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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.

White House's Hurricane Response Task Force Excludes EPA

rce The White House has convened a Cabinet-level task force in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that does not include EPA, prompting a number government watchdog groups to raise concerns that the exclusion may reflect an effort to downplay the extent of environmental contamination in the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast region. Also, the president's decision earlier this week to declare the hurricane a federal disaster grants the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), rather than EPA, prime authority over cleanup and other...

California Senate Rejection Of Air Board Chief Poses Challenges

The California Senate's rejection of Cindy Tuck to continue as head of the state's air board has environmental and industry sources agreeing that the vacancy may create a leadership vacuum at a time when the board will be considering important standards, including greenhouse gas controls and diesel engine requirements. The Senate move also presents the governor with a major challenge to quickly find a replacement, these sources say. By a 24-14 vote, the state Senate on Sept. 1 rejected Tuck's...

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 the 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...

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 came after the petroleum industry and at least one governor lobbied the agency to extend the waiver beyond just the Gulf Coast states. EPA issued a statement Aug. 31 announcing that the entire nation would be exempt from the seasonal fuel requirements...

Environmentalists Fear Air Impacts Of Refinery Startups 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 report. Environmentalists think there may have been an increase in emissions during the emergency shutdown because...

Automakers Cite Bush CAFE Plan In Challenging California Greenhouse Rule

Lawyers for the automobile industry are citing language in the Bush administration's just-proposed fuel economy rule, which warns that state regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) from vehicles is "expressly and impliedly preempted" by federal law, in an effort to back their long-standing challenge to California's vehicle greenhouse gas rule. One day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unveiled the proposed rule amending Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, plaintiffs in the case, Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep, Inc., et al.,...

Local Air Regulators Seek Smog-Reduction Credits From 'Smart Growth' Efforts

Air regulators in California are seeking innovative ways to obtain EPA backing for so-called smart growth initiatives as part of federally approved plans for reducing smog-producing ozone, in what could become a national model for the agency to award state implementation plan (SIP) credits based on land-use improvements, agency and other sources say. The move comes as many local areas are looking for new ways to meet the agency's recent stricter ozone and fine particulate matter standards, with options often...

EPA LOOKS TO SIMULATED CHEMICAL ATTACK TO BOOST RISK ASSESSMENTS

EPA sources say a recent simulated gaseous release in New York will help emergency workers respond to a chemical attack or a major accidental spill in densely populated areas, and could improve EPA's ability to assess public health risks from such releases. The federally funded simulation was conducted last week as part of a New York City research initiative, which will generate unprecedented data for EPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the...

EPA CAFO STUDY MAY INCLUDE CHICKEN FARMS AFTER TYSON JOINS PACT

Food giant Tyson Foods' participation in EPA's controversial clean air and Superfund consent decree may lead the agency's related study of farm sector emissions to focus on chicken farms because of the company's enormous holding in chicken farms. However, it is still not certain whether the agency has been able to win sufficient participation in the deal to study emissions from dairy and turkey farms, according to agency and industry sources. While the inclusion of pork producers and egg farmers...

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