increased life expectancy, reduced health care costs and other health-related benefits were not factored in the report; (4) one-time project costs were overestimated; and (5) assumptions about the negative impact of investments in pollution controls are unlikely in the current economy. NACAA also issued a press statement upon the release of the report.

NACAA Comments on EPA Proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review for 16 Source Categories (December 6, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review for six MACT standards covering 16 source categories. These include Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks; Group I Polymers and Resins; Marine Tank Vessel Loading Operations; Pharmaceuticals Production; the Printing and Publishing Industry; and Steel Pickling-HCl Process Facilities and Hydrochloric Acid Regeneration Plants. NACAA expressed concern about some elements of the residual risk assessment EPA used for all of the source categories, including the use of the centroid of the census block to estimate impacts, EPA’s reliance on actual instead of allowable emissions, and consideration of environmental justice issues. Specifically for the agency’s risk assessment for the chromium electroplating source category, NACAA expressed concern about the lack of data EPA had and on assumptions made for stack parameters, emissions rates and downwash. NACAA complimented EPA for eliminating exemptions for startup, shutdown and malfunctions, considering facility-wide risks and for making other improvements to the risk-assessment methodology. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2010 (75 Federal Register 65068

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Sewage Sludge Incineration Proposal (November 29, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources for Sewage Sludge Incineration (SSI) Units, which were published in the Federal Register on October 14, 2010. NACAA commended EPA for proposing the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards, especially the mercury provisions, but expressed concern with EPA’s process for establishing the MACT floor. Specifically, EPA did not collect sufficient data for the MACT floor determination, but instead hand-picked certain facilities from which to gather data, resulting in an incomplete data set. NACAA complimented EPA for establishing beyond-the-floor standards for mercury and recommended that the agency do the same for dioxin and further evaluate the need for beyond-the-floor requirements for other hazardous air pollutants as well.

EPA Releases GHG Permitting Guidance (November 10, 2010)
EPA released several tools to aid permitting authorities when greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting under the Clean Air Act begins January 2, 2011. A guidance document, PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases, provides information to aid permitting authorities in applying long-standing permitting requirements and processes under the Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permit programs to GHGs, including guidance for determining Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for sources subject to PSD requirements for GHGs. EPA stresses that the guidance does not establish a new BACT approach, and does not prescribe GHG BACT for any source type, but rather continues to recommend application of the 5-step BACT process. Energy efficiency options are also emphasized. EPA will take public feedback on the guidance document over the next few weeks. In addition to the guidance document, the agency also released a series of technical white papers with information on GHG control measures for seven industrial sectors: 1) electric generation units; 2) large industrial/commercial/institutional boilers; 3) pulp and paper; 4) cement; 5) iron and steel; 6) refineries; and 7) nitric acid plants. Finally, EPA provided information on the GHG Mitigation Strategies Database, enhancements to the RACT/BACT/LAER Clearinghouse, and regional points of contact for its GHG Permitting Action Team. Click here for the guidance document. Click here to view EPA’s GHG permitting website and available tools.

EPA to Finalize Ozone NAAQS by December 31, 2010 (November 1, 2010)
EPA filed a court motion indicating that the agency will require an additional two months – until December 31, 2010 – to finalize its reconsideration of the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The motion was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and it requested that the court continue to hold in abeyance the cases challenging the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Click here for a copy of the motion.

NACAA Releases Summary of State of States’ Efforts to Ensure GHG Permitting Authority in Place by January 2, 2011 (October 28, 2010)
With the onset of greenhouse gas permitting only two months away, every state but one is poised to ensure that sources can obtain preconstruction permits under the Clean Air Act come January 2, 2011. In August of this year, EPA proposed two companion rulemakings to ensure that authority to issue PSD permits for GHG emissions is in place by January 2, 2011. In the first action, Proposed Finding of Substantial Inadequacy and SIP Call, EPA identified programs in 13 states that did not appear to have the authority to apply their PSD programs to GHG emissions (“Presumptive SIP Call List”). States on the Presumptive SIP Call List were asked to send a letter to EPA by October 4, 2010 confirming that GHGs are not included in their PSD programs and identifying a deadline for submitting SIP revisions to EPA for approval. The agency proposed allowing programs to identify a SIP submittal date as early as December 22, 2010, or three weeks from issuance of the final SIP Call. In the second action, Proposed Federal Implementation Plan, EPA proposed to immediately promulgate a FIP for any program unable to submit SIP revisions by the identified deadline, providing states a federal backstop in the event that they could not change their own rules by January 2, 2011. Programs unable to revise their rules by January 2, 2011 have the option of choosing the earliest SIP submittal date, allowing EPA to immediately promulgate a FIP. NACAA has reviewed and briefly summarized the responses from programs in 14 states: the 13 identified by EPA in the Presumptive SIP Call List plus one state that asked to be added to the list. Excepting only one, programs in all states on the list have indicated that they will either revise their PSD rules by January 2, 2011 or very shortly thereafter, or accept a FIP that will give EPA authority to issue the GHG portion of PSD permits until state rules are revised. This provides that sources required to apply PSD controls to their GHG emissions will be able to obtain the necessary permits and avoid construction delays. Click here for the report. For the individual letters summarized in the report, click here.


NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Proposed Transport Rule (October 1, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s Transport Rule, which would require reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants in 32 states in order to eliminate transported emissions contributing significantly to downwind nonattainment, or interfering with maintenance, of the 1997 ozone and PM2.5 standards and 2006 PM2.5 standards. EPA is proposing to issue a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) that uses state-specific control budgets and allows for intrastate and limited interstate trading of emissions allowances allocated to power plants. NACAA conveyed its support for several aspects of the proposal, including EPA’s attempts to conform the rule to the court decision striking down the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). However, NACAA also expressed a number of concerns, including that: 1) the NOx emissions caps in 2014 are not tight enough; 2) the rule should have covered other sources besides power plants; 3) the proposal does not completely eliminate transported emissions associated with the 1997 ozone and 2006 PM2.5 standard; 4) EPA should account for variability in electricity generation among the states through a mechanism that preserves the environmental integrity of the rule rather than allowing in-state emissions to exceed state budgets; and 5) EPA should allow states to distribute allowances using a different mechanism than the one contained in the FIP (by submitting SIPs with different allocation mechanisms) and provide guidance to states on SIP approvability criteria. Click here for a copy of NACAA’s comments.

EPA Responds to Senate Letter on Boilers (September 28, 2010)
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent a letter to Senator Mary Landrieu (R-LA) responding to a letter that 41 U.S. Senators sent to EPA regarding the proposed MACTs for Boilers and Commercial/Institutional Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI). In the letter, Jackson emphasized the important health benefits that will be gained from controlling emissions from boilers and CISWI. She noted that EPA did not receive sufficient data from industry to justify additional subcategories, but that the agency has received additional data that will be reflected in the final rule. She also noted that the court had extended the deadline for EPA to issue the final rule by one month – until January 16, 2010. In response to the Senators’ concerns, Jackson also stated that the agency would pay special attention to the issue of biomass and would also carefully consider the possibility of a health-based exemption, but that there are concerns regarding the toxicity of a variety of compounds that the agency would have to take into account. Finally, she noted that the industry studies that conclude that the rules would cost many jobs relied on methods that were “in several respects opaque and in others clearly flawed.”

Senators Express Concerns to EPA About Proposed Boiler and CISWI MACTs (September 24, 2010
)
A bipartisan group of 41 U.S. Senators sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson articulating concerns about EPA’s proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard for industrial boilers and Commercial and Institutional Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI), which EPA proposed on June 4, 2010. In the letter, the Senators express concern that the regulations as proposed could “impose onerous burdens on U.S. manufacturers, leading to the loss of potentially thousands of high-paying jobs this sector provides.” They further note that EPA’s estimates understate the economic impacts of the proposals, including the detrimental effects the provisions would have on the domestic biomass industry and new biomass energy projects. The Senators ask EPA to exercise the discretion the Clean Air Act provides to adopt regulations that protect public health while promoting the nation’s productive capacity. The letter further urges EPA to consider using the health-based exemption included in Section 112(d)(4) for emissions that are considered safe in concentrations below an “established threshold.” Finally, the Senators call for EPA to set standards that are based on what “real world best performing units actually can achieve;” expresses concern that the database EPA used to propose the rules did not “truly reflect the practical capabilities of controls or the variability in operations, fuels and testing performance…;” calls for additional subcategorization; and supports the use of work practice standards, rather than control technologies, for gas-fired units.

NACAA Releases Summary of States Letters Describing Plans for GHG Permitting, Analysis Indicates Vast Majority of States Moving Full Speed Ahead (September 15, 2010)
In a summary released today, NACAA estimates that the vast majority of states are moving full speed ahead and expect to have rules in place to permit greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the higher thresholds in the GHG Tailoring Rule by January 2, 2011 or shortly thereafter. In the final Tailoring Rule, EPA asked states to send letters to the agency by August 2, 2010 with information regarding how the state intends to implement the Tailoring Rule. EPA asked each state to respond by indicating whether or not the state needs to undertake a regulatory or legislative process in order to incorporate the provisions of the Tailoring Rule, as well as the timeline for completing any such process. States were also asked to notify EPA if they do not have any authority to permit GHGs and, if not, to indicate whether or not they intend to revise their rules to include GHGs. NACAA reviewed and briefly summarized letters from all applicable states, as well as those from a number of local and territorial air pollution control agencies. NACAA’s analysis shows that the vast majority of states are working quickly to prepare for GHG permitting and incorporate the provisions of the Tailoring Rule into applicable state and local rules and State Implementation Plans (SIPs) as soon as possible. Nearly 80% of states expect to have rules in place by January 2, 2011 or shortly thereafter. Of the minority of states that will not yet have rules in place by January 2, 2011 or shortly thereafter, most are working to incorporate the provisions of the Tailoring Rule, but will be delayed due to state legislative and/or regulatory requirements. Click here for the summary.

NACAA Comments on Lead in Aviation Gasoline ANPR (August 25, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on Lead Emissions from Piston-Engine Aircraft Using Leaded Aviation Gasoline as published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2010 (75 FR 22440). In its comments, the association expresses support for EPA’s efforts to seek feedback on currently available data for evaluating lead emissions, ambient concentrations and potential exposure to lead from the continued use of leaded aviation gasoline in piston-engine-powered aircraft and to take comments on additional information being collected by EPA to inform any future action. NACAA further expresses support for subsequent EPA efforts to move ahead with a positive finding of endangerment and to work with the Federal Aviation Administration to put in place effective regulatory limits on lead emissions from general aviation aircraft. To view the comments, click here.

NACAA Comments on Boiler and CISWI Proposals (August 23, 2010)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s proposed standards for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers located at major and area sources and standards for commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units, which were published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2010. NACAA’s comments indicated that the proposals are a substantial improvement over earlier boiler and CISWI regulations, and are more stringent and protective of public health. However, the association has concerns about several specific elements of the proposal. Among others, the applicability of the MACT limits is not based on the fuel consumed, but on a “designed to combust” concept that will be problematic for compliance, enforcement and other purposes because it does not account for fuel mixtures. NACAA also expressed concerns about the statistical approaches EPA used to address variability and calculate the MACT floor. Additionally, the association noted that EPA did not incorporate the emissions data that NACAA had collected as part of the effort to develop its model permit guidance, even though EPA is required to consider all emissions information that is available in establishing the MACT floor. Finally, EPA proposed to exempt natural gas-fired units from MACT limits and provide for a work-practice standard instead, which NACAA noted is inconsistent with the requirements of the Clean Air Act and should not be incorporated in the final rule.
 
NACAA Testifies on EPA’s Proposed Transport Rule (August 19, 2010)
James Hodina (Linn County, IA) provided testimony on behalf of NACAA at an EPA public hearing on the agency’s proposed rule to limit interstate transport of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The public hearing is the first of three public hearings on the rule. In the testimony, NACAA pointed to strengths and weaknesses in the proposal. NACAA praised EPA’s thoughtful consideration of how to remedy the “fatal flaws” identified by the court in the Clean Air Interstate Rule. For example, EPA included provisions to limit interstate trading of allowances so as to ensure that sources in each state covered by the rule reduce emissions. It also attempted to align the rule’s compliance deadlines with states’ attainment deadlines. The agency also used air quality factors and a health benefits assessment in determining state budgets, rather than simply basing the budgets on the availability of highly cost-effective controls. NACAA also applauded the agency for committing to rapidly promulgate a second Transport Rule to address NOx reductions needed for a tighter forthcoming ozone standard. However, the association urged EPA to tighten the NOx limits in the second phase of the first Transport Rule, as such tighter limits are needed to attain the existing ozone standards. The association also expressed disappointment that the rule only requires emissions reductions from power plants, as industrial, commercial and institutional boilers as well as cement kilns also contribute significantly to transport in the Eastern half of the United States. Click here for the testimony.

EPA Proposes PSD GHG SIP Call and FIP (August 12, 2010)
EPA is proposing two companion rulemakings to address the authority of programs with approved state implementation plans (SIPs) to permit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Program. In the first action, Proposed Finding of Substantial Inadequacy and SIP Call, EPA separates SIP-approved PSD programs into two lists based on preliminary research and consultation conducted by the agency: 1) programs that do not have the authority to apply their PSD programs to GHG emissions (“Presumptive SIP Call List”); and 2) all other SIP-approved PSD programs, which are presumed to have the authority to permit GHG emissions (“Presumptive Adequacy List”). The Presumptive SIP Call list includes: Alaska; Pinal County, Arizona; Arizona (excluding Maricopa County, Pima County, and Indian Country); Arkansas; Sacramento, California; Connecticut; Florida; Idaho; Kansas; Kentucky; Jefferson County, Kentucky; Nebraska; Lincoln Lancaster, Nebraska; Omaha, Nebraska; Clark County, Nevada; Oregon; and Texas. Those programs on the Presumptive SIP Call List are asked to send a letter to EPA within the comment period confirming that they do not have the authority to permit GHG emissions under their PSD programs. Programs on the Presumptive SIP Call List are also asked to identify a deadline for submitting their SIP revisions to EPA. Under the Proposed PSD GHG SIP Call, EPA is proposing for the Presumptive SIP Call List a default SIP submittal deadline of 12 months from final rulemaking; however, the agency is also proposing to authorize states to accept a SIP submittal deadline as short as 3 weeks from final rulemaking. EPA plans to issue the final PSD GHG SIP Call on or about December 1, 2010. Programs on the Presumptive Adequacy List are asked to review their SIPs and let EPA know if they do not have the authority to permit GHG emissions under their PSD programs. In the second action, Proposed Federal Implementation Plan, EPA proposes to immediately promulgate a federal implementation plan (FIP) for any state that fails to submit a SIP revision by its specified deadline under the PSD GHG SIP Call. Comments on both proposals will be accepted until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. A hearing on the Proposed FIP will be held on August 25, 2010 in Arlington, VA. Click here for more information.

NACAA Comments on Definition of Non-hazardous Solid Waste (August 3, 2010)
On April 29, 2010 EPA issued a proposed definition of non-hazardous solid waste, which will have a significant impact on the applicability of three regulations that were proposed on the same day: standards for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers located at major sources and area sources and standards for commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units (the CISWI rule). On August 3, 2010, NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the proposed solid waste definition, specifically related to those issues that affect air quality and the ability of state and local air agencies to implement Clean Air Act programs. In the comments NACAA expressed concern that EPA’s proposal does not establish a clear, objective definition and uses criteria that are open to widely different interpretations. This could lead to confusion about which sources are subject to Section 129 and which to Section 112. NACAA recommended also that EPA clearly articulate the role of state and local permitting agencies in the determination of what is a solid waste. Finally, NACAA recommended that EPA ensure, through the definition and the subsequent standards, that there are comparable MACT standards for similarly situated sources. The agency should harmonize those requirements as much as possible. NACAA is developing comments on the boiler and CISWI proposals and will submit them later this month (the comment deadline is August 23, 2010).

NACAA Comments on EPA Draft Strategic Plan (July 27, 2010)

NACAA has submitted comments to EPA on the agency’s “Draft FY 2011 – 2015 EPA Strategic Plan”, which serves as guidance for budgeting and other decisions and describes the agency’s long-term vision, goals and objectives. NACAA commended EPA for highlighting many important activities in the plan and for including “Taking Action on Climate Change and Improving Air Quality” as the first goal in the document. Additionally, NACAA complimented EPA for including “Strengthening State, Tribal and International Partnerships” as a fundamental cross-cutting strategy and suggested that the word “local” be included in the strategy as well. NACAA’s specific comments addressed mobile sources, greenhouse gases from mobile and stationary sources, transport, and training, among other things.

EPA Extends Public Comment Period for Boiler and CISWI Proposed Rules (July 22, 2010)
EPA has extended the public comment period for the proposed standards for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers located at major sources and area sources and for commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units (the CISWI rule), which were proposed on April 29, 2010 and published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2010. The new comment deadline is August 23, 2010, extended from the August 3, 2010 deadline. The extension does not apply to the comment period for the definition of non-hazardous solid waste that EPA proposed along with the boiler and CISWI rules.

EPA Proposes Transport Rule to Replace CAIR (July 6, 2010)
EPA proposed a Transport Rule to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from power plants in the Eastern half of the U.S. The Transport Rule would replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2008. The Transport Rule would cap NOx emissions at 1.3 million tons in 2012 and 2014; SO2 emissions would be capped at 3.4 million tons in 2012 and 2.6 million tons in 2014. Unlike CAIR, the rule does not allow sources to use Title IV SO2 allowances to demonstrate compliance with the rule’s emissions limits – instead, the rule creates a separate SO2 allowance system. In addition, to address the court’s concerns that under CAIR’s region-wide trading system, all sources in a state could conceivably purchase allowances rather than reduce pollutant emissions, the rule would limit the amount of allowances that can be traded out-of-state. The Transport Rule is designed to eliminate emissions of NOx and SO2 that significantly contribute to nonattainment, or interfere with maintenance, in downwind states of the 1997 ozone and annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and 2006 daily PM2.5 standards. Thirty-one states and DC are covered by the rule -- 28 states would be required to reduce both annual SO2 and NOx emissions and 26 states would be required to reduce NOx emissions during the ozone season. To deal with the additional NOx reductions needed to meet the new 8-hour ozone standard that EPA will finalize in August 2010, the agency will propose next year a revised Transport Rule that accounts for this new standard. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA also plans to hold three public hearings on the proposed Transport Rule and details on the timing and location for those hearings shortly in a separate Federal Register notice. Click here for more information.

EPA Issues Draft Strategic Plan for Comment (June 18, 2010)
EPA has published its draft Strategic Plan for FY 2011-2015 and is seeking public comment by July 30, 2010. The strategic plan, which serves as guidance for budgeting and other decisions, describes the agency’s long-term vision, goals and objectives. It includes five goals: taking action on climate change and improving air quality; protecting America’s waters; cleaning up our communities; ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution; and enforcing environmental laws. The plan also includes five cross-cutting strategies that outline expectations for changing the way EPA achieves results. These include: Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism; Working for Environmental Justice and Children’s Health; Advancing Science, Research, and Technological Innovation; Strengthening State, Tribal, and International Partnerships; and Strengthening EPA's Workforce and Capabilities. If NACAA members have comments for consideration for inclusion in NACAA comments, please provide them to Mary Sullivan Douglas of NACAA at mdouglas@4cleanair.org by July 16, 2010. [For further information: www.epa.gov/cfo/plan/plan.htm]

NACAA testifies at EPA Public Hearing on Boiler and CISWI MACT Proposals (June 15, 2010)
NACAA provided testimony at an EPA public hearing on proposed area and major source standards for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers and Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI). Mary Sullivan Douglas testified on behalf of NACAA that the proposals, which were published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2010, are a vast improvement over the previous vacated boiler and CISWI rules and that EPA is “generally on the right track.” However, there are several critical elements of the proposals that should be addressed in the final rule. For example, EPA categorized sources according to fuels they are “designed to combust” and would allow sources to comply with the least stringent standard for any of the fuels they combust. This strategy maybe unworkable and may not be legal. Additionally, EPA suggested the possibility of risk-based exemptions did not propose a MACT emission limit for large gas-fired boilers, both of which are approaches of concern to NACAA. Arturo Blanco (Houston, TX) plans to testify on behalf of NACAA at the EPA public hearing on June 22, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Additionally NACAA plans to submit more detailed written comments to EPA by the August 3, 2010 public comment deadline.

EPA Notifies States of Nonattainment Designation Recommendations for Lead NAAQS (June 15, 2010)
EPA notified 12 states that the agency is recommending that one or more areas in their jurisdictions be designated nonattainment for the lead NAAQS that was revised in October 2005 to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter. States and tribes may comment on the recommendations and provide additional information to EPA by August 15, 2010. Using data from currently operating monitors, EPA will issue final nonattainment designations by October 2010. EPA intends to make a second round of final designations in October 2011 using information from newly-sited lead monitors. States and tribes may provide updated recommendations for the second round of designations by December 15, 2010. Click here for more information.

