EPA Finalizes Air Toxics Completion Finding
Related Topics: Clean Air Act (as Amended)
Today, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed a final rule which finalized its finding that the Agency had completed its Clean Air Act (CAA) mandate to regulate air toxics from sources that represent 90% of emissions of 7 specific Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). (In the middle of December, EPA had proposed this finding, saying that it had satisfied the requirement in CAA 112(c)(6) for the 7 “persistent” and “bioaccumlative” HAPS, and this May action finalizes that finding. EPA had faced a May 25 court-issued deadline to issue its final rule.
The mandate could have required EPA to impose MACT standards on certain categories or subcategories of area sources if it couldn’t meet the 90% level just by regulating major sources. As EPA has issued various MACT/GACT rules over the years, the Agency had made provisional determinations about what percent of what emissions it had covered up to that point — but it had never issued a final determination. Environmentalists have challenged EPA for years over its delay in issuing that determination. [The final rule was subsequently published in The Federal Register on June 3, and can be found here.]EPA contends that existing regulations provide the 90% coverage, and the Agency relies on “surrogate” pollutants to provide the necessary emissions reductions. The Sierra Club, meanwhile, has argued that EPA has to promulgate specific air toxics regulations which target the 7 HAPS in question, and that the Agency cannot rely on “surrogates” without carefully identifying the correlation between the surrogate and the HAP. In the final rule, EPA rejects the Sierra Club’s arguments.
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