Tag Archives: EPA

Marshall, Va. (Jan. 6, 2020) — At the Fauquier Livestock Exchange, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler followed up on his November 2018 announcement and took concrete steps to advance the Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI). Joined by U.S. Representative Denver Riggleman (VA-05) and a variety of stakeholders, the CTI rulemaking will establish new, more stringent emission standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and other pollutants for highway heavy-duty engines. Through this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), EPA is seeking input from the public and interested stakeholders.

“The Trucking industry touches nearly every part of our economy. A strong and resilient trucking industry is imperative to maintaining a strong and resilient economy. Through this initiative, we will modernize heavy-duty truck engines, improving their efficiency and reducing their emissions, which will lead to a healthier environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The U.S. has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but through this initiative we will continue to reduce emissions, while spurring innovative new technologies, ensuring heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.”

“I was honored to have  EPA Administrator Wheeler join us in the 5th district for this important announcement. The Cleaner Trucks Initiative is part of the EPA’s efforts to simplify complex regulations and protect our environment,” said Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA-05). “This update to emission standards will help reduce harmful emissions while providing savings for consumers, including constituents in my district.  Trucking affects all aspects of the 5th district economy and initiatives like this will help consumers.”

“EPA’s announcement on the Cleaner Trucks Initiative is a productive step toward updating standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter,” said Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies Executive Director Jason Sloan. “As co-regulators under the Clean Air Act, AAPCA’s state and local members have worked diligently to improve air quality, overseeing significant decreases in the emissions and ambient concentrations of the six criteria air pollutants. By seeking efficiency improvements for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines, EPA’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative will support environmental agencies in their continued efforts to meet national air quality standards.”

“MECA thanks EPA for taking this important next step by issuing an ANPRM to solicit additional input from stakeholders on the agency’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI). This program will deliver important air quality and public health benefits while growing American jobs and international competitiveness in the market for advanced technology components installed on the cleanest, most fuel efficient, and durable trucks. MECA members are committed to working with EPA and all stakeholders to realize this important vision for the next generation of ultra-clean heavy-duty vehicles,” said Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association Executive Director Rasto Brezny.

“As an organization representing members of the emissions control technology industry, we applaud EPA’s announcement today to begin the process for developing regulations to tighten emissions controls on heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines and congratulate Administrator Wheeler for his leadership on this important issue,” said Emissions Control Technology Association President Tim Regan.

“The trucking industry takes clean air seriously and has made significant strides in improving the nation’s air quality over the last 35 years. Since 1985, newly-manufactured trucks have reduced NOx emissions by over 98 percent but our work is not yet done. These reductions have been possible because the EPA has worked with stakeholders – including the trucking industry –  to help institute standards that are feasible, achievable and reasonable,” said American Trucking Association Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan. “ATA is committed to continuing  to work closely with EPA on developing the next generation of low-NOx emitting trucks through the Cleaner Trucks Initiative. To this end, the trucking industry seeks one national, harmonized NOx emissions standard that will result in positive environmental progress while not compromising truck performance and delivery of the nation’s goods.”

“Serious problems with earlier rulemakings have left small-business truckers justifiably wary of new emissions reduction proposals. However, over the last year, representatives of the EPA have gone to great lengths to fully understand how new policies may affect our members, which wasn’t standard practice under previous administrations. OOIDA believes the agency’s desire to avoid the mistakes of the past is genuine. We’re hopeful our ongoing conversations with EPA and the feedback our members will soon provide during the ANPRM comment period will lead to the development of an acceptable new standard,” said Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Presient Todd Spencer.

“EMA looks forward to working with EPA on potential improvements to the heavy-duty on-highway engine regulations that can reduce the overall costs of compliance, preserve the necessary diversity of the commercial vehicle marketplace, and protect our customers’ need for fuel-efficient, durable and reliable trucks,” said Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association President Jed Mandel. 

