CARB Greenlights AB 32 Scoping Plan…Again

Climate Change

PollutingStacksOn Wednesday the California Air Resources Control Board (CARB) unanimously adopted a supplemental environmental analysis of its 2008 Scoping Plan and reapproved the controversial plan itself. The Scoping Plan is a blueprint for how the State will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 as called for in the State’s landmark global warming law, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). The plan includes a range of measures, including the market-based cap-and-trade program, touted by some and reviled by others.

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EPA Rule on Carbon Monoxide Adds New Monitoring Requirement for Metropolitan Roadways, but Standards Will Stay the Same

Air Quality

CarsTrucksThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final rule this week affirming the current national air quality limits for carbon monoxide (CO), which describe how much of the pollutant is acceptable in outside air. EPA’s statement said the agency, after a careful review of the science, determined that the current standards for the pollutant protect the public health, including those who are most susceptible to the gas. For a more detailed explanation of EPA’s decision click here.
While finding existing limits for carbon monoxide are strong enough, EPA did alter its monitor siting requirements for large urban areas, increasing its focus on transportation routes. The agency will now require carbon monoxide monitors placed near roads in 52 urban areas around the country. Urban areas having populations of 1 million or more persons must have one near-road monitor operational by January 1, 2017. Near-road monitors required for urban areas having 2.5 million or more persons must be operational by January 1, 2015.

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Heavy Duty Greening: Obama Administration Announces New Fuel Efficiency and Pollution Standards

Clean Technology

SemiTruckOn Tuesday, the Obama administration, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) announced new standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increasing fuel efficiency for buses, big rig trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. This comes on the heels of last week’s similar announcement for cars and light-duty trucks.

The program covers vehicles built for the 2014 through 2018 model years and divides the vehicles into three categories: (1) combination tractors (“semis” or “big rigs”), (2) heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and (3) vocational vehicles (such as buses and garbage trucks). By the 2018 model year, big rigs will be required to achieve a fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emission reduction of approximately 20%. An approximate 15% reduction will be required of 2018 model year heavy-duty pickups and vans. And, by model year 2018, buses, garbage trucks and the like will be required to achieve about a 10% reduction. These standards will result in savings of 4 to 1 gallons of fuel per 100 miles traveled, depending on the vehicle type.

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What’s in that Stuff?: EPA Issues Final Chemical Data Reporting Rule

PollutingStacksOn Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the issuance of the final Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The rule will increase the amount and kind of information required to be reported by chemical manufacturers, including increasing the range of chemicals to which the reporting requirements apply, as well as increase the frequency of the required reporting (from every 5 years to every 4 years). EPA also states that the revised rule will decrease manufacturers’ ability to assert confidentiality claims.

One of the more interesting aspects of the rule, however, is the new requirement that the information be submitted electronically. Manufacturers affected by the rule will be required to use an EPA-provided, web-based reporting tool to submit reports through the Internet. Paper submissions will no longer be accepted. This will allow the public to more easily access the information – creating more transparency. Additionally, similar to the way electronic processing of prescriptions has allowed pharmacists to predict a potentially dangerous drug interaction, this new requirement will improve data quality and EPA’s ability to use the information to identify and manage potential risks associated with the chemicals.

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