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DON’T CROSS ME: EPA finalizes rule aimed at reducing smog pollution across state lines
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule that aims to reduce smog pollution from 12 states that can cross state lines, it announced late Monday.
The rule will require additional controls for nitrogen oxides, which can form smog or ozone pollution, on power plants in the dozen states.
It follows a 2019 court decision requiring the agency to take additional action to prevent downwind states from being impacted by their neighbors’ pollution.
The rule was first proposed in October under the Trump administration, but was finalized this year, making it among the first environmental actions the Biden administration has carried out.
The agency said it expects to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 17,000 tons starting this year. Exposure to these types of pollutants have been linked to lung issues including asthma attacks.
But what do enviros think? While advocates characterized the rule as a positive step, some said they wished the Biden administration had worked toward more significant reductions.
Kathleen Riley, an attorney with Earthjustice, took issue with a provision that allows states to buy credits from others that make more progress on reducing emissions, saying this can create pollution “hot spots” for the states that don’t sufficiently reduce pollution.
Read more about the rule here.
IN THE HOT SEAT: 12 states challenge Trump hurdles for water heater, furnace regulation
Twelve state attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), on Tuesday filed a petition for review to eliminate a provision in Energy Department efficiency standards they say allows for inefficient residential furnaces and commercial water heaters.
The Trump administration issued the rules during its final week. The provision treats heaters that use less efficient, noncondensing venting as a separate class of products requiring separate regulations. The Energy Department has already identified both rules as contradicting environmental executive orders signed by the president, according to James’s office.
The Energy Department issued a proposed interpretive rule earlier in the Trump administration arguing the inefficient technology in question was a “feature” and that an industry standard alone could not phase out its use.
“Restoring the energy efficiency regulations is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change, save consumers money, and create jobs,” James said in a statement. “However, in its deregulatory fever, the Trump administration sought to dismantle our nation’s highly successful energy conservation program.”
Read more about the states’ petition here.
PERMITTING THEM TO PERMIT: Career officials to resume processing drilling permits
Career staff will once again have the final say on whether to approve drilling permits on public lands and offshore, ending a two-month period during which the Biden administration has allowed senior officials to make those decisions.
In an email Monday, an Interior spokesperson said a January order that required the agency’s leadership to approve drilling permits “expires as scheduled this week.”
The spokesperson added that career officials “will continue to process [applications for permits to drill] and related sundry activities on valid, existing leases in a timely manner.”
The January order from the department “temporarily suspended” the issuance of onshore and offshore drilling permits for 60 days. However, the same order allowed permits to be approved by department leadership.
A separate order by President BidenJoe BidenThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Split screen: Biden sells stimulus; GOP highlights border RNC to shadow Biden as he promotes COVID-19 relief bill Dems’ momentum hits quagmire over infrastructure plans MORE regarding a pause on new leases has not been affected.
Read more about the order’s expiration here.
QUOTE OF NOTE: “No matter your political party or Zip code, your ancestral heritage or income level, we all must take the formidable challenges that lie ahead seriously, and we will take them head-on, together,” said Deb HaalandDeb HaalandThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Split screen: Biden sells stimulus; GOP highlights border Progressives celebrate historic Haaland vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Haaland to lead Interior | House Republicans pitch nuclear, natural gas as ‘cleaner’ energy future | Congress investigating ‘clean coal’ tax credit | SEC to weigh requiring further climate disclosures to investors MORE, in a statement on becoming the Interior Secretary.
“I am proud and humbled to lead the dedicated team at Interior as we seek to leave a livable planet for future generations. Together, we will work to advance President Biden’s vision to honor our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribes, address the climate and nature crises, advance environmental justice, and build a clean energy future that creates good-paying jobs and powers our nation,” she added.
Haaland is slated to take the oath of office today during a small ceremony. Her first full day on the job will be tomorrow.
ON TAP TOMORROW:
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on challenges facing drinking water and waste water infrastructure projects.
- The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing titled ‘Brain Drain: Rebuilding the Federal Scientific Workforce’
- The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on climate change, national security and the Arctic
- The House Appropriations Committee will also hold a hearing titled “Domestic manufacturing for a clean energy future”
- The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Business Case for Climate Solutions”
WHAT WE’RE READING:
New E.P.A. Head Says Agency Has Climate Regulations Underway, The New York Times reports
Capitol mob may have trashed 3 Trump pollution rules, E&E News reports
Taking Charge: Commissioner Clements on FERC’s ‘make or break’ role amid the energy transition, Utility Dive reports
ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday (and Monday night)…
State attorneys general challenge Trump-era rollback of energy efficiency standards
New EPA head commits to federal-state collaboration on environmental issues
Industry group: Solar installations will quadruple by 2030
EPA finalizes rule aimed at reducing smog pollution across state lines
Career officials to resume processing drilling permits
Democrats, Republicans recommend more input, detail on Biden conservation goals
Green groups press Biden, Democrats to boost climate spending with ad blitz
Progressives celebrate historic Haaland vote