“With the release of the ANPRM, the Cleaner Trucks Initiative moves forward in setting the vision for the heavy-duty diesel engines of the future as high-value assets which help achieve our nation’s future energy and clean air goals while also expanding economic growth. Today’s action follows support for a new low NOx standard from truck and engine makers and petitions for rulemaking from a number of state and local air agencies,” said Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer. 

“AESI is encouraged that the Agency is moving forward with this next step to update the twenty-year old NOx standards for heavy-duty vehicles. A strong new national standard has the potential to create significant investment in American jobs and manufacturing, cost-effectively reduce harmful emissions in the nation’s most populated areas in a timely fashion, and help deploy American-developed advanced control technologies here and around the world,” said Advanced Engine Systems Institute Executive Director Chris Miller.

“MEMA appreciates that EPA is issuing an ANPRM and is offering an opportunity for industry to provide feedback on this important Cleaner Trucks Initiative. MEMA looks forward to continuing to work with both EPA and CARB on this important initiative that will achieve additional NOx emissions reductions on the road and encourages implementation of best available technologies. The initiative will also provide regulatory certainty for motor vehicle suppliers who have made significant investments in these important technologies,” said Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association Senior Director of Environmental Policy Laurie Holmes.

In addition to Administrator Wheeler and Rep. Riggleman, Virginia Delegate Michael Webert, and representatives from the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, American Trucking Association, Diesel Technology Forum, and Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association were in attendance.

This rulemaking will also offer opportunities to streamline and improve certification procedures to reduce costs for engine manufacturers. This action follows on the petitions from over 20 organizations, including state and local air agencies, to revise and promulgate more stringent NOx standards.

From 2007 to 2017, U.S. NOx emissions dropped by more than 40 percent, but there is more work to be done. Today, over 100 million people live in areas of nonattainment for ozone and particulate matter (PM), and according to EPA estimates, heavy-duty vehicles will continue to be one of the largest contributors to NOx emissions — a precursor of ozone and PM formation — from the transportation sector in 2025. Updating these standards will result in significant mobile source NOx reductions, which will aid communities across the country in achieving ozone and particulate matter attainment with EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards program.

EPA last revised NOx standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines in January 2001. Pursuant to the Clean Air Act, the CTI will provide manufacturers sufficient time to comply with new standards and ensure that updated standards consider feasible emissions control technologies. Working together with state and industry partners, we can achieve environmental results through the pursuit of commonsense regulations that encourage economic growth.

EPA intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2020.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for Nebraska agriculture, issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of a final Renewable Fuel Standard volume obligations rule that does not match a previous agreement at the White House.

“This is a disappointment. We made some real progress at a White House meeting that President Trump, EPA Administrator Wheeler, and Senators Fischer, Grassley, Ernst and I attended, but the EPA is doing something different. Nobody there agreed to this and, once again, the EPA is asking us to trust them to do the right thing. Like a lot of Nebraskans, I am skeptical about how the EPA is going to implement this.”

Senator Sasse’s November letter to the EPA is available here.

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) are disappointed today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule, which sets biofuel blending requirements as part of the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). NCB and NeCGA contend the rule paves the way for small refinery exemption (SRE) waivers to further erode RFS volumes and destroy demand for America’s biofuel industries and our nation’s farmers.

 

“The EPA really blew it this year,” said Dan Nerud, president of NeCGA and farmer from Dorchester. “EPA’s blatant disregard for the law while issuing refinery waivers was appalling, so we really hoped the Administration was going to right this wrong. Fifteen billion gallons of conventional biofuel looks good on paper, but EPA has shown us time and time again they can’t be trusted. This was not the deal President Trump promised us on Oct. 4. He said farmers were going to be very happy. We’re not happy.”

 

In the rule released today, the EPA used a three-year average of waivers recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE) in coming up with its 2020 waiver estimate, rather than an average of actual gallons waived by the EPA. However, the EPA has historically ignored DOE’s recommendations when issuing waivers and granted substantially more.

 

“I’d like to say I can trust EPA will follow through with their rule, but the agency continues to side with the oil industry,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the NCB and farmer from Friend. “Additionally, they failed to account for a court remand requiring them to reallocate 500 million gallons of biofuel. Ultimately, the RVO rule today will only be good news if EPA actually follows DOE recommendations, and we’ll be keeping a close eye to ensure they do.”

