EPA Says 2008 Ozone Standard Back In Play

Climate Change

Testifying before a House subcommittee on Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson said her agency would move forward with enforcing the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards(NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, which, thus far, has been held in abeyance as EPA worked to introduce a more stringent standard. Speaking to Congress for the first time since the White House requested withdrawal of the agency’s proposal to reduce the 8-hour “primary” ozone standard down to a range of 0.060 to 0.070 parts per million (ppm), Jackson indicated implementation of the 2008 standard of 0.075 ppm would be done “in a common sense way, minimizing the burden on state and local governments.” Continue reading →

SMOG Standard On Hold: Obama Orders Withdrawal of Proposed Rules On Ground-Level Ozone

Climate Change

WhiteHouseLast week, the White House announced that it would ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the proposed rule which would revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, the main component in smog. The proposed rule would have strengthened the 8-hour “primary” ozone standard to a level within the range of 0.060-0.070 parts per million (ppm) (down from the 0.075 ppm standard established in 2008). It also would have established a cumulative, seasonal “secondary” standard within the range of 7-15 ppm-hours. EPA stated that the new rule would ensure that these standards are grounded in science, bringing them in line with the recommendation of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, EPA’s panel of science advisors.

The ozone standards are up for reconsideration under the Clean Air Act in 2013 and President Obama stated that he “did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.” The President confirmed that his decision to halt the rule is tied to the weakened economy, citing “the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”
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Building Energy Benchmarking: Are We There Yet?

Green Building

LAOfficeBuildingIn a classic case of “the devil’s in the details,” Assembly Bill 1103 (“AB 1103”), which mandated the disclosure of energy-usage data of commercial buildings in certain transactions, has yet to be implemented nearly four years after it was first enacted. The legislation set a deadline of January 1, 2010 for building owners selling, leasing or financing an entire non-residential building to deliver energy consumption information utilizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program (EPA Portfolio Manager). (A more comprehensive description of AB 1103 is provided here.) The 2010 deadline was extended indefinitely in 2009 by Assembly Bill 531 to allow the California Energy Commission (CEC) to complete the rule-making process for the adoption of implementing regulations.

So the unanswered question is: When will AB 1103 finally take effect? The answer, for the moment, is that implementation is at least nearly a year away. The earliest possible kick-off date is July 1st of next year. In order to make this schedule, the revised draft regulations issued for public comment in August (Revised Draft Regulations) would need to complete the public comment process followed by adoption of the final regulations by the CEC by late spring 2012.

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