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Daily News

November 17, 2000

Environmentalists have released data showing that livestock feeding operations can cost-effectively reduce water pollution, and they hope the findings will encourage EPA to take a tough stance in upcoming standards on the industry, which has come under increasing criticism as a significant source of water contamination. EPA is planning to propose first-time effluent guidelines and permitting regulations on feedlots next month.

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A group of independent science advisors has approved EPA's strategy for research on the health effects of particulate matter, which will likely play key role in the agency's efforts to develop controversial standards intended in part to reduce asthma, particularly in children. The report, which gives EPA's research efforts a glowing review, concludes that the program "should be considered a model for other research programs in the agency."

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A host of agricultural trade associations are pressing the U.S. to pursue full flexibility for carbon sinks under the Kyoto treaty, a move environmentalists are hailