Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  EPA announced the next step in its eventual classification of counties and metro areas that do not meet the 2015 ozone (O3) standard.  Recall the standard was changed, from 0.075 ppm to 0.070 ppm, in October 2015.  In November, EPA released the list of US counties declared in attainment
or “unclassifiable,” i.e., there’s no consistent local air quality data, common in rural and wilderness area.  Last week, EPA presented the counties it judges to be non-attainment, meaning those counties will continue to face air pollution control regs, largely affecting vehicles, industries, and power plants.  In the spring, EPA will present final declarations including how nonattainment areas are classified– a ranking from “marginal” to “extreme.”  Classification is critical: it establishes the compounded controls required by the Clean Air Act to assure further pollution reductions.  These classifications impact economic development in big ways.

*  GSA’s Green Building Advisory Committee holds a teleconference/web meeting next month.  The Advisory Committee provides independent policy advice and recommendations to GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings.  Members include a broad range of stakeholders including senior officials from Federal agencies and leading green building experts from state, local, private, non-governmental, and academic sectors.  This meeting will likely provide important indicators regarding upcoming trends and directions, particularly regarding regular reviews of private sector efficiency standards and mandatory revisions to building codes.

* The US House Subcommittee on Energy holds a hearing this week entitled “DOE Modernization: Advancing DOE’s Mission for National, Economic, and Energy Security of the United States.” The hearing will examine plans for modernizing and realigning the Department of Energy (DOE). It will provide Representatives with information to help assess what is necessary to ensure effective execution of DOE’s core missions—national security, energy and economic security, environmental cleanup, and the scientific and technological innovation to support those missions.

Tom Ewing
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