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Congressional Republicans and Senate Democrat Introduce Bills to Prevent Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By William Kaplowitz , Associate, Jenner & Block On January 5, 2011, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill, H.R. 97, that would prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. The bill, which has 113 co-sponsors, would amend the Clean Air Act to...

EPA announces new air emission regulations for coal-fired power plants

Prior posts have noted the numerous studies that support the view that emissions from a variety of sources, including automobiles, trucks, and power plants, have an adverse impact on the health of those exposed to such emissions. It is also fairly certain that one significant source of mercury contamination...

Some aircraft designers think outside the box to improve efficiency

Concern has been expressed in recent years over the contribution of aircraft to GHG emissions. Some airlines have gotten favorable publicity for experimenting with bio-derived fuels. But, what if aircraft were to target reducing fuel consumption by half, or more. That will require some radical rethinking...

Sprawling cities appear to experience more extreme heat events in summer compared with more compact urban areas, contributing to higher rates of heat-related mortality

Although extreme heat events have become more common in large U.S. cities, a recent study indicates that sprawling cities experience more than double the rate of extreme heat events in the summer compared with more compact urban areas. Researchers examined data from 53 U.S. metropolitan areas for...

9th Circuit upholds California's Vessel Fuel Rules in face of constitutional challenge

Prior posts have noted that California issued Vessel Fuel Rules designed to reduce air pollution created by ships moving along the coast. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Assoc. sued, alleging that it was unconstitutional to apply such rules to shipping more than 3 miles from the California Coast. The District...

NRDC challenge to EPA approval of California CAA SIP fails

California submitted a Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan to the EPA for approval. Pursuant to the "conformity rule" under 40 C.F.R. Section 93.118, the EPA conducted a review to determine whether the SIP's motor vehicle emissions budgets were adequate for transportation conformity...

Smoke from fires can travel thousands of miles impacting weather, climate, and air quality

Prior posts have noted the impact of fires in Southeast Asia on air pollution throughout the region. While it has been known for decades that large wildfires can create or enhance thunderstorm clouds, leading to what are called pyrocumulonimbus clouds ("pyroCbs"), only recently have researchers...

Study warns of potential increase in global mercury emissions, which would impact animals in Arctic region

An assessment by a scientific body set up by the eight Arctic rim countries has projected that global mercury emissions could grow by 25% by 2020 if no action is taken to control such emissions, posing a threat to polar bears, whales, and seals and the Arctic communities who hunt those animals for food...

EPA proposes draft rules related to air emissions from hydrofacturing operations

EPA has released rule changes that will require oil and gas drillers that use hydraulic fracturing to use new or improved processes and equipment in an attempt to reduce the level of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and other air pollutants emitted during the completion of new and modified hydraulically...

Composition of diesel exhaust varies with engine loading, producing differential health impact characteristics from the emissions

As noted in several prior posts, the study of the impact on diesel exhaust has focused on the PM10 and PM 2.5 profiles of the emissions. Recently, researchers argued that this view is too simplistic, and present an interesting study in support of their view. The researchers analyzed the composition...

Let a thousand lawsuits bloom: The CAA is this week's favorite target

As noted in prior posts, EPA has proposed national standards for mercury and other toxic pollutant emissions from power plants. See http://www.epa.gov/airquality/powerplanttoxics/ . Now Guam and 25 states have filed a challenge to the regulations. The EPA is under court order to finalize the so-called...

Air pollution may be causing mega-cyclones striking India & the Middle East

It is well known that warm sea-surface temperatures can boost the intensity of hurricanes (known in the Indian Ocean as cyclones). For many decades water in the Arabian Sea has been warm, which should enhance the strength of cyclones. However, regional winds in the upper and lower atmosphere tend to...

EPA Releases Final Health Assessment for Tetrachloroethylene (aka Perc)

EPA has posted its final health assessment for tetrachloroethylene (aka perc) to its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Perc is widely used in the dry cleaning industry, although states such as California are requiring that it be phased out. See http://epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/perchloroethylene_fact_sheet...

Nanoparticles Impair Blood Vessel Function

Prior posts have noted the wide range of materials and consumer products in which nanoparticles are used, and also that nanoparticles can cross the so-called blood-brain barrier. New research, using animal models, suggests that such materials may impair blood vessel function. Researchers exposed rats...

Revisions to Key Definitions in Virginia Air Pollution Program Add Flexibility

By Henry R. "Speaker" Pollard, V , Partner, Williams Mullen Changes to Virginia’s air program that recently took effect offer greater flexibility for manufacturers, electric utilities, and other major sources of air pollutants. These changes reduce the rigidity of two key Virginia...