Court Reinstates Clean Air Interstate Rule
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed (on 12-23-08) its July decision to vacate the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which requires 28 mostly Eastern states to reduce smog-forming and soot producing emissions carried long distances by wind currents. In July the court ruled that EPA had overstepped its authority by instituting the CAIR. The court was concerned that America would go without a clean air law for too long without CAIR. The court did not give a deadline to come up with new regulations but until EPA responds, regulated sources will have to comply with CAIR.
This is just more complexity to unhealthy outdoor air mitigation. Legislation that was rejected by Congress would have solved this situation and CAIR will still not stand up to legal scrutiny. So Congress will have to pass the equivalent of President Bush's Clear Skies Initiative, except this time it will have a Democrat stamp on it. This merry-go-round of litigation is completely frustrating for the Center. Now it will be another ten years before some sort of certainty is accomplished in this area. And the Clear Skies Initiative would have been implemented by 2018, about the same timeframe we will end up with anyway. (Environment News Service)
Court Strikes Down Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)
A federal appeals court, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, unanimously struck down (7/11/08) the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule, which required 28 states east of the Mississippi to reduce smog-forming (nitrogen oxides) and soot-and acid rain producing (sulfur dioxide) emissions that can travel long distances in the wind. Electric power producers (led by Duke Energy) challenged the regulation on the grounds that the EPA usurped the authority of Congress by requiring greater pollution reductions than those called for in the 1990 Clean Air Act. We knew this would happen just as we knew it would happen with the Clearn Air Mercury Rule (see link below). The Bush administration could get neither program passed in Congress so they implemented the rules at the agency level anyway. These were lawsuits waiting to happen.
We take no comfort in our foresight though because now no rule exists for managing these emissions and Congress must pass legislation to protect our air. Politics harmed America's air in this cycle because the Democrats opposed the Republican Clear Skies Initiative (CSI), which would have properly codified the rules, and the CSI is modeled after the same cap-and-trade mechanism being promoted by both sides today to address global warming.
The EPA said the rule would dramatically reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, saving up to $100 billion in health benefits. The Environmental Protection Agency predicted it would prevent about 17,000 premature deaths a year by 2015. Besides the reduction in premature deaths, the EPA also said the rule would have prevented millions of lost work and school days and tens of thousands of nonfatal heart attacks.
Emissions Trading: Clean Air Visibility Rule (CAVR)
To help improve visibility in national parks and wilderness areas, EPA has finalized an emissions trading program for its Clean Air Visibility Rule. The emissions trading program provides states and tribes with an alternative approach for applying Best Alternative Retrofit Technology (BART). The BART requirements would be satisfied if the trading program meets or exceeds the visibility benefits resulting from BART. The BART requirements of the Clean Air Visibility Rule apply to industrial facilities, built between 1962 and 1977, that emit air pollutants that reduce visibility by causing or contributing to regional haze.
The Clean Air Visibility Rule, including the BART requirements finalized on June 15, 2005, will provide approximately $240 million annually in visibility improvements in southeastern and southwestern parks. The rule will also provide substantial health benefits in the range of $8.4 - $9.8 billion each year -- preventing an estimated 1,600 premature deaths, 2,200 non-fatal heart attacks, 960 hospital admissions, and more than 1 million lost school and work days. The total annual costs of this rule range from $1.4 to $1.5 billion. The rule applies to an emissions trading alternative that states and tribes may use to improve visibility in specially protected areas. Information about EPA's regional haze program, and the trading program:: http://www.epa.gov/visibility .
Information about EPA's regional haze program, and the trading program: http://www.epa.gov/visibility
June 1 Marks Historic Milestone in Clean Diesel
June 1, 2006) Starting today, EPA will require refiners and fuel importers to cut the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel 97 percent, from 500 parts per million to 15. The rules are issued in line with the Bush Administration's promotion of renewable energy sources and cleaner fuels, such as Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). When fully implemented, today's action will not only enhance environmental protection, but will also prevent nearly 8,300 premature deaths and tens of thousands of cases of respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma. ULSD enables advanced pollution control technology for cars, trucks and buses. Consumers will be able to purchase ULSD and vehicles with clean diesel technology later this year. By addressing diesel fuel and engines as a single system, this action will produce the clean air equivalent of eliminating air pollution from 90 percent -- or about 13 million -- of today's trucks and buses. Once fully implemented, ULSD will result in the annual reduction of 2.6 million tons nitrogen oxides and 110,000 tons of particulate matter.
