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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.

NEW CLEAN COAL PLANT MAY EXPAND METHOD'S USE WITH OTHER COAL TYPES

A southern power company's planned new advanced coal gasification power plant -- partially funded with over $200 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) -- will rely on technology that could make it less expensive to use so-called low-ranked coal in energy-efficient gasification facilities, according to sources tracking the issue. Low-rank or low-heat value coals generate less energy per quantity of coal burned, and their emissions have typically been harder to reduce than emissions from burning other coal types. However,...

Administration Backed Clean-Coal Plant May Expand Use Of Technology

A proposal by utility giant Southern Company to build a new advanced coal gasification power plant -- partially funded with more than $200 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) -- will rely on a process that could make the cutting-edge technology less expensive by using a wider variety of fuels, according to industry and other sources tracking the issue. The proposed gasification plant will be able to burn so-called low-rank coal, unlike other similar projects. Low-rank, or low-heat value,...

Ruling May Block Future Challenges To Federal Air Permit Programs

A federal appeals court has set what could be a decisive precedent blocking court challenges to state implementation of federal air permitting requirements by ruling that EPA decisions on whether to sanction states for inadequate program implementation are not subject to judicial review. Environmentalists are alarmed by the decision, saying it could pave the way for future legal arguments to prevent judicial review of other EPA actions. The decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirms...

Coal-Gasification Proponents Eye Novel Project For Methane Production

Energy industry officials are poised to submit, possibly this week, a permit application to Illinois for a new power plant that would produce synthetic natural gas from coal as well as generate electricity -- the first facility of its kind in over two decades and a project that is already drawing the attention of coal-state lawmakers looking for ways to boost the fuel's use. Sources say the project's backers recently met with members of the Illinois congressional delegation to inform...

Senator Tells EPA To Accept Company's Data Challenge To Ozone Plans

Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich is urging EPA to accept a data quality challenge to several state ozone reduction plans made by a paint company in his home state, in a fight that could shape how the controversial Information Quality Act applies to state regulations. The senator is asking the agency to "review the sufficiency of data" that were used to call for the emission cuts, which the company criticizes as too steep. The involvement of the senator, who chairs...

Industry Raises Data Quality Concerns Over 'Residual Risk' Air Rule

Industry groups are questioning the scientific analyses EPA used in proposing its first "residual risk" air toxics standard, saying the agency may have violated data guidelines under the Information Quality Act. The proposed rule addresses air emissions from coke oven batteries, and could set a precedent for the way EPA develops similar requirements for a host of major industries. At the same time, state air officials are raising separate concerns that the rule is not strict enough and sets a...

TENNESSEE POLL SHOWS KERRY NOT SCORING POINTS ON BUSH NSR POLICY

A new poll of likely voters found Tennesseans overwhelmingly support the new source review (NSR) power plant pollution policy favored by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, but less than half know Kerry is advocating that approach -- and 15 percent wrongly attributed the policy to President Bush, who has made the program more flexible for utilities. One political analyst says voters' confusion over NSR reflects the fact that environmental issues are not top-tier issues in this presidential campaign. The confusion...

EPA DELAYS RELEASE OF MERCURY RULE RE-ANALYSIS UNTIL AFTER ELECTION

EPA is delaying until after the presidential election the release of its highly anticipated and politically charged re-analysis of the Bush administration's mercury emissions proposal, EPA sources say. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt this summer promised that EPA would release additional research on the mercury rule in late September, including new modeling data on the effects of the mercury proposal combined with the pending Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). According to one EPA spokesman, EPA will now release the data in...

KEY SENATOR PRODS EPA TO ACCEPT PAINT INDUSTRY PROTEST OF OZONE PLANS

Republican Sen. George Voinovich (OH) is urging EPA to act on a Ohio-based paint company's data quality challenge to several state ozone reduction plans, asking the agency to "review the sufficiency of data" used to call for much more dramatic emissions cuts than the company claims are necessary. The involvement of the senator, who chairs the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee's air quality panel, is the latest development in a dispute that could affect the degree to which information...

BARTON DROPPING ENERGY BILL FOCUS FOR CLEAN AIR ACT REAUTHORIZATION

Unable to push comprehensive energy legislation through Congress, a frustrated Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, says he will turn his attention in the next congressional session from the comprehensive energy bill to the Clean Air Act, which has been expired for years. While some proponents of a comprehensive bill on energy still hold out hope for action on a pared-back version in a lame-duck session of Congress, which begins Nov. 16, others concede...

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