EPA Proposes Boiler and CISWI Rules – Extends Public Comment Period (June 4, 2010)
EPA published in the Federal Register proposed rules under section 112 of the Clean Air Act to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Boilers located at major and area sources. The agency also published proposed standards for Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI) and a definition of non-hazardous solid waste. While the proposals were released publicly on April 29, 2010, publication in the Federal Register begins the official comment period. Immediately after the publication of the proposals, EPA announced that it would extend the public comment period until August 3, 2010 (originally scheduled to end on July 19, 2010) and would hold three public hearings (originally EPA reported there would be one). The hearings will be on June 15, 2010 in Arlington, VA and on June 22, 2010 in Houston, TX and Los Angeles, CA. Click on the following for the notices: Boiler area source proposal (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-10832.pdf), Boiler major source proposal (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-10827.pdf), CISWI proposal (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-10821.pdf), Announcement of Extension to Public Comment Period and Notice of Three Hearings on Boilers and CISWI

EPA Issues Final Revisions to Primary Sulfur Dioxide NAAQS (June 2, 2010)
EPA has released the final revised primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide (SO2), establishing a new 1-hour standard at 75 parts per billion (ppb). Click here for the final rule. The new form for the revised standard is the 3 year average of the 99th percentile of the annual distribution of daily maximum 1-hour average concentrations. The Agency is revoking the existing primary standards for SO2, which are currently 140 ppb evaluated over 24 hours and 30 ppb evaluated over a year. The final rule also includes revisions to the SO2 monitoring network. Compliance with the revised standards will be assessed using combined air quality modeling and monitoring: modeling will primarily be used for medium to larger sources, while monitoring will be focused on groups of smaller sources and those not conducive to modeling. EPA plans to issue modeling guidance for implementing the new standard. Monitors will be required at Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) based on a population weighted emissions index as follows: 1) 3 monitors in CBSAs with index values of 1,000,000 or more; 2) 2 monitors in CBSAs with index values between 100,000 and 1,000,000; and 3) 1 monitor in CBSAs with index values greater than 5,000. EPA estimates that approximately 163 SO2 monitoring sites nationwide will be required by the final rule, including 41 new monitors which must be operational by January 1, 2013. EPA plans to finish designations by June 2012. States with nonattainment areas in 2012 will need to submit state implementation plans (SIPs) by early 2014; for all other areas, states will need to submit maintenance or infrastructure SIPs by June 2013. Attainment must be demonstrated by August 2017. The final rule does not address the secondary SO2 standard, which is being assessed under a separate review.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Aggregation Reconsideration Proposal (May 14, 2010)
NACAA has submitted comments supporting EPA’s proposal to revoke the 2009 New Source Review (NSR) Aggregation Amendments. NACAA's comments are available here. Following concerns expressed by the association when the Amendments were originally proposed in 2006, NACAA agreed that the Aggregation Amendments, which have been stayed since shortly after promulgation in 2009, should not take effect. The 2009 NSR Aggregation Amendments changed NSR permitting requirements to allow aggregation only when multiple physical or operational changes at a facility are “substantially related” and established a rebuttable presumption against aggregation when changes occur three or more years apart. NACAA expressed concern that, if implemented, the Aggregation Amendments would narrow the circumstances for aggregation and result in greater uncertainty for permitting authorities. The association also opposed the rebuttable presumption against aggregation contained in the Amendments. EPA’s proposal to revoke the 2009 NSR Aggregation Amendments was published pursuant to a petition for reconsideration from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which EPA granted in 2009.

EPA Releases Final Tailoring Rule, Sets Initial GHG Permitting Thresholds and Phase In Requirements Beginning January 2 and July 1, 2011 (May 13, 2010)
EPA has issued the final Tailoring Rule, raising the threshold and phasing in deadlines for permitting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources. Click here for the final rule. The final rule requires permitting for facilities that are already subject to the Prevention of Signification Deterioration (PSD) program for other pollutants beginning January 2, 2011, if those facilities increase GHG emissions, expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), by 75,000 tons per year (tpy) or more. Similar requirements apply to the Title V program, with only those sources that already have operating permits for other pollutants, or are first applying for Title V permits for other pollutants, subject to GHG requirements beginning January 2, 2011. Beginning in July 1, 2011, other new facilities expected to emit at least 100,000 tpy of CO2e will require permits under the PSD program, while existing facilities will require permits for modifications that result in an additional 75,000 tpy or more. Similarly, on July 1, 2011, sources emitting 100,000 tpy or more of CO2e will be subject to Title V. Sources must begin addressing GHGs when they apply for, renew, or revise permits. EPA estimates that the rule will result in approximately 900 additional PSD permitting actions per year and 550 new Title V sources; the agency also estimates that the rule will cover sources responsible for nearly 70 percent of national GHG emissions from stationary sources. To facilitate implementation, EPA is asking states to inform them whether and when they will make changes to their rules and has committed to address problems if states cannot meet the initial January 2, 2011 deadline. EPA has also committed to undertake a second rulemaking process, beginning in 2011 and ending no later than July 1, 2012, in order to address GHG permitting for smaller sources and ways to streamline permitting. The agency will not require GHG permitting for smaller sources emitting less than 50,000 tpy of CO2e until at least April 30, 2016.

EPA Issues National Program and Grant Guidance with Allocation (May 12, 2010)
EPA has issued the Office of Air and Radiation’s National Program and Grant Guidance and associated appendices. These documents, which include the main guidance and eight related appendices, review the agency’s priorities and plans for the use of FY 2011 funds and provide information and guidance on the allocation of FY 2011 air grants, as proposed by the President (i.e., $309.1 million, which includes an increase of $82.5 million above FY 2010). The guidance includes the preliminary allocation of state and local continuing air program grants, which reflects the revised methodology that NACAA distributed to state and local air agencies. (See Appendix B, pages 4-5 for the allocation details.) There are minor variations from the totals previously distributed, resulting from some quality-assurance adjustments. This allocation is based on the President’s proposed budget and can not be made final until Congress appropriates the funds. The allocation does not yet include a regional distribution for the proposed additional $15 million in monitoring funds or the proposed $25 million for capacity building for greenhouse gas permitting. Those allocations are still under discussion. Within the next few days, EPA will provide detailed allocation analysis background documents for review. We will make those available when they are ready.

Senators Kerry and Lieberman Release Clean Energy and Climate Bill Entitled “American Power Act” (May 12, 2010)
Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) released their clean energy and climate bill, the American Power Act, which would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Power plants’ GHG emissions reduction requirements would begin in 2013 and other industrial facilities would be covered by the GHG cap-and-trade system beginning in 2016. The transportation sector would be covered through a separate mechanism: fuel producers and importers would be required to buy allowances at a fixed price. The bill would preempt state and regional GHG cap-and-trade programs in perpetuity beginning in 2013, but preserves other important state and local authorities, such as setting GHG emissions standards or limits for sources and requiring the retirement or surrender of allowances or offset credits by sources. The bill sets performance standards for new coal-fired power plants permitted in 2009 and thereafter. With respect to Clean Air Act authorities, the bill provides that New Source Review shall not apply to a major source that is initially permitted or modified after January 1, 2009, on the basis of its GHG emissions, nor shall EPA set a NAAQS for GHGs or list a GHG as a HAP. EPA is directed to set GHG New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for certain sources not covered by the cap and is prohibited from setting NSPS for covered sources. The bill also provides that GHGs shall not be considered when determining whether a stationary source is required to get a Title V permit. The bill provides authority to EPA to make section 105 grants to air pollution control agencies to assist in implementing the climate change programs in the legislation. The American Power Act also includes provisions to promote nuclear power, to expand offshore drilling, to promote carbon capture and sequestration technology and to address the effects of climate change (adaptation measures).

NACAA Submits Testimony to Senate House Subcommittee Regarding Appropriations (May 11, 2010)
NACAA submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, regarding the proposed budget for EPA in FY 2011. Unlike the House, in which NACAA testified on March 25, 2010, the Senate does not hold hearings for public witnesses. NACAA’s testimony for the Senate articulated the association’s support for the President’s request for an increase of $82.5 million in Section 103/105 grants in FY 2011 (for a total of $309.1 million). NACAA reported that the actual resource needs of state and local air agencies are far greater, but that the increase the Administration has requested will be very beneficial for addressing important ongoing and new responsibilities. NACAA also recommended that funding for monitoring remain under the authority of Section 103, obviating the need for matching funds. Finally, NACAA expressed support for funding increases for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.

EPA Proposes Area and Major Source Air Toxics Standards for Industrial Boilers (April 30, 2010)
EPA has issued
proposed rules under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers located at major and area sources. The major source standard – the MACT – will also apply to process heaters. The proposed rule for major sources applies to 11 subcategories of boilers and process heaters and includes specific requirements for each. EPA is proposing emission limits for mercury, dioxin, particulate matter (as a surrogate for non-mercury metals), hydrogen chloride (as a surrogate for acid gases) and carbon monoxide (as a surrogate for non-dioxin organic air toxics) for existing units that burn oil, coal, biomass or gases other than natural or refinery gas and with a heat input capacity greater than 10 million BTUs/hour. For smaller units and those using natural or refinery gas, EPA is proposing work-practice standards instead of emission limits. The area source proposal addresses units that burn coal, oil, biomass or non-waste materials, but does not address natural or refinery gas-fired units. Smaller units (under 10 million BTU/hour) would be required to meet work-practice standards, while larger units would be subject to emission limits for PM, CO and/or mercury, depending on whether they are new or existing or coal-fired or not. EPA estimates that there are over 13,000 major source boilers and 183,000 area source boilers nationally. The rules would avoid between 2,000 and 5,000 premature deaths annually. According to EPA, the estimated annual cost is $3.4 billion, while the benefits range from $18 billion to $43 billion annually. EPA’s original boiler MACT was vacated in June 2007. In anticipation of the Section 112(j) "hammer," requiring state and local agencies to issue permits with boiler limits on a case-by-case basis, NACAA developed a model permit document in June 2008. The model was based on emissions data NACAA collected from agencies throughout the country. These data were shared with EPA as the agency developed the proposed boiler standard. Today, EPA has also proposed standards for Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI) and a definition of non-hazardous solid waste (see related article). These are related to the boiler rules because the applicability of the boiler and CISWI rules is affected by the definition of non-hazardous solid waste. Once the proposals are published in the Federal Register, there will be a 45-day comment period.

EPA Proposes Standards for Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators and Definition of Non-Hazardous Solid Waste (April 30, 2010)

EPA has
proposed new source performance standards and emission guidelines for emissions of hazardous air pollutants from Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWIs) under Section 129 of the Clean Air Act. CISWIs are boilers that burn non-hazardous solid wastes, not including municipal or medical solid waste incinerators. At the same time, EPA has issued a proposed definition of non-hazardous solid wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which determines which sources are subject to CISWI. EPA’s previous CISWI rule had been vacated in June 2007, along with the agency’s rules for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers. The new regulations for boilers have been proposed as well (see related article). Sources burning non-hazardous wastes that are not defined as CISWIs would likely be subject to the boiler regulations. The proposed rule calls for reductions at 172 of the 176 CISWI units. It would impose emission limits for mercury, lead, cadmium, hydrogen chloride, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, dioxins/furans, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Sources can choose to meet the emission limits or use alternative waste-disposal options (e.g., diverting waste to landfills). EPA estimates the cost to be $240 million annually, with benefits totaling $240 million - $580 million annually. Once the proposals are published in the Federal Register, there will be a 45-day comment period.

American Lung Association Releases “State of the Air” (April 28, 2010)
The American Lung Association (ALA) released its annual State of the Air report, which looks at levels of ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) found in monitoring sites across the U.S. According to the ALA report, nearly six out of ten Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. More positively, 20 of the 25 metropolitan areas with the worst year-round PM2.5 pollution reported much lower levels of particle pol¬lution in State of the Air 2010 compared to the 2009 report, and 17 of the 25 metropolitan areas with the worst daily PM2.5 levels experienced fewer unhealthy days than recorded in last year’s report. With respect to ozone, of the 25 metropolitan areas with the highest ozone levels, 14 reported fewer days than in the 2009 report, 10 had higher levels and one recorded unchanged levels. For the first time, the State of the Air 2010 includes population estimates for people living in poverty who are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution. The report uses the most current quality-assured nationwide data available for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 for its analyses.

EPA Receives Deadline Extension for Boiler and CISWI Proposals (April 13, 2010)
EPA has received an extension of two weeks to the court-mandated deadline for proposing standards for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers located at area and major sources of hazardous air pollutants under Section 112 and Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI) under Section 129. The new deadline for the proposals is April 29, 2010 (it was to have been April 15, 2010). EPA plans to issue a definition of non-hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which will have an impact on the boiler and CISWI rules. While there is no court-mandated schedule for the RCRA definition, the agency plans to issue that proposal along with the boiler and CISWI proposals. The deadline for the final rules has not been extended and remains on December 16, 2010. There has not been an extension for a fifth proposed rule that EPA is required to issue on April 15, 2010 -- the gold mining production processes MACT standard. That proposal is expected to be issued tomorrow as planned.

NACAA Sends Letters to Senate and House on Climate Legislation (April 7, 2010)
NACAA sent two separate letters to Congress to express the association’s views on climate legislation being drafted in the Senate and current efforts in the House of Representatives to constrain EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. In a letter to Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who are expected to release a climate bill the week of April 19, the association reiterated several NACAA positions regarding climate legislation. First, the association supports the adoption of a mandatory economy-wide GHG emission reduction program with quantifiable and enforceable limits that provides cost-effective means for reducing GHG emissions. Second, any federal legislation should preserve the ability of state and local governments to enact more stringent GHG regulations and give state and local governments the authority to retire allowances so that they can ensure that the measures they take to reduce GHG emissions in their jurisdictions do not result in emission increases elsewhere. Third, the bill must also acknowledge that state and local air pollution control agencies have a key role in implementation of the program. NACAA also sent a letter to the House of Representatives opposing efforts in the current Congress that would constrain or rescind the authority of EPA to regulate GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act. The letter notes that global warming is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, and EPA has demonstrated its ability to use the legal authorities in the Clean Air Act in a sensible way, responding to many of NACAA’s concerns. Click here for the letter to Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman and here for the letter to the House of Representatives.

NACAA Testifies before House Subcommittee regarding Appropriations (March 25, 2010)
Mary Sullivan Douglas testified on behalf of NACAA before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, expressing NACAA’s support for the President’s request for an increase of $82.5 million in Section 103/105 grants in FY 2011 (for a total of $309.1 million). The association’s testimony noted that the actual resource needs are far greater, but that the requested increase will be beneficial. NACAA stated that air pollution is one of the most pressing public health problems facing the country and that state and local air agencies have struggled with insufficient resources for many years. NACAA identified some of the important efforts that the increases in grants could support, for both continuing and new activities and programs. Finally, NACAA expressed support for funding increases for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program. In addition to presenting oral testimony at the hearing, NACAA submitted written testimony for the record.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Draft FY 2011 Program and Grant Guidance (March 25, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s draft FY 2011 National Program and Grant Guidance, which the agency released on March 1, 2010. The guidance pertains to the President’s budget request for FY 2011 and covers EPA priorities and the use of Section 103 and 105 grants. However, it does not contain a detailed breakdown of how grants will be allocated among activities and regions. That allocation is yet to be determined. NACAA noted that the association supported the Administration’s FY 2011 budget request for Section 103/105 grants, calling for an increase of $82.4 million, for a total of $309.1 million. While this increase is not sufficient, it will still be helpful. Additionally, NACAA expressed support for the tone of the draft guidance, which emphasized the importance of partnership and collaboration with state and local air agencies. NACAA offered specific comments and suggestions about a variety of issues in the draft program and grant guidance, including the allocation of grant funds and monitoring. With respect to the former, NACAA noted that the grant increases provide EPA with an opportunity to begin distributing funds according to a formula that is updated but also provides every region with an increase. On the latter, NACAA focused on the need for collaboration with EPA to develop a method for prioritizing new monitoring equipment purchases and implementation of the requirements.

EPA Proposes Amendments to Case-by-Case MACT Provisions under Section 112(j) (March 24, 2010)
EPA has proposed amendments to the regulations governing how state and local agencies must issue case-by-case MACT standards under Section 112(j) – the MACT “hammer” – when a MACT has been vacated by the court. Recent vacaturs of air toxics MACT rules for Polyvinyl Chloride facilities, Boilers and Brick and Clay plants resulted in some confusion and differing opinions about whether the hammer provisions applied and, if so, when. The proposal clarifies that the hammer does apply in cases of complete rule vacaturs and, therefore, does apply for those three source categories. For those categories, the proposal calls for the hammer provisions to apply 90 days after promulgation of the final amendments. In the case of any future vacaturs, sources would have 18 months from the date of the court’s mandate for the vacatur to submit permit applications. In addition to clarifying the provisions of the hammer, the proposal also streamlines the Section 112(j) application process so that the two permit applications required in the past are merged into one. The proposal will be published in the Federal Register shortly, thus beginning a 30-day comment period.

NACAA Submits Comments Supporting Reconsideration of the Ozone NAAQS (March 22, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed reconsideration of the 2008 ozone NAAQS, supporting the agency’s proposed range of levels for the primary and secondary ozone NAAQS since they coincide with the recommendations of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. EPA proposed that the level of the 8-hour primary ozone NAAQS, which was set at 0.075 parts per million (ppm) in 2008, should instead be set at a lower level within the range of 0.060 to 0.070 ppm; EPA also proposed that the secondary standard, which was set identical to the primary standard in 2008, should instead be a cumulative seasonal standard (W126) set at a level within the range of 7 to 15 ppm-hours. With respect to EPA’s proposed accelerated schedule for designating nonattainment areas, NACAA acknowledges EPA’s rationale for expediting designations – to apply a lower standard more quickly and thus speed up health protection – but notes that there are significant challenges for states in meeting the expedited deadlines for designating nonattainment areas for a lower ozone standard, especially for areas newly designated nonattainment (for which extensive public outreach will be necessary to explain the consequences of a nonattainment designation) and for rural areas. NACAA also highlights several additional implementation challenges associated with the proposed lower standards and makes several recommendations for how EPA could assist states and localities in meeting the lower standards. NACAA notes that the implementation challenges should not affect EPA’s choice in selecting levels for the standards.

Senator Rockefeller Introduces Legislation to Suspend for Two Years EPA Authority to Regulate GHG Emissions (March 4, 2010)
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced a bill to suspend EPA authority to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for two years, beginning from the date of enactment of the bill. Specifically, the bill provides that during the two-year period beginning on date of enactment, EPA may not take “any action” under the Clean Air Act “with respect to any stationary source permitting requirement or any requirement under section 111 of that Act … relating to carbon dioxide or methane.” (Section 111 relates to New Source Performance Standards.) The bill specifically exempts the following from the two-year suspension: action to finalize the GHG emissions standard for motor vehicles proposed in 2009, actions related to preparation of enforcement of a reporting requirement and any action related to the provision of technical support at the request of a state. The bill further provides that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no action taken by the Administrator prior to the end of the 2-year period shall be considered to make carbon dioxide or methane a pollutant subject to regulation under the Act for any source other than a new motor vehicle or a new motor vehicle engine. Congressmen Nick Rahall (D-WV), Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced identical legislation in the House.

EPA Responds to Letter from Eight Democratic Senators Asking About Path Agency Intends to Take in Regulating GHG Emissions (February 22, 2010)
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and seven other Democratic senators wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking that she answer a series of questions related to EPA’s intended path for regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In response to the questions, the Administrator sent a letter laying out the agency’s timeline as follows. By April 2010, EPA intends to “take actions to ensure that no stationary source will be required to get a Clean Air Act permit to cover its [GHG] emissions in calendar year 2010” and that the agency will phase in the requirements for permits for large stationary sources in calendar year 2011. With respect to the phasing in of permitting, in the first half of 2011 “only those facilities that already must apply for Clean Air Act permits as a result of their non-[GHG] emissions will need to address their [GHG] emissions in their permit applications,” according to Jackson’s letter. GHG emissions from other large sources would be subject to permitting beginning in the latter half of 2011, and between the latter half of 2011 and 2013, Jackson expects that the “threshold for permitting will be substantially higher than the 25,000-ton limit EPA originally proposed.” The smallest sources of GHG emissions would not be subject to permitting requirements until 2016 at the earliest, according to the letter. The senators also asked for Jackson’s views on Senate Joint Resolution 26, introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), which would nullify EPA’s GHG endangerment finding – specifically, how the resolution would affect EPA’s ability to regulate mobile source and stationary source GHG emissions. Jackson responded that enactment of the resolution would prevent EPA from issuing its light-duty GHG emission standard, and thus “undo an historic agreement among states, automakers, the federal government, and other stakeholders.” California and the thirteen other states that have adopted California’s GHG emissions standards for motor vehicles would likely move forward with enforcement of these standards, thus “leaving the automobile industry without the explicit nationwide uniformity that it has described as important to its business.” Jackson also said that a vote to reject the GHG endangerment finding would be “viewed as a vote to reject the scientific work of the thirteen U.S. government departments that contribute to the U.S. Global Change Research Program” and would be viewed by many as putting the U.S.’s views on global warming more in line with countries like Saudi Arabia. The other senators signing the letter to Jackson are Max Baucus (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Begich (D-AK), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Robert Byrd (D-WV).

