SACRAMENTOÂ â€“ California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined a multistate coalition in a comment letter condemning the Trump Administrationâ€™s proposal that would increaseÂ air pollution, includingÂ greenhouse gas emissions,Â by allowing majorÂ facilitiesÂ across the countryÂ to circumvent New Source Review (NSR) permitting requirements.Â NSRÂ permitting isÂ one of the pillars of the Federal Clean Air Act, and requires various types of industrialÂ facilitiesÂ undertaking modifications that will increase air pollution to control those emissions using state-of-the-art technology. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™sÂ (EPA) proposal would create a loophole that would allow facilities to skirt this review process, leading to increased emissions of harmful pollutants.Â
â€œYet again, the Trump Administration is attempting to strip away common-sense policies that help make sure our children will have clean air to breathe,â€�Â said Attorney General Becerra. â€œWhile the Trump Administration continues to side with big polluters, California is standing withÂ fiveÂ other statesÂ and theÂ District of ColumbiaÂ to fight for our planet and protect clean air.â€�
In the comment letter, the attorneys general argue that the EPAâ€™s proposal would weaken Clean Air Act protections and increase emissions of harmful greenhouse gases by:
- Undermining theÂ processÂ usedÂ toÂ determineÂ if anÂ altered source ofÂ airÂ pollution wouldÂ significantlyÂ increase emissions,Â triggering NSR permitting requirements and compliance with strict technology based emission standards;
- Allowing facilities to offsetÂ increases in emissions reductions fromÂ unrelated operating changes, however ancient, to evade regulatory oversightÂ whileÂ simultaneously stripping federal and state regulators of the toolsÂ necessaryÂ to verify that the claimed reductions are real; and
- Suggesting that the EPA could require state and local agencies to incorporate the proposed changes into their State Implementation Plans, thereby weakening Californiaâ€™s strongerÂ clean air protections.Â Â
In filing the comment letter, Attorney General Becerra joined the attorneys general of Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the comment letter is availableÂ here.