 

“Our corn grower members banded together and urged the EPA and our Administration to uphold the law and restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard, but the EPA came up short, said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA and NCB. “We will continue to work with the Administration and the EPA to ensure they uphold their commitment to corn farmers. We need the EPA to follow through and blend at least 15 billion gallons as per the law. We’ll be monitoring this carefully to hold the EPA accountable.”

 

Additionally, Nebraska Corn will push EPA to follow through with its promises to provide biofuel infrastructure funding and update outdated E15 labeling requirements.

 

 

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing two important actions that will help the agricultural sector protect crops from pests and weeds. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA is approving the use of 10 pesticide products on hemp in time for the 2020 growing season. Nine of these products are biopesticides and one is a conventional pesticide. EPA is also issuing a proposed interim decision on atrazine — a widely used herbicide. Both actions provide regulatory certainty and clarity on how these tools can be used safely while also helping to ensure a strong and vibrant agricultural market.

“With common-sense actions, we are protecting the health of our nation and ensuring that crops such as corn, sorghum, sugar cane and hemp can be protected against a broad spectrum of weeds and pests,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under the Trump Administration, the EPA is committed to providing much needed certainty to farmers and ranchers across the country who rely on crop protection tools to ensure a global supply of products, while driving economic growth in agricultural communities across America.”

“EPA’s actions today help support American farmers’ efforts to grow hemp just in time for the first growing season,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “No other President has done more to remove strangling regulations and promote American farmers than President Trump. From repealing WOTUS, to implementing year-round E-15, and ensuring 15 billion gallons of ethanol are in the marketplace next year, this Administration continues to put farmers first.”

The first action EPA is announcing is the approval of ten pesticide applications for use on hemp, just in time to be used during the 2020 growing season. EPA wanted to ensure the agency acted on these applications quickly to give growers certainty for next spraying season in 2020 and to make timely purchasing decisions for next year. These approvals were made possible by the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp-derived products from Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act.

While EPA oversees pesticide registrations for hemp under FIFRA, other federal agencies are working to streamline their separate regulatory implementation processes for the newly legalized crop. The 2018 Farm Bill directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp. USDA has since proposed a rule for state-level hemp growing/management plans. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration also plays a role in regulating hemp products when they fall under their regulatory authority. EPA is committed to working with our federal partners and helping hemp growers obtain the tools needed to support and increase commercial production. The step the agency is taking today recognizes that innovation in pesticide use is critical to the success of our strong and vibrant agricultural sector.

“We’ve learned a lot about hemp since the establishment of the pilot programs in 2014, and we’re continuing our progress to ensure hemp is treated just like every other legal commodity,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY). “By approving several biopesticides for use in hemp cultivation—especially as Kentucky’s hemp farmers prepare for the 2020 growing season—Administrator Wheeler is helping deliver much-needed tools for our farmers. Hemp producers across the country are looking to Kentucky for our expertise and leadership with this exciting crop, and I’m committed to helping our farmers, processors and manufacturers take full advantage of hemp’s potential.”

“I’m pleased to hear of the EPA’s approval of 10 pesticides for use on industrial hemp. Since the Farm Bill was signed into law last year, Kentucky hemp farmers have been asking for safe and effective crop protection agents that meet the demands of the booming hemp industry,” said Senator Rand Paul (KY). “These approvals will allow for the use of 10 different pesticides for the 2020 growing season, which will be of great benefit for Kentucky hemp farmers. We know the value of hemp in Kentucky, and I will continue to fight for and support all efforts to keep this industry moving forward.”

“I applaud the EPA for taking critical steps to move the hemp industry in the right direction,” said Congressman James Comer (KY-01)​. “This action will benefit farmers in the next immediate growing season, and give them the tools necessary to make their crop and operation even better than before. I am pleased to see our regulatory agencies working in a commonsense way to help our hemp growers succeed.”

