Wisconsin Business Groups Sue EPA Over CSAPROctober 11, 2011
On October 7th, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Wisconsin Paper Council, Midwest Food Processors, Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group and Wisconsin Cast Metals Association filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to block the implementation of the EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).
EPA Proposes Modifications to CSAPROctober 7, 2011
On October 6, 2011, following the submission of additional data from states and companies and further review of the rule, the EPA proposed amendments to the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).
CSAPR Sparks Concerns about Electricity ReliabilityOctober 6, 2011
The EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) goes into effect January 1, 2012, but the cost of compliance has already generated concerns about electricity reliability.
Inspector General’s Report on EPA’s GHG Endangerment Finding Questions ProcessOctober 3, 2011
The EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, on September 28th, criticized the way the EPA reviewed scientific data to support its finding that greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The Inspector General’s report suggests the Obama administration cut corners before concluding that climate-change pollution can endanger human health.
EPA & NHTSA Delay Fuel StandardsSeptember 28, 2011
The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) were slated to release joint greenhouse gas and mileage standards for model years 2017-2025 cars and light trucks this week. However, the agencies have announced those rules will now be delayed until November.
EPA Extends Comments Period on NOx and SOx NAAQSSeptember 27, 2011
The EPA has extended the comment period for the proposed secondary air standards for sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides until October 10, 2011. According to the EPA, the 10 day extension comes at the request of stakeholders.
House Advances Train Wreck BillSeptember 26, 2011
The House approved, on September 23rd, a bill that requires that the cumulative effect of all EPA rules be analyzed by an inter-agency committee, and would also delay the implementation of EPA’s CSAPR and proposed MACT standards for toxic air pollutants from power plants.
EPA to Enforce 2008 Ozone StandardSeptember 23, 2011
Administrator Lisa Jackson, testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, revealed the EPA will begin to implement the 2008 8-hour ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb). The EPA also released a memo outlining the implementation process that includes a table listing 52 areas where air quality fails to meet the 2008 standard.
EPA Releases Plans for Regulatory ReformSeptember 21, 2011
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its final report identifying a number of regulations that it will target for modification or elimination in response to Executive Order 13563. The EPA’s report discusses 35 planned regulatory reviews in five main environmental areas.
Delay in New Ozone StandardSeptember 20, 2011
On September 2, 2011, President Obama decided to delay updating new ozone standards until 2013, when EPA is required to reconsider the standards. This delay is seen as a victory for regulated industry as it removes a small part of the EPA’s regulatory Train Wreck that threatens to burden regulated industries and ratepayers with much higher costs.
Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks and BusesSeptember 19, 2011
The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on September 15th jointly issued the first ever greenhouse gas emissions requirements for heavy-duty trucks. The EPA adopted GHG emissions standards under the Clean Air Act, and NHTSA adopted fuel efficiency standards under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).
Greenhouse Gas Rule for Power Plants DelayedSeptember 16, 2011
On September 15th, the EPA confirmed it will not meet a court ordered September 30th deadline to propose greenhouse gas emissions limits for power plants. This is the second time the EPA has delayed the proposal, which was originally supposed to have been issued in July 2011.
DNR Holds Hearings on Regional Haze and Nonattainment Redesignation RequestSeptember 13, 2011
The Department of Natural Resources will hold public hearings on the proposed Regional Haze SIP for the State of Wisconsin at 10 AM and the Milwaukee-Racine nonattainment area redesignation request and maintenance plan at 1PM on September 13, 2011.
Impact of the Boiler MACT Rule on the Paper IndustrySeptember 9, 2011
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) released a report written by Fisher International assessing the impact of the EPA’s proposed Boiler MACT rules on the U.S. pulp and paper industry. The report found that 36 pulp and paper mills are at risk of closing as a result of the proposed rule. 36 mill closings translates to a loss of over 20,000 pulp and paper mill jobs, the risk to logging jobs and other associated industries in the supply chain is even greater.
DNR Releases Study on Silica EmissionsSeptember 7, 2011
The DNR has released a study describing what is currently known about the sources, emissions, and health effects from exposure to crystalline and amorphous forms of silica. Interest in this substance has grown as mining for sand in western Wisconsin, one source of silica dust, has increased.