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Proposed Revisions to the SO2 NAAQS (February 4, 2010)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposal to revise the primary sulfur dioxide (SO2) NAAQS, supporting the establishment of a new 1-hour SO2 standard between 50-100 parts per billion (ppb), in keeping with the recommendations of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). NACAA also supports revocation of the existing annual and 24-hour standard, as proposed by EPA and recommended by CASAC, but notes that the agency should explore setting a new 24-hour standard in a not-to-be-exceeded format, to protect against multiple high exposures in a day. With respect to monitoring, NACAA’s comments urge EPA to allow more flexibility in the monitoring requirements and also take issue with the agency’s costs estimates, stating that actual development costs for the monitoring system are likely to be double EPA’s estimates. NACAA also states that the National Monitoring Strategy needs to be updated to reflect EPA’s more source-oriented monitoring approach.

President Proposes Increase of $82.5 Million to State and Local Air Grants for FY 2011 (February 1, 2010)
President Barack Obama has announced his FY 2011 budget proposal, which includes $10.3 billion for EPA's budget, representing a decrease of approximately $300 million (2.7 percent) from last year. The budget also requests an increase of $82.5 million for state and local air grants, for a total of $309.1 million. This increase includes the following changes from the FY 2010 appropriations: a $45-million increase to support expanded core state activities for implementing revised and more stringent NAAQS and reducing public exposure to air toxics; a $25-million increase to state and local agencies in developing capacity to permit large sources of greenhouse gas emissions; a $15-million increase for additional state air monitors required by the revised NAAQS (likely under Section 103, which does not require state/local matching funds); and a $2.5-million decrease for school air toxics monitoring initiative. The budget also calls for $60 million for Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding (equal to FY 2010), and an elimination of the $20 million Targeted Airshed grants awarded in FY 2010. EPA has provided documents that contain details about the President's FY 2011 Budget Request. The first is the Budget in Brief (http://www.epa.gov/budget/2011/2011bib.pdf), a 96-page document. Please see the following pages for some of the most important information related to the air quality program: Highlights - pp 9-16; Clean Air and Global Climate Change - pp 17-23; State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) Chart - p. 67; STAG Information related to Air Grants - p. 72; and STAG Information related to Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding - pp. 83-84 ($60 million requested in FY 2011, equal to FY 2010). The second is the FY 2011 Congressional Budget Justification, a 997-page document provided to Congress (http://www.epa.gov/budget/2011/2011cj.htm). Please see the following pages for air-related information: Clean Air and Global Climate Change specifics - beginning on p. 14; Science and Technology Budget related to Air Toxics and Air Quality (EPA programs) - beginning on p. 59; Environmental Programs and Management Budget related to Air Toxics and Air Quality (EPA Programs) – beginning on p. 202; STAG-specific Information - beginning on pages 707, 711, 770; and details about STAG Grants for Air Quality - p. 773.

EPA Finalizes Nitrogen Dioxide NAAQS (January 25, 2010)
EPA finalized revisions to the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) NAAQS, setting a new 1-hour NO2 standard at the level of 100 parts per billion (ppb). EPA also is retaining, with no change, the current annual average NO2 standard of 53 ppb. To determine compliance with the new standard, EPA is establishing new ambient air monitoring and reporting requirements for NO2. In urban areas, monitors are required near major roads as well as in other locations where maximum concentrations are expected. Additional monitors are required in large urban areas to measure the highest concentrations of NO2 that occur more broadly across communities. Working with the states, EPA will site a subset of monitors in locations to help protect communities that are susceptible and vulnerable to NO2-related health effects. Click here for further information.

NACAA Sends Letter to Senate Opposing Disapproval of GHG Endangerment Finding (January 20, 2010)
NACAA sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate expressing opposition to a joint resolution expected to be offered imminently by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to disapprove EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) endangerment finding. The endangerment finding, issued on December 7, 2009, was made under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act based on EPA’s conclusion that current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed GHGs – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – in the atmosphere threaten the health and welfare of current and future generations. In the letter, the NACAA Co-Presidents, Vince Hellwig (MI) and Larry Greene (Sacramento, CA), note that EPA’s finding was made in response to the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, in which the Court ruled that GHGs are an “air pollutant” as defined in the Clean Air Act and, therefore, EPA must either issue a finding that GHGs do or do not endanger public health and welfare or conclude that the science is so uncertain as to preclude issuing such a finding. In accordance with the Supreme Court decision, EPA undertook a thorough review of the science, proposed a finding of endangerment, took public comment on its proposal and then issued its final decision. When EPA issued its proposed finding, NACAA submitted comments supporting it, stating that “[t]he evidence is overwhelming that GHG emissions from human activities are causing global warming and that this warming is endangering public health and welfare.” The NACAA Co-Presidents conclude their letter by stating, “We firmly believe that Congress should respect the Supreme Court decision and EPA’s deliberative and thorough process in coming to its conclusion about GHGs. Accordingly, NACAA opposes any attempt to overturn the finding by EPA that GHGs endanger public health and welfare and we urge you to do the same.” To view the letter, click here.

NACAA Submits Final Comments on EPA’s Proposed Tailoring Rule (December 28, 2009)
NACAA has submitted its final comments on EPA's proposed tailoring rule. To view the comments, click here. NACAA recommended that EPA 1) provide states and localities additional time to increase their major source thresholds above the existing 100/250 tpy levels, 2) raise the thresholds initially to 50,000 tpy, 3) provide sources additional time to integrate GHG emissions into their permits, 4) establish presumptive Title V fees and 5) assure the accuracy of its estimates of affected sources.

EPA Issues Final Rule for Ocean-Going Vessels (December 22, 2009)
EPA announced its final regulation setting more rigorous engine and fuel standards for new marine compression-ignition vessels (i.e., ocean-going vessels, or OGVs). The rule includes two additional tiers of NOx standards for Category 3 marine diesel engines installed on OGVs flagged or registered in the U.S. The near-term tier will apply to new engines beginning in 2011. This tier will require more efficient use of current engine technologies such as engine cooling, engine timing and advanced computer controls and is expected to result in a 15- to 25-percent reduction in NOx levels below current standards. The long-term tier of standards will apply beginning in 2016 and will require the use of high-efficiency emissions control technology, including selective catalytic reduction, to reduce NOx from current levels by 80 percent. EPA’s new rule also sets OGV emissions standards for hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. The agency did not adopt a PM emissions standard but states that there will be a significant PM emissions benefit through the Emission Control Area fuel sulfur requirements (expected to be finalized by the International Maritime Organization in 2010) that will apply to ships that operate in areas that affect air quality in the U.S. The new rule does, however, require engine makers to measure and report PM emissions. Another component of the rule is a change to the diesel fuel program to allow for the production and sale of 1,000-ppm sulfur fuel for use in OGVs. The new fuel requirements generally prohibit the production and sale of marine fuel oil with greater than 1,000-ppm sulfur for use in U.S. waters unless the vessel uses alternative devices, procedures or compliance methods to achieve equivalent emissions reductions. The final rule and related information are available at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/oceanvessels.htm.

NACAA Comments on Emissions Factors Program Improvements Announced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (December 14, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s Announced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Emissions Factors Program Improvements, which was published in the Federal Register on October 14, 2009.  NACAA’s comments provided input on each of 14 specific questions EPA had included in the notice, as well as several general points.  Most importantly, NACAA expressed concern that the existing Emissions Reporting Tool is not based on current technology and would not be an effective platform on which to base a national emission factor program.  NACAA recommended that EPA instead employ a web-enabled technology platform.  Additionally, NACAA recommended that EPA use a system that provides state and local agencies with access to raw emissions data.  Since data quality is a critical component of an effective emissions inventory program, the existing system, which relies on AP-42 and WebFIRE and lacks quantitative measures to assess data quality, should be improved upon.  NACAA also noted that emission factors are used for many purposes and that determinations about the appropriateness of using them should be evaluated in the context in which they are applied and decided upon by state and local agencies on a case-by-case basis.
 

EPA Issues TRI Data for 2008 (December 8, 2009)
EPA released the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2008, which contain information about disposal and releases of a list of toxics substances to the air, land and water. The 2008 data include information from 21,695 facilities, reporting 3.86 billion pounds of on-site and off-site disposal or other releases of chemicals. Of these disposals and releases, 30 percent (1.14 billion pounds) were air emissions. Since 2007, total TRI disposal and releases decreased by 6 percent (257 million pounds), with air emissions having the largest decrease of any media – 14 percent (179 million pounds). From 2001 to 2008, overall disposal and releases of the listed toxics substances have decreased by 1.72 billion pounds, while air emissions have decreased by about 490 million pounds, accounting for the largest decreases of any media. For TRI information, see www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/tri08/national_analysis/index.htm.

NACAA Comments on Reconsideration of Johnson Memo (December 7, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency’s proposed reconsideration of its prior regulatory interpretation of the phrases “subject to regulation” and “regulated pollutant” as those terms are used in the Clean Air Act. In its comments, the association generally supported EPA’s proposed reconsideration of its prior interpretation and agrees that neither 1) the CO2 monitoring rules, 2) the state rule regarding ammonia controls (and similar situations) nor 3) an endangerment finding should trigger PSD and Title V program applicability for a pollutant. NACAA also commented that EPA should adopt an interpretation of the statute that provides for orderly implementation of its requirements, and that EPA should provide a narrow interpretation and not address issues before they are ripe. To view NACAA’s comments, click here.

EPA Issues Final GHG Endangerment Finding (December 7, 2009)
EPA made two findings under the Clean Air Act that will allow the agency to proceed with its regulation of mobile source greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Administrator found that the current and projected concentrations of six “well-mixed” GHGs -- carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride -- in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations (the GHG endangerment finding). The Administrator also found that the combined emissions of these well-mixed GHGs from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the GHG pollution that threatens public health and welfare (the cause or contribute finding). The findings do not impose any requirements on industry or others to reduce GHG emissions but are a necessary prerequisite for EPA to finalize its proposed GHG emission standards for light-duty vehicles, which were proposed on September 15, 2009. Click here for the findings.

NACAA Supports EPA Proposal to Withdraw Refinery Residual Risk Rule (November 23, 2009)
NACAA sent a comment letter to EPA expressing support for the agency’s October 28, 2009 proposal to withdraw the Residual Risk standard for petroleum refineries that was issued on January 16, 2009. Residual Risk standards, pursuant to Section 112(f) of the Clean Air Act, are intended to address risks remaining from emissions of hazardous air pollutants from a source category eight years after the imposition of the MACT standard. NACAA had submitted comments on the proposed Residual Risk standard in December 2007 and December 2008, expressing concern about the methodology and risk assessment EPA had used to develop the proposal, the inadequacies of the data on which the analyses were based and the control strategies under consideration. EPA issued the final standard last January, which it is now proposing to withdraw, without addressing those deficiencies. NACAA noted that the association is pleased that EPA plans to withdraw the rule and develop a new proposal using improved information and analysis.

EPA Releases Proposal to Revise Sulfur Dioxide NAAQS (November 17, 2009)
EPA is proposing to revise the primary standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2) to a level of between 50 and 100 parts per billion (ppb) measured over one hour. The existing primary standards were 140 ppb measured over 24 hours and 30 ppb measured over an entire year, and EPA is proposing to revoke these two standards. EPA is not proposing to revise the secondary standard at this time. EPA is also proposing changes to the ambient air monitoring and reporting requirements for SO2. These proposed requirements are expected to result in a minimum of 348 SO2 monitoring sites. EPA estimates that at least one-third of the SO2 monitors already in operation may meet the proposed siting requirements. The proposal also contains a proposed implementation rule. Designations would be finalized June 2012 and SIPs due winter 2014, with an attainment date of summer 2017. EPA will accept comments for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule January 5, 2010, in Atlanta, GA. EPA will issue a final rule by June 2, 2010. Click here for more information.

EPA Agrees to Issue MACT for PVC Plants (November 5, 2009)
In response to a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, EPA has agreed to issue standards to control emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from Polyvinyl Chloride and Copolymer (PVC) Production facilities. According to the agreement, EPA must propose a MACT standard for PVC plants by October 29, 2010 and issue a final regulation by July 29, 2011. EPA originally issued a MACT standard in 2002 that was based merely on the agency’s vinyl chloride standard from the 1970s. In 2004, the court vacated the standards and ordered EPA to develop a new rule that complied with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Since that time, there has been no rule in place and state and local agencies have been required to develop case-by-case MACT, pursuant to the “hammer” provisions of Section 112(j). In order to assist agencies that needed to issue case-by-case MACT, in July 2006, NACAA (then STAPPA/ALAPCO) published recommended MACT limits for vinyl chloride, based on the parameters for establishing MACT under Section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act and using data the association collected to determine the MACT floor. [For further information: www.earthjustice.org/news/press/2009/gulf-coast-communities-praise-epa-plan-to-limit-pvc-plant-pollution.html and Air Web – Air Toxics Committee page]

NACAA Testifies on Proposed LDV GHG and CAFE Standards (October 23, 2009)
NACAA testified at a public hearing in New York convened by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the agencies' joint proposed rule to establish light-duty vehicle (LDV) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards. To view the testimony, click here. The association, represented by Steve Flint (NY), offered support for timely and effective action to curb GHG emissions from LDVs stating, "The proposed standards to reduce GHG emissions from light-duty vehicles in model years 2012 through 2016 are a very commendable first step forward in what must be an ongoing effort to make light-duty vehicles and, in fact, our nation's entire mobile source fleet and fuels as clean and 'green' as possible," NACAA also expressed confidence that the standards, which can be achieved with known and available technologies, will be implemented with success, noted the particular suitability of the Clean Air Act for regulating motor vehicle pollution and highlighted the significant role that state leadership and innovation - fostered by the provision of states' rights in the Clean Air Act - played in the development of this historic proposal.

EPA Issues Final Designations for the 24-Hour PM2.5 NAAQS Set in 2006 (October 8, 2009)
EPA issued final designations for the 24-hour fine particulate matter PM2.5 NAAQS set in 2006. The designations will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The original designations for this standard, based on 2007 data, were completed under the previous administration in December 2008. They were subsequently reviewed by the current administration, which decided to revise the designations to reflect 2008 data. Based on 2008 data, 31 areas are being finally designated as nonattainment (versus 54 areas that were previously identified based on 2007 data). In addition to these 31 areas, there are three counties that were not included previously (Pinal Co., AZ, Plumas Co., CA, and Shasta Co., CA) with monitoring data now indicating potential violations of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. For these three areas, EPA will work with the affected states and tribes to establish nonattainment boundaries for these areas and, accordingly, is deferring the designations for these areas until EPA and the states and tribes can develop sufficient information to determine the appropriate boundaries. In addition, in reviewing the 2008 data, EPA identified two areas of the country that do not meet the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard (Harris Co., TX and Pinal Co., AZ). These two areas will receive letters from their respective Regional Administrator beginning the process of redesignating to nonattainment. For those 31 areas with final nonattainment designations, SIPs will be due three years after the effective date of the designations (the due date is likely to be November 2012) and the attainment date will be no later than five years after the effective date of the designations (November 2014). Click here for further information.

Congress Adopts Continuing Resolution to Keep Government in Operation for an Additional Month (September 30, 2009)
The Senate adopted and President Obama signed the Legislative Branch appropriations bill for FY 2010, which included a provision to fund the federal government’s operations during the first month of the new fiscal year (until October 31, 2009). This Continuing Resolution (CR), which the House had previously approved, will allow additional time for Congress to pass the individual appropriations bills that fund specific departments and activities, including EPA’s budget under the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies legislation. The FY 2009 fiscal year ended on September 30, 2009 without any of the appropriations bills being signed into law, thus necessitating a CR to avoid a government shut-down. With respect to EPA’s budget, on September 24, 2009, the Senate adopted the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, calling for $226.6 million in federal grants for state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. The bill is awaiting action by a House-Senate conference committee that will reconcile any differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the bill. The House and Senate must then adopt the conference’s provisions before sending the bill to the President for signature. The conference committee is expected to act shortly. For updates on Appropriations activities, see http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app10.html.

Senators Kerry and Boxer Release Climate Bill (September 30, 2009)
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, which would cap greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. and allow covered entities to trade GHG allowances to meet their reduction targets. In addition to a program designed to reduce GHG emissions, the bill also promotes the development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency and provides resources for adapting to climate change. Click here for a link to the bill and related documents.

NACAA Comments on Portland Cement Kilns MACT Proposal (August 20, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA's proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry, which were published in the Federal Register on May 6, 2009 (74 Federal Register 21136).  NACAA expressed support for EPA’s proposal of a meaningful regulation for new and existing Portland Cement Kilns that is designed to reduce emissions of mercury, total hydrocarbons and particulate matter and hydrochloric acid.  NACAA noted that the proposal is an improvement over the earlier rule and proposals for the source category.  Additionally, the association is pleased that the proposal addresses problems identified in two court rulings on other regulations that have bearing on the provisions for Portland Cement Kilns – exemptions for Shutdown and Malfunction (SSM) events and the improper calculation of the MACT floor (in the Brick and Clay MACT).  NACAA also commented on specific monitoring provisions and applauded the requirement for the use of continuous emission monitors.
 

NACAA Comments on FY 2010 Addendum to EPA’s National Program and Grant Guidance (August 11, 2009)
NACAA provided comments to EPA on the Office of Air and Radiation’s addendum to the National Program and Grant Guidance. The addendum provided specifics about EPA’s plans for allocating Section 103 and 105 grants among activities and regional offices and supplemented information contained in the original guidance issues on April 28, 2009. NACAA’s comments focused on the need for additional grants for state and local air agencies and the importance of maximizing the federal resources that are available. Specifically, NACAA recommended that funds proposed to be allocated to the “Energy Facility Air Quality Analysis” program ($3,900,000) and the “Community-Scale Air Toxics Monitoring” program ($2,500,000) be put into the base grants for allocation to the regions. Additionally, NACAA identified a list of activities that are the federal government’s responsibility and should not be funded by state and local air grants. NACAA also reiterated the need to fund monitoring PM2.5, lead, nitrogen dioxide, the secondary ozone standards, and air toxics under Section 103.

NACAA Comments on EPA Proposed Standards for Asphalt Processing and Roofing Manufacturing (August 10, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the proposed standards for Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing facilities that are area sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).  The association expressed support for effective regulations to reduce emissions of HAPs from area sources and noted that the proposal was disappointing in that it would not result in additional reductions in emissions from the source category.  In addition to offering specific recommendations about some of the technical issues in the proposal, NACAA noted that some state and local air agencies may find it difficult to adopt and enforce additional area source rules without significantly increased federal funding.

NACAA Offers Senate Recommendations for Climate Legislation (August 5, 2009)
NACAA transmitted a letter to U.S. Senators offering the association’s
perspectives on the climate change legislation that is currently under development.
Noting that the bill passed by the House in June – the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) – is based on core principles that NACAA supports, the association urged that, as the Senate drafts its climate proposal, it “begin with ACES as a baseline, retain certain fundamental elements and incorporate changes regarding several other significant provisions that will shore up the effectiveness of the legislation.” NACAA made seven specific recommendations in its letter, each of which is consistent with the comments and recommendations the association made throughout the House debate and adoption of ACES: 1) retain the framework of an economy-wide program, including such components as strong emissions limits and a cap-and trade program, 2) strengthen offset provisions, including for agriculture and forestry, 3) preserve state and local authorities, delineate specific implementation roles for states and localities and authorize funding for state/local implementation efforts, 4) retain important Clean Air Act programs for new and existing sources inside and outside the cap, 5) include a Low Carbon Fuel Standard and support the inclusion of indirect emissions in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions analyses, 6) strengthen the transportation planning provisions and 7) strengthen the Renewable Electricity Standard. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has indicated the Committee will have a bill ready when the
Senate returns from recess after Labor Day.

EPA Issues Addendum to FY 2010 Grant Guidance that Includes Allocation by Program and Region (July 20, 2009)
EPA has issued an addendum to the April 28, 2009 National Program and Grant Guidance that includes tentative regional allocations and other information related to FY 2010 Section 103 and 105 grants. The original program and grant guidance was issued in April 28, 2009, but it included a placeholder for the spreadsheet showing the allocation of Sections 103 and 105 grants among regions and program activities, among other things. The addendum provides the missing information and reflects what is currently known about Congressional appropriations actions to date, as they pertain to the federal air grants (e.g., it notes that initial language in the appropriations bills directs fine particulate matter monitoring grants to be funded under the authority of Section 103, rather than 105.). The FY 2010 regional allocation does not reflect any changes to the distribution based on EPA’s efforts to develop an updated allocation scheme. The final allocation is dependent on remaining Congressional action and would have to be amended to reflect any changes Congress may mandate.

CDC Launches Public Health Tracking Network (July 7, 2009)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the Public Health Tracking Network, which is designed to track how environment contaminants affect public health and provide information on a host of environmental problems and health issues. The network is an interactive, Internet-based system that tracks and reports environmental hazards and the health problems that may be related to them. It currently provides information from health departments in 16 states and one city, which were involved in a pilot program to build local tracking networks. The health departments in these areas provide data to the national tracking network to help identify trends in public health data (e.g., hospital admissions for asthma). Among the types of information the network provides are data about health (e.g., asthma, cancer, carbon monoxide poisoning and heart attacks), environmental problems (e.g., air and water pollution) and exposure (e.g., lead in blood). The jurisdictions participating in the network are: California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, New York City, NY, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. For additional information about the network, click here.

