The comment period closed for the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan rule on Dec. 1. The total number of comment submissions is on track to reach close to 2 million -maybe even exceed it.  Between now and mid-spring the EPA will be busy sifting through comments to aid in crafting the final rule scheduled to be released in June, 2015.  State environmental agencies, the agencies responsible for developing compliance plans, had much to say about the EPA proposal and most states submitted comments.

Today the EPA released its proposed update to the air quality standards for ground-level ozone.  The proposal lowers the ground-level ozone standard from 75 parts per billion, where it’s been since 2008, to a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion.   EPA estimates most areas will be in compliance with the standard by 2025. 

A revised ozone standard of 70 to 60 parts per billion was recommended by the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee, a scientific panel that advises EPA in setting the national ambient air quality standards...

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. Based on recommendations from EPA’s science advisers and staff, the EPA is expected to announce a more stringent standard, likely in the range of 70 to 60 parts per billion, down from the 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion. A more strict ozone requirement could be a challenge for some states and counties to attain, generating areas of noncompliance around the U.S. accompanied by a hefty...

Given the Supreme Court’s prominent role in deciding important issues of the day, it is easy to get caught up in the latest juicy Court mishap.  Justice Scalia erroneously depicted precedent in his dissent in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, which had to be corrected. But don’t let that be the reason you read this blog post.  This case is important for the states.

The Clean Air Act’s Good Neighbor Provision prohibits upwind states from emitting air pollution in amounts that will contribute significantly to downwind states failing to attain air quality standards.  In EPA v. EME Homer City Generation the Supreme Court resolved two issues related to the Good Neighbor Provision.  Justice Ginsburg wrote the 6-2 opinion.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan includes an emphasis on Next Generation Compliance, a model that focuses on achieving a higher rate of regulation compliance using advances in both emissions monitoring and information technology. A key component of that strategy shifts reporting responsibilities to industry, requiring companies, states and other entities to submit compliance data electronically. In this webinar, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies convenes a group of experts to discuss how the new focus will affect the EPA's current enforcement approach; practical implications for state enforcement staff; changes in reporting requirements for states; and state implementation of new compliance technologies as well as the cost.

State officials are used to having questions about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s implementation of the Clean Air Act. But local and state officials in Wyoming were not prepared to rehash 100-year-old boundaries when the EPA issued its decision to recognize the Wind River Indian Reservation as a separate state under the act. ...

On Sunday the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission created new air pollution rules for oil and gas drillers, including the nation’s first statewide limit on methane gas emissions. The decision was made with support from Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy, and Encana, some of Colorado’s largest oil and gas operators.

Below is an expanded version of the Top Five Energy and Environment issues to watch in 2014. 

On July 25 the EPA issued non-attainment designations for 29 locations in 16 states that exceeded its sulfur dioxide standard set under the National Air Quality Standard. In its announcement the agency stated the determinations were based on observed data form air emissions stations and weather patterns that contributed to the monitored levels.

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.

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