More information on EPA's clean diesel initiatives is at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/highway-diesel/index.htm In keeping with its efforts to ensure smooth implementation, EPA is a member of the Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance, a stakeholder group dedicated to providing the public ULSD-related information.
Contact: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 / email@example.com
More information is at: http://www.clean-diesel.org
Clean Diesel Progress For 2007 Trucks and Buses
May 8, 2006 - - EPA's 2007 standards for trucks and buses are designed to cut emissions of smog-causing nitrous oxides by half and lower emissions of particulate matter by more than 90 percent. EPA's clean diesel program uses a "systems approach," in which cleaner fuels help enable cleaner engine technologies. On June 1, 2006, refiners and importers must ensure that the sulfur content of at least 80 percent of the volume of the highway diesel fuel they produce drops from the current level of 500 ppm to 15 ppm. Lowering the sulfur content will enable modern pollution-control technology to be effective on the 2007 trucks and buses. Once these fuel and engine regulations are fully implemented, 2.6 million tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced each year. Soot or particulate matter will be reduced by 110,000 tons a year. An estimated 8,300 premature deaths, 5,500 cases of chronic bronchitis and 17,600 cases of acute bronchitis in children will also be prevented annually.
More information on EPA's clean diesel regulations: http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/index.htm
EPA Proposes Benzene Trading
March 2006 - - The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a trading programme for benzene, as part of a larger effort to reduce emissions of "mobile source air toxics" (MSATs). These include benzene and other non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs), such as naphthalene, acrolein, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and 1,3-butadiene. MSATs are suspected to cause cancer, and benzene, emitted primarily by mobile sources, is a known carcinogen. In addition, MSATs are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which combine with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone. Several new rules would cover MSATs.
The Fuel Programme would take effect in 2011, requiring refiners to meet an annual average benzene content in gasoline of 0.62% by volume, as opposed to 0.97% at present. (California would be exempt because it already imposes a more stringent standard.) Refiners could average, bank and trade their benzene levels across the US.
A Vehicle Programme would require manufacturers to meet a fleet-average limit for NMHCs of 0.3 grams/mile for vehicles up to 6,000 pounds (phased-in between 2010 and 2013), and 0.5 grams/mile for larger vehicles (2012 to 2015). Another standard would cover portable gasoline containers.
There is a concern that nationwide averaging and trading of benzene could allow refiners to concentrate control efforts at a few facilities, leaving other regions without benefits. Critics propose that the EPA could restrict trading within the five "Petroleum Administration for Defence Districts.". The EPA is accepting comments on the proposed rule for 60 days, under Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005-0036.
EPA Considers CAIR Revisions & Reporting Requirements Changes
(1) Additional Aspect of the Clean Air Interstate Rule to be Reconsidered
(2) EPA To Improve Reporting of Air Emissions Data
(1) Additional Aspect of the Clean Air Interstate Rule to be Reconsidered: In light of a recent court opinion, EPA is reconsidering an additional aspect of its Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). CAIR requires 28 States and the District of Columbia to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from power plants. Today's action will not delay implementation of the rule, which will achieve the largest reduction in air pollution in more than a decade. EPA issued the final CAIR on March 10, 2005.
EPA has decided to grant an industry petition asking EPA to reconsider and provide an opportunity for public comment on an additional issue related to the CAIR. The petition asks EPA to examine the impact of a recent D.C. Circuit Court decision, New York v. EPA, 413 F.3d 3 (D.C. Cir. 2005), on analyses used in developing CAIR to identify highly cost-effective emissions reductions. This decision vacated the pollution control project (PCP) exclusion in the New Source Review (NSR) regulations. The exclusion allowed for certain environmentally beneficial PCPs to be excluded from certain NSR requirements. EPA's analysis shows that the court decision does not impact the CAIR analyses. EPA is providing an opportunity for public comment on the issue and is not proposing any changes to CAIR at this time. If requested, EPA will hold a public hearing on this issue for reconsideration on Jan. 17, 2005 in Washington, D.C. EPA will continue to accept public comments on this issue until Feb. 16, 2006. EPA has received 11 requests from states, environmental groups and power companies to reconsider certain aspects of the final CAIR rule.