NACAA Comments on Paint and Allied Products Area Source Proposal (June 30, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency’s proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Source Standards for Paints and Allied Products Manufacturing, which were published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2009. NACAA recommended additional funding for state and local agencies to implement the rule. The association also noted a concern that the proposed rule would apply more broadly than EPA had intended, perhaps applying even to home-improvement and hardware stores that mix small amounts of paint. Finally, NACAA recommended several amendments to clarify the provisions and make the rule consistent with requirements in previous standards. [For further Information: Air Web – Top Headlines and Air Toxics Committee page].

EPA Grants CA Waiver (June 30, 2009)
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today granted California’s request for a waiver of federal preemption under the Clean Air Act to enforce the state’s motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards. This action clears the way for California, and the 14 other states that have adopted the standards, to enforce this program. The decision withdraws and replaces that of the previous administration, issued March 6, 2008, denying California’s request. To view today’s decision, click here.

House of Representatives Passes Global Warming Bill (June 26, 2009)
The House of Representatives by a vote of 219-212 approved the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2554/H.R. 2998). The Act would create a cap-and-trade system to control emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), with a cap that gradually reduces GHG emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 . Click here for the results of the roll call vote on the bill. Click here for further information.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Calls for Air Grants Equal to President’s Request (June 10, 2009)
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies marked up legislation containing EPA’s FY 2010 budget and recommended $226.6 million for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. This amount is equal to the President’s request for FY 2010 and is $2.5 million above FY 2009 levels (with the increase earmarked for toxics monitoring near schools). The Subcommittee also included $60 million for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) funding, which is equal to both FY 2009 levels and the President’s FY 2010 request. NACAA had recommended $270 million for state and local air grants – an increase of $46 million above FY 2009 -- in testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. However, the Subcommittee was allocated $25 million less than the amount that would have been needed to fully fund the President’s request and was required to distribute those funds among the programs within its jurisdiction. Prior to the mark-up, a bi-partisan group of 43 Representatives sent a letter to Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Ranking Member Michael Simpson (R-ID) recommending $270 million for state and local air grants and $200 million for DERA in FY 2010. NACAA members had been given a draft of this letter and encouraged to contact their delegations to urge them to co-sign the letter. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to act on the funding bill on June 18; the House Appropriations leadership hopes to bring the legislation to the House floor by June 25. A written report of the Subcommittee’s action and any additional instructions is not yet available. For a link to the Subcommittee’s website, click here.

NACAA Testifies on RFS Proposal (June 9, 2009)
NACAA presented testimony at EPA’s public hearing on the agency’s proposed changes to the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program. The association expressed its support for the goals of reducing U.S. dependency on foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. NACAA articulated, however, its concern “that commitments to increase the use of renewable fuels for the purposes of energy security and GHG emissions reductions have been made without sufficient study of the potential adverse air quality and human health impacts” and “urge[d] strongly that before EPA takes final action on this rule, the agency ensure that the full range of air quality impacts of the RFS – upstream and downstream – is comprehensively quantified, that appropriate mitigation measures are identified and that provisions for timely implementation of these measures are included in the bill.” A second key issue addressed by NACAA was the critical need to consider of the full lifecycle emissions impact of the RFS, including both direct and indirect emissions, such as land use changes. To view NACAA’s testimony - which was presented by the association’s Executive Director, Bill Becker - click here.

NACAA Comments on Toxics Proposal for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (June 3, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments on the proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE), which were published in the Federal Register on March 5, 2009. NACAA commended EPA for proposing to limit Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) and diesel emissions from RICE sources. NACAA noted that the proposed standards will affect many sources, including area sources. In light of the fact that state and local air agencies are currently underfunded by a significant amount, EPA should provide sufficient additional funds for state and local clean air agencies to properly implement the provisions. In addition to providing technical comments and suggesting corrections and clarifications, NACAA recommended catalyzed diesel particulate filters on new and existing non-emergency diesel-powered RICE and the use of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel.

President Issues Policy on State Preemption (May 20, 2009)
President Barack Obama issued a memorandum to federal executive departments and agencies articulating the Administration’s policy with respect to the preemption of state law, stating that, “preemption of State law by executive departments and agencies should be undertaken only with full consideration of the legitimate prerogatives of the States and with a sufficient legal basis for preemption.” He notes in the memorandum that states have distinctive circumstances and values and it is often appropriate for them to apply rules and principles that reflect those circumstances and values. The memo indicates that in recent years, executive departments and agencies, “have sometimes announced that their regulations preempt State law, including State common law, without explicit preemption by the Congress or an otherwise sufficient basis under applicable legal principles.” The President issued the following instructions with respect to state preemption: federal departments and agencies may not state in regulatory preambles their intention to preempt state law unless the codified regulation includes such provisions; codified regulations should not include preemption provisions unless they would be justified under the principles described in Executive Order 13132 (August 4, 1999); and departments and agencies should review regulations issued during the last 10 years that contain preemption provisions to determine if the preemption is justified and, if necessary, take appropriate action, including amending the provisions.

NACAA Submits FY 2010 Appropriations Testimony to Senate (May 14, 2009)
NACAA provided testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction over EPA’s budget, regarding FY 2010 appropriations. The subcommittee does not hold hearings for public witnesses and only accepts written testimony. NACAA recommended an increase in Section 103/105 grants of $43.4 million above the President’s recently announced budget request, which was $226.6 million for state and local air pollution control grants, for a total of $270 million. This would be an increase of $46 million above FY 2009 levels. Additionally, NACAA recommended that the PM2.5 and lead monitoring programs remain under the authority of Section 103. Included in the testimony were results from NACAA’s survey of state and local agencies’ funding needs, which show that federal grants to state and local air agencies should be increased by over $550 million. In light of the true needs, NACAA’s request for a $43.4-million increase is modest. Bill Becker provided similar testimony on behalf of NACAA to the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on April 28, 2009. 
 
FY 2010 Budget Proposal Calls for Slight Increase in State and Local Air Grants (May 7, 2009)
President Obama’s proposed FY2010 budget, the details of which were just announced, calls for an increase in federal grants for state and local air quality agencies of $2.5 million above the FY 2009 appropriation, for a total of $226.6 million. It appears that the Administration’s request calls for PM2.5 monitoring grants to be funded under Section 105 authority, which would necessitate a 40-percent match by state and local agencies, rather than Section 103 of the Clean Air Act. The proposed budget also calls for $60 million for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) funding, equal to FY 2009, but does not include an additional $15 million in California reduction project grants that were contained in the FY 2009 appropriation. NACAA’s recently released funding study indicates that federal grants to state and local air grants should be increased by over $550 million. In recognition of the funding constraints presented by the current economy, NACAA has recommended a modest increase of $46 million in FY 2010, for a total of $270 million. For budget details, see www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/epa.pdf (see especially page 7) and www.epa.gov/budget/2010/2010bib.pdf (see especially page 66).

NACAA Issues Report on State and Local Funding Needs (April 27, 2009)
NACAA released a report on state and local air agency funding needs – Investing in Clean Air and Public Health – based on information collected from the association’s survey of state and local air pollution control agencies. The purpose of the survey was to determine the level of increases in resources (especially federal grants under Sections 103 and 105) that would be necessary to fully support the programs that state and local air agencies are already undertaking and to carry out additional programs needed to meet the intent of the Clean Air Act. According to the survey results, state and local agencies’ contributions are 77 percent of their budgets, while federal grants constitute only 23 percent, far different from the 60 percent federal and 40 percent state/local split envisioned by the Clean Air Act. Based on the survey, a total of $1.3 billion is needed for state and local air programs, which would require an increase of $550-575 million in federal grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. In light of the current economic climate, however, NACAA is recommending only a modest increase for FY 2010: an additional $46 million in federal grants under Sections 103 and 105 over FY 2009 levels, for a total of $270 million. The survey results will be included in NACAA’s testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. Click here for the press release announcing the report.

EPA Proposes Mercury Controls on Cement Kilns (April 21, 2009)
EPA proposed a Maximum Achievable Control Technology standard to regulate mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from Portland Cement Kilns. The proposal, resulting from a legal challenge by nine states and environmental and citizens groups, is the first to address emissions of mercury from cement kilns, which are among the largest sources of mercury emission in the U.S. It is estimated that the proposed rule will reduce mercury emissions by 13,400 pounds. Additionally, it will lower releases of hydrochloric acid, benzene and other toxins and, as a result of provisions to address emissions of lead, arsenic and other metals, will also result in reductions in emissions of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide. Finally, the new rule, if adopted, would require cement kilns to monitor emissions of mercury for the first time. The states that were involved the lawsuit and court settlement resulting in the proposal are: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. EPA will accept public comment on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. Click here for the proposal

EPA Issues Proposed Endangerment Finding for GHG Emissions (April 17, 2009)
EPA has issued a proposed finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health and welfare (also known as the endangerment finding). The proposal stems from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), where the Supreme Court found that GHGs are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. The Court held that the Administrator must determine whether or not emissions of GHGs from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or whether the science is too uncertain to make a reasoned decision. EPA is proposing to find that current and projected concentrations of six GHGs as a mix in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. EPA is also proposing to find that combined emissions of four of the six GHGs from new motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines contribute to the atmospheric concentrations of these key GHGs and thus to the threat of climate change. EPA is not proposing any regulations and the endangerment finding itself does not trigger any automatic regulations under the Act. The deadline for comment will be 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA will hold two public hearings on the proposed finding, one on May 18, 2009, in Arlington, Virginia, and one on May 21, 2009, in Seattle Washington. For further information, click here.

NACAA Supports EPA Approval of California Waiver (April 6, 2009)
NACAA submitted written comments to EPA for consideration as the agency, pursuant to a directive of President Obama, reconsiders the previous administration’s denial of a request by California for a waiver of federal preemption to enforce the state’s motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards. In its comments, NACAA offered strong support for full approval of California’s waiver, citing EPA’s very narrow and deferential role under the Clean Air Act regarding consideration of a waiver request. Until and unless California receives a waiver for the GHG emissions standards, neither it nor the 14 other states that have adopted California’s program can enforce the standards. To view NACAA’s comments, click here.

Representatives Waxman and Markey Release Draft Climate Bill (March 31, 2009)
Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ed Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, released a _discussion draft_ of a comprehensive climate and energy bill entitled "The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009". The bill caps greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from sources comprising approximately 85 percent of U.S. GHG emissions, reducing GHG emissions to 3 percent below 2005 levels in 2012, 20 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, 42 percent below 2005 levels in 2030 and 83 percent below 2005 levels in 2050. The bill sets a national renewable portfolio standard beginning at 6 percent in 2012 and climbing to 25 percent in 2025 and establishes a utility energy efficiency resource standard. It also promotes development and deployment of carbon capture sequestration technology and sets a GHG emission performance standard for new coal-fired power plants. The bill directs the President to set a national GHG emissions standard for new motor vehicles and the EPA Administrator to set GHG emissions standards for new heavy-duty vehicles and engines, new marine vehicle and locomotive engines and new aircraft engines. It also establishes a low carbon fuel standard. The bill protects the ability of states and "political subdivisions thereof" to cap GHG emissions, "require surrender to the State or a political subdivision thereof of emission allowances or offset credits established or issued under the Act, and require the use of such allowances or credits as a means of demonstrating compliance with requirements established by a State or political subdivision thereof". However, the bill provides that between 2012 and 2017, no state or political subdivision thereof may implement or enforce a cap on emissions from covered sources. With respect to the Clean Air Act, the bill provides that no GHG may be listed as a criteria pollutant or hazardous air pollutant "on the basis of its effect on climate change" and that the provisions of Title I Part C of the Act do not apply to a GHG "solely on the basis of its effect on climate change or regulation under Title VII or this title". Sources covered by the GHG cap that already have Title V permits would have their GHG emission limits written into the permits, but sources that do not already have Title V permits would not need to apply for a permit because of their GHG emissions.

New Report on Emission Control Areas for Global Shopping (March 30, 2009)
NACAA joined the Environmental Defense Fund, the American Lung Association and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to release a report documenting the impacts on human health of air pollution associated with global shipping, including container ships, cruise ships, tankers, and bulk carriers. In the report, the groups offer support for the U.S. government's action, taken March 30, 2009 (see related news item), to apply to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for designation of U.S. coastal areas as an Emission Control Area (ECA). Oceangoing vessels traveling in an ECA would be subject to control requirements for NOx, SOx and PM emissions, Ninety percent of the ships that call on U.S. ports are foreign flagged. Researchers estimate that, each year, emissions from shipping pollution are associated with 60,000 deaths globally.

NACAA Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee (March 26, 2009)
Bill Becker testified on behalf of NACAA before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding EPA’s FY 2010 budget. The hearing was held to obtain testimony from public witnesses, even though the details of the President’s FY 2010 budget request have not been released. Written testimony for the hearing was submitted to the Subcommittee on March 26, 2009. At the hearing, Bill provided information about NACAA’s newly released funding needs report. He related NACAA’s recommendation for an increase in Section 103/105 grants of $46 million above FY 2009 levels, for a total of $270 million.
 
NACAA Provides FY 2010 Appropriations Testimony to House (March 26, 2009)
NACAA has submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction over EPA’s budget, regarding FY 2010 appropriations. Even though the details of the President’s FY 2010 budget request have not been released, the Subcommittee requested written testimony at this time. NACAA included general recommendations in the testimony and will provide comments on specifics of the President’s budget when the details are announced. NACAA’s recommendations called for an increase in Section 103/105 grants of $46 million above FY 2009 levels, for a total of $270 million. Additionally, NACAA requested that the PM2.5 and lead monitoring programs remain under the authority of Section 103. Included in the testimony were preliminary results from NACAA’s survey of state and local agencies’ funding needs. According to the survey results, state and local agencies’ contributions are 77 percent of their budgets, while federal grants constitute only 23 percent, far different from the 60 percent federal and 40 percent state/local split envisioned by the Clean Air Act. Based on the survey, $1.3 billion is needed for state and local air programs. 60 percent of which is $778 million. Since federal grants have been between $200 million and $220 million in recent years, they should be increased by approximately $550 million to $575 million annually to meet state and local needs. In recognition of the current economic climate, NACAA is recommending far less. The association’s recommendation of a $46-million increase over FY 2009 levels is modest, considering the real needs.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Proposed Program and Grant Guidance (March 19, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation Draft Fiscal Year 2010 National Program & Grant Guidance, dated February 18, 2009. The guidance is preliminary because the President has not announced the details of his proposed budget yet. NACAA noted that the association would like to provide additional input on the current or supplemental draft guidance after the details of the FY 2010 budget have been announced. NACAA emphasized the importance of Section 105 and 103 grants to state and local air agencies and the critical need for significant increases. Specifically, NACAA is recommending an increase of approximately $53 million above FY 2008 levels, for a total of $270 million. Among the specific comments NACAA provided are the following: EPA should not shift grants for the fine particulate matter monitoring program from Section 103 to Section 105 authority; Regional Planning Organizations should continue to receive at least $2.5 million; funds for the NOx/CAIR budget should come from EPA’s own funding, rather than air grants; EPA should provide training funds from its own budget to match the amount that state and local agencies will fund off-the top (just under $2 million); funding for the Diesel Emission Reduction Act programs should not come from the State and Tribal Assistance Grant account; and EPA should provide guidance in a timely manner.

President Signs FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (March 11, 2009)
President Barack Obama signed the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations legislation that will fund the federal government through September 30, 2009. The Senate adopted the bill on March 10, 2009, one day before the expiration of the latest Continuing Resolution that continued funding for the federal government. The new law provides $224 million in state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act, which is an increase of $7.2 million above FY 2008 and $39 million above the amount requested by the previous Administration in February 2008. Approximately $4 million of the Section 105 funds will support an energy permitting initiative described in the budget request. The law also calls for funding for the PM2.5 monitoring program to remain under Section 103 authority, rather than Section 105 authority. Additionally, it provides $60 million for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grants; $15 million for California emission reduction project grants; $6.5 million in EPA’s budget for the greenhouse gas emissions reporting rule; $10 million (outside of Section 103/105 funding) for a new competitive grant program to assist local communities in establishing and implementing climate change initiatives; and a mandate that EPA act on the California greenhouse gas vehicle waiver by June 30, 2009. For appropriations information, see http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app09.html.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Area Source Proposal for Aluminum, Copper and Other Nonferrous Foundries (March 10, 2009)
NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency’s proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Area Source Standards for Aluminum, Copper, and Other Nonferrous Foundries, which were published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2009 (74 Federal Register 6510). NACAA indicated that state and local air agencies are already underfunded and would require additional resources to implement the Aluminum/Copper and other area source standards EPA will issue and has already promulgated. Additionally, NACAA noted that the final rule should result in real reductions in emissions, rather than just the compliance requirements (e.g., monitoring, testing and recordkeeping) that EPA admits would be the only real impacts associated with the proposed rule.

EPA Proposes Mandatory Rule for GHG Reporting (March 10, 2009)
EPA issued proposed mandatory reporting requirements for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In general, EPA proposes that suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial GHGs, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions submit annual reports to EPA. The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE). According to EPA, approximately 13,000 facilities, accounting for about 85 percent to 90 percent of GHGs emitted in the United States, would be covered under the proposal. The first annual report would be submitted to EPA in 2011 for the calendar year 2010, except for vehicle and engine manufacturers, which would begin reporting for model year 2011. EPA is proposing not to require third party verification of reports but rather rely on self-certification with EPA verification. Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA will hold two public hearings on the proposal: one April 6 and 7, 2009, in the Washington, DC area and the other on April 16, 2009, in Sacramento, CA. EPA was directed to issue a mandatory GHG emissions reporting rule by the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

NACAA Testified in Support of CA Waiver (March 5, 2009)
NACAA provided testimony  on March 5, 2009 at EPA’s public hearing on the reconsideration of the previous denial of a waiver of preemption for California’s motor vehicle emission standards for greenhouse gases (GHGs). In its testimony, the association reiterated its strong support for full and prompt approval of California’s waiver request, noting that EPA's role in considering a waiver request is narrow and deferential. Under the law, EPA must grant California's request for a waiver unless it can demonstrate that California acted arbitrarily and capriciously in adopting its regulations, that there is no longer a compelling and extraordinary need for California to maintain its own motor vehicle program or that California's regulations are not consistent with Section 202(a) of the CAA. In the case of California's GHG regulations, although none of these can be demonstrated, in March 2008, the previous administration, nonetheless, denied California’s request for a waiver. Since California adopted its GHG emission standards in September 2004, 14 other states have exercised their authority under Section 177 of the CAA to opt in to the program. Until and unless California receives a waiver of federal preemption for the GHG emission standards neither it nor the opt-in states can enforce the standards.

President Announces Budget for FY 2010 (February 26, 2009)
President Barack Obama announced the outline of the federal budget for FY 2010, which includes $10.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency. This represents a 34-percent increase over the amount that will likely be included in the FY 2009 omnibus legislation currently before Congress. While details about specific programs were not provided, the announcement stated that there will be an increase of $19 million for a greenhouse gas emission inventory and to work with industry to report emissions data. Additionally, the Administration will begin a comprehensive energy and climate change strategy that will include working with Congress to develop an economy-wide emissions reduction program that will result in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The program will be a cap-and-trade system with a 100-percent auction. EPA’s budget also includes large increases for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

DC Circuit Court Remands Fine Particle Standard to EPA for Reconsideration (February 24, 2009)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit remanded the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to EPA for reconsideration of the annual level of the standard (which EPA left at 15 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3)) and reconsideration of the secondary PM2.5 NAAQS. With respect to the annual PM2.5 NAAQS, the court held that the agency “failed to explain adequately why an annual level of 15 µg/m3 is ‘requisite to protect the public health,’ including the health of vulnerable subpopulations, while providing ‘an adequate margin of safety.’ 42 U.S.C.§ 7409(b)(1).” For the secondary standards, the court held that EPA “unreasonably concluded that the NAAQS are adequate to protect the public welfare from adverse effects on visibility.” The court denied petitions for review of the primary daily standard for coarse PM and the petition for review of EPA’s revocation of the primary annual standard for coarse PM. Click here for the decision.

Supreme Court Declines to Consider Overturning CAMR Vacatur (February 23, 2009)
The U.S. Supreme Court decided that it would not consider an appeal of the vacatur of the Clean Air Mercury Rule, thereby ending the legal battles related to the controversial cap-and-trade rule that addressed emissions of mercury from electric utilities. The US Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit had vacated CAMR on February 8, 2008 in response to a legal challenge by a group of states and environmental organizations. Subsequently, EPA and the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) – an industry organization – appealed to the Supreme Court for a review of the lower court’s decision. On February 6, 2009, the US Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the federal government’s appeal and stated that EPA had decided to “develop appropriate standards” that would regulate power plant emissions under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court’s decision that it would not reconsider the vacatur was in response to the UARG appeal, which had not been withdrawn. Click here to view the Supreme Court’s decision.

