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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.

EXPERTS CAUTIOUS OF EARLY CONCLUSIONS FROM EPA-BACKED AIR STUDY

Air quality experts are cautioning against premature conclusions based on a recent study partially funded by EPA that found human exposure to tiny particles of soot did not result in cardiovascular health effects. These experts say the study does not prove that so-called "ultrafine" particles are safe. Academic and industry scientists agree that the findings are important because test animals exposed to much greater concentrations of ultrafine particulate matter (PM) than those used in this study have shown adverse cardiovascular...

NEW YORK ANNOUNCES MAJOR IN-STATE NEW SOURCE REVIEW SETTLEMENT

New York announced two landmark settlements over new source review (NSR) permit violations with in-state utilities under which the companies agreed to historic pollution cuts. In addition to the emissions reductions, the settlement is significant because it stems from the first NSR suit filed by a state against companies operating inside its borders, and comes as settlement talks between the federal government and other utilities have long been at a standstill. New York Gov. George Pataki (R) and Attorney General...

U.S. TO PUSH 'COLLABORATIVE' MERCURY CUTS AS ALTERNATIVE TO EU TREATY

The United States plans to propose a collaborative approach to reducing global mercury emissions that could be pushed as a limited alternative to European calls for a treaty that could ban certain commercial activities. Sweden, Norway and other European nations have recently proposed sweeping mercury control measures, including a possible ban on trade involving the neurotoxin, and the European Union is expected to propose a treaty process at a February 21-25 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Governing Council meeting in...

Utility Urges Expanded Cost-Recovery Policies To Boost Wind Energy Projects

A major California utility is poised to ask federal energy regulators to expand its cost-recovery policies to include the proposed construction of transmission lines to a wind generation field north of Los Angeles. Should regulators agree to the move, it could set an important national precedent by reducing the costs for energy developers to connect clean-energy facilities to the national grid, according to industry sources. The company plans to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by the end of...

NAS Study Signals Broad Review Of Air Impacts From NSR Reforms

An upcoming interim report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on how it will evaluate the environmental impacts of the Bush administration's new source review (NSR) air permitting reforms may result in conclusions significantly different than past reviews by the Bush administration and state officials, sources say. The study was requested by Congress to resolve controversy over EPA claims about the air quality impacts of the regulatory changes. The academy's study plan, according to these sources, offers a broader...

Administration Moves Controversial Clean Air Waiver For Livestock Operations

The Bush administration appears to be moving forward with its controversial agreement on granting Clean Air Act enforcement exemptions for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), despite speculation by sources outside the government that EPA would likely alter or drop the initiative after repeated delays. The agency finalized the text of the agreement last month, and the timing of its release is now in the hands of White House officials, according to several sources outside the administration. "Our understanding is the...

SCIENTISTS ACCUSE INDUSTRY OF MANIPULATING MAJOR PM2.5 STUDY FINDINGS

Scientists involved in a major Atlanta-area study on the health effects of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution say the utility group funding the research is "inappropriately" interpreting its initial data as evidence that power plant emissions have a negligible impact on cardiovascular health, when compared to other PM2.5 sources such as mobile source emissions. The scientists say the study results so far are inconclusive as to power plant health impacts, and they caution that Atlanta may not be a good...

New York Settles NSR Case Amid Stalled Federal Enforcement Talks

New York has announced landmark settlements over new source review (NSR) permit violations with two in-state power companies, with the utilities agreeing to historic pollution cuts. The settlement is also significant because it stems from the first NSR suit filed by a state against companies operating inside its borders, and comes as settlement talks between the federal government and other utilities have long been at a standstill. New York Gov. George Pataki (R) and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) made...

Ohio Deal May Be Model For Reducing Chlor-Alkali Mercury Emissions

A recent agreement requiring an Ohio chemical manufacturer to install equipment to reduce mercury emissions caused by chlorine production may be a model for other states and EPA to follow in preventing similar releases from other chlor-alkali facilities, which are a major source of mercury in the environment. Under the settlement , the Ohio EPA is agreeing to drop its legal action and waive more than $1 million in fines if Ashta Chemicals installs pollution-abating equipment that will put it...

Scientists Question Utility Claims About Air Pollution Health Effects

Scientists involved in a major study on the health effects of tiny soot particles in the Atlanta metropolitan area say a utility group that is funding the effort is "inappropriately" interpreting initial findings in a way that could ease future emission controls. The utility group says the findings show that power plant emissions have a "miniscule" impact on cardiovascular health when compared to air pollution from vehicles. The scientists say the study results so far are inconclusive as to the...

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