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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.

JUDGES REJECT ACTIVISTS' EFFORT TO BROADEN SCOPE OF BUSH NSR REFORM

In one of the first legal decisions on the issue, EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has rebuffed an environmental group's effort to seek upgraded pollution controls at a power plant using a revised definition of what constitutes an "emissions unit" under the Bush administration's 2002 new source review (NSR) reforms. The board's Aug. 3 decision in In re: Rochester Public Utilities is one of the first interpreting the new definition of what constitutes an "emissions unit" subject to NSR, which...

INHOFE FIRES BACK AT DEMOCRATS IN CASE CHALLENGING BUSH NSR REFORMS

Senate environment committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is attacking recent Democratic legal arguments challenging the Bush administration's new source review (NSR) reforms, arguing in a new brief that Congress never intended to regulate existing power plants under the NSR program. The lawmakers' arguments -- laid out in amicus briefs in State of New York v. EPA -- center on whether Congress intended to require existing plants to eventually implement NSR, which requires state-of-the-art pollution controls when existing plants make major...

USDA SEEKS TO EXPAND USE OF METHYL BROMIDE 'QUARANTINE EXEMPTION'

The Bush administration is proposing to expand the so-called "quarantine exemption" for the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide to allow its use in domestic agriculture shipments under the Montreal Protocol. Until now, the exemption has only been used to allow the pesticide to be sprayed on international shipments of nursery plants and crops. The move comes as House Republicans and pesticide industry groups are pressing the administration to seek increased allowances for the pesticide under the protocol's "critical use exemption" ahead...

MISSOURI SUIT ON EPA AIR RULE MAY BOOST CALLS FOR STRICTER LEAD LEVELS

A new Missouri lawsuit seeking more stringent EPA clean air rules for lead smelters could provide environmental and public health advocates another opportunity to push for stricter federal health limits on children's exposure to lead, sources following the issue say. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) earlier this month filed a citizen suit charging EPA with violating the Clean Air Act by failing to review its national ambient air quality standard for lead since 1990. Nixon is asking the U.S...

EPA INACTION PROMPTS INDUSTRY TO SEEK COURT ORDER ON LEAD REPORTING

Despite ongoing EPA efforts to review and possibly revise a controversial rule on reporting lead use and releases, a group representing small businesses is pushing a federal court for an immediate ruling to repeal the standard. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently filed a motion for summary judgment in its three-year-old lawsuit against the reporting requirements after EPA officials said it would be at least another year before the agency might revise the standard. Relevant documents are available...

NEW YORK IMPLEMENTS EMERGENCY RULES TO REDUCE ACID RAIN POLLUTION

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) last week announced emergency rules to require electric utilities to make significant reductions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), after an earlier version of the acid rain rule was overturned by the state supreme court on a technicality. Additionally, a federal appeals court rejected a separate state law that imposed restrictions on credit trading, finding the restrictions were unconstitutional. The acid rain rules will take effect Oct. 1 for NOx...

DOUBTS RAISED ON EPA PACT TO REVIEW BATON ROUGE RFG REQUIREMENTS

EPA has agreed to reconsider a request by Baton Rouge, LA, to waive a federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirement even though the Clean Air Act bars such waivers for "severe" ozone nonattainment areas. An EPA Region VI source says the agreement takes the agency into "uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no process exists" to consider waiving a program that is required by the statute. The source would not elaborate on the specifics of the review until the case is resolved...

EPA, NOAA SAY EARTH OBSERVATION SYSTEM WILL HAVE DRAMATIC EFFECT

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher last week announced a 10-year plan to link the systems that monitor the Earth and the people that monitor such systems -- from satellites, to buoys, to radar, to air and water monitors. These efforts are expected to result in an unprecedented ability to forecast climate, weather and atmospheric events, administration officials say. However, Leavitt cautioned that improving human communications as part of the effort will...

STATES PRESS EPA TO REJECT PAINT INDUSTRY ATTACK ON OZONE PLANS

Eastern states are pressing EPA to reject a paint industry data quality challenge that alleges EPA should not approve several state ozone reduction plans, claiming the Information Quality Act (IQA) does not apply to the challenged information and that industry's effort threatens existing regulatory review procedures. The dispute addresses the degree to which information supporting state regulations subject to EPA approval are also subject to the IQA. In an Aug. 18 letter to agency and White House officials, the Ozone...

CALIFORNIA OFFICIALS EYE BILL TO SET MEXICAN TRUCK STANDARDS

Lawmakers and stakeholders pushing legislation to require Mexican trucks entering California to carry documents proving their engines meet EPA emission standards say they plan to insert the language into a new bill soon, according to sources following the effort. Democrats behind the legislation add they plan to press Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to support the requirement and do everything he can to prevent significant pollution increases that would be caused by the entry of thousands of Mexican trucks into the...

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