Tag Archives: emissions

California Threatens Lawsuit Against US EPA as Pruitt Threatens to Roll Back Emissions Standards

In 2012, California, the Obama Administration, and major US automakers agreed (2012 Agreement) to nearly double fuel efficiency fleet-wide by 2025, raising the average fuel economy of new cars and light trucks to more than 50 MPG, or roughly 36 MPG in real-world driving. As part of the 2012 Agreement, a midterm review was scheduled … Continue Reading

New US EPA Memorandum Suggests a Hand’s-Off Approach to NSR Applicability Determinations

On December 7, 2017, US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a memorandum to all Regional Administrators to offer guidance regarding the Agency’s interpretation of New Source Review (NSR) preconstruction permitting requirements in response to recent decisions from the Sixth Circuit in EPA v. DTE Energy Co.  Highlighting the lack of unanimity among the individual Sixth … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules Smelter Emissions Are Not a CERCLA Disposal

The Ninth Circuit’s recent opinion in Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., addressed whether, “[w]hen a smelter emits lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury compounds through a smokestack and those compounds contaminate land or water downwind, . . . the owner-operator of the smelter [can] be held liable for cleanup costs and natural resource damages under … Continue Reading

New US Standards to Reduce Emissions and Improve Fuel Efficiency of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

As the result of a joint rulemaking effort, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) Office of Transportation and Air Quality and the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized new standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and their engines on August 16, 2016. Included among the types of vehicles affected by … Continue Reading

The Air (Emissions) of Spring May Soon Give Rise to Unprecedented CERCLA Liability

As 2015 came to a close, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals quietly notified the parties in a decades-long environmental dispute that, in April 2016, the court will hear arguments in a case that could reshape CERCLA liability forever.  The basis for the pending appeal is a district court order holding that air emissions could … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Leaves US EPA’s Mercury Rule in Place During Remand

On December 15, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected challenges by energy industry groups and several states that are seeking to scrap US EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”) final rule.  White Stallion Energy Center, LLC v. EPA, Case No. 12-1100.  The Court remanded the rule to US EPA for … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Final Rule to Clamp Down on Refinery Emissions

On September 29, 2015, US EPA issued a final rule for the regulation of emissions from the nation’s 142 petroleum refinery operations (the “Refinery Rule”).  The regulatory structure underlying the rule is complex, but essentially includes both a “residual risk review” to assess the risk to public health, and a “technology review” where, as the … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Second Direct Final Rule on Greenhouse Gas Permitting in Light of DC Circuit Ruling

As we previously reported, in May 2015 US EPA issued a direct final rule allowing for the rescission of certain preconstruction (“PSD”) permits issued by US EPA and delegating permit review authority to states under Step 2 of the Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) Tailoring Rule.  Step 2 of the Tailoring Rule set in motion PSD permitting for “GHG-only” sources, meaning sources permitted solely … Continue Reading

US EPA Greenhouse Gas Permitting Update

As we reported last summer, the US Supreme Court ruled that US EPA lacked authority to impose Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA) on facilities based solely on their emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Since that decision there have been many questions about how sources of GHG … Continue Reading

RCRA “Disposal” Does Not Extend to Emissions Directly into the Air Per US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

On August 20, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by environmental groups against Union Pacific Corp. and BNSF Railway Co., holding that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) does not authorize a citizen suit to enjoin the emission of diesel particulate matter as it … Continue Reading
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