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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.

STATES BLAST EPA LANGUAGE ON AIR VIOLATIONS CAUSED BY 'NATURAL EVENTS'

States are criticizing a newly drafted EPA plan to account for particulate matter (PM) and other air quality violations caused by forest fires and other acts of nature, saying the agency has ignored a detailed set of recommendations from Western states. EPA is floating a draft report for comment among states and other federal agencies as a prelude for a first-time rulemaking on "natural events." The rule would lay out how states can ensure that the effects of natural occurrences...

EPA WEIGHS REGULATING HYDROGEN SULFIDE AS HAZARDOUS AIR POLLUTANT

Prompted by new scientific data from more than a dozen states, EPA officials 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 air...

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR MONTANA MERCURY RULE TO CONTROL WESTERN COAL TYPE

Montana environmentalists plan to ask the state to regulate power plant mercury emissions at levels stricter than EPA's, in a move that may lead to widespread regulation of sub-bituminous coal, a Western variety for which mercury removal could be unusually difficult. The move comes amid a rising tide of support among many states to go further than the EPA rule, which is being challenged in court. At the same time, a coalition of state air officials plans to release in...

EPA MAY FACE NEW LAWSUITS OVER CONTENTIOUS HAZARDOUS WASTE MACT

EPA is facing possible new litigation from both industry and environmentalists over its revised air toxics rule for facilities burning hazardous waste, fours years after a federal court backed environmentalists' previous objections to the rule and ordered the agency to rewrite its original proposal. The Cement Kiln Recycling Coalition (CKRC), which was the lead industry plaintiff in the original suit against the agency, is concerned about the regulation's risk assessment requirements. One industry source says the group is considering litigation...

OHIO INDUSTRIES RENEW PUSH TO STRIP STATE EPA OF AIR TOXICS AUTHORITY

Industry groups in Ohio claim they have secured support in the state legislature for a bill to strip the state of its ability to control air toxics that EPA does not already regulate, possibly setting a precedent for other states. Sen. Tom Niehaus (R), chair of the state Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee, will hold hearings this month on a bill that would limit the state environment agency to only regulating the 188 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) recognized by...

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...

NORTH CAROLINA MAY SUE EPA OVER EXCLUSION OF GEORGIA FROM SIP CALL

Officials in North Carolina are considering a lawsuit over an EPA plan to exempt the entire state of Georgia from a regional nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction plan known as the NOx SIP call. The officials are also opposing the agency's conclusions that pollution sources in Georgia will not impact North Carolina's ability to attain a new ozone standard. A source with the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources says state air officials will consult with the attorney general's...

OBSERVERS EXPECT PIECEMEAL BILLS ON ENERGY IMPACTS OF HURRICANE

Industry officials and environmentalists are downplaying the prospects for broad energy legislation to address fuel vulnerabilities highlighted by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, an assessment that comes in response to recent statements by congressional leaders on the need to reexamine these issues just weeks after Congress passed a massive new energy law. But environmentalists are bracing for the possibility of piecemeal legislation that may revive failed provisions from the past energy debate, such as easing permitting requirements for refiners, as...

ENVIRONMENTALISTS FEAR IMPACT OF REFINERIES' STARTUP AFTER HURRICANE

Environmentalists are raising concerns that EPA may invoke a long-standing policy to waive penalties on Gulf Coast refineries shut down by Hurricane Katrina for exceeding permitted emissions limits if they all come back online at similar times and emit more pollutants than expected. At least nine Gulf Coast refineries were shut down because of the hurricane, according to an Aug. 31 Department of Energy (DOE) report. Environmentalists think there may have been an increase in emissions during the emergency shutdown...

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)...

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