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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.

EPA AWARDS $6 MILLION FOR WEST COAST DIESEL-REDUCTION PROJECTS

U.S. EPA Region IX and California air officials last week announced $6 million in EPA funding for West Coast projects to reduce diesel emissions from trucks, ships, locomotives and other diesel sources. The projects, funded in part by EPA's West Coast Diesel Emission Reduction Collaborative, include installing electric repowering facilities at truck stops to reduce idling, developing technology to reduce locomotive emissions and renovating some port facilities to provide electric powering for large cruise ships. The $6 million is a...

INDUSTRY DEMANDS CHANGES TO PM REPORT DESPITE LOOMING LEGAL DEADLINE

Industry groups are raising serious concerns about the capstone chapter of a key EPA document that could lead to tighter ambient air quality standards for particulate matter (PM), demanding that EPA revise the report even as the agency faces a court-ordered deadline to complete the PM "criteria document" by the end of the month. These groups are also objecting that a key EPA scientific advisory panel signed off on a revised version of the document without reviewing a myriad of...

WIND ENERGY EXPECTS MAJOR BOOST FROM NEW STATE, FEDERAL INCENTIVES

The wind energy industry is poised for a big growth spurt following the renewal of the long-awaited federal production tax credit through 2005 and New York state's adoption of a 25 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2013, industry sources say. "Wind producers have been waiting for the RPS to be established and the production tax credit at the federal level to be reinstated," says one consultant. "Because of the potential for the industry to expand so much in New...

KEY SENATORS, ACTIVISTS ATTACK RISK-BASED OFF RAMP IN AIR TOXICS RULES

Environmentalists and key senators are challenging the Bush administration's landmark air toxics rules for plywood producers and industrial boilers, fearing they set a dangerous precedent exempting facilities from Clean Air Act requirements by downplaying the risks posed by ambient emissions and sources "co-located" at the facility. These critics warn if the rules stand, industries could petition EPA to apply the agency's risk-based methodology to existing rules and bog down the agency's air toxics program. While EPA officials say air chief...

UTILITIES ASK JUDGE TO DISMISS STATE CLIMATE CHANGE LAWSUIT

Five power companies filed joint and separate motions in federal court Sept. 30 asking that a lawsuit by state attorneys general (AGs) seeking greenhouse gas emission reductions be dismissed for lack of legal justification, including separation of powers, jurisdictional and standing grounds. The omnibus brief filed by American Electric Power (AEP), Cinergy, Xcel Energy, Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York says, "Congress has affirmatively chosen not...

SPIKE IN UTILITY SO2 EMISSIONS PROMPTS CRITICISM OF TRADING PROGRAMS

EPA's new report showing a 4 percent increase in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants in 2003 -- the first time acid rain emissions have increased since 1998 -- is leading environmentalists to question the benefits of politically popular emissions trading programs. EPA officials said the 400,000-ton spike in SO2, detailed in a new EPA report on acid rain emissions, is a result of utilities using long-held "banked" emission credits. Congress gave the companies the option of banking credits...

NEW ANALYSIS FINDS CAIR WILL SIGNIFICANTLY BOOST ELECTRICITY PRICES

A new study of EPA's proposed clean air interstate rule (CAIR) to reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides shows the rule will cause electricity prices to rise 25 percent in 2010 and an additional 10 percent in 2015. The cost-increase finding is surprising and has not emerged in other studies, while EPA has touted the plan as striking a good balance between economic growth and environmental progress. The study, The Outlook for U.S. Steam Coal...

STATE OPPOSITION AT ECOS MEETING KILLS MULTI-POLLUTANT RESOLUTION

State environmental commissioners have tabled a vote on a draft resolution that would have urged EPA to include minimum air emissions control requirement for all power plants in is upcoming clean air interstate rule (CAIR) due to strong opposition to the plan. After a two-hour debate on the CAIR resolution Oct. 5 at the annual meeting of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) in Oklahoma City, OK, commissioners killed voting on the plan, which would have also provided strong...

INSPECTOR GENERAL FINDS LITTLE PROGRESS ON SMOG REDUCTION

EPA's inspector general (IG) is out with a Sept. 29 report criticizing the agency and states for failing to reduce ozone precursor emissions in several major cities, prolonging urban problems with smog and related health problems. The IG finds EPA has seriously delayed cleanup of dangerous air pollution by letting cities postpone legally required cleanups. The report finds most of the nation's smoggiest cities have shown no significant improvement in the past decade; at least 21 of 25 cities have...

HIGHWAY BILL EXTENSION INCLUDES 2.5-CENT ETHANOL PROVISION

A bill allowing continued funding for highway projects from Sept. 30 -- the end of the 2004 fiscal year -- to June 1, 2005, transfers 2.5-cents-per-gallon in excise taxes from ethanol sales out of the general fund and into the highway trust fund, retroactive to the beginning of the 2004 fiscal year. With the House and Senate unable to reconcile differences on a massive highway bill, and states facing the loss of tens of billions of dollars in highway project...

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