House Proposes FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (February 23, 2009)
The House Appropriations Committee released its proposed FY 2009 omnibus legislation that would provide funding for a host of federal programs, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for which appropriations legislation had not been adopted by the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2008. The House is expected to act on the bill this week and the Senate plans to take it up this week or next. The Continuing Resolution that has funded the federal government since October 1, 2008 expires on March 6, 2009. The House proposal calls for $224 million in state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. This is an increase of $7.2 million above FY 2008 and $39 million above the amount requested by President Bush in February 2008. Approximately $4 million of this amount would be set aside for an energy permitting initiative contained in the Administration’s budget request. The bill would maintain funding for the PM2.5 monitoring program under Section 103 authority, rather than shifting it to Section 105 authority, as the previous Administration proposed. The House proposal also includes $60 million for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grants ($11 million above FY 2008); $15 million for California emission reduction project grants; $6.5 million from EPA’s budget for rulemaking (by June 26, 2009) and implementation of the greenhouse gas emissions reporting rule; and $10 million for a new competitive grant program to assist local communities in establishing and implementing climate change initiatives (this amount is NOT included in the Section 103/105 total mentioned previously). Details of the House’s proposal are available at www.rules.house.gov/111/legtext/111_omni2009_2.htm.

Senate Environment Committee Chairman Releases Principles for Global Warming Legislation; Vows to Move Climate Bill Out of Committee by December (February 3, 2009)
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released her principles for global warming legislation. The principles include that the legislation should “[e]nsure that state and local entities continue pioneering efforts to address global warming” and that revenues from the program should “[a]ssist states, localities and tribes in addressing and adapting to global warming impacts.” Boxer also announced her intention to move a climate bill out of her Committee before international climate talks scheduled for December 7-18, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark, at which it is hoped that countries will reach agreement on a binding treaty to reduce emissions. Her principles also include that the legislation should “[r]educe emissions to levels guided by science to avoid dangerous global warming,” set short and long term targets that are “certain and enforceable” but that can also be adjusted to reflect new science, establish a transparent and market-based system for efficiently reducing emissions, and ensure a level global playing field. In addition to the funds for states, localities and tribes mentioned above for adaptation, she outlined several other targets for the revenues expected to be generated by creating a carbon market. These include consumers, energy efficiency measures, clean energy technologies, assistance to business and communities in transitioning to a clean energy economy, efforts to preserve wildlife and natural resources threatened by global warming, and developing nations.

NACAA Writes President, Congressional Leaders on Stimulus Package (February 2, 2009)
NACAA sent letters to President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid offering the associations’ perspectives on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. In their letters, the association commends the President, Senate and House, respectively, for their efforts to address the economic crisis facing our nation, and supports the aim of saving and creating jobs, jumpstarting the economy and laying the foundation for recovery. NACAA applauds the inclusion in the Plan of measures to spur a clean energy economy. Further, although the association acknowledges the importance of rebuilding America’s roads and bridges and investing in infrastructure, we stress that it is critical that such investments ensure that projects enhance, not impede, environmental protection. In particular, NACAA encourages that the selection of road, bridge and other infrastructure projects to be funded under the Plan include a “green screen” process to ensure the stimulation of infrastructure projects that will enhance, rather than impede, protection of the environment and public health and welfare. Toward this end, NACAA recommends that once the Plan is adopted by Congress and signed into law, it be accompanied by an Executive Order to departments and agencies in the Administration directing that stimulus funds be disbursed based on criteria that are consistent not only with the President’s economic priorities, but also with his environmental priorities. Likewise, NACAA recommends that during forthcoming discussions of the stimulus bill, as well as congressional oversight of it once it is signed into law, Congress ensure that the disbursement of stimulus funds be based on criteria that are consistent with both economic and environmental priorities.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Data Collection for Boiler MACT (January 29, 2009)
NACAA submitted a letter to EPA commenting on the agency’s efforts to collect data for the development of the MACT standard for Industrial Boilers and Process Heaters, which the agency has undertaken in response to the court’s vacatur of the original MACT standard. NACAA expressed disappointment that EPA had not involved the association in reviewing its data-collection plans and expressed concern that the deficiencies in EPA’s data set would result in an inferior MACT standard. Specifically, NACAA noted that EPA seems to be collecting data in a way that is intended to justify the creation of certain preconceived subcategories and recommended improvements to the data analysis before requesting source tests. Additionally, the data collection effort appears to be designed to determine the mean of the category, rather than the average of the top performing 12 percent, as the Clean Air Act requires. NACAA also emphasized the importance of collecting information on the variability of the emissions performance of the best-performing units, as well as additional data focusing on the best-performing 12 percent of sources. EPA is required to propose a Boiler MACT by July 15, 2009 and a final rule by July 15, 2010.

White House Directs Review of Recent Regulations (January 20-21, 2009)
White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies requiring that regulations promulgated by the previous Administration be halted and reviewed. The memorandum states that, after noon on January 20, no proposed or final regulations should be sent to the Office of the Federal Register for publication unless they have been reviewed and approved by a department or agency head appointed or designated by President Obama. In addition, all proposed or final regulations that have not yet been published in the Federal Register must also be reviewed and approved by the new Administration. Furthermore, agency heads should “consider extending for 60 days the effective date of regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but not yet taken effect” to allow time to review questions of law and policy raised by the rule, according to the memorandum. The memorandum also states, “Where such an extension is made for this purpose, you should immediately reopen the notice-and-comment period for 30 days to allow interested parties to provide comments about issues of law and policy raised by those rules.” .” Another memorandum titled, “Implementation of Memorandum Concerning Regulatory Review” was issued on January 21 by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter R. Orszag. This memorandum sets forth the considerations that agencies should take into account in deciding whether to postpone the effective dates of rules, including whether the rulemaking process was procedurally adequate; whether the rule reflected due consideration of the agency’s statutory or other legal obligations; and whether the rule is based on a reasonable judgment about the legally relevant policy considerations.

House Releases Economic Stimulus Proposal with Funds for EPA (January 15, 2009)
The U.S. House of Representatives announced its version of the economic stimulus bill – the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009” – which includes $11 billion for EPA programs. Included in the $825-billion package is $300 million in grants and loans for activities related to the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). According to statute, 70 percent of DERA funds are for nationwide competitive grants, while 30 percent will fund grants to states with approved programs. The stimulus package also includes $6 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund; $2 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund; $1.5 billion for Rural Water and Waste Disposal; $800 million for Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup; $200 million for Leaking Underground Storage Tanks; $100 million for Brownfields; and $100 million for state and local grants to address Lead-Based Paint Hazards. The House is expected to consider the package over the next two weeks. The Senate and White House (Obama) versions have not yet been made available.

Environmental Groups Petition and Sue EPA for Improved Hazardous Air Pollution Regulations (January 14, 2009)
Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups petitioned EPA to reopen over 30 Maximum Achievable Control Technology and Generally Available Control Technology standards that the groups claim are deficient. The petition specifically requests that EPA ensure that each rule includes emission standards for each listed hazardous air pollutant (HAP), complies with the Clean Air Act, and does not contain unlawful exemptions or the unlawful or invalid use of surrogates. The groups also asked the Administrator to delete all Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction exemptions from any air toxics-related regulation in which any such exemption appears. In a separate action, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club sued EPA in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to compel EPA to comply with the Clean Air Act by issuing overdue standards to address residual risk and reviewing and revising as necessary previously adopted technology-based hazardous air pollution standards. The environmental groups listed 26 source categories that are overdue for residual risk standards and technology review, both of which were to take place eight years after promulgation of the original standard. To view the petition and lawsuit, click here and here.

EPA States that Electric Utilities are Subject to Section 112(g) Case-by-Case MACT (January 14, 2009)
EPA issued a memorandum on January 7, 2009 stating that, because the court vacated the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units are subject to Section 112(g), which prohibits a major source of hazardous air pollutants from beginning construction or reconstruction without a permit containing MACT requirements determined on a case-by-case basis. The memo, written by Robert Meyers, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, goes on to say that EPA believes that the controls in place at affected facilities (those that began construction between the issuance of CAMR in March 2005 and the vacatur in March 2008) “may be sufficient to support a determination under section 112(g) that emissions will be controlled to a level no less stringent than MACT for new sources.” However, the permitting authorities must make this determination based on available information. With respect to projects that have already begun, the memorandum notes that the prior issuance of permits or other administrative processes (i.e., actions short of actual physical construction) should not necessarily mean that MACT options have been foreclosed and cannot be undertaken.

EPA Promulgates Flexible Permit Rule (January 13, 2009)
EPA finalized its proposed rule titled “Operating Permit Programs; Flexible Air Permitting Rule".  EPA abandoned its New Source Review program that would have allowed advance-approved “Green Groups,” which NACAA had strongly opposed.  With regard to Title V, the agency promulgated definitions for “Alternative Operating Scenarios (AOSs),” and “Approved Replicable Methodologies (ARMs),” both of which NACAA had also opposed on the grounds that these flexibilities are already provided for in Part 70.  EPA stated, however, that these revisions are intended “to clarify and reaffirm opportunities for accessing operational flexibility under existing regulations.”

EPA Promulgates Aggregation Interpretation, Withdraws Debottlenecking, and Puts Project Netting on Hold (January 12, 2009)
EPA has finalized its proposed rule titled, “Debottlenecking, Aggregation, and Project Netting.” The agency dropped the Debottlenecking proposal, interpreted the concept of “Aggregation” without  promulgating new regulatory language, and stated that Project Netting  will remain unchanged.  With regard to Aggregation, EPA took a different approach than that proposed on September 14, 2006.  Rather than promulgating a new regulatory definition of “Aggregation,” the agency retained the current rule text but interpreted the relevant text to mean that “activities should be aggregated for the purposes of the NSR applicability determination only in cases where there is a substantial relationship among the activities, either from a technical or an economic standpoint.”  NACAA’s comments recommended certain specific tests for determining whether projects should be aggregated, but EPA adopted neither the tests or our strong recommendation that sources should be subject to record-keeping and reporting requirements. 

Court Remands CAIR to EPA Without Vacatur; No Deadline Imposed for EPA Rulemaking (December 23, 2008)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided to remand without vacatur the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to EPA to “remedy CAIR’s flaws in accordance with our July 11, 2008 opinion in this case,” allowing CAIR to remain in effect until replaced by a rule consistent with the court’s opinion. While some parties (including North Carolina) had recommended the court impose a deadline by which EPA must act, the court turned down this suggestion. However, the court said petitioners may bring a mandamus petition to the court in the event that EPA fails to modify CAIR in a manner consistent with its July 11, 2008, opinion. The court granted EPA’s petition for rehearing only to the extent the agency sought a remand without vacatur; the rest of its opinion stands. Judge Rogers in her concurring opinion noted the “persuasive demonstration” by the states and other parties that vacating the rule would “sacrifice clear benefits to public health and the environment.” Click here for the court opinion.

NACAA Comments on Petroleum Refineries Residual Risk and Technology Review Supplemental Proposal (December 23, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s supplemental proposed standards to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants from petroleum refineries. The proposal, which was published in the Federal Register on November 10, 2008 (73 Federal Register 66694), was issued pursuant to Section 112(f) (Residual Risk), which calls for EPA to assess the risks from source categories that exist after the imposition of MACT and issue standards to address those risks. Additionally, EPA is required to review the MACT standards every eight years and issue an update, if appropriate. EPA first proposed Residual Risk and Technology Review standards for petroleum refineries on September 4, 2007, on which NACAA commented (in a letter dated December 20, 2007). After reviewing the comments, EPA issued the supplemental proposal on November 10, 2008, which includes additional provisions to address storage vessels and cooling towers. NACAA’s letter primarily reinforced the association’s previous concerns related to the risk assessment methodology and data on which the proposal was based. Further, NACAA expressed disappointment that EPA had not eliminated the no-control option from the proposal. Finally, NACAA recommended improvements to cooling tower provisions contained in the proposal.

NACAA Presents Recommendations to the Obama Administration on Clean Air Issues (December 16, 2008)
NACAA transmitted 16 recommendations to the new administration for improving air quality, Change Is in the Air. The recommendations focus on tackling global warming, pursuing important regulatory and statutory initiatives, rescinding/reversing ill-advised regulatory and policy actions and increasing financial and technical assistance to state and local air agencies. NACAA also urges that the Obama Administration include among its top priorities the reestablishment of a truly cooperative and functional partnership with state and local air pollution control agencies. Click here for the transmittal letter and here for the recommendations (Change Is in the Air).

EPA Abandons Proposals on NSR EGU Hourly Test and PSD Increment Modeling (December 10, 2008)
EPA announced that it is dropping its plan to change the New Source Review (NSR) program by allowing utility electric generating units (EGUs) to make modifications without installing pollution controls. The so-called “EGU Hourly Test” advocated by the agency would have made increases in an EGU’s maximum hourly emissions rate—rather than actual, annual emissions—the trigger for NSR. EPA had originally proposed the rule in October 2005, had issued a “Supplemental Notice” elaborating on its rationale for the proposal on May 8, 2007. NACAA had opposed the proposal in comments and testimony since its inception in 2005. Most recently, on October 16, 2008, NACAA had sent a letter to EPA stating that the situation that would have been created by the rule—increases in actual emissions, no modeling of impacts on ambient air, and no review by state and local permitting authorities—was considerably worsened with the vacatur of the Clean Air Interstate Rule. The agency also announced that it was abandoning a proposal to change modeling methodologies for determining compliance with clean air increments under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program, and evaluating the impacts on ambient air quality of new facilities in Class I areas, such as national parks. The rule, titled, “PSD: Refinement of Increment Modeling Procedure,” had been opposed by environmental groups and others on the grounds that the changes proposed could have allowed new coal-fired power plants to be located near national parks.

NACAA Files Comments Supporting Regulation of GHG Emissions Under the Clean Air Act (November 26, 2008)
NACAA filed comments on EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Regulating Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Under the Clean Air Act supporting the use of appropriate regulatory authorities to address the urgent problem of global warming. NACAA’s comments note that there are several Clean Air Act authorities that the association “believes firmly can be usefully and thoughtfully deployed: New Source Performance Standards, mobile source provisions and permitting requirements.” The association supports the Congressional enactment of a mandatory economy-wide GHG emission reduction program with quantifiable and enforceable limits that reduces U.S. GHG emissions substantially below current levels in order to lessen dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate. However, it will take several years before such legislation is enacted and implemented, and existing regulatory tools under the Act allow for the implementation of programs that can serve as a bridge to future climate legislation, will inform Congress as it considers this legislation and will complement the enacted law. The comments 1) support a finding by EPA that GHGs endanger public health and welfare; 2) do not support setting a GHG National Ambient Air Quality Standard; 3) support setting GHG New Source Performance Standards; and 4) support setting mobile source GHG emission standards. With respect to permitting, the comments note that the association believes EPA has the discretion to limit permitting requirements to large sources of GHG emissions and recommends that EPA not impose mandatory permitting requirements on smaller sources.

NACAA Comments on Residual Risk Proposal (November 24, 2008)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s proposed Residual Risk standards for nine industrial source categories. The proposal, which was published in the Federal Register on October 10, 2008 (73 Federal Register 60432), called for no additional reductions from the source categories. NACAA’s draft comments raise concerns about the risk assessment methodology that EPA used in developing the proposal, including EPA’s calculation of risk at the centroid of the census block, instead of at the property lines; the agency’s use of actual instead of allowable emissions; reliance on Acute Exposure Guideline Levels to address acute exposures in the residual risk assessments; and the failure to use the Integrated Risk Information System values to address chronic risks from formaldehyde. The source categories covered by the proposal are Group I Polymers and Resins (Epichlorohydrin Elastomers Production, Hypalon™ Production, Nitrile Butadiene Rubber Production, Polybutadiene Rubber Production, and Styrene Butadiene Rubber and Latex Production); Marine Vessel Loading Operations; Mineral Wool Production; Pharmaceuticals Production; and Printing and Publishing Industry.

President-Elect Obama Emphasizes Importance of EPA and Need for Increased Funding (November 10, 2008)
President-elect Barack Obama sent a letter to the American Federation of Government Employees in which he expressed the importance of EPA’s mission to his administration and his intention to pursue increased funding for the agency. He noted that EPA’s goals have been jeopardized during the last eight years due to “failed leadership”, “inadequate funding” and “the ineffective allocation of resources”. These factors have undermined enforcement and oversight, despite the commitment of EPA’s career staff. Additionally, Obama expressed his support for scientific integrity and his opposition to attempts to eliminate EPA’s libraries and “thwart publication of EPA researchers’ scientific findings.”

NACAA Comments on Chemical Manufacturing Area Source Proposal (November 5, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed air toxics standards for Chemical Manufacturing Area Sources, which were published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2008 (73 Federal Register 58352). NACAA expressed support for effective regulations to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants from area sources, because the adverse effects of the emissions from these sources in the aggregate are significant and should be ameliorated. However, in order for the area rules to be implemented properly, EPA should provide sufficient additional funds, above and beyond what is currently provided, for state and local air agencies to carry out this work. NACAA also recommended that the final rule require a formal leak detection and repair program using a volatile organic compound instrument detector for quarterly leak inspections on all process vents.

Administration Petitions Supreme Court to Consider Appeal of CAMR Vacatur (October 17, 2008)
The U.S. Department of Justice filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court asking that the court overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit’s vacatur of the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR). On February 8, 2008, the Court of Appeals vacated CAMR and subsequently denied the request of the Administration and industry groups for a rehearing. The Administration requested and received two extensions to the deadline for submitting an appeal to the Supreme Court before submitting the petition last week. In the meantime, the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), an industry organization, also appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the CAMR vacatur. If the Court decides to hear the case, it is likely the EPA and UARG appeals will be consolidated. Click here to view the Administration’s appeal.

NACAA Urges EPA to Withdraw New Source Review “EGU Hourly” Proposal (October 16, 2008)
NACAA wrote a letter to the rulemaking docket, copying the relevant OAQPS managers, recommending strongly that the proposed rulemaking: “Prevention of Significant Deterioration, Nonattainment New Source Review (NSR), and New Source Performance Standards: Emissions Test for Electric Generating Units” be withdrawn. The letter stated that, if finalized, the rule will allow increases in annual emissions to occur without installation of air pollution controls or modeling of air quality impacts. Therefore, the letter notes, Class I areas are likely to be degraded, Prevention of Significant Deterioration increments are likely to be violated, and national ambient air quality standards violated—all of which “will be discovered after the fact, if at all, rather than reviewed and mitigated prior to their occurrence.” The impetus of the letter was the CAIR vacatur by the D.C. Circuit in August. The letter pointed out that CAIR emissions reductions were the main rationale for allowing increases in uncontrolled emissions from the utility sector. Now that CAIR has been vacated, no justification whatsoever remains for the EGU Hourly proposal, necessitating withdrawal of the proposed rule. For further information, please click here.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Releases “Discussion Draft” of GHG Legislation (October 7, 2008)
The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a “discussion draft” bill to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. through an amendment to the Clean Air Act that establishes a cap-and-trade program covering approximately 88 percent of US GHG emissions. The bill would reduce GHG emissions to six percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 44 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Regarding stationary sources, the bill prohibits any state, local or regional authority from adopting or enforcing a GHG cap-and-trade program, but preserves other state, local and regional authorities. The bill also contains several options for regulation of GHG emissions from motor vehicles. With respect to state authority, one option is to direct EPA to grant California the waiver needed to enforce its GHG emission standards, which would also permit other states to opt into the California standard, and the other option preempts state regulation of GHG emissions from motor vehicles. There are three options with respect to federal regulation of GHG emissions from motor vehicles, including a prohibition on EPA from regulating motor vehicle tailpipe emissions. With respect to allowances, the bill contains four options for allocating allowances that differ in the amount of allowance value given to covered sectors, other programs for reducing GHG emissions, adaptation and consumers. All allowance allocation options expire in 2026, and at that point all allowances are auctioned and proceeds distributed to citizens, with the view that Congress would reauthorize the bill by that time. Power plants are covered by the cap-and-trade program, but in addition new coal-fired power plants are subject to a performance standard beginning in 2025 that would require capture and geological sequestration of not less than 60 percent of emissions. The bill would prohibit National Ambient Air Quality Standards from being set for GHGs as well as excluding GHGs from the provisions of Title I, Part C of the Clean Air Act (PSD/NSR). The bill also contains provisions for managing costs and spurring energy efficiency.

EPA Drafts Document Highlighting Proposed Changes to 2009-2014 Strategic Plan (October 6, 2008)
EPA has prepared a document highlighting proposed changes to the agency’s 2009-2014 Strategic Plan and has made it available for comment. The 2009-2014 Strategic Plan Document focuses on targeted areas where EPA believes the most significant improvements to the agency’s strategies and measurements of performance are possible. Included in the changes are a provision related to the utility of air research and a note that the strategic plan must change to reflect the uncertainty associated with the implementation of the Clean Air Interstate Rule. EPA will accept comments on the document until November 30, 2008. The document is available on EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/ocfo/plan/plan.htm.

