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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.

Opponents Of Paint Industry Petition Call For Repeal Of Data Quality Act

Academics who support environmental regulation are citing a recent data quality challenge by the paint industry that urges EPA to reject state ozone plans in their argument that the federal law allowing such challenges should be repealed. The Center for Progressive Regulation (CPR) argues in a recent letter to EPA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that the industry challenge demonstrates how the Information Quality Act (IQA) can be used to delay regulations intended to protect public health...

California Proposes First-Time Greenhouse Gas Rule, Faces Industry Challenge

California air regulators have released a proposal for the nation's first regulation controlling greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, estimating the requirements would add $292 to the cost of cars and $308 to light trucks during the first phase of the rule, which would begin in 2009. The auto industry has already threatened to file a lawsuit claiming the state exceeded its authority in developing the standards, and sources say lawyers are going through the 1,000-page proposal and accompanying report to...

ARB WEIGHS MULTIPLE FACTORS TO DEFINE LARGE FARMS FOR REGULATION

Air board staff is embarking on a complicated effort to define large confined animal facilities (CAFs) for regulation under a controversial law passed last year that lifted a decades-old regulatory exemption for the facilities. Farm and dairy organizations that have expressed skepticism over initial formulas used to define large CAFs are closely following the air board approach because it will determine how many dairies will be regulated statewide. The Air Resources Board effort is required by a law signed last...

ELECTION FEARS PROMPT EPA TO DELAY GUIDE ON MERCURY DISCHARGE PERMITS

EPA is delaying the release of a controversial draft guidance that critics say could allow states to avoid setting strict clean water permit limits for mercury over fears that Democrats and environmentalists will criticize the administration's mercury control efforts in an election year, several EPA sources say. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com. The draft guidance, obtained by Inside EPA , seeks to provide significant flexibility to water dischargers, including publicly owned treatment works and mining facilities, based on the...

NEW STUDIES HEIGHTEN CONFLICT ON MERCURY CONTAMINATION, SOURCES

Environmentalists and the electric utility industry are pushing competing studies in the latest face-off over mercury pollution, with environmentalists lamenting widespread toxic mercury contamination in fish and the industry claiming power plants generate almost none of the mercury in the environment. Recent data EPA compiled showing nationwide mercury contamination in fish is evidence that the Bush administration must require power plants to reduce emissions of the compound faster and more steeply than they are currently proposing, the U.S. Public Research...

TECHNOLOGY TO MEET EPA NOX RULE MAY POSE CHALLENGES FOR UTILITIES

A new emissions reduction technology known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) that utilities are effectively required to use in complying with nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards for the eastern United States could create unintended air pollution, a problem that surfaced last month when a major power company was forced to shut down some SCR units at an Indiana facility. One industry source says utilities are "on [their] way to installing hundreds of these SCRs" to comply with the NOx rule and...

RESEARCH TYING AIR POLLUTION TO WESTERN DROUGHT MAY PROMPT EPA STUDY

New research showing a link between transported air pollution and drought could bolster staff calls within EPA's research office to study the growing body of scientific evidence linking this pollution to broader disruptions in weather patterns, agency sources say. Government officials say that if research suggesting weather patterns are at risk from transported emissions is borne out, it could prompt EPA to propose more stringent pollution control measures than are called for in its proposal to curb long-range transport of...

INDUSTRY QUESTIONS EPA CALL TO LOWER NEW POWER PLANTS' SO2 LIMITS

Power plants may be unable to meet stringent sulfur emissions limits EPA regions are asking states to include in a number of draft permits for proposed new power plants -- limits that EPA argues correct state reliance on data that underestimate emissions standards achievable by the facilities. In comments on proposed new power plants, EPA Regions VII and VIII said earlier this year that states should set lower sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions limits because the proposed power plants at issue...

DOE DATA SHOW NSR HAS LITTLE IMPACT ON PLANT EFFICIENCY, ACTIVISTS SAY

Environmentalists are claiming an Energy Department (DOE) chart showing that coal-fired power plants' energy efficiency has changed little since the mid-1960s undermines EPA and industry arguments that revising the new source review (NSR) air permit program will increase facilities' efficiency. "Old power plants don't change that much in terms of energy efficiency. That's what this document shows," one environmentalist says. "Any efficiency gains are pretty short term." The chart environmentalists are citing was prepared by DOE for EPA officials working...

WATCHDOG GROUPS RAMP UP FIGHT AGAINST INFORMATION QUALITY LAW

Environmentalists and other citizen groups are ramping up their efforts to fight the controversial data quality law, with one group calling for its repeal and another planning to push key legislators to seek a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the law's impact on EPA and other agencies' resources. The Center for Progressive Regulation (CPR) says in a recent letter to EPA and the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) that a pending industry challenge of state ozone pollution control...

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