Air

Breaking down the cost-benefit analysis and regulatory impact assessments that underpin EPA Clean Air Act rules can be difficult to understand. These complex studies have important impacts on states in a host of ways and are significant for environmental protection, public health and the economic implications associated with compliance. CSG’s webinar, “Understanding How EPA Clean Air Rules are Derived” featured toxicology experts from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the director of the Clean Air and Climate Program with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to help demystify how the agency determines public health and financial impacts of its proposed air rules. As state air agencies are on the front line of federal Clean Air compliance requirements, the presentations provided important context of the major sampling studies used by EPA and a lively policy debate between the presenters regarding the key issues surrounding their findings.

Breaking down the cost-benefit analysis and regulatory impact assessments that underpin EPA Clean Air Act rules can be difficult to understand. These complex studies have important impacts on states in a host of ways and are significant for environmental protection, public health and the economic implications associated with compliance. CSG’s webinar, “Understanding How EPA Clean Air Rules are Derived” featured toxicology experts from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the director of the Clean Air and Climate Program with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to help demystify how the agency determines public health and financial impacts of its proposed air rules. As state air agencies are on the front line of federal Clean Air compliance requirements, the presentations provided important context of the major sampling studies used by EPA and a lively policy debate between the presenters regarding the key issues surrounding their findings.

Be sure to join tomorrows' webinar entitled "Understanding How EPA Clean Air Rules are Derived." Our panelists' thought-provoking presentations will be sure to foster a lively and informative discussion! To register for the event, please click here.

Please join us on September 25 at 2 PM/Eastern for CSG's webinar entitled "Understanding How EPA Clean Air Rules are Derived." To register for the event, please click here.

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threw out a high-profile clean air rule from the EPA by a vote of 2-1. The judges ruled that the EPA exceeded its statutory authority under the Clean Air Act when imposing the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which was challenged by more than a dozen states, several utilities, and other industry and labor groups. 

The state of Alaska recently filed suit to stop the implementation of an EPA rule that will drastically reduce the amount of sulfur in bunker fuel used by ships within 200 miles of the United States. Starting in August, ships must cut sulfur levels from 2.7 percent to 1 percent in their fuel and then down to 0.1 percent by 2015. The EPA estimates the rule would prevent 12,000 to 31,000 premature deaths per year, but the state contends that low-sulfur fuel is not widely available and could add tremendous costs for their residents because nearly all consumer goods are delivered via ocean-going vessels.

The Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011 issued new stringent regulations called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, Rule to limit mercury emissions and other hazardous substances from fossil fuel power plants. The standards have been controversial because of industry concerns with costs and grid reliability. The EPA, however, contends the standards are reasonable, provide billions of dollars in public health benefits and will prevent thousands of premature deaths.

At the recently concluded National Leadership Conference held in La Quinta, California, the CSG Executive Committee approved eight policy resolutions on a wide range of topics, including export promotion, preventing Medicaid fraud, exploring a telehealth interstate compact, state sales taxation on e-commerce, and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule.
 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages federal legislative and oversight actions such as, but not limited to, the Congressional Review Act  to subject MATS to further analysis for its potential negative impacts on jobs, state economies and their recovery, electricity prices for consumers, domestic manufacturing, and international competitiveness  in addition to the bipartisan Fair Compliance Act sponsored by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Dan Coats (R-IN) that would harmonize MATS compliance deadlines with pre-construction and construction timelines to install emission reduction technologies, construct replacement capacity, implement transmission reinforcement or other mitigation measures to assure electricity prices are reasonable, and the reliability of the electric grid is maintained without changing the final rule’s stringency or reduction levels.  

Today the EPA announced proposed standards to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. The move was hailed by environmental groups and it is expected to largely impact the construction of new coal-fired power plants by essentially requiring their emissions output to mirror those of efficient natural gas units - either through capture or storage of CO2 emissions. Industry advocates opposed the new rule because of cost impacts to states heavily reliant on coal for electricity production and that the Administration is essentially mandating new technology which is not yet commercially feasible. 

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