Ozone Revision WithdrawnSeptember 2, 2011
President Obama today halted the EPA’s proposed updates to the nation’s ozone standards. The withdrawal of the proposed ozone rule comes three days after the White House identified it as one of seven regulations that it said would cost private business at least $1 billion each.
“Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013,” Obama said. “Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.”
Section 109 of the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for several types of air pollutants, including ground level ozone, and to review those standards every five years. In 1997, the EPA set the 8-hour ozone standard at 84 parts per billion (ppb). In 2008, the EPA lowered the standard to 75 ppb. Three years before they were required to do so, the EPA in 2010 announced it would reconsider the 2008 standard, proposing a new standard in a range of 60 to 70 ppb.
There is much litigation over the proposed and existing standards, so it is not yet clear whether the EPA will fully implement the 2008 standard of 75 ppb or stick with the 1997 standard of 84 ppb.
This post was authored by GLLF staff attorney Emily Kelchen.
Petition for Review of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule FiledAugust 30, 2011
EME Homer City Generation, an electric generator in Pennsylvania, has asked the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. This first legal challenge to the EPA’s rule comes less than two months after its promulgation.
The rule, effective Oct. 7, requires 27 states, including Wisconsin, to significantly reduce power plant emissions that cross state lines and contribute to ozone and fine particulate pollution in other states, beginning in January 2012.
EME Homer City Generation is currently being sued by the EPA for allegedly failing to comply with Clean Air Act New Source Review requirements by making major modifications to the boiler units at the power plant and continuing to operate without first obtaining appropriate permits and installing and operating the best available pollution control technologies to reduce sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
On August 23, EME Homer City Generation asked the court to review CSAPR in relation to the pending case. On August 25, the company also filed a request for a stay of CSAPR while the case is pending. Alternatively, if the court does not grant the stay, EME Homer City Generation requested expedited review of the case.
EME Homer City Generation may be the first challenge to CSAPR, but it is unlikely to be the only party challenging the EPA’s new rule in the courts. The Texas Attorney General recently indicated that Texas “will pursue every available legal remedy” to halt the rule’s implementation.
This post was authored by GLLF staff attorney Emily Kelchen.
Ozone Standards UpdateAugust 26, 2011
The contentious battle over the EPA’s proposed ozone standard revisions is heating up in the courts and at the grassroots level, with both sides arguing that uncertainty is hurting the economy. The EPA, however, continues to keep the nation guessing about what standards will apply in the coming months as they again delayed the final rules.
Secondary Standards for SOx and NOxAugust 25, 2011
The EPA is holding a public hearing today on the proposed secondary standards for sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides. The EPA issued the proposed secondary air standards for sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides on August 1, 2011.
The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to periodically review the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to ensure that the standards adequately protect public health and welfare. Primary standards address public health concerns while secondary standards impact the public welfare. The secondary standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) are jointly under review.
The EPA plans to retain the current NOx and SOx secondary standards to provide protection for the direct effects on vegetation from exposure to gaseous oxides of nitrogen and sulfur in the ambient air. The existing secondary standards are 0.053 parts per million (ppm) averaged over a year for NOx, and 0.5 ppm averaged over three hours, not to be exceeded more than once per year, for SOx.
The EPA is also proposing to add additional secondary standards identical to the health-based NOx and SOx primary 1 - hour standards set in 2010. The proposed 1-hour secondary standard for NOx would be set at a level of 100 parts per billion (ppb) and the proposed secondary SOx standard would be set at 75 ppb.
Comments are due by September 30, 2011, and a final rule will be issued by March 2012.
CSAPR Resulting in Higher Utility RatesAugust 24, 2011
Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPSC) and Wisconsin Power & Light Co. (WPL) recently asked the Public Service Commission for additional increases in rates for 2012. The companies indicate the additional rate increases are necessary to cover the cost of complying with the EPA’s new Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).
In May, WPSC asked for a 3.5% increase for 2012, but because Wisconsin’s emissions budget under CSAPR was smaller than anticipated they are now requesting an additional 3.3% increase. WPSC’s rate case is now a total of 6.8% on average, but 9.14% for large customers. If approved, the request to adjust electric rates will result in a monthly increase of about $4.30 for typical WPS residential retail electric customers.
WPL also updated their fuel filing with the PSC. Their fuel case is now 2% on average and 3% for a large customer. The initial request made by WPL was for a retail rate increase of $13.5 million, but it now totals $20 million because of the increased cost of complying with CSAPR.