Clean Air Act Bluebonnets EPA

Clean Air Act - 2020 Updates


Apr. 6 2020

The Clean Air Act (CAA) is a comprehensive federal law that regulates all sources of air emissions.

The 1970 CAA authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and the environment.  At the same time, the States were directed to develop State implementation plans (SIPs), which consist of emission reduction strategies, with the goal of achieving the NAAQS.

The Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) develops national programs, policies, and regulations for controlling air pollution and radiation exposure.
Within the OAR is the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ). OTAQ’s mission is to protect human health and the environment by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources such as cars and trucks, and the fuels that power them. OTAQ’s programs address emissions from the range of mobile sources.

OTAQ’s Tier 3 regulations control fuels properties such as sulfur content in gasoline and diesel fuels; toxic chemicals in gasoline such as benzene and formaldehyde, as well as controlling Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) properties. The RFG standard requires the use of gasoline that meets more stringent specifications resulting in cleaner-burning fuel. In particular, the gasoline standard requires the use of specially formulated gasoline that evaporates less at higher temperatures than regular gasoline.  This reduces emissions of the volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons that result in higher levels of ground-level ozone, in the hot summer months. Oxygenates like ethanol is added to gasoline to promote a reduction in carbon monoxide and promote more complete combustion of the fuel.

Amendments to (40 CFR 80) Regulations by the EPA

The US EPA is mandated to streamline existing regulations by reducing regulatory burden, consolidating redundant sections of the regulations and finding ways to achieve the Clean Air Act legislation goals in a more efficient manner.  Over the last 18 months, the EPA has been working to write new regulations. It has already made amendments to the existing regulations (40 CFR 80) text, with the goal of implementation of the new regulations (40 CFR 1090) on January 1, 2021, contingent on Congress’ approval. 

Important Dates for Regulatory Amendments

April 6, 2020 - Amendment to (40 CFR 46 and 47) takes effect 
April, 2020 – Proposed virtual public hearing for the most recent proposed regulations published in late December 2019.  Notifications will be posted on the EPA website. 
June or August, 2020 - A final draft of the regulations is expected
January 1, 2021 - Implementation of the new regulations (40 CFR 1090), contingent on Congress’ approval

Assessment of how the Regulatory Changes will Impact You

Amendment to current regulations (40 CFR 80.46 and 80.47) - effective April 6, 2020, the exemption from precision and accuracy studies for testing methods in use prior to October 28, 2013 will be removed.  After the effective date all newly installed analyzers will be subject to the qualification requirements currently in 40 CFR 80.47.  The amendment change was not widely publicized but is on schedule to take effect.

Overall changes to laboratory testing regulations in 40 CFR 80 - in general there is more focus on the statistically valid performance of tests in the new 40 CFR 1090 regulation.  This means that there is more emphasis on statistical methods embodied in the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM International) Standard Methods such as ASTM D6299 “The Standard Practice for Applying Statistical Quality Assurance and Control Charting Techniques to Evaluate Analytical Measurement System Performance.”

Bureau Veritas’ Compliance to Regulation Changes

Bureau Veritas laboratories must comply with US federal regulations governing transportation fuels sampling and testing (Tier 3 regulations). Once the final draft of the regulations is published in June or August, we will begin the work on re-writing our internal procedures and making programming changes to the internally developed Laboratory Information Management System (Sorby LIMS) to ensure compliance.  The Sorby LIMS is integral to Bureau Veritas’ successful compliance within the constellation of laboratories affected by US EPA regulations.

For more information on regulatory changes, please click here.

If you have any questions on how the EPA changes will impact you, please contact Bruce Varley

Connect with Bruce on LinkedIn here

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This content was written by Bruce Varley. Bruce is the Laboratory Compliance Director in the Bureau Veritas Commodities and Trade division.