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Daily News

November 16, 2000

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Environmentalists appear divided over proposals supported by the United States and other industrialized countries to include provisions in the Kyoto climate change treaty that would allow them to claim emission credits for funding land conservation and forestry projects in developing countries.

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A group of state and local officials has drafted a paint emissions control rule that it is touting as a more effective alternative to EPA's standards on reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in smog-ridden areas throughout the country.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Australia has joined the U.S. in insisting that developing countries accept mandatory emissions under the Kyoto climate change treaty. Industry officials are hailing Australia's recent assertion as a common-sense approach to climate change and say it will likely bolster the U.S. delegation's efforts to raise the issue of developing nation's commitments during talks on the treaty.

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Source: InsideEPA.com

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Oil industry officials are using President Clinton's endorsement of a multi-pollutant emissions reduction plan last weekend in an effort to block any possible attempt by EPA to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) yesterday unveiled a new legal opinion that reiterates the industry's argument that EPA currently does not have the authority to regulate CO2.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands-- The European Union today rebuffed U.S. efforts to allow industrialized countries to bank greenhouse gas reduction credits for establishing carbon sinks, such as forests, saying that the highly-touted plan would undercut global efforts to address climate change.

The U.S. proposal "does not ensure the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol," according to an EU statement obtained by Inside EPA. "Therefore the EU opposes this proposal."

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The Sierra Club is circulating internally a legal argument supporting a revote in the presidential election in Palm Beach County, FL, where thousands of Al Gore supporters may have accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan. While the environmental group does not plan to file a lawsuit over the election, it has been assisting local residents with filing legal complaints, and it is using its legal opinion to bolster its public call for a revote.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands - U.S. officials have backed away from an earlier position that effectively required any climate change treaty to allow for the inclusion of nuclear power plants as clean and renewable sources of energy.

Instead, sources say U.S. officials will not oppose a climate change treaty that does not include nuclear power plants as clean-energy options. The sources say this means the U.S. will effectively stay out of the fray over nuclear power and leave it up to other countries to duke it out.

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November 15, 2000

EPA has drafted a plan for water discharge standards on metal finishing operations that industry officials charge is too far reaching and overestimates the environmental benefits of the new limits. In anticipation of EPA proposing the new rules, powerful industries that rely heavily on metal finishing, including shipbuilding, aerospace and railroads, are preparing to join forces to strongly oppose the draft effluent guidelines.

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Despite a likely razor-thin margin between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate following last week's election, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a leading opponent of the Kyoto Protocol, says the newly constituted chamber would still not "even come close" to ratifying the accord. Hagel, the chairman of the Senate Climate Change Observer Group, made his remarks days before he departed for The Hague, Netherlands, where he will monitor international negotiations to implement the Kyoto climate change treaty, which the U.S. has not yet ratified.

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While U.S. negotiators are fighting an uphill battle in defense of so-called carbon sinks at international climate change talks in The Hague, White House officials back home are praising an announcement last week by an American utility to purchase forests in an effort to offset its carbon dioxide emissions. The impact of the timely announcement on the talks is uncertain, but the utility's actions could allow U.S. officials to argue that American utilities are taking seriously the issue of climate change.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Leaders from a coalition of developing nations say that the United States and European countries, as well as other industrialized nations, have not taken adequate steps to address global warming, and warn that poorer countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will suffer the most if negotiators are unable to reach agreement on implementation of the Kyoto climate change treaty.

The comments are part of a larger trend among developing nations to take a harder stance in negotiations with industrialized nations.

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An industry group has filed a lawsuit challenging an unprecedented New York law that restricts sulfur dioxide emission trading with other states, alleging that the law violates the Clean Air Act and would weaken EPA's acid rain program.

New York lawmakers say the emission trading restrictions were necessary to minimize pollution that migrates to the Empire State from the Midwest and other parts of the country, contributing to acid rain and other environmental problems.

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The Sierra Club is organizing a broad coalition of public interest groups to call for a revote in Palm Beach County, FL, arguing that it is the only fair way to resolve confusion over the outcome of last week's presidential election. At a press conference tomorrow in Florida, the group plans to demand that citizens in the county be allowed to vote again in the presidential race because of confusion over a ballot design that allegedly caused thousands of Al Gore supporters to mistakenly vote for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, which may have cost Gore the election.

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The Defense Department has withdrawn a controversial rule on cleaning up unexploded munitions, following a heated dispute with EPA over whether the draft standards violated the Superfund law. The Pentagon's top environment official yanked the rule as it awaited final approval by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

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EPA and Virginia Power have reached an "agreement in principle" that sources say will result in significant emission reductions from most, in not all, of the utility's power plants. The agreement could be a major boost to EPA's high-profile enforcement action targeting alleged industry-wide violations of the Clean air Act.

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November 14, 2000

An EPA-backed initiative in California to reduce the use of chemicals in the manufacturing process is expected to catch on in other parts of country. Supporters of the innovative program, which will be announced this week, say it will revolutionize the chemical industry by offering economic incentives for manufacturers to reduce chemical use. The program is designed to transform the role of chemical suppliers into that of a full-service provider, which involves assisting manufacturers with all aspects of the chemical process, including ways to reduce costs and chemical use.

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EPA officials are attacking a report prepared by the House Commerce Committee that claims the agency's brownfields initiative has lagged well behind similar state efforts to clean up and redevelop abandoned industrial sites. EPA says the report misrepresents the agency's authority under the program because federal grants are provided only for site assessments and not cleanups. The report comes on the heels of EPA and congressional audits which found significant problems with the agency's efforts.

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