“NASDA thanks the EPA for taking the first step to provide crop protection for U.S. hemp farmers. Collaboration will be key as we work to provide a full tool box of solutions, including biopesticides, to the emerging hemp industry,” said National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn.

“Today’s announcement by the United States Environmental Protection Agency is a step in the right direction for the nation’s growing hemp industry,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “It is important our growers have new technologies and tools to better help protect their crops and increase their yields. I wish to thank Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his team for working hard to assist this new and exciting agricultural industry.”

“We are deeply grateful to the EPA for taking critical action to empower U.S. hemp growers by ensuring the development of products that protect crops from weeds and pests,” said U.S. Hemp Roundtable General Counsel Jonathan Miller. “Hemp presents an exciting new agricultural commodity, and the EPA’s action will help provide farmers with the tools they need to seize this opportunity.”

The second action EPA is taking today is to propose new, stronger protections to reduce exposure to atrazine — the next step in the registration review process required under FIFRA. Atrazine is a widely used herbicide that controls a variety of grasses and broadleaf weeds. It is well-known and trusted by growers as one of the most effective herbicides. Atrazine is used on about 75 million acres annually and is most often applied to corn, sorghum, and sugarcane. (Note: Atrazine is not one of the ten pesticides approved for hemp.)

As part of this action, the agency is proposing a reduction to the maximum application rate for atrazine used on residential turf, and other updates to the label requirements, including mandatory spray drift control measures. EPA’s proposed decision is based on the 2016 draft ecological risk assessment and the 2018 human health draft risk assessment for atrazine. EPA is also proposing updates to the requirements for propazine and simazine, which are chemically related to atrazine. EPA will be taking comment on the atrazine, propazine and simazine Proposed Interim Decisions for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Comments can be made to the following dockets EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266 (atrazine)EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0250 (propazine), and EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0251 (simazine) once the Federal Register notice publishes online.

“We appreciate the EPA’s proposal to re-register atrazine,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO and Triazine Network Chair Gary Marshall. “This product is tremendously important to farmers across the country, especially for weed control in conservation practices. From citrus to sorghum and corn to Christmas trees, farmers rely on the agency’s use of credible science to regulate the products that allow us to safely grow more with less for a hungry global population.”

“National Sorghum Producers appreciates EPA applying sound science and moving forward with this key step in the reregistration process,” said National Sorghum Producers Chairman Dan Atkisson.

“The impact atrazine has in weed control and making no-till production possible is as vital today as it was over 50 years ago when the product was brought to market. For over 25 years Kentucky Corn Growers has worked to bring production stewardship education and assistance to Kentucky’s farmers encouraging the safe use of atrazine. We appreciate the years EPA has spent reviewing and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of atrazine,” said Kentucky Corn Growers Association Executive Director Laura Knoth.

In addition to today’s regulatory actions, EPA is continuing to build and enhance its relationship with the agricultural sector through the agency’s Smart Sectors program. Staff and senior leaders, including Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp and Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford, are meeting today in Lenexa, Kansas with representatives from the renewable fuels industry. The meeting is providing a platform to collaborate with the renewable fuels industry and develop sensible approaches that better protect the environment and public health.

For additional information:

Hemp action: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/pesticide-products-registered-use-hemp

Atrazine action: https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/atrazine-background-and-updates

Smart Sectors: www.epa.gov/smartsectors

A letter by House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency suggests EPA’s proposal to “fix” the Renewable Fuel Standard undermines the program.

Peterson sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler last week raising concerns about the October supplemental rule proposed by the EPA. In October, the agency submitted a supplemental proposed rule and suggested changes to the formula EPA uses to restore gallons waived through the small refinery exemptions process. Biofuels and farm groups are disappointed that the proposal doesn’t fully address lost demand stemming from small refinery exemptions.

Peterson says, “any action from EPA that does not uphold the integrity of the RFS is unacceptable.” He claims, “The bottom line is the EPA continues to undermine the RFS at the expense of our farmers and biofuel producers. A public comment period on the proposal closed late last month. The EPA is expected to release the final rule soon, possibly on December 20.