EPA Relaxes Air Pollution Compliance Standards
January 26, 2018
EPA loosens regulatory compliance standards on air pollution; GDP grows at 2.6% annual rate in the 4th quarter of 2017; U.S. durable goods orders increase 2.9% in December, compared to 0.8% expected increase.
- EPA loosens regulatory compliance standards on air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) loosened regulatory rules Thursday for certain sources of air pollution that were previously considered “major.” William Wehrum, the head of the EPA’s air office, released regulatory guidance that repealed the “once in, always in” policy, which had previously deemed facilities like power plants or factories “major sources” of hazardous air pollutants and regulated as such, even if the owners of the facilities took measures to reduce pollution. The “major” air pollution sources were previously subject to much stricter rules for what they must do to reduce emissions including mercury compounds and benzene. The EPA argued that the “once in, always in” policy disincentivized companies from reducing pollution and targeted it as an area to cut regulatory burdens, one of the Trump’s administration’s overarching goals. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- GDP grows at 2.6% annual rate in the 4th quarter of 2017. The Commerce Department reported on Friday that the gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the final quarter of 2017. An overall 2.3 percent rise in the nation’s output last year, along with a decreasing jobless rate, surging stock market and a sunny outlook, show resilience in the American economy. The Commerce Department’s report on the gross domestic product is a fourth-quarter estimate that will be revised twice in the next couple of months. The nation’s $17 trillion economy recovered from a poor start in the first three months of 2017, when sharp cuts in consumer spending limited GDP growth to 1.4 percent on an annualized basis. It then recovered over the next six months, with the rate surging to 3.1 percent in the second quarter and 3.2 percent in the third quarter. American economic growth has also been lifted by simultaneous growth in other countries, fueling trade and enabling foreign consumers to purchase American-made products. [NYTimes]
- U.S. durable goods orders increase 2.9% in December, compared to 0.8% expected increase. The Commerce Department says that orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose 2.9 percent in December, the fastest rate since June. Orders were buoyed by a 15.9 percent surge in demand for civilian aircraft and aviation parts, which can fluctuate from month to month. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased 0.6 percent in December. Overall orders for durable goods, which are intended to last at least three years, have risen in four of the last five months. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft – category that measures business investment – dipped 0.3 percent in December. Global economic growth and a weaker dollar are helping American manufacturers, making U.S. goods more affordable in foreign markets. [CNBC]