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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.

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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.

Novel BRAC Proposal Prompts State Efforts To Limit Urban Sprawl

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) has announced plans to form a working group to quickly respond to the base closure commission's novel demand that the state and local governments act in the next several months to curb urban sprawl that interferes with operations at the Navy's master jet air base in Oceana, VA, or risk shutdown of the base. Environmentalists and energy conservation advocates have also raised concerns with urban sprawl, saying it contributes to air and water pollution through...

Army Considers Coal-Gasification Technology To Cut Power Plant Emissions

Army officials are considering retrofitting seven aging coal-fired power plants with a new technology that produces electricity from cleaner-burning gasified coal -- a move that could provide a major boost to the nascent gasification industry and keep the military service in line with EPA emissions rules, Army officials and environmentalists say. The gasification technology, known as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), allows facilities to gasify coal to use as a cleaner fuel source, while easing the ability to capture harmful...

Global Warming Case Shows Split Among Circuit Courts On Right To Sue

A federal judge's decision last week allowing environmentalists and cities to sue U.S. export agencies over their failure to consider the global warming impacts of their decisions highlights a split among appellate circuits over when plaintiffs have standing to sue in cases where defendants failed to follow procedural rules, according to legal experts. The experts say these differences between appellate courts could be the basis for parties to seek Supreme Court review on the issue. The Aug. 23 decision by...

San Francisco Bay TMDL Could Boost Novel Mercury Trading Plan

A California plan laying out mercury cleanup goals for the San Francisco Bay could lay the groundwork for a novel mercury water quality trading scheme, the nation's first, if the state water quality board endorses a trading option it is considering at a planned Sept. 7 meeting, EPA and state sources say. While the options the board is considering do not detail how a trading scheme would operate, sources familiar with the effort say it would likely allow wastewater treatment...

NEW DATA PROMPT EPA STAFF TO EYE AIR TOXICS LIST FOR HYDROGEN SULFIDE

Prompted by new scientific data from more than a dozen states, EPA staff are considering whether to recommend to senior officials that the agency list hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) in its air toxics program -- which would likely prompt new emissions control requirements, agency sources say. If the agency decides to move forward with a listing, which environmentalists asked the agency to do in 1999, it would mark the first time EPA has added an...

STATES STRUGGLING TO WIN AIR PLAN CREDITS FOR CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS

State officials are finding it difficult to obtain credit in their air quality plans for energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) projects, charging that EPA has imposed too many obstacles to using these and other innovative strategies for meeting strict new ozone and particulate matter standards. Very few states to date have sought to use clean energy projects in their state implementation plans (SIPs), and critics say EPA has imposed time-consuming requirements for states to demonstrate the precise impacts of...

EPA EXPANDS CLEAN-FUEL WAIVER NATIONWIDE IN AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE

EPA is expanding nationwide an emergency waiver from summertime clean-fuel requirements under the Clean Air Act in an effort to minimize oil supply disruptions that could send gasoline prices soaring as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The decision comes after the petroleum industry and at least one governor lobbied the agency to extend the waiver beyond just Gulf Coast states. The decision to expand the waiver is the first major action by EPA since the category 5 hurricane devastated the...

BIPARTISAN PANEL LAUNCHES NEW TALKS ON GREENHOUSE GAS PROGRAM

A bipartisan commission is convening a new round of discussions this week on designing a possible greenhouse gas reduction program, after Senate lawmakers cited uncertainties in how to craft such a plan as one reason for excluding greenhouse gas controls from the recently enacted comprehensive energy law. An agenda sent to participants by the group, known as the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP), says the talks are not intended to forge a consensus but to encourage "substantive discussion" between...

EPA WEIGHING QUESTIONS OVER SCOPE OF CONTROVERSIAL NSR REGULATION

EPA officials appear to be debating the scope of a controversial new rule adopting an interpretation of new source review (NSR) requirements that would further open the door to extensive modifications to existing power plants without case-by-case environmental reviews, according to knowledgeable sources and draft rule language. The options include an approach that would adopt the more lenient interpretation nationwide and an option that would restrict the flexibility to the 28 states subject to EPA's clean air interstate rule (CAIR)...

EPA QUIETLY UNVEILS GUIDE ALLOWING NEW STATE APPROACH FOR VOC RULES

EPA has quietly unveiled a long-planned change to its policy for regulating volatile organic compounds (VOCs), issuing an interim guidance that allows states to set the stringency of new rules on a sliding scale based on a compound's reactivity. The document, posted on EPA's website Aug. 26 ahead of planned publication in the Federal Register , encourages states to adopt the new approach where feasible. If states adopt a reactivity approach, those VOCs would be given ratings on a scale...

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