Proposed Action: Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter

On April 14, 2020, after carefully reviewing the most recent available scientific evidence and technical information, and consulting with the Agency’s independent scientific advisors, the EPA is proposing to retain, without revision, the existing primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter.

For this proposal the Administrator considered the latest scientific evidence and analyses as well as the advice of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. This proposal supports the Agency’s intent to finalize this NAAQS review by December 2020.

Currently, the EPA has primary and secondary standards for PM2.5 (annual average standards with levels of 12.0 µg/m3 and 15.0 µg/m3, respectively; 24-hour standards with 98th percentile forms and levels of 35 µg/m3) and PM10 (24-hour standards with one-expected exceedance forms and levels of 150 µg/m3).

  • For the primary PM2.5 standards, the Administrator concludes that there are important uncertainties in the evidence for health effects below the current standards and in the potential public health impacts of reducing ambient PM2.5 concentrations below the current standards. As a result, he concludes that the available evidence and information does not call into question the adequacy of the current primary PM2.5 standards.
  • For the primary PM10 standard, the Administrator observes that, while the available health effects evidence has expanded, recent studies are subject to the same types of uncertainties that were judged important in the last review. He concludes that the newly available evidence does not call into question the adequacy of the current primary PM10 standard.
  • For the secondary standards, the Administrator observes that quantitative analyses show results similar to those in the last review and that the expanded evidence for non-ecological welfare effects is consistent with the last review. Therefore, he concludes that the newly available evidence and updated analyses do not call into question the adequacy of the current secondary PM standards. Ecological effects associated with PM are being addressed in the separate review of the secondary NAAQS for oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur and PM.

Links to the pre-publication version of the proposed action and a summary fact sheet are available at:  https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/national-ambient-air-quality-standards-naaqs-pm

NHTSA SAFE Rule Fact Sheet

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a fact sheet to support the March 30, 2020 joint NHTSA/EPA Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026, finalizing updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks and establish new standards, covering model years 2021 through 2026.

The fact sheet can be found at:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/corporate-average-fuel-economy/safe-fact-sheet

Final Rule – The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026

On March 30th, 2020, Administrators of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026, finalizing updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks and establish new standards, covering model years 2021 through 2026. A pre-publication version of the signed rule is available at:

https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/safer-affordable-fuel-efficient-safe-vehicles-final-rule

The August 2018 SAFE Vehicles Rule Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposed to freeze greenhouse gas standards for vehicles at 2020 levels through model year 2026, as well as proposing to withdraw the January 9, 2013 waiver of Clean Air Act (CAA) preemption for California’s Advanced Clean Car (ACC) program, Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) standards that are applicable to model years 2021 through 2025.

In September 2019, NHTSA and EPA finalized The SAFE Vehicles Rule Part One: One National Program to withdraw the January 2013 CAA preemption waiver granted to the State of California for its GHG and ZEV programs. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-09-27/pdf/2019-20672.pdf

As explained in the March 30, 2020 SAFE Final Rule Executive Summary: “The CAFE and CO2 emissions standards established by these final rules will increase in stringency at 1.5 percent per year from MY 2020 levels over MYs 2021-2026. The “1.5 percent” regulatory alternative is new for the final rule and was not expressly analyzed in the NPRM, but it is a logical outgrowth of the NPRM analysis, being well within the range of alternatives then considered and consistent with discussions by both the agencies and commenters that there are benefits to having standards that increase at the same rate for all fleets.”

FHWA Air Quality and Sustainable Transport Highlights

The purpose of this message is to inform you that the latest issue of the FHWA Air Quality and Sustainable Transport Highlights is now available.

FHWA Air Quality and Sustainable Transport Highlights – Jan-Feb 2020

The Highlights provide the latest news and information on transportation related air quality and sustainability activities, including information on transportation conformity, resiliency, and other related activities.

Items of interest in this issue include:

  • FHWA releases the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) Emission Reductions Calculator Toolkit module update for Managed Lane Facilities and Conversions, and will host a March 26 webinar on the use of both the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles and the Dust Mitigation modules.
  • FHWA publishes Making the Transportation Connections Outreach Brochures.

Past issues of the Air Quality and Conformity Highlights are available at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/air_quality/conformity/highlights/

Past issues of the Sustainable Transport Newsletter are available at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/sustainability/newsletter/index.cfm

TERP Seaport and Rail Yard Areas Emissions Reduction (SPRY) Program Now Accepting Grant Applications

TCEQ offers grants for Drayage Trucks and Equipment!

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is now accepting grant applications for the Seaport and Rail Yard Areas Emissions Reduction (SPRY) Program. The purpose of the SPRY program is to encourage individuals and entities operating at designated seaports and Class I Rail Yards in Texas’ nonattainment areas to replace or repower their older on-road vehicles, non-road yard trucks, or other cargo handling equipment with new models.

Applicants may be eligible for funding up to 80% of the cost to replace or repower eligible vehicles and equipment.

For at least two years preceding the submission date of the application, the applicant must have:

  • owned or leased the on-road vehicle, non-road yard truck, or other cargo handling equipment eligible to be replaced under the program; and
  • been used in its primary function in the routine operations of the applicant in Texas; and
  • operated the vehicle or equipment at one or more of the designated seaports or rail yards for a minimum of 200 days per year.

Designated seaports include terminals and facilities located in Port Houston (including the participating facilities of the Houston Ship Channel Security District), Port of Galveston, and Port of Freeport.

Designated Class I Rail Yards include terminals and facilities located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, Bexar County, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Area and El Paso Area.

Grant applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 12, 2021 or until all available funds have been awarded.

Join us at an informational workshop to review the grant requirements and application process. RSVP to [email protected].

FREEPORT: THURSDAY, FEB. 20,2020
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Port Freeport
1100 Cherry Street
Freeport, TX 77541

For more information, visit the terpgrants.org for a detailed list of program requirements, maximum eligible grant amounts, and step-by-step application instructions. Contact us toll-free at 800-919-TERP (8377) or by email at [email protected].