Backlash in Guidance as RulemakingJuly 29, 2011
The Environmental Protection Agency was subject to a policymaking setback when a federal appeals court struck down guidance outlining alternatives to a penalty program under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for areas in violation of the air quality standards for ozone.
DNR Seeks to Slow Rulemaking on Waterway DevelopmentJuly 29, 2011
EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and its Effect on WisconsinJuly 25, 2011
On Wednesday July 6, 2011, the EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The rule is effective January 1, 2012 and will replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). The rule requires 27 states, including Wisconsin, to improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that cross state lines and contribute to nonattainment or maintenance concerns for ozone (O3) or fine particulate (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
Specifically, the rule sets emissions caps for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). In Wisconsin, during 2012-2013, annual emissions may not exceed 79,480 tons for SO2, and 31,628 tons for NOx. Ozone season NOx emissions may not exceed 13,704 tons. Starting in 2014, Wisconsin's emission caps will become stricter, allowing 40,126 tons annually for SO2, 30,398 tons annually for NOx, and 13,216 tons for NOx during the ozone season.
Wisconsin Power Plant Emissions
EPA determined that 12 states - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia - contribute to nonattainment or maintenance concerns of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin contributes to nonattainment or maintenance concerns in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
The EPA is adopting federal implementation plans (FIPs) for each of the states covered by this rule. The EPA is encouraging states to replace these FIPs with State Implementation Plans (SIPs) starting as early as 2013.
More information about the new rule can be found on the Great Lakes Legal Foundation Regulatory Watch website.
This post was authored by Great Lakes Legal Foundation intern, Lane Oling, a 2L at the University of Wisconsin Law School
Transparency in State SpendingJuly 19, 2011
A measure in the state budget passed last month requires the state to post online every purchase of $100 or more. The new requirement greatly expands the state’s reporting requirements and will offer the public a closer look at state expenditures.
The state must post the grant or contract for each expense, the agency doing the spending, the name and address of the individual or business being paid, and the amount and category of the spending.
One of the vetoes Governor Walker issued when he signed the budget was directed at this provision. The Legislature had given agencies until July 1, 2013, to comply, but Walker struck this language, and is directing agencies to begin reporting immediately.
Since 2006, the state has operated a similar program known as Contract Sunshine, which is supposed to show information on all state expenditures over $10,000.
DNR Releases Draft Regional Haze State Implementation PlanJuly 15, 2011
The Wisconsin DNR recently released a draft state implementation plan (SIP) as a step toward complying with the federal Regional Haze Rule.
In 1999, the EPA promulgated the Regional Haze Rule to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. The rule requires states, in coordination with the EPA, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service, to develop and implement air quality protection plans to reduce pollution that causes visibility impairment in 156 federally-protected parks and wilderness areas (mandatory Class I areas). The rule creates a regulatory goal of zero impairment of visibility from manmade emissions in these areas by 2064.
There are no mandatory Class I areas in the state; however, Wisconsin impacts the Boundary Waters wilderness area in Minnesota, the Seney wilderness area in Michigan, and Isle Royale national park in Michigan. In addition, the State of Vermont determined that Wisconsin significantly contributes to visibility impairment at Lye Brook Wilderness Area.
The first SIPs for regional haze were due in December 2007, but many states did not submit plans. On January 9, 2009 the EPA issued findings that 37 states, including Wisconsin, missed Clean Air Act deadlines for submitting plans, or elements of plans, for implementing EPA’s Regional Haze Program. Under the CAA section 110(c), EPA is required to promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) within two years of the effective date of a finding that a state has failed to submit a SIP. The FIP requirement is void if a state submits a regional haze SIP, and EPA approves that SIP within the two year period.
The EPA has yet to issue a FIP despite the two year deadline, so it is likely that Wisconsin will be regulated by a future version of the proposed SIP rather than a FIP. The DNR plans to have a 30-day public comment period on the SIP in September 2011.
This post was authored by Emily Kelchen, a staff attorney at Great Lakes Legal Foundation.
EPA Opens Public Comment on Secondary Air Standards for Nitrogen and Sulfur OxidesJuly 14, 2011
July 14, 2011 - Today the EPA proposed secondary air quality standards to protect the environment from nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx).
This post was authored by GLLF's intern, Lane Oling, a 2L at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Comment Period for Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act ExtendedJuly 12, 2011