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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.

INDUSTRY GROUPS PETITION EPA TO EXTEND 8-HOUR OZONE DEADLINES

Several industry groups, led by the American Petroleum Institute (API), filed a Sept. 24 petition with EPA asking the agency to extend the deadlines for complying with its strict 8-hour ozone rule. The groups argue that EPA's new analysis of the rule shows many communities will fail to meet the standard on time, unless local areas require significant additional emission cuts from sources other than those already subject to federal rules that industry believes are unnecessary. The petition for reconsideration...

UTILITIES DELAY ACTION ON NSR PACTS PENDING FINAL TRANSPORT RULE

Some power companies are reluctant to pursue settlements with EPA over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act's new source review (NSR) program until the EPA finalizes its regulation to curb transported air pollution, sources say. These utilities may be delaying action on the settlements at least in part because they are concerned that the pacts would create market disadvantages if their competitors were not subject to pollution-reduction requirements under the clean air interstate rule (CAIR) should it be delayed,...

ACTIVISTS WIN UNUSUAL MOTION TO POSTPONE WISCONSIN NSR SETTLEMENT

Environmentalists have convinced a Wisconsin district court to delay the approval of a consent decree between EPA and the utility We Energies in a highly unusual move that raises fresh questions about one of the few new source review (NSR) settlements proposed between a utility and the Bush administration in the midst of EPA NSR reforms. But at least one environmental watchdog group following the case is wary of the delay and wants to see the settlement enacted soon, in...

ACTIVISTS SEE IG STUDY AIDING ARGUMENTS IN EPA NSR RECONSIDERATION

Environmentalists say a recent inspector general's (IG) report that concludes EPA's new source review (NSR) routine maintenance rule hampered enforcement of the program could help critics pressure the agency to amend the rule as part of its ongoing administrative reconsideration process. Environmentalists and other critics of the rule believe key conclusions in the IG report, which finds flaws in both the agency's regulatory impact analysis and its selection of a cost threshold for exempting facilities' modifications from environmental review, expose...

INDUSTRY FACES TOUGH CHOICE ON METHYL BROMIDE ALLOCATION OPTIONS

Agriculture industry officials are facing tough choices in endorsing an approach for EPA to allocate limited quantities of the pesticide methyl bromide in 2005 because any system EPA adopts could also affect availability in future years, when access to alternative pesticides and other critical conditions may change. The issue is also important to EPA because it may inform how large an exemption to seek from international and domestic limits on the pesticide in 2006 and 2007. Methyl bromide users, producers...

Industry Seeks Repeal Of Clean Air Waiver Process For Stricter California Rules

Industry groups are mounting a push for Congress to eliminate California's ability to set mobile source emissions standards independently from EPA, as well as the option for other states to adopt those California rules. Groups are making their case to a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel that has been formed to look at state mobile source standards. The industry officials say these special provisions for California, in place since the original 1970 Clean Air Act, are "outdated." Industry groups...

Study Downplays Clean Water Effect Of Future Acid Rain Regulations

A preliminary EPA-New York state analysis downplays the likelihood that EPA's pending clean air interstate rule or other stringent future air emissions requirements will reduce high acidity levels in some Northeast lakes without additional acid neutralizing measures, agency sources say. The analysis is part of a state effort to develop aggregate pollution limits, known as total maximum daily loads (TMDL), for acid deposition in the Adirondack Mountains. Sources say the state's effort could lead to new -- and potentially stricter...

Key Senators, Environmentalists Attack Exemption In EPA Air Toxic Rules

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

Water Conservation Efforts Expected To Boost Utility Use Of Coal Gasification

Increasing concerns about water conservation, particularly in the West, are likely to boost the use of a new advanced coal gasification technology that is more efficient than traditional coal-fired power plants, with environmentalists already citing the issue in questioning proposed permits for new conventionally designed facilities, according to utility regulators, environmentalists and industry analysts. These sources say concerns about water supply are likely to become increasingly important to energy and water regulators, particularly in arid portions of the United States,...

EPA LIKELY TO SEEK FULL APPELLATE REVIEW OF RARE AIR RULE 'VACATUR'

EPA is planning to appeal a precedent-setting federal appellate decision vacating a clean air rule because agency officials fear it could set a dangerous precedent for immediately vacating defective air quality standards rather than remanding them to the agency for reconsideration, sources tracking the issue say. EPA is particularly worried that if the ruling is allowed to stand, future courts can rely on the precedent to vacate rules that could be easily remedied, leaving the agency without any standard and...

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