NACAA Urges President to Sign Mercury Export Ban (October 2, 2008)
NACAA wrote a letter to President George W. Bush requesting that he sign the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 (S. 906), which Congress adopted overwhelmingly on September 29, 2008. The bill, which had bipartisan sponsorship and support, would prohibit the federal government or private entities from exporting elemental mercury from the United States. The ban contained in the Mercury Export Ban Act would go into effect for federal agencies as of December 31, 2009 and for others in the United States as of January 1, 2013. The bill also establishes a long-term storage plan for mercury, calling upon the Secretary of Energy to identify storage facilities by 2010 where surplus mercury can be stored. The bill includes an essential-use exemption that allows the exportation of mercury in certain limited situations, including cases in which there is no non-mercury alternative and the mercury will be used in a safe manner. The Quicksilver Caucus, a multi-association organization including the Environmental Council of the States and environmental media associations, including NACAA, supported the bill during its consideration by Congress. On September 25, 2008, the European Union also agreed to a ban on mercury exports, effective March 2011. The intent of the U.S. and European measures is to reduce the use of mercury in the developing world. For more information about S. 906, see http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:S.906:.

President Signs Continuing Resolution until March 6, 2009 (September 30, 2008)
President Bush signed a bill that Congress approved last week that provides continued funding for the federal government until March 6, 2009. The bill is necessary because most of the individual appropriations bills that would fund government operations after the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2008, including EPA activities, have not been adopted. For the most part, the Continuing Resolution (CR) continues funding at FY 2008 levels, which is $216.8 million in Section 105 and 103 grants for state and local air agencies and $49.2 million for Diesel Emission Reduction Act activities. The CR includes a $25-billion loan program under the Department of Energy’s budget for the “Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program Account”, $7.5 billion of which will be the government’s share of the effort (meant to cover any risks of default on the loan). The program will provide loans to automakers to update their facilities to manufacture more fuel-efficient vehicles. The CR, which was part of S. 2638, was included in a package that also contained the FY 2009 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Homeland Security appropriations bills and a disaster relief package. It is unclear at this time whether Congress will go back and consider individual appropriations bills for FY 2009. See http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app09.html for details about the appropriations process.

EPA Issues Final Small Nonroad Engine Rule (September 4, 2008)
The EPA Administrator signed a final rule setting new emission standards for small spark-ignition (gasoline-powered) nonroad engines and equipment, including marine engines and vessels. According to EPA, for 10 categories of nonroad engines (such as lawn and garden equipment and airport service equipment), the new standards – which will take effect in 2011 or 2012 (based on engine size) – will reduce hydrocarbon emissions by about 35 percent; new standards to reduce evaporative emissions from the fuel systems of these engines are included as well. For marine spark-ignition engines, EPA reports that the new standards – to take effect with the 2010 model year – will reduce hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions, as well as fuel system evaporative emissions. The new standards are also expected to reduce the harmful health impacts from ozone and carbon monoxide levels associated with all affected engines and equipment. EPA has indicated that the final rule also includes technical amendments for a wide range of engines and vehicles covered by EPA standards. For further information, go to EPA’s web site at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/equip-ld.htm.

EPA Issues Designation Recommendations for 24-hour PM2.5 Standard (August 19, 2008)
EPA issued its _recommendations_ for which areas should be designated in nonattainment with the 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standard that EPA promulgated in 2006. EPA recommended that 169 whole counties and 46 partial counties in 25 states be designated nonattainment. EPA will provide the public with a 30-day opportunity to comment on the Agency's proposed modifications to the state and tribal recommendations. States and tribes provided their initial designation recommendations in December 2007 based on the most recent three years of air quality monitoring data (generally 2004 to 2006). EPA plans to make final designations in December 2008 using air quality monitoring data from 2005, 2006 and 2007.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Lead NAAQS Proposal (July 30, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposal for revising the lead National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), supporting a significant strengthening of the standard. NACAA’s comments also address monitoring, funding and implementation issues.

EPA Issues ANPR to Regulating GHGs (July 11, 2008)
The U.S, EPA has released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) inviting public comment on the benefits and ramifications of regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The ANPR was issued in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA that found that the Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions if EPA determines those emissions cause or contribute to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. EPA will accept public comments for 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.

D.C. Court Vacates CAIR Entirely (July 11, 2008)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in considering petitions for review challenging various aspects of the Clean Air Interstate Rule, has found “more than several fatal flaws in the rule and the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) adopted the rule as one, integral action, we vacate the rule in its entirety and remand to EPA to promulgate a rule that is consistent with this opinion.” Click here to view the document.

NACAA Posts Data Related to Boiler Model Permit Guidance (June 27, 2008)
NACAA published Reducing Hazardous Air Pollutants from Industrial Boilers: Model Permit Guidance on June 10, 2008. In order to develop the document, the association collected data from state and local air agencies related to emissions from industrial commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters. The data have been made publicly available and have been posted on NACAA’s website. See “Our Projects” to access the data.

NACAA Publishes Model Permit Guidance for Industrial Boilers (June 10, 2008)
NACAA has developed Reducing Hazardous Air Pollutants from Industrial Boilers: Model Permit Guidance, which is intended to provide state and local air pollution control agencies with important tools for regulating hazardous air pollution from the approximately 3,000 industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters (ICI Boilers), located at refineries, paper mills, manufacturing plants and other facilities in every state in the country. EPA’s Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule for ICI Boilers was struck down by the court in June 2007. Pursuant to Section 112(j) of the Clean Air Act (the “MACT hammer”), because there is not a federal rule in place regulating the source category, state and local agencies are required to set the limits for the affected facilities on a case-by-case basis. These limits must be equivalent to those that would have applied to the source had EPA promulgated a MACT standard consistent with the Act. Because of the potentially significant workload associated with developing MACT limits on a case-by-case basis for the large number of affected sources, and the short deadlines imposed by the CAA for state and local actions, NACAA decided to develop this Permit Guidance. The association collected and analyzed extensive emissions data relating to ICI Boilers and developed a set of recommendations for MACT. Additionally, NACAA reviewed the technologies and included information about technologies and costs in the document. To view NACAA’s press release announcing the document, click here. To view the Institute of Clean Air Companies’ press release endorsing the model permit guidance, click here.

NACAA Issues Global Warming Conference Proceedings (June 6, 2008)
NACAA has completed its compilation of the proceedings from the association’s February 2008 conference on Defining the Role of States and Localities in Federal Global Warming Legislation. To view the proceedings, click here. The purpose of the two-day conference was to bring together experienced air regulators and interested colleagues to brainstorm concepts and ideas related to the role states and localities can and should play in federal climate change legislation and programs to combat global warming – including roles states and localities already fulfill for existing programs, as well as potential new roles. Unlike many other conferences, where participants listen to a series of speakers, at this conference the focus was on the participants. The goal of the conference was for participants to engage in dynamic, interactive dialogue with their counterparts from across the nation on the likely and appropriate roles of states and localities in the context of federal climate change legislation. In addition to talking with key congressional staff members, who provided an overview of major legislative climate change proposals and described opportunities for states and localities to inform these proposals, participants focused on four issues of major relevance to states and localities, as framed by the four thought-provoking discussion papers, which NACAA had provided in advance of the conference: 1) Preserving the right of states and localities to set more stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirements, 2) the role states and localities can play in implementing a federal GHG reduction program, 3) the role states and localities can play in a federal allowance program and in determining how funding is distributed and 4) the role of states and localities in data management under a federal climate change program. The discussion papers are available at www.4cleanair.org/documents/GWConferenceMaterials.pdf.

NACAA Requests the Repromulgation of Part 75 Mercury Monitoring Provisions (June 2, 2008)
NACAA has sent a letter to EPA requesting that the agency reinstate the mercury monitoring provisions from 40 CFR Part 75 and associated test Methods 30A and 30B from 40 CFR Part 60, Appendix A that were vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit on February 8, 2008 (as part of the CAMR vacatur).

NACAA Sends Letter to Senate on States’ Rights Provisions of Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Substitute to Climate Security Act (May 29, 2008)
NACAA transmitted a letter to Senators Boxer, Lieberman and Warner (with copies to all members of the Senate), commending them for offering the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Substitute to the Climate Security Act, noting the consistency of the bill with many of NACAA's Global Warming Principles and expressing appreciation for their inclusion in the bill of language to preserve the rights of states and localities to develop standards, limitations, prohibitions, requirements or caps beyond the federal program. On Monday, June 2, 2008, the Senate will take up this substitute amendment.

Boxer, Lieberman, Warner Release Substitute Climate Change Bill (May 21, 2008)
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) released a substitute amendment to the S. 2191, the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill introduced last year – America’s Climate Security Act of 2007. The bill as amended is titled the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008. To view the bill, click here. To view a summary, click here.

Court Denies EPA and Industry’s Requests for Rehearing on CAMR Vacatur (May 20, 2008)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has denied requests by EPA and the Utility Air Regulatory Group for a rehearing on the court’s February 8, 2008 decision to vacate the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR). This denial means the order to vacate CAMR, which the court issued officially on March 14, 2008, remains in effect.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA and OMB’s Proposed ICR for Section 112(j) (May 15, 2008)
NACAA has submitted comments on EPA’s and the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) proposed Information Collection Request (ICR), which was published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2008 (73 FR 20920). The ICR process is to gain approval for the Part 1 and Part 2 permit applications for the MACT Hammer provisions of Section 112(j) for Polyvinyl Chloride, Brick and Clay and Industrial Boiler MACT sources (all three MACTS were previously vacated by the court). NACAA submitted similar comments on the proposed ICR on January 2, 2008. At this time, EPA has submitted the ICR to OMB for approval and is providing another opportunity for public comment. NACAA’s comments primarily reiterate the points the association made in the past and resubmit the earlier comment letter. [For further information: Air Web – Top Headlines and Air Toxics Committee Page]

EPA Issues National Program and Grant Guidance for FY 2009 (May 5, 2009)
EPA has issued the FY 2009 National Program Manager (OAR) Technical and Grant Guidance, which contains the agency’s proposed allocation of state and local air grants (Sections 103 and 105) among programs and regions. The guidance is based on the President’s request for FY 2009, which is $185.6 million for state and local air grants. The guidance document is very similar to the draft that EPA released in February 2008, on which NACAA commented on April 1, 2008. It includes the elimination of funding for the Regional Planning Organizations and for the Great Lakes Air Toxics monitoring program and a reduction for the US-Mexico Border program. The funds formerly directed to those efforts would be used to support a new $3.9 million “Air Quality and Energy Development” initiative focused on “early and effective collaboration on energy development activities and projects.” Additionally, the guidance reflects EPA’s position that decreased funds are needed for activities related to four pollutants – carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and lead – based on the assumption that less activity is necessary than in the past to address those pollutants. Depending on Congressional action on the FY 2009 budget, the final amount appropriated to state and local air agencies may change. This would require EPA to alter the guidance and allocation accordingly.

">EPA Proposes Tightening Ambient Lead Standard (May 1, 2008)
EPA proposed revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for lead, calling for a primary (health) standard of between 0.10 and 0.30 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3), measured as total suspended particulates. EPA is also taking comment on alternative levels from less than 0.20 to 0.50 µg/m3. The proposed secondary (welfare) standard is identical to the primary standard. EPA is considering revisions to the averaging time and form of the standard, ranging from retaining the current quarterly averaging time but evaluating attainment using three years of data, to adopting a monthly averaging time and using the second highest monthly average over a three-year period to determine attainment. EPA estimates that at 0.30 µg/m3, 12 counties will violate the standard, while at 0.10 µg/m3, 23 counties will be in violation. The announcement of the proposal complies with a court-ordered deadline requiring EPA to propose a standard by May 1, 2008; EPA must issue a final standard by September 15, 2008. EPA last established a lead standard in 1978, setting the current limit of 1.5 µg/m3 with a quarterly averaging time. EPA staff and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee had recommended revising the primary lead standard to 0.2 µg/m3 or less with a monthly averaging time and establishing a secondary standard at the same level. Following publication of the proposal in the Federal Register – expected within the next few weeks – there will be public hearings in Baltimore, Maryland and Saint Louis, Missouri on June 12, 2008 and a 60-day comment period. For additional information, see www.epa.gov/air/lead/actions.html.

NACAA Provides Testimony to Senate on EPA’s FY 2009 Budget (April 10, 2008)
NACAA submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding the President’s FY 2009 budget request. Unlike the corresponding House subcommittee, the Senate subcommittee does not hold hearings for public witnesses and only accepts written testimony. Bill Becker had testified before the House subcommittee on March 13, 2008. NACAA’s testimony before both chambers requested additional grant funding for state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. Specifically NACAA recommended that grants be increased by $84.7 million above the President’s request, for a total of $270.3 million, which would be a restoration of the $31.2 million cut contained in the President’s request, along with an increase of $53.5 million to support continuing and new activities. NACAA also supported an appropriation of $70 million for activities under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act. Finally, NACAA expressed concern that EPA has earmarked grant funds for specific purposes without obtaining state and local air agency concurrence.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Draft FY 2008 National Program and Grant Guidance for FY 2008 (April 1, 2008)
NACAA provided EPA with comments on the Office of Air and Radiation’s National Program and Grant Guidance. This guidance pertains to the President’s budget request for FY 2009, which proposes to reduce funding for state and local air quality grants by $31.2 million from FY 2008 levels (from$216.8 million to $185.6 million). The draft guidance is available on EPA’s webpage at: www.epa.gov/ocfo/npmguidance/index.htm (scroll down to “FY 2009 NPM Guidance”). In the comment letter, NACAA expressed disappointment that the President’s budget request called for significant cuts to Sections 103 and 105 grants and described some of the difficulties such reductions will present for state and local air agencies. Additionally, NACAA opposed EPA’s intention to target the reductions on the incorrect premise that state and local air agencies have completed work related to four specific pollutants. Among other things, the association recommended that Regional Planning Organizations receive $2.5 million in FY 2009, rather than eliminating their funding; that EPA not earmark funds for new special projects without obtaining concurrence from state and local air agencies; and that EPA provide continuing funds for training activities.

NACAA Comments Opposing Exemption from CERCLA/EPCRA for Releases from Animal Waste Emissions (March 27, 2008)
NACAA filed comments opposing EPA's proposed rule to exempt from the reporting requirements of CERCLA and EPCRA emissions releases from animal wastes. The association urged EPA to rescind the proposed rule, listing six reasons that it should not be promulgated. The letter states, "[w] e do not believe a blanket exemption is warranted given the demonstrated health effects associated with ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, the amounts of manure produced by CAFOs, and the usefulness of the data contained in CERCLA and EPCRA reports to state and local agencies and the people living near these facilities."

NACAA Testifies in the House on EPA’s FY 2009 Budget (March 13, 2008)
NACAA Executive Director Bill Becker testified on behalf of the association before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding the President’s FY 2009 budget request. NACAA’s testimony focused specifically on the need for additional grant funding for state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. NACAA is recommending that grants be increased by $84.7 million above the President’s request, for a total of $270.3 million. This would be a restoration of the $31.2 million cut contained in the President’s request, along with an increase of $53.5 million to support ongoing and new activities. NACAA also expressed support for $70 million for activities under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act. Finally, NACAA expressed concern that EPA has earmarked grant funds for specific purposes without the concurrence of state and local air agencies. Other witnesses at the hearing also mentioned the need for increases in state and local air grants, including representatives of the American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society, and the Emissions Control Technology Association. [For further information: Air Web – Top Headlines and Program Funding Committee page]

EPA Revises Ozone Standards, Urges “Overhaul” of Clean Air Act to Allow Cost Considerations in NAAQS (March 12, 2008)
EPA tightened the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for 8-hour ozone to 0.075 parts per million, setting the secondary standard at an identical level. Although the new standards are tighter than the current level of 0.084 parts per million (ppm), EPA did not set them at the levels recommended by EPA’s Congressionally-chartered independent science advisors, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which had unanimously advocated that the ozone standard be no greater than 0.070 ppm. NACAA had supported CASAC’s recommendation that the standard be set in the range of 0.060 to 0.070, and had also advocated a distinct, cumulative seasonal secondary standard. Sharply departing from the statutory mandate of the current Clean Air Act, the EPA Administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, also announced his intent to “overhaul” the Act by allowing costs to be considered in the standard-setting process. In the context of the current ozone NAAQS revisions, and in the 2006 PM NAAQS revisions, NACAA has consistently opposed mixing implementation issues, such as costs, into rules setting the health-based standard. With regard to monitoring issues, EPA’s rule continues to exempt from federal ozone monitoring requirements cities having 350,000 people and below. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was updated to reflect the change in the health standard as a part of the ozone NAAQS revision. Details on the revised standards can be found at http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/actions.html. Information on the new AQI can be found at www.airnow.gov

NACAA Comments on Category 3 Marine Engine ANPRM (March 5 2008)
March 5, 2008 - NACAA submitted comments to EPA on the agency’s December 7, 2007 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for the Control of Emissions from New Marine Compression-Ignition Engines at or Above 30 Liters per Cylinder. NACAA supports promulgation of a federal regulation that will impose tough emission standards for C3 engines and requirements for cleaner-burning, low-sulfur fuel. The association indicates in its comments that the regulatory components set forth in EPA’s ANPRM serve as a firm foundation for such a federal rule. However, NACAA urges EPA to commit to firm implementation dates – 2011 for the new-engine Tier 2 NOx, PM and SOx standards and alternative PM/SOx fuel-standard compliance approach, 2012 for retrofitting existing engines and 2016 for the Tier 3 NOx standard – rather than prefacing these dates with the phrase “as soon as,” which the agency does in the ANPRM. In addition, although NACAA commends EPA for considering some flexible compliance mechanisms, the association urges the agency to adopt adequate enforcement mechanisms in the rule as well, to ensure achievement of the intended emission reductions. To view NACAA’s comments, click here.

EPA Publishes 2006 Toxics Release Industry Data (February 21, 2008)
EPA has made available to the public the 2006 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data, which includes information on disposal or other releases for more than 650 chemicals from approximately 23,000 industrial facilities across the country.  According to the TRI, almost 4.25 billion pounds of listed chemicals were released or disposed of from January 1 to December 31, 2006, representing a decrease of 105 million pounds (or 2 percent).  Air emissions made up one-third of the total (1.41 billion pounds), the largest of any individual environmental media.  Releases into the air decreased from 2005 to 2006 by 104 million pounds (7 percent).  From 2001 to 2006, air releases decreased by 13.6 percent.  According to the 2006 TRI data, the source category responsible for the largest releases to the air was the electric utility industry.  To access the data and information related to the 2006 TRI, see www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/tri06/index.htm.

NACAA Comments on EPA Residual Risk Proposal for Eight Source Categories (February 11, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed Residual Risk standards for eight source categories, which were published in the Federal Register on December 12, 2007 (72 Federal Register 70543). EPA is proposing to require no additional controls beyond the MACT standard for the eight source categories. NACAA expressed concern with specific elements of the risk assessment methodology EPA used in making its determination. These include basing the assessment on the centroid of the census tract, rather than property-line concentrations; the use of actual instead of allowable emissions; and the failure to include emissions from startups, shutdowns and malfunctions. NACAA noted that if the methodology is not sound, EPA is not able to properly determine whether MACT truly resulted in adequate risk reduction.

NACAA Weighs in on Regulation of C3 Engines (February 8, 2008)
NACAA sent a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, expressing the association’s support for a legislative effort to regulate emissions from Category 3 (ocean-going) marine engines, as well as for ongoing international negotiations to seek agreement to curb emissions from these sources. Specifically, NACAA supports the Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act of 2007 (S. 1499/H.R. 2548), proposed by Senator Boxer and Rep. Hilda Solis, which would require domestic and foreign-flagged ships to use cleaner-burning, low sulfur fuels and impose more rigorous emission standards for C3 marine vessel engines. In its letter, NACAA also notes its support for the February 2007 U.S. proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IM) regarding marine fuel and engine standards. If adopted by the IMO, this proposal – which is based on the same substantive fuel and emission standards as S. 1499 and H.R. 2548 – will substantially reduce ship emissions on an international scale. NACAA states in its letter that, although such international action would have the benefit of farther-reaching impacts than domestic action alone, “history has shown that with the many nations involved in the IMO process, there is no assurance that the IMO will achieve consensus regarding international standards that are sufficient, and timely, to meet the air quality needs of the United States. Therefore, prompt action on S. 1499/H.R. 2548 will send an important message to the IMO that the U.S. is serious about controlling vessel emissions, thus helping to spur IMO actions. In addition, it will ensure that, in the event that the IMO does not take sufficient and/or timely action, the U.S, is prepared to move ahead quickly to enact this legislation to protect the health and welfare of its citizens.”

