Air

Tracking the latest agency and congressional debates over rules to cut emissions of traditional pollutants, and a broad range of novel EPA policies including the agency's shift to a "multipollutant" regulatory approach for individual sectors.

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Tracking the latest agency and congressional debates over rules to cut emissions of traditional pollutants, and a broad range of novel EPA policies including the agency's shift to a "multipollutant" regulatory approach for individual sectors.

Revised McCain-Lieberman Bill Would Examine Greenhouse Impact On Poor

A new version of climate change legislation introduced by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) calls on the Department of Commerce to study the effect of global warming on low-income populations around the world. The proposal is one of the few changes to the legislation made by the senators as they seek to broaden support for establishing climate change regulations. The legislation, introduced Feb. 10, is the latest version of a bill the senators introduced during the previous...

CLEAR SKIES FOES FEAR CLIMATE TALKS MAY DIVERT FOCUS FROM 'ROLLBACKS'

Critics of the administration's Clear Skies bill are ramping up their attacks on provisions they say roll back existing Clean Air Act requirements, in part because of concern that Republicans could use a possible deal on carbon dioxide (CO2) to win enough Democratic support to pass the legislation. The critics are concerned that talk of a possible compromise, such as a recent dialogue between Sens. George Voinovich (R-OH) and Thomas Carper (D-DE), could divert attention from the bill's alleged threats...

DELAYED MERCURY MEETING FUELS DOUBTS ON EPA'S COST-BENEFIT REVIEW

EPA staff and scientists say a decision by senior agency managers to postpone a workshop on the cardiovascular health effects of mercury confirms their long-standing suspicions about the administration's commitment to fully examining the benefits of regulating the pollutant. The administration is under a court-ordered deadline to release a final rule on regulating power plant mercury emissions. But postponement of the health effects workshop will likely push back a full cost-benefit review of those standards until after their expected release...

CALIFORNIA EYES RULES FOR MARKETERS TO LIMIT OUT-OF-STATE CO2 EMISSIONS

California regulators may require power marketers, rather than generating facilities, to obtain permits for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the state's pending greenhouse gas rules. The requirement would be a way to encourage production of cleaner electricity from out of state, and also lower emissions from in-state facilities, according to energy experts. While the approach is particularly relevant to California, which imports much of its power, sources familiar with the approach say it could serve as a model for preventing...

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT UNLIKELY TO DELAY EPA MERCURY RULE

The EPA inspector general's (IG) report criticizing the agency's development of its proposed regulation on mercury emissions from power plants is unlikely to delay the final rule's release, according to critics and proponents of the regulation, even though the IG and agency critics have called for delays. The Feb. 3 report says the administration's preferred cap-and-trade approach for regulating mercury emissions from power plants should be strengthened, while all but calling illegal EPA's approach for developing a proposed technology-based standard...

BUDGET CUTS MAY HAMPER TRIBAL EFFORTS TO WIN TITLE V PERMIT POWER

EPA's ambitious plans to grant tribal areas Title V clean air operating permit authority are at risk because of proposed cuts in the Bush administration's fiscal year 2006 budget request, as well as cuts in FY05 appropriations, tribal sources say. The cuts, including a 7 percent cut in FY05 from state and tribal assistance grants, make it less likely that more tribal areas will set up new air programs, which is a first step toward qualifying for the Title V...

NEW HAMPSHIRE EYES FLEXIBLE COMPLIANCE OPTION IN MERCURY BILL

New Hampshire legislators are considering a bill that allows power plants to use "alternative" compliance options, such as product recycling, as a way to meet strict caps on mercury emissions from smokestacks. The bill is based on a proposal by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) but state regulators have not determined how they would measure emissions reductions from these alternative methods. One official notes that industrial facilities are unlikely to receive a "one to one credit" for...

CALIFORNIA PLAN FOR DEVELOPMENT FEE TO CURB POLLUTION FACES DELAY

A landmark California air district regulation that could be a model for other districts by establishing a first-time "indirect source" fee on developers of new residential, commercial and industrial units to mitigate pollution is being help up for technical, legal and political reasons, according to sources. Officials recently decided to proceed with the residential portion of the San Joaquin Valley air district rule first, putting off the provisions for commercial and industrial development, according to a district official. The indirect...

EPA TO LAUNCH CLEAN ENERGY INITIATIVES TO CURB AIR POLLUTION

EPA is developing two new initiatives to establish guidelines for determining the clean air benefits from projects that encourage energy efficiency and renewables. Under the first initiative, the agency is preparing a new guidance document to help determine the emissions benefits of energy efficiency and renewable projects. The second initiative would offer states specific advice on measuring and verifying the emissions reductions from these projects that could be credited under EPA's regional smog reduction plan, known as the NOx SIP...

PLANNERS MAY CALL FOR EPA SIP RULES TO REFLECT NEW EMISSIONS MODEL

City planners say they may urge EPA to amend its rules for developing plans to implement the agency's new ozone standards because of concerns they may not be able to reconcile data from EPA's next-generation mobile source emissions model, slated for introduction in 2007, with implementation plans being calculated using the current model. The planners warn that they will be forced to use EPA's new model, the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES), once it is introduced in 2007 -- but...

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