Monthly Archives: June 2020

Will Evidence of Causality Be Enough to Change EPA’s Mind About the PM2.5 Standard?

There have been numerous studies that support a decrease in the current PM2.5 annual standard of 12 ug/m3.  EPA has nonetheless proposed to retain the current standard on the basis that there is too much uncertainty regarding whether those studies provide a basis for concluding that PM2.5 concentrations below the standard cause increased mortality.  As I have previously noted, the statutory provision requires that NAAQS be set with an “adequate margin of safety.”  That would seem to require EPA to resolve such uncertainty in favor of a more stringent standard.… More

Woe Is WOTUS, Redux

Sometimes, history repeats itself.  Sometimes, that is not a good thing.

After the Obama WOTUS rule was promulgated in 2015, the challenges came fast and furious, and in multiple forums.  The Supreme Court, as I put it, adopted the “give me a break” theory over the “just plain nuts” theory, and ruled that challenges to the rule had to be heard in district courts. … More

Particulate Matter Experts Still Think that the PM2.5 NAAQS Should Be Lowered. Will The Courts Defer to Them Or to EPA?

Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published The Need for a Tighter Particulate-Matter Air-Quality Standard, written by the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel.  For those who don’t remember, the Review Panel used to be a sub-committee of EPA’s Clean Air Science Advisory Committee, until EPA Administrator Wheeler decided that CASAC did not need the specific advice that the Review Panel had to offer.… More

Massachusetts AG Petitions DPU to Investigate Gas Industry Future in Light of Commonwealth’s GHG Emissions Goals

On June 4, 2020, the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General (AGO) filed a petition with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) requesting that the DPU open an investigation “to assess the future of local gas distribution company (LDC) operations and planning in light of the Commonwealth’s legally binding statewide limit of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.” Citing Massachusetts’ Global Warming Solutions Act, and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Determination of Statewide Emissions Limit for 2020,… More

EPA’s New Cost-Benefit Rule — Are Both Sides Misrepresenting What It Says?

Last week, EPA released its proposed rule regarding Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Benefits and Costs in the Clean Air Act Rulemaking ProcessAs much as I hate to give aid and comfort to this Administration, I have to say that the rule does not herald the end of western civilization.  The biggest controversy surrounding the rule is its impact on consideration of “co-benefits”. … More