NACAA Comments on Proposed EPA Information Collection Request for Boiler MACT (February 5, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed Information Collection Request (ICR) for data on Industrial Boilers and Process Heaters. This proposed ICR was announced in the Federal Register on December 7, 2007 (72 Federal Register 69213). EPA is planning to collect data on boilers in order to develop a revised MACT standard (the previous MACT standard was vacated by the court). In light of the fact that the data EPA collects will have a great impact on the calculation of the final MACT floor and MACT standard, NACAA recommended that EPA collect the best information possible. Specifically, the association suggested that there be additional emissions testing to support the development of an adequate MACT standard. Further, the design of a testing program should await the collection and analysis of existing information from EPA’s initial survey and the information NACAA will collect as part of the development of the association’s model Boiler MACT rule. Finally, NACAA recommended that EPA send its information request to all known major sources in the category, not just the sources that sent in notices in response to the earlier, vacated boiler rule.

President Proposes Budget for FY 2009 – Cuts Grants to Air Agencies (February 4, 2008)
President Bush announced his federal budget request for FY 2009, calling for $185.58 million in grants for state and local air agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. Although this amount is $400,000 more than the President requested for FY 2008, it represents a cut of $31.25 million – 14.4 percent – from FY 2008 appropriated levels. Additionally, as in the last two budget requests, the President proposes to shift grants for particulate matter and air toxics monitoring to Section 105 authority (rather than Section 103 authority), thus necessitating matching funds from state and local air agencies. (Although this provision was part of the last two budget requests, Congress returned the funds to Section 103 during the appropriations process.) The proposed budget also includes $49 million for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) programs under the State and Tribal Assistance Grants program. This is equal to the amount appropriated for FY 2008 and is $14.2 million more than the President’s FY 2008 budget request of $35 million. The President indicates in his proposed budget that EPA will give preference to DERA grant requests from nonattainment areas. This $49-million sum is not part of the $185.58 million proposed for state and local air grants under Sections 105/103. The President did not request funds in FY 2009 for California Emissions Reduction Project grants; Congress added $9.84 million for such grants to the FY 2008 budget. The President’s request for EPA’s total FY 2009 budget is $7.14 billion, as compared to the FY 2008 appropriated amount of $7.47 billion and the FY 2008 requested amount of $7.2 billion. NACAA has previously recommended to the Administration that federal grants for state and local air agencies be $270.3 million in FY 2008. While this amount would not fully address the serious funding shortfall facing state and local agencies, it will help support some of the many important efforts state and local air agencies are called upon to undertake under the federal Clean Air Act. NACAA will continue to review the budget request to determine what other provisions may affect state and local air agencies. For budget details, see www.epa.gov/ocfo/budget/2009/2009bib.pdf and www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2009/.

NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Proposed PM2.5 Increments Rule (January 17, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed rule entitled, “Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) for Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers—Increments, Significant Impact Levels (SILs) and Significant Monitoing Concentration (SMC).  NACAA supported inclusion of PM2.5 Increments in the Clean Air Act statutory authority of section 166(f), a question that has significant policy repercussions because regulating PM2.5 Increments under EPA’s preferred authority, section 166(a) would enable states to adopt measures that are alternatives to increments.  NACAA stated that this would contravene the intent of Congress that intended PSD increments to provide minimal, nationally uniform clean-air levels—but that states would have discretion to exceed them and to vary their implementation.  The association supported retention of PM10 increments until a coarse PM standard is promulgated, advocated a “fresh start” baseline, and encouraged EPA to undertake study and analysis of secondary particulate formation and its impact on ambient levels of PM2.5.


NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on Revisions to the Lead NAAQS (January 16, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s ANPR on Revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead.  The association urged EPA to follow the recommendations of its independent science advisors, CASAC, which asked EPA Staff to identify the level of the standard that would ensure that 95 percent or more of the children in the U.S. do not experience decreased IQ from exposure to ambient concentrations of recent airborne lead.  NACAA strongly opposed delisting and/or eliminating lead from the list of criteria pollutants.  With regard to ambient monitoring, NACAA supported CASAC’s view that the indicator for the revised lead NAAQS should be low-volume PM10  and urged EPA to provide adequate funding for monitors to support the revised lead NAAQS.  In addition, the association stated that the ANPR is not an adequate substitute for the EPA Staff Paper, which was part of the “old” process for NAAQS revision.


NACAA Submits Comments on EPA’s Proposed Flexible Permit Rule (January 14, 2008)
NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed rule entitled, “Operating Permit Programs and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NSR); Flexible Air Permitting Rule” (72 Federal Register 52206).  NACAA’s comments consisted of a letter, an attachment, and three technical attachments on industrial boilers.  The association noted in its comments that it supports flexible and streamlined permitting, and that many states are using techniques such as lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma, and advance-approval concepts to achieve streamlining and flexibility under the current rules.  The association questioned whether the flexibilities proposed, however, which codify  definitions of alternative operating scenario (AOSs)  and alternative replicable methodologies (ARMs) are necessary or beneficial.  In addition, NACAA strongly opposed EPA’s Green Group proposal, pointing out that Green Group sources would be exempted from New Source Review modification requirements, would be allowed to qualify for permits that would be effective for a 10- to 15-year time period, and would be able to reserve available increment and freeze out development for 10 to 15 years.  In addition, the association stated that the mandatory nature of this program appears to conflict with section 116 of the Clean Air Act, which allows states to be more stringent than EPA.  The link to the comments is
here.  The link to the main attachment is here.  The link to the BACT Charts for Industrial Boilers is here. The link to the BACT Charts for Boilers is here. The link to the BACT Data for Boilers is here.

EPA Denies California Waiver (December 20, 2007)
Yesterday, at a 6:30 p.m. press briefing, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson announced his decision to deny California’s request for a waiver of federal preemption to enforce the state’s motor vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards. The Administrator cited the new energy bill signed into law that morning by President Bush as part of the reason for the denial, saying the federal 35-mpg vehicle fuel efficiency standard contained in the bill would be more effective than a partial state-by-state approach. In addition, Johnson said that EPA did not find that separate California standards are needed to meet “compelling and extraordinary circumstances.” The CAA allows EPA to deny a waiver request if such a finding cannot be made. Shortly after Johnson’s announcement, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement vowing to sue to overturn EPA’s decision. Today, Rep. Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Johnson advising him that the Committee has begun an investigation into “the integrity of the decision-making process” that lead to denial of the waiver, noting that “reports indicate that you overruled the unanimous recommendations of EPA’s legal and technical staffs in rejecting California’s petition.” Waxman requested that the Administrator provide “all documents relating to the California waiver request, other than those that are available on the public record.” To view EPA’s press announcement of the decision,
click here. To view Governor Schwarzenegger’s statement, click here. To view Rep. Waxman’s letter to Administrator Johnson, click here.

NACAA Comments on Petroleum Refineries Residual Risk and Technology Review Proposal (December 20, 2007)
NACAA
commented on EPA’s proposed standards to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants from petroleum refineries. The proposal, published in the Federal Register on September 4, 2007 (72 Federal Register 50716) was issued pursuant to Section 112(f) (Residual Risk), which calls for EPA to assess the risks from source categories that exist after the imposition of MACT and issue standards to address those risks. Additionally, EPA is required to review the MACT standards every eight years and issue an update, if appropriate. This proposal applies to both of those requirements. NACAA expressed concern about the risk assessment upon which EPA based the proposal noting, among other things, that it should have relied on actual emissions, it should have reflected property-line concentrations and it should have been based on more robust data. With respect to the proposed controls, NACAA recommended that the proposal at the very least reflect what state and local agencies are already requiring of petroleum refineries, including controls for storage vessels, wastewater streams, cooling towers and flares. Additionally, NACAA recommended that EPA call for fenceline monitoring and controls on startup, shutdown and malfunctions.

Congress Adopts Appropriations Legislation for FY 2008 (December 19, 2007
Congress has adopted appropriations legislation for the FY 2008 budget that includes a restoration of state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 to FY 2006 levels, minus a 1.56-percent across-the-board reduction that applies to all programs, for a total of $216.8 million (as compared to $220.3 million in FY 2006, $199.8 million in FY 2007 and $185.2 million in the President’s FY 2008 request). The legislation also would permit the continued use of Section 103 for PM monitoring funds. With respect to funding for Diesel Emission Retrofit Act (DERA) activities, the bill calls for $49.2 million and would allow both nonattainment and attainment areas to be eligible for the grants. The bill also calls for $10 million for diesel reduction efforts in two areas of California. Finally, the legislation prohibits funding for EPA to promulgate a rule that relaxes the “once-in-always-in” policy for air toxics sources (the proposed relaxation would allow sources to become minor sources at any time and escape MACT requirements). The bill now goes to the President for signature. Congress has adopted another Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government until December 31, 2007 to allow time for the White House to review the bill prior to the President’s signature. The current CR expires on December 21, 2007. For details about the latest omnibus bill, see www.rules.house.gov/110_fy08_omni.htm. For the bill language, see Division F (Interior) under Consolidated Appropriations Amendment. The EPA language begins on page 64 (the STAG details begin on page 68). See also the Joint Explanatory Statement for Division F (Interior). The EPA language begins on page 30 (STAG on page 38). Please also refer to the chart on page 134 for Section 103/105 details. See “State and Local Air Quality Management” under “Categorical Grants, approximately half-way down the page, and “Diesel Emissions Grants” and “CA emission reduction project grants” under “State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG)”.

EPA Issues Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Lead NAAQS (December 5, 2007)

EPA has issued an
Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) soliciting comment on a wide variety of issues related to EPA’s ongoing review of the lead National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The ANPR does not contain a recommendation from EPA for revising the level of the standard, but rather solicits comment on a wide range of options, including lowering the standard to the levels recommended by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the agency’s staff paper or lower, as well as on other alternative levels, up to and including the current level. The ANPR is also soliciting comment “on the view that it is appropriate” to revoke the lead NAAQS or to remove lead from the list of criteria pollutants. EPA will accept comment on the ANPR for up to 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

NACAA Testifies on Petroleum Refineries Residual Risk and Technology Review Proposal (November 27, 2007)

Arturo Blanco (Houston, TX)
testified on behalf of NACAA at an EPA hearing on the Proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Petroleum Refineries (Residual Risk and Technology Review standard). The hearing, which was held in Houston, Texas, was in response to the EPA proposal that appeared in the Federal Register on September 4, 2007 (72 Federal Register 50716). NACAA expressed opposition to the two options EPA proposed: the first of which would require no additional controls and the second of which would require insufficient additional measures. According to EPA’s own estimates, the cancer risks remaining after the imposition of MACT on petroleum refineries exceeded the 1 in 1 million benchmark, which calls for additional action. Therefore, NACAA stated that taking no additional action is unacceptable. NACAA recommended that EPA improve its risk analysis for the source category and require additional measures beyond those in the second option in the proposal. These additional measures could address flaring, vent gases, roof tanks and fenceline monitoring, consistent with strategies existing refineries have already employed. Other witnesses included Mayor Bill White of Houston, Texas, members of the public from the areas surrounding nearby refineries, and representatives from environmental groups and industry. EPA will accept written comment from the public on the proposal until December 28, 2007.

NACAA Updates Table of State Mercury Programs for Utilities (November 20, 2007)
NACAA has updated the comprehensive
table of state programs to address mercury emissions from utilities. Please continue to provide updates to Mary Sullivan Douglas of NACAA at mdouglas@4cleanair.org.

IPCC Releases Global Warming Synthesis Report (November 17, 2007)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its
summary report on global warming, concluding that it is “very likely” that observed increases in global temperature have been caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and that continued GHG emissions at or above current rates “would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.” The IPCC report also concludes that human emissions of GHGs “could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible.”

Continuing Resolution to Fund Federal Government through December 14, 2007 (November 13, 2007)
Congress adopted and the President signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the federal government through December 14, 2007. The previous CR provided funding for the federal government from October 1, 2007 – November 16, 2007 at FY 2007 levels. The new CR, which was included in Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3222), also continues funding at FY 2007 levels. Only two of twelve FY 2008 appropriations bills have been adopted by Congress and sent to the President for signature. The federal operations covered by the remaining bills, which includes EPA’s budget, are subject to the CR. It is unlikely that Congress will adopt the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill that funds EPA prior to the December recess. It is unclear whether this bill will be folded into a larger omnibus bill after the new year. For additional information about FY 2008 appropriations,
click here.

NACAA Comments on Proposed Iron and Steel Foundries Area Source HAP Rule (November 1, 2007)
NACAA submitted
comments on EPA’s proposed Iron and Steel Foundries Area Source hazardous air pollution rule, which had been published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2007. The proposal calls for a pollution-prevention approach requiring the removal of mercury-containing automobile switches prior to introducing scrap metal into a foundry. NACAA expressed support for pollution prevention but noted that the proposal does not call for sufficient monitoring that will allow for the measurement of the rule’s effectiveness. Likewise, portions of the proposal could be difficult to enforce without adequate performance measures. NACAA also recommended expanding the provisions in the program that call for the removal of mercury-containing components prior to recycling scrap metal.

NACAA Comments on Proposed Area Source Hazardous Air Pollutant Rules (October 22, 2007)
NACAA has submitted two letters commenting on proposed regulations to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants from area sources. The first letter comments on a proposed rule to address three source categories:
Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, Glass Manufacturing and Secondary Nonferrous Metals Processing. NACAA expressed dismay that the proposals would not result in additional reductions in emissions of hazardous air pollution above and beyond what sources already accomplish. Additionally, the association emphasizes that significant additional funding is necessary if state and local agencies are to implement area source regulations. The second letter comments on the proposed Electric Arc Furnace Steelmaking Facilities area source rule. The proposal requires a pollution-prevention strategy that calls for the removal of mercury-containing automobile switches prior to placing the scrap metal in the electric arc furnace. While NACAA generally supports pollution-prevention approaches, the association expressed concern that the proposed rule does not contain adequate monitoring that will allow the effectiveness of the program to be measured. In addition, certain provisions of the proposed rule would be difficult to enforce. NACAA also recommended that the requirements be expanded to include the removal of other mercury-containing products prior to sending scrap metal to electric arc furnaces.

Senators Lieberman and Warner Introduce Global Warming Cap-and-Trade Bill (October 18, 2007)

Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) introduced America’s Climate Security Act of 2007, which is a cap-and-trade bill designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 15% below 2005 levels in 2020 and 65% below 1990 emissions in 2050. The bill covers the electric power, transportation and manufacturing sectors, covering 75% of U.S. GHG emissions. The bill contains a provision preserving state rights to enact more stringent GHG emissions limitations and awards “bonus” allowances to states that have adopted state-wide GHG emission reduction targets more stringent than those in the bill and that also adopt more stringent emission limitations on sources.
Click here for the legislation and click here for a detailed summary.

NACAA Comments on Paint Stripping and Surface Coating Area Source HAP Rule (October 17, 2007)
NACAA has submitted
comments on EPA’s proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants : Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Areas Sources, which were published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2007 (72 Federal Register 52958). NACAA noted that, while it is important to address area sources, the program will be resource intensive. Therefore, state and local air agencies will require significant additional federal grants in order to address smaller sources, since those facilities are not covered by Title V fees. Additionally, NACAA noted that the applicability in the proposal is too broad and recommended that EPA include an appropriate de minimis threshold and exemptions for certain types of sources. Finally, NACAA stated that the compliance schedule may be difficult for state and local agencies and many small sources to meet, particularly since identifying affected facilities will be especially challenging.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Proposal to Revise the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) (October 10, 2007)

NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposal to revise the ozone NAAQS. With respect to the primary ozone standard, NACAA commended EPA for proposing to set a more stringent primary ozone NAAQS to protect public health but expressed concerns that EPA’s proposal falls outside the range recommended by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and that EPA is considering retaining the current primary standard. Similarly, NACAA said it was pleased that EPA has proposed a distinct, cumulative seasonal secondary standard but questioned why EPA’s proposed range for the standard fell outside CASAC’s range and why EPA considered making the secondary standard identical to the primary.
Click here for the cover letter and click here for the attachment.

EPA Settles AEP New Source Review Case for Emissions Reductions of 813,000 Tons-Per-Year (October 9, 2007)

EPA has settled its New Source Review (NSR) case against American Electric Power (AEP) in "the single largest environmental enforcement settlement in history,"according to the EPA press release, . Filed in 1999 as part of the agency's original "NSR Initiative" against numerous old, coal-burning utilities, the case alleged that the company had made numerous modifications of its process equipment without complying with NSR requirements for permitting, air quality analysis, and installation of pollution control equipment. AEP has now agreed to cut 813,000 tons of air pollutants annually at an estimated cost of more than $4.6 billion, pay a $15 million penalty, and spend $60 million on Environmental Mitigation Projects. The projects require the company to undertake mitigation measures in Class I areas in several national parks; acquire and restore ecologically sensitive areas in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; mitigate nitrogen impacts in the Chesapeake Bay; and devise and implement a plan for mobile source projects, including reducing emissions from its barge fleet on the Ohio, Mississippi and Gulf Coast. Eight states joined the settlement and were intervenor/plaintiffs in the case: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Rhode Island. The agreement imposes caps on emissions of pollutants from 16 plants located in five states. The facilities are located in Moundsville (2 facilities), St. Albans, Glasgow, and New Haven (2 facilities), West Virginia; Louisa, Kentucky; Glen Lyn and Carbo, Virginia.; Brilliant, Conesville, Cheshire, Lockburne, and Beverly, Ohio; and Rockport and Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The settlement is
here.

NACAA Testifies on Confined Animal Feeding Operations at Senate Hearing (September 6, 2007)
Catharine Fitzsimmons, Chief of the Air Quality Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, testified on behalf of NACAA at a hearing held by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to examine the human health and environmental impacts of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). NACAA’s
testimony decried legislative and regulatory efforts to exempt industrial-size CAFOs from environmental laws, stating that if CAFOs emit air pollutants that exceed permitting thresholds or reportable quantities, then, just like other sources of pollution, CAFOs should comply with environmental laws. The testimony notes that large industrial-size CAFOs are responsible for thousands of tons of manure and release, in substantial quantities, air pollutants such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and particulate matter that can cause severe health effects, including death, heart attacks and increased severity of asthma attacks. [For further information: Air Web – Top Headlines and Agriculture Committee page]

NACAA Testifies in Support of Strengthening the Ozone NAAQS (August 30, 2007)
At EPA public hearings held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Los Angeles, California, NACAA representatives presented
testimony in support of tightening the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). NACAA will also present identical testimony at the three public hearings to be held September 5, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; and Houston, Texas.

House Passes Energy Package (August 6, 2007)
On Saturday evening, August 4, 2007, before the start of the August recess, the House of Representatives passed its energy package -- the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act -- by a vote of 241 to 172. The final package includes a 15-percent Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), under which utilities are required to produce 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources, up to 4 percent of which may be met with energy efficiency measures (this provision evolved from a 20-percent RES, to a 15-percent RES, to a 15-percent RES with allowances for energy efficiency measures). The final House bill does not include Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards or a Renewable Fuels Standard, both of which are included in the Senate's adopted energy package. These two issues, along with the RES, will be the focus of vigorous debate during the forthcoming House-Senate Conference Committee negotiations to resolve the differences between the two bills. Also lending to the controversy is last week's policy announcement by the White House threatening a veto. Further information on the bill and vote is available at
http://thomas.loc.gov/.

NACAA Files Comments Opposing “EGU Supplemental” Requiring Hourly Increases in Emissions for NSR Applicability (August 3, 2007)

NACAA filed comments opposing EPA’s proposed rule, “Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Nonattainment New Source Review: Emissions Increases for Electric Generating Units.” Making essentially the same points that were made in the testimony given June 29 at the public hearing on the EGU Supplemental by John Paul (Dayton, Ohio), Co-Chair of the New Source Review (NSR) Committee, the association commented that the proposed rule: 1) contravenes Congressional intent, essentially eliminating modifying EGUs from the NSR program; 2) allows annual emission increases without evaluation of the impact on the annual NAAQS, and hampers state and local efforts to prevent significant deterioration of air quality; 3) is based on an inappropriate set of assumptions regarding other Clean Air Act programs; 4) would give an unfair competitive advantage to existing poorly controlled EGUs making future modifications and life-cycle extensions; and 5) will achieve none of the emissions reductions that have been realized by NSR enforcement actions challenging unpermitted modifications resulting in annual emissions increases. NACAA stated that increases in emissions from utilities “will not only undercut our SIP efforts, but also will place an unfair burden on other sources of pollution—including small businesses—who will be forced to make up for some of these unreviewed emissions increases with far more expensive and considerably less cost-effective strategies.” The comments are
here.

NACAA Comments on Small Nonroad and Marine SI Engine Rule (August 1, 2007)
NACAA submitted written comments to EPA on the agency's proposed rule to control emissions from small, nonroad and marine gasoline-powered (spark-ignition) engines. In the written comments, NACAA articulated strong support for prompt EPA action to reduce emissions from these sources, noting that states and local air agencies other than California are preempted from adopted standards or other requirements for nonroad SI engines under 50 horsepower. In particular, NACAA urged that emission control requirements from these sources achieve the greatest reductions feasible as soon as possible, and offered several specific recommendations in that regard. In addition, with respect to a petition to EPA by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) seeking a broad preemption of state and local authority relative to in-use and operational controls or fleetwide purchase, sale or use standards for nonroad vehicles, NACAA vigorously opposed any such preemption and strongly urged that EPA deny ARTBA's petition. In addition, to the extent that EPA ignores this NACAA recommendation and considers even modest changes in response to ARTBA's petition, we strongly urged that those revisions be the subject of a separate rulemaking and public hearing. To view NACAA's written comments,
click here.

