EPA to Propose Repealing Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose repealing the Clean Power Plan – the Obama administration’s centerpiece regulation to fight climate change – and plans to solicit input on a rule to replace it, according to an EPA document seen by Reuters.

The decision marks the agency’s first formal step to sweep away the rule intended to cut carbon emissions from power plants, after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in March launching the EPA’s review.

The Republican president has expressed doubts about the science of climate change and has blamed former Democratic President Barack Obama’s efforts to cut carbon emissions for hurting the coal mining and oil drilling industries.

The Clean Power Plan, or CPP, was challenged in court by 27 states after Obama’s administration launched it in 2015. It is currently suspended by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which set a deadline of Friday for a status report from the EPA on how it plans to proceed.

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EPA Announces Intent to Revisit Provisions of Phase 2 Heavy-Duty Rules

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today its intent to revisit provisions of the Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines following concerns raised by stakeholders in the trailer and glider industry.

“In light of the significant issues raised, the agency has decided to revisit the Phase 2 trailer and glider provisions,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We intend to initiate a rulemaking process that incorporates the latest technical data and is wholly consistent with our authority under the Clean Air Act.”

Background: 

In September 2011, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for model year 2014-2018 (“Phase 1”). These standards applied to newly manufactured engines, tractors, vocational vehicles, large pickups, and vans. In October 2016, EPA and NHTSA updated the standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles MY 2021-2027 (“Phase 2”), and regulated trailers and gliders – for the first time under the GHG program – with compliance deadlines beginning in 2018.

Contact Information: (press@epa.gov)

Air Quality Continues to Improve While U.S. Economy Continues to Grow

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual report on air quality, showing the significant progress the United States has made to improve air quality across the country. “Our Nation’s Air: Status and Trends Through 2016” documents the steady and significant progress made in improving air quality across America, over more than 45 years under the Clean Air Act.

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EPA Proposes Longer Stay of Portions of Oil and Gas Standards

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking steps to ensure portions of the agency’s 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and natural gas industry do not take effect while the agency works through the reconsideration process.

The agency is proposing a two-year stay of the fugitive emissions, pneumatic pump and professional engineer certification requirements in the rule while the agency reconsiders issues associated with these requirements. Under the proposal, sources would not need to comply with these requirements while the stay is in effect. Since issuing the final rule, EPA has received several petitions to reconsider certain aspects of the rule.

Earlier this month, EPA used its Clean Air Act authority to issue a 90-day administrative stay of these requirements. To ensure there is no gap in the stay between the 90-day stay and the proposed two-year stay if finalized, EPA also is proposing a three-month stay.

EPA will take comment on both of the proposed stays for 30 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

Contact Information: 

EPA Stays Landfill Methane Rules

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 90-day administrative stay for the August 2016 New Source Performance Standards and Emissions Guidelines for municipal solid waste landfills. In a May 5th letter, EPA notified industry petitioners that the agency was granting their reconsideration request. This stay will allow EPA to reconsider certain aspects of the new source standards and emission guidelines for existing landfills. Consistent with President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order Energy Independence Executive Order, EPA will continue to review these actions to ensure that they protect the environment and enable a growing economy.

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NESHAP for Area Source Boilers (40 CFR 63, Subpart JJJJJJ)

2017-04-20 NESHAP for Area Source Boilers (40 CFR, Subpart JJJJJJ)

The national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for area source boilers (40 CFR part 63, Subpart JJJJJJ) was published in the Federal Register on March 21, 2011 and EPA finalized changes to the rule in the Federal Register on February 1, 2013 and on September 14, 2016. The September 14, 2016, action announced EPA’s final decisions on five issues regarding the February 1, 2013, amendments for which reconsideration was granted.

ESS provides comprehensive emissions testing services to meet the federal and state requirements for industrial boilers, including Subpart JJJJJJ, Subpart DDDDD, Title V, and more.  See our list of capabilities for more information or call 910.799.1055 for more information.

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Three Decades of Condensable Particulate Matter (CPM) Regulation

2017-03-17 Three Decades of CPM Regulation

WHAT IS CONDENSABLE PARTICULATE MATTER?

Condensable Particulate Matter (CPM) is material that is in a vapor state at stack conditions, but condenses and/or reacts upon cooling and dilution in the ambient air to become solid or liquid Particulate Matter (PM) immediately after discharging from the stack.  All CPM is assumed to be in the PM2.5 size fraction.

HOW DID EPA CPM REGULATIONS DEVELOP?

1987  After promulgating the PM10 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) the EPA began recommending that, in certain circumstances, states consider including the condensable portion of PM10 emissions in the determination of total and fine PM emissions from major stationary sources.

1991  EPA Promulgated Method 202.  The original Method used wet impingers – in which sulfur dioxide was captured and formed sulfur trioxide and sulfuric acid artifacts. This caused captures to be biased high by improperly quantifying the sulfuric artifacts as condensable PM.

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EPA News: For the First Time in 40 Years EPA to Put in Place a Process to Evaluate Chemicals that May Pose Risk

2017-01-13 First Time 40 Years Chemical Review

WASHINGTON–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving swiftly to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017.

“After 40 years we can finally address chemicals currently in the marketplace,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today’s action will set into motion a process to quickly evaluate chemicals and meet deadlines required under, and essential to, implementing the new law.”

When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it grandfathered in thousands of unevaluated chemicals that were in commerce at the time. The old law failed to provide EPA with the tools to evaluate chemicals and to require companies to generate and provide data on chemicals they produced.

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EPA News: EPA Report Shows Air Emissions of Toxic Chemicals from Industrial Facilities Down More Than Half Since 2005

2017-01-13 Toxic Air Emissions Down 56 Percent

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program.

“Today’s report shows action by EPA, state and tribal regulators and the regulated community has helped dramatically lower toxic air emissions over the past 10 years,” said Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The TRI report provides citizens access to information about what toxic chemicals are being released in their neighborhoods and what companies are doing to prevent pollution.”

The report shows an 8% decrease from 2014 to 2015 at facilities reporting to the program contributed to this ten-year decline. Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, toluene and mercury were among chemicals with significantly lower air releases at TRI-covered facilities. Medical professionals have associated these toxic air pollutants with health effects that include damage to developing nervous systems and respiratory irritation.

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OSHA News: US Department of Labor Issues Final Rule to Lower Beryllium Levels

2017-01-06 New OSHA Rule for Beryllium Exposure

WASHINGTON – A new rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration dramatically lowers workplace exposure to beryllium, a strategically important material that can cause devastating lung diseases. The new beryllium standards for general industry, construction and shipyards will require employers to take additional, practical measures to protect an estimated 62,000 workers from these serious risks.

Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in the aerospace, electronics, energy, telecommunication, medical and defense industries. However, it is highly toxic when beryllium-containing materials are processed in a way that releases airborne beryllium dust, fume, or mist into the workplace air that can be then inhaled by workers, potentially damaging their lungs.

Recent scientific evidence shows that low-level exposures to beryllium can cause serious lung disease. The new rule revises previous beryllium permissible exposure limits, which were based on decades-old studies.

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