Through Federal Register notices dated Aug. 24, 2005 and Dec. 2, 2005, EPA began the reconsideration processes on five specific issues in CAIR and requested comment on those issues. EPA expects to take final action on reconsideration of these issues by March 15, 2006. Information related to the Clean Air Interstate Rule, this notice of reconsideration, and the issues for which EPA previously initiated processes of reconsideration, is available at: http://www.epa.gov/cair/rule.html
(2) EPA To Improve Reporting of Air Emissions Data
In an effort to improve EPA's ability to compile a national inventory of air pollutant emissions, EPA is proposing a rule that would provide states with additional flexibility in the way they collect and report emissions data. Providing states with additional flexibility in how they submit air emission data would increase the efficiency with which state and local programs are able to operate. The proposed rule would accelerate the reporting of air emissions data by state and local agencies which would allow EPA to make the data available to the public and policymakers sooner. Additionally, the proposed rule would unify reporting dates for various categories of inventories and consolidate the emission inventory reporting requirements found in various parts of the Code of Federal Regulations.
EPA Proposes Stronger Particulate Matter Regulations
Dec 20, 2005 - - EPA is proposing revisions to its national air quality standards for fine particle pollution (also called fine particulate matter) and from some coarse particles. Particulate matter is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particulate matter can be directly emitted, as in smoke from a fire, or it can form in the atmosphere from reactions of gases such as sulfur dioxide. EPA is basing its proposal on an extensive review of thousands of scientific studies on the risks associated with exposure to particle pollution. The agency will also conduct an assessment of significant new studies before this rule is finalized. The proposed revisions will address two categories of particulate matter: fine particles which are particles 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller; and "inhalable coarse" particles, which are particles between 2.5 and 10 micrometers (PM10-2.5). Numerous studies have associated fine particulate matter with a variety of respiratory and cardiovascular problems, ranging from aggravated asthma, to irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, and early death in people with heart or lung disease.
EPA has had national air quality standards for fine particles since 1997 and for coarse particles 10 micrometers and smaller (PM10) since 1987. Particle pollution can also contribute to visibility impairment. The proposed revisions include the significant strengthening -- by nearly 50 percent -- of EPA's standards to protect the public from short-term exposure to high levels of fine particles. For fine particles, EPA is also taking comment on a range of annual and 24-hour standards, including strengthening these standards as well as retaining the standards at their present levels. In addition, EPA is proposing a standard for reducing inhalable coarse particles, or PM10-2.5. For these particles, EPA is proposing a 24-hour standard of 70 micrograms per cubic meter.
The standard would apply to airborne mixes of coarse particles that come from sources such as high-density traffic on paved roads and industry. The proposed standard would not apply to mixes of coarse particles that do not pose much risk to public health, such as windblown dust and soils and agricultural and mining sources. Reducing fine particles is a central element of the administration's comprehensive national clean air strategy. The Bush Administration has proposed Clear Skies legislation and issued a number of rules that will make significant strides toward reducing particles regionally and nationally -- the Clean Air Interstate Rule to reduce emissions from power plants in the eastern United States; the Clean Diesel Program to reduce emissions from highway, nonroad and stationary diesel engines across the country; and the Clean Air Visibility Rule to reduce emissions near national parks.
In a separate but related action, EPA is proposing amendments to its national air quality monitoring requirements, including those for monitoring particle pollution. The changes will help EPA, states and local air quality agencies in their efforts to improve public health protection and inform the public about air quality in their communities, and they will allow air quality regulators to take advantage of improvements in monitoring technology. EPA is seeking comments on a number of alternative levels for the PM standards, including retaining the current standards. The agency will take public comment for 90 days following publication of the proposal in the Federal Register and will hold three public hearings.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to periodically review air quality standards to ensure they provide adequate health and environmental protection and to update those standards if necessary. EPA last updated the particle standards in 1997. This proposed rule covers only the air quality standards for particle pollution. It does not address all of the issues involved in implementing a new standard, such as designating what areas are or are not attaining any new standard, and determining the best and most cost-effective implementation strategies. EPA and the states will address those in later actions. For additional information on today's action, visit EPAs website at:
For information on particle pollution, visit: http://www.epa.gov/air/particles
John Millett, 202-564-4355 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Landmark Clean Air Interstate Rule to Take Effect
The Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) takes effect on May 12, 2005 with its publication in the Federal Register. On March 10, EPA Administrator Steve Johnson signed the CAIR. CAIR helps states help other states downwind by controlling airborne emissions at their source. Publication of the rule starts a timeline for coal-fired power plants in the eastern United States to make steep air pollution cuts, benefiting millions of Americans.
The CAIR rule will reduce air pollution that moves across state boundaries in 28 eastern states. CAIR will help over 450 counties in the eastern United States protect people's health by meeting stringent new air quality standards. By 2015, CAIR will provide health and environmental benefits valued at over 25 times the cost of compliance, and those benefits will continue to grow. CAIR will permanently cap emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the eastern United States. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia by more than 70 percent and NOx emissions by more than 60 percent from 2003 levels. This will result in more than $100 billion in health and visibility benefits per year by 2015 and will substantially reduce premature mortality in the eastern United States, and these benefits will continue to grow each year with further implementation.