NACAA Sends Letter on House Energy Legislation (July 31, 2007)

The House of Representatives will be debating comprehensive energy legislation
(HR 3221) on Friday, August 3, 2007, and NACAA sent a letter to the House of Representatives expressing the association's support for 1) stronger Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, 2) a Renewable Electricity standard, 3) air quality safeguards for expanded use of alternative fuels and 4) protection of state/local rights.

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA’s Animal Feeding Operation Consent Agreement (July 17, 2007)

A challenge by the Sierra Club, the Association of Irritated Residents, and others to EPA’s consent agreement for Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) has been rebuffed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The consent agreement, originally termed the “Safe Harbor Agreement,” has been joined by nearly 2,600 AFOs, primarily hog, dairy, and poultry farms. Under the terms of the agreement, EPA has agreed that it will not enforce violations of the Clean Air Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) against those AFOs who sign the agreement, pay a $2500 civil penalty and allow emissions monitoring on their farms. The Court held that the AFO agreement was a valid exercise of the agency’s enforcement discretion rather than, as petitioners argued, a rulemaking that violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The opinion of the D.C. Circuit Court is
here.

NACAA Testifies Opposing EGU Hourly Test (June 29, 2007)
On June 29, NACAA, represented by John Paul (Dayton, Ohio) testified opposing EPA’s proposed rule, “Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Nonattainment New Source Review: Emissions Increases for Electric Generating Units.” John stated that the proposed rule: 1) contravenes Congressional intent, essentially eliminating modifying EGUs from the NSR program; 2) allows annual emission increases without evaluation of the impact on the annual NAAQS, and hampers state and local efforts to prevent significant deterioration of air quality; 3) is based on an inappropriate set of assumptions; 4) would give an unfair competitive advantage to existing poorly controlled EGUs making future modifications and life-cycle extensions; and 5) will achieve none of the emissions reductions that have been realized by NSR enforcement of unpermitted modifications for which actual, annual emissions have increased. The complete testimony is
here.

EPA Proposes Revisions to Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (June 21, 2007)
EPA has
proposed to revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for 8-hour ozone. For the primary (health-based) standard, EPA is proposing that the standard be lowered from 0.08 parts per million (ppm) to between 0.070 and 0.075 ppm. EPA is also taking comment on alternative levels of the 8-hour primary ozone standard, within a range from 0.060 ppm up to and including retention of the current standard. EPA is proposing two options for the secondary standard: setting it at a level identical to the current standard or establishing a new form of standard designed specifically to protect sensitive plants from damage caused by repeated ozone exposure throughout the growing season. The new form of standard (called W126) would add daily concentrations over a 3-month period and the level would be set within the range of 7 to 21 ppm-hours. EPA will take public comment for 90 days following publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. The agency also will hold four public hearings on the proposal: in Los Angeles, CA, and Philadelphia, PA, on August 30, 2007; and in Chicago, IL, and Houston, TX, on September 5, 2007.

D.C. Circuit vacates, remands, Plywood MACT (June 19, 2007)
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated and remanded EPA’s Maximum Achievable Technology Standards for the Plywood and Composite Wood Products source category. Holding that EPA’s rule failed to comply with the statutory requirement to set emission standards for listed HAPs, the Court also held that EPA exceeded its authority by creating a risk-based subcategory. NACAA had filed an amicus brief on this issue, arguing that such a subcategory was unlawful under the Clean Air Act, which only allows consideration of risk in the second, residual risk, phase of air toxics control. A copy of the opinion is
here.

EPA Wins NSR Rulings in Cinergy on Fair Notice and Routine Maintenance (June 19, 2007)

EPA has prevailed on two key issues in the New Source Review (NSR) case, U. S. v. Cinergy Corp. Filed in 1999 in the Southern District of Indiana by EPA, and joined by Intervenors New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Ohio Environmental Council, the case alleged that numerous modifications were made by Cinergy Corporation (“Cinergy”) at its Beckjord, Cayuga, Gallagher, Gibson, and Miami Fort power plants without NSR permits, installation of pollution control equipment, and air quality analysis. The District Court had ruled against Cinergy on the applicable test for emissions increases, and was subsequently upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court had also determined the correct standards for judging whether a project fell within the exception from NSR for “Routine Maintenance.” Cinergy then alleged that it had had no fair notice of either of the legal standards. In a strongly worded opinion, the Court disagreed. Dismissing Cinergy’s claims of “confusion over the meaning of the RMRR exclusion,” Judge Larry McKinney held that Cinergy could have sought an applicability determination and stated, “the fair notice doctrine does not save parties who take calculated risks.” The Fair Notice opinion is
here. In a separate opinion, Judge McKinney applied the Routine Maintenance standards—nature and extent, purpose, frequency, and cost—to all of the maintenance projects and concluded that none was “routine.” The Routine Maintenance opinion is here.

NACAA Comments on EPA Risk and Technology Review Advance Proposal (June 14, 2007)

NACAA submitted
comments to EPA on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for the Risk and Technology Review that pertains to 22 categories of hazardous air pollutant sources. The ANPRM was published in the Federal Register on March 29, 2007 and sought comments from state and local agencies and the public about data EPA had collected and planned to use to establish Residual Risk standards and to update Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards for the source categories. NACAA expressed concern about the lack of quality air toxics data and recommended that EPA take additional measures to compile comprehensive information, including sending out Section 114 letters. NACAA also noted that some of EPA’s methods for conducting the preliminary risk assessments were problematic and should be corrected prior to carrying out the final risk assessments. These included methods for addressing acute exposures, the use of actual emissions instead of potential emissions, and calculations of risk at the centroid of census blocks instead of at property lines. Finally, NACAA emphasized the importance of allowing existing state and local risk assessment programs to substitute for EPA’s program.

NACAA Urges Senate to Increase State and Local Air Grants (June 12, 2007)
NACAA sent a
letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies urging that it increase federal grants to state and local air pollution control agencies during mark-up of appropriations legislation, which is expected to be scheduled for the week of June 18. Specifically, NACAA recommended that Congress provide an increase of $80.5 million above the President’s request, for a total of $265.8 million. Additionally, the association recommended that grants for the particulate matter monitoring program not be shifted from Section 103 authority to Section 105 authority. The House Appropriations Committee recently approved an appropriations bill that called for $220.3 million for state and local air grants, which is equal to FY 2006 levels.

NACAA Opposes Draft Legislation to Preempt State and Federal Authorities to Regulate Motor Vehicle GHG Emissions (June 6, 2007)

NACAA sent a letter to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Chair and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, respectively, urging that the Subcommittee strike provisions from draft energy legislation that would 1) preempt California, and any states that opt into California's standards - currently numbering 11 - from regulating GHG emissions from motor vehicles and 2) revoke EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, thereby overriding the recent Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts. v EPA. The Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality will hold a hearing on this legislative draft on Thursday, June 7, 2007, and will mark up the legislation next Wednesday; mark-up by the full Energy and Commerce Committee is expected the following week. The legislative draft at issue addresses alternative fuels, infrastructure and vehicles and was released last Friday, June 1, by Subcommittee Chair Boucher, who noted that the intent of the draft language is that it be incorporated into a comprehensive House energy bill. To view NACAA's letter,
click here. To view the draft legislation, click here.

NACAA Testifies on Proposed Rule for Small Nonroad and Marine SI Engines (June 5, 2007)
NACAA presented testimony at EPA's public hearing in Reston, Virginia, on a proposed rule to control emissions from small nonroad spark-ignition (SI) and marine SI engines. In its testimony, NACAA offered strong support for prompt EPA action to reduce emissions from these sources, noting in particular that since state and local air agencies other than California are preempted from adopting standards or other requirements for nonroad SI engines under 50 hp, "it is incumbent upon EPA to ensure that this rule achieves the greatest degree of reductions possible as soon as possible." To that end, the association offered several comments and recommendations on the proposed engine exhaust and evaporative emission standards. In addition, regarding a petition to EPA by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) seeking a broad preemption of state and local authority relative to in-use and operational controls or fleetwide purchase, sale or use standards for nonroad vehicles, NACAA vigorously opposed any such preemption and strongly urged that EPA deny ARTBA's petition. To view NACAA's testimony,
click here.

President Bush Announces Deadline for Seeking Long Term GHG Emissions Reduction Goal (May 31, 2007)
President Bush
announced today that by the end of 2008 the U.S. and other nations "will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases [GHGs]." To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most GHG emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China. In addition to a long-term goal, the President said that each country should set midterm national targets, and "programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs ."

NACAA Testifies in Support of CA Waiver (May 22, 2007)
NACAA testified at EPA's public hearing in Arlington, Virginia offering strong support for full and prompt approval of California's request for a waiver of federal preemption under CAA Section 209(b), to permit enforcement of the state's new motor vehicle emission standards to control greenhouse gas emissions. California adopted its regulations in September 2005 and submitted its waiver request to EPA in December 2005. On behalf of NACAA, Bill Becker urged EPA to respond to California's request without further delay and to grant complete approval of the waiver of federal preemption. Bill testified that EPA's role in considering a waiver request is narrow and deferential. Under the law, EPA must grant California's request for a waiver unless it can demonstrate that California acted arbitrarily and capriciously in adopting its regulations, that there is no longer a compelling and extraordinary need for California to maintain its own motor vehicle program or that California's regulations are not consistent with Section 202(b) of the CAA. In the case of California's greenhouse gas regulations, none of these can be demonstrated and EPA does not have the discretion to deny the waiver request. To view NACAA's testimony,
click here. A second hearing on this issue will be held in Sacramento, CA on May 30, 2007. Larry Greene (Sacramento, CA) will testify on behalf of NACAA at that hearing. The deadline for submitting public comments to EPA is June 15, 2007 (see EPA's April 30, 2007 and May 10, 2007 Federal Register announcements for details).

NACAA Recommends Grant Increases for FY 2008 During Mark-up (May 21, 2007)
NACAA sent a
letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies urging that the subcommittee increase federal grants to state and local air pollution control agencies during mark-up of the legislation containing EPA’s FY 2008 budget. Specifically, NACAA recommended that Congress provide an increase of $80.5 million above the President’s request, for a total of $265.8 million. Additionally, the association recommended that grants for the particulate matter monitoring program not be shifted from Section 103 authority to Section 105 authority. Subcommittee mark-up was expected during the week of May 21, while full committee mark-up will take place sometime thereafter. Action in the Senate has not been scheduled.

Table of State Mercury Programs for Utilities (May 17, 2007)
NACAA has updated the comprehensive
table of state programs to address mercury emissions from utilities. Please continue to provide updates to Mary Sullivan Douglas of NACAA at mdouglas@4cleanair.org.

NACAA Testifies on Locomotive-Marine Proposed Rule (May 8, 2007)
NACAA Mobile Sources and Fuels Committee Co-Chair Dennis McLerran (Seattle, WA) testified on behalf of the association at EPA's public hearing, in Seattle, on a proposed rule to control emissions from locomotive and marine diesel engines. In its testimony, NACAA commended EPA for its leadership in issuing the proposal, which "represents a good step forward in addressing emissions from locomotive and marine diesel engines," and offered several key recommendations to strengthen the rule's public health and environmental benefits. Among the association's recommendations are ones to accelerate implementation dates for emission standards for new and remanufactured locomotives; include remanufacture standards for locomotives used in Class II and III railroads; require remanufacture standards for Category 1 and 2 marine engines; and expand coverage of Tier 4 emission standards for new marine diesel engines to all C1 and C2 engines over 25 hp. To view NACAA's testimony,
click here. NACAA's testimony will also be entered into the record at EPA's May 10 public hearing in Chicago by Eric Skelton, who will be testifying on behalf of NESCAUM.

Multi-State Greenhouse Gas Registry Launched (May 8, 2007)
More than 30 states have joined
The Climate Registry, a “tool to measure, track, verify and publicly report GHG [(greenhouse gas)] emissions accurately, transparently and consistently across borders and industry sectors.” The Registry will support voluntary, market-based and regulatory GHG emissions reporting programs.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s proposed NSR rule “Reasonable Possibility in Recordkeeping (May 8, 2007)
NACAA
commented on EPA’s proposed rule on NSR “Reasonable Possibility in Recordkeeping,” published in the Federal Register on March 8, 2007. The proposed rule sets forth a preferred option for recordkeeping that would require sources to keep records of emissions following a modification if the change’s projected actual emissions increase were 50 percent of the significance level for the regulated NSR pollutant. NACAA opposed the preferred option since it provides for no oversight by permitting authorities. Rather, NACAA recommended that, if a source’s emissions triggered NSR significance levels using the actual to potential test without excluding emissions as a result of demand growth, then post-change emissions impacts of the project should be reported annually to the appropriate state or local air agency. NACAA also recommended that, for any change, the source’s preconstruction analysis of the baseline and projected actual emissions should be available to the permitting authority and should be retained and kept on file by the source. The Association further stated that if, at any time, actual emissions increase at or beyond significance levels, “such a change should be considered to be a violation of the requirement to obtain a major PSD or nonattainment NSR preconstruction permit and the state or local agency should have the authority to take [an appropriate] enforcement action.”

IPCC Releases Report on Mitigation of Climate Change (May 4, 2007)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a
report on options for mitigating global warming. In the short term (before 2030), the report concludes "there is substantial economic potential" to mitigate GHG emissions but no one sector or technology can address the entire mitigation challlenge. In the long term (after 2030), in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, emissions will first peak and then need to decline, and to achieve lower stabilization levels, the decline must happen sooner rather than later and the world economy must shift more rapidly than it has in the past to low-carbon energy resources. This is the 3rd report the IPCC has released this year.

NACAA Comments on Once-In-Always-In Proposal for Sources of Hazardous Air Pollution (May 3, 2007)
NACAA submitted
comments on EPA's proposed "Once In, Always In" (OIAI) rule, which was published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2007. The proposal would allow major sources of hazardous air pollutants to lower their emissions to below the major-source threshold at any time and become minor sources (thus exempting them from the Maximum Achievable Control Technology requirements). NACAA opposed the proposal because it would allow sources to increase their emissions to just under the major-source threshold. Additionally, it could remove major sources from the Title V program, undermining enforcement, inspection, data collection and monitoring requirements. NACAA recommended that the only exceptions to the OIAI policy be for sources that have reduced emissions through pollution prevention. Click here to see the 2003 comment letter from STAPPA/ALAPCO that was mentioned in the comment letter. [For further information: Air Web – Air Toxics Committee page]

EPA Issues FY 2008 Grant Guidance and Allocation (May 3, 2007)

EPA issued its National Program and Grant Guidance for FY 2008, which includes the proposed allocation of state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 among the EPA regions and major activities. The proposed allocation reflects the President’s budget request for FY 2008, which calls for a total of $185.2 million in grants to state and local agencies. This allocation is still tentative, pending Congressional action to determine the final appropriation for EPA. If Congress changes the amounts set aside for state and local air quality grants, the allocation and guidance will have to change to reflect the final appropriations legislation. On April 12, 2007, NACAA submitted comments on the February 27, 2007 draft guidance and allocation. The final document reflects few changes based on NACAA’s comments, although it does amend some of the language pertaining to the association.
Click here to view the guidance. Scroll down to Key Links and look under FY 2008 NPM Guidance, Office of Air and Radiation.

NACAA Adopts Global Warming Principles (May 1, 2007)
At its spring 2007 membership meeting, NACAA adopted global warming
principles calling on Congress to adopt a “mandatory economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction program with quantifiable and enforceable limits” that also preserve the rights of states and localities to take more stringent actions to reduce GHG emissions within their jurisdictions.

NACAA Submits Testimony to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee (April 26, 2007)
NACAA submitted
written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies – which has jurisdiction over EPA’s budget – recommending that federal grants to state and local air quality agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act be increased. Specifically, NACAA requested that the appropriation for state and local air grants in FY 2008 be increased by $80.5 million above the President’s $185.2-million request, for a total of $265.8 million. NACAA also recommended that grants for the particulate matter monitoring program not be shifted from Section 103 authority to Section 105 authority. The association expressed support for $49.5 million in funding for the diesel retrofit programs under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act. The Senate Subcommittee does not hold hearings for outside witnesses, but only accepts written testimony. As announced last week, Bill Becker testified on behalf of NACAA at the hearing of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. [For further information: Air Web – Top Headlines and Program Funding Committee page]

NACAA Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee (April 19, 2007)
Bill Becker, Executive Director of NACAA,
testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction over EPA’s budget. The testimony focused on the need for increases in federal grants to state and local air quality agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. Specifically, NACAA requested that the amount appropriated for state and local air grants in FY 2008 be increased by $80.5 million above the President’s request, for a total of $265.8 million. Originally, when the President’s FY 2008 budget was announced, NACAA recommended an increase of $60 million above the requested amount. However, since that time, FY 2007 grants were reduced by $20.5 million, which must be absorbed in the final six months of the fiscal year. Accordingly, the association is increasing the FY 2008 recommendation by that lost amount, to make up for the deficits that reduction will have caused. NACAA also recommended that grants for the particulate matter monitoring program not be shifted from Section 103 authority to Section 105 authority. Finally, the association expressed support for $49.5 million in funding for the diesel retrofit program authorized under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act.

NACAA Comments on EPA’s Draft Grant Guidance (April 12, 2007)
NACAA
commented on the EPA Office of Air and Radiation’s FY 2008 Final Draft National Program and Grant Guidance (dated February 27, 2007), which outlined proposed program priorities and the grant allocation among activities and regions for the coming fiscal year. The guidance reflected the President’s budget for FY 2008, which called for a cut to state and local air grants of $35.1 million from FY 2006 levels (down to $185.2 million). In the comments, among other things, NACAA discussed the devastating effect the proposed budget cuts would have on state and local air quality programs. The associations also took issue with provisions in the draft guidance directing who within state environmental departments must sign off on off-the-top expenditures. Additionally, NACAA indicated that the negative impact of the proposed cuts would be exacerbated if EPA focuses the reductions on activities related to four specific pollutants, as the agency is recommending. NACAA also noted that cutting PM 2.5 monitoring funds and shifting the remainder from Section 103 authority to Section 105 authority (which requires a match) will result in a significant loss to the monitoring program.

IPCC Report on Climate Change Impacts Released (April 6, 2007)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its second summary
report this year on global warming, finding ample evidence that global warming is already affecting the planet. This report, focusing on the impacts of climate change, adaptation and vulnerability, examined data collected since 1970 on the impact of global warming and the results of models predicting future impacts.

NACAA Issues Press Release on FY 2007 Grant Cuts in EPA Operating Plan (March 22, 2007)
 NACAA issued a
press release expressing concern about EPA’s action to cut state and local air grants by $20.5 million in the remaining months of FY 2007. EPA has submitted its FY 2007 Operating Plan to Congress, detailing the distribution of the funds appropriated within the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution. While the Operating Plan holds the total amount for State and Tribal Assistance Grant funds steady, the agency has shifted funds among categorical grants, resulting in a reduction to state and local air grants.

EPA Cuts Air Grants by $20.5 Million in Operating Plan for FY 2007 Appropriations (March 20, 2007)
EPA has transmitted its FY 2007 Operating Plan to Congress, calling for a cut of $20.5 million to state and local air grants (from $220.3 million in FY 2006 to $199.8 million in FY 2007). The Operating Plan details how EPA intends to allocate the FY 2007 appropriations from the Continuing Resolution that Congress adopted in February 2007 to fund the agency until September 30, 2007. Although the Continuing Resolution generally called for FY 2007 appropriations to be equal to FY 2006 levels, EPA was given some flexibility to shift funds among accounts. While most categorical grant accounts were held steady or showed modest shifts from FY 2006 to FY 2007, there were exceptions, including the reduction to air grants and an increase of $18.9 million for the Underground Storage Tank Program. Unlike previous years, there is no requirement for Congress to approve this year’s Operating Plan. NACAA, the Environmental Council of the States, environmental groups and others are calling upon Congress to restore the FY 2007 categorical grants to their FY 2006 levels through a directive to EPA in the FY 2007 supplemental appropriations bill that Congress will consider shortly.
Click here to view the Operating Plan. Click here to view EPA’s letter transmitting the Operating Plan to the Senate.

EPA Issues Memo Providing Guidance on Impact of 8-Hour Ozone Court Decision (March 19, 2007)
EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum issued a
memo providing guidance on the impacts of the D.C. Circuit Court decision of December 22, 2006, that vacated the Phase I 8-Hour Ozone Implementation Rule.

Court Hears Oral Argument in NACAA v. EPA, on Regulation of Aircraft Engine Emissions  (March 15, 2007)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in the case of NACAA v. EPA, in which NACAA has challenged EPA's November 2006 final rule on the control of air pollution from aircraft and aircraft engines (70 Federal Register 69664). NACAA argued before the three-judge panel that EPA's rule is arbitrary and capricious, not in accordance with Section 231 of the Clean Air Act and will interfere with the ability of state and local clean air agencies to comply with the Act's other provisions. To view NACAA's initial opening brief (July 28, 2006),
click here. To view NACAA's initial reply brief (October 26, 2006), click here.