CAIR is an important component of the Bush Administration's plan to help states in the eastern United States meet the national health-based air quality standards. These pollution reductions, along with other federal air quality programs, will allow the vast majority of nonattainment areas in the eastern United States to meet the new air quality standards. The President's Clear Skies legislation would give more certainty and nationwide emission reduction. CAIR will mandate the largest reduction in air pollution since the reductions set by the Acid Rain Program under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Under CAIR, states will achieve the required emissions reductions using one of two options for compliance: 1) require power plants to participate in an EPA-administered interstate cap and trade system that caps emissions in two stages, or 2) meet an individual state air emission limits through measures of the state's choosing. By addressing air pollutants in a cost effective fashion, EPA and the states will protect public health and the environment without interfering with the steady flow of affordable energy for American consumers and businesses. For more information, go to: http://www.epa.gov/cair/ . Contact: John Millett, 202-564-4355 / email@example.com
EPA Announces Clean Air Interstate Rule
March 10, 2005 -- EPA has issued the final Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which will permanently cap emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the eastern United States. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia by over 70 percent and NOx emissions by over 60 percent from 2003 levels. EPA states that CAIR will result in more than $100 billion in health and visibility benefits per year by 2015 and will substantially reduce premature mortality in the eastern United States, and these benefits will continue to grow each year with further implementation. CAIR is an important component of the Bush Administration's plan to help states in the eastern United States meet the national health-based air quality standards. These pollution reductions, along with other federal air quality programs, will allow the vast majority of nonattainment areas in the eastern United States to meet the new air quality standards.
EPA is also scheduled to issue the first-ever requirement for coal-fired power plants to control mercury emissions in March 2005. That action, plus today's CAIR rule, puts multi-pollutant controls in place for many of the largest sources of air pollution in the country.
CAIR will mandate the largest reduction in air pollution since the reductions set by the Acid Rain Program under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Under CAIR, states will achieve the required emissions reductions using one of two options for compliance:
1) require power plants to participate in an EPA-administered interstate cap and trade system that caps emissions in two stages, or
2) meet an individual state air emission limits through measures of the state's choosing. By addressing air pollutants in a cost effective fashion, EPA and the states will protect public health and the environment without interfering with the steady flow of affordable energy for American consumers and businesses.
For more information, go to: http://www.epa.gov/cair/ .
CLEAN AIR INTERSTATE RULE (CAIR)
Through the use of the proven cap and trade approach, CAIR achieves substantial reductions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and is a powerful component of the Administrations plan to help over 450 counties in the eastern U.S. meet EPAs protective air quality standards for ozone or fine particles.
SO2 and NOx contribute to the formation of fine particles and NOx contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone. Fine particles and ozone are associated with thousands of premature deaths and illnesses each year. Additionally, these pollutants reduce visibility and damage sensitive ecosystems.
According to EPA, by the year 2015, the Clean Air Interstate Rule will result in:
CAIR covers 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia. In this rule, EPA finds that SO2 and NOx emissions from 23 states and the District of Columbia contribute to unhealthy levels of fine particles in downwind states. In addition, NOx emissions in 25 eastern states and the District of Columbia contribute to unhealthy levels of 8-hour ozone in other downwind states. (See list of affected states below.)
Based on an assessment of the emissions contributing to interstate transport of air pollution and available control measures, EPA has determined that achieving required reductions in the identified states by controlling emissions from power plants is highly cost effective.
States must achieve the required emission reductions using one of two compliance options: 1) meet the states emission budget by requiring power plants to participate in an EPA-administered interstate cap and trade system that caps emissions in two stages, or 2) meet an individual state emissions budget through measures of the states choosing.
CAIR provides a Federal framework requiring states to reduce emissions of SO2 and NOx. EPA anticipates that states will achieve this primarily by reducing emissions from the power generation sector. These reductions will be substantial and cost-effective, so in many areas, the reductions are large enough to meet the air quality standards. The Clean Air Act requires that states meet the new national, health-based air quality standards for ozone and PM2.5 standards by requiring reductions from many types of sources. Some areas may need to take additional local actions. CAIR reductions will lessen the need for additional local controls.
This final rule provides cleaner air while allowing for continued economic growth. By enabling states to address air pollutants from power plants in a cost effective fashion, this rule will protect public health and the environment without interfering with the steady flow of affordable energy for American consumers and businesses.
If states choose to meet their emissions reductions requirements by controlling power plant emissions through an interstate cap and trade program, EPAs modeling shows that:
In 2010, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions by 4.3 million tons -- 45% lower than 2003 levels, across states covered by the rule. By 2015, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions by 5.4 million tons, or 57%, from 2003 levels in these states. At full implementation, CAIR will reduce power plant SO2 emissions in affected states to just 2.5 million tons, 73% below 2003 emissions levels.
CAIR also will achieve significant NOx reductions across states covered by the rule. In 2009, CAIR will reduce NOx emissions by 1.7 million tons or 53% from 2003 levels. In 2015, CAIR will reduce power plant NOx emissions by 2 million tons, achieving a regional emissions level of 1.3 million tons, a 61% reduction from 2003 levels.
In 1990, national SO2 emissions from power plants were 15.7 million tons compared to 3.5 million tons that will be achieved with CAIR. In 1990, national NOx emissions from power plants were 6.7 million tons, compared to 2.2 million tons that will be achieved with CAIR.
In upcoming but closely related action, EPA will impose the first ever federally-mandated requirements that coal-fired electric utilities reduce their emissions of mercury. Together the Clean Air Mercury Rule and the Clean Air Interstate Rule create a multi-pollutant strategy to reduce emissions throughout the United States.
The Bush Administration continues to believe that the Presidents Clear Skies legislation is a more efficient, effective, long-term mechanism to achieve large-scale national reductions. Clear Skies legislation applies nationwide and is modeled on the highly successful Acid Rain Program. The Agency remains committed to working with Congress to pass legislation.
States listed are required to control for both fine particle pollution and ozone transport unless otherwise noted
District of Columbia
For information on the Clean Air Interstate Rule, visit www.epa.gov/cair
Report Says Indoor Air Cleaners Produce Ozone
The nonprofit Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, describes in is May 2005 issue how portable indoor air filters expose people to ozone, a component of smog. Allowing large quantities of ozone produced indoors can be harmful to asthmatics. According to the report, about 80 percent of people who buy air cleaners have allergies or asthma. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 18.2 million adults had hay fever in 2002 and about 21.9 million had asthma.
Sharper Image, whos Ionic Breeze cleaner ($400) leads the ionizer market, drew particular criticism in the report. Manufacturers whose products did poorly in the report found fault with the study methods and the findings. The two main types of filters are:
1. Ionizing air cleaners or electrostatic precipitators, work by electrically charging airborne particles and trapping them on oppositely charged metal plates. A super-charged oxygen molecule (O3) is a byproduct of this process. Air ionizers make up about 25 percent of the $410 million-a-year air cleaner market.
2. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which traps most particles and removes odors while producing much lower amounts of ozone.
Ionizers are typically sleek and slender and have quieter motors than other types of portable air cleaners. Air ionizers give off a deceptively "fresh air" smell, similar to the scent just after a thunderstorm. Buyers think that this is a good smell and that without it they think the ionizer isn't cleaning the air. What they smell is actually ozone.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard limits ozone emissions from medical devices at 50-parts-per-billion. The agency doesn't consider air cleaners medical devices. The EPA neither certifies nor recommends air cleaners.
While all air ionizers create ozone, some give off more than others. All five other ionizers were giving failing grades because of "poor performance, some with relatively high ozone. The report recommended only two air cleaners:
1. An ionizing air cleaner -- the Friedrich C-90A ($450 -- negligible ozone.
2. A HEPA device, the Whirlpool 45030 ($250),
CU evaluated the cleaners in a sealed room, where testers measured ozone amounts two inches from the machines, and in an "open, well-ventilated lab," where testers took measurements two inches and three feet from the machines, according to the report. The Whirlpool and Friedrich models earned a mix of "excellent" and "very good" ratings for ridding the air of particles containing dust, cigarette smoke and pollen; both got only fair ratings for noise. The Ionic Breeze earned an "excellent" noise rating.
Any air cleaner that produced ozone amounts exceeding the FDA's 50 ppb ozone limit failed CU's tests. Only the Whirlpool and the Friedrich models passed the sealed-room test. These two recommended cleaners emitted far less ozone than the others. In the open lab, the Whirlpool produced 2 ppb of ozone at two inches away; the Friedrich emitted 5 ppb. At three feet away, the Whirlpool produced 1 ppb, and the Friedrich emitted 4 ppb.
Some allergists said that they have long recommended HEPA cleaners over ionizers because of fears about ozone output.
· The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (www.aham.org)
Consumer Reports. www.consumerreports.org;
American Lung Association air cleaners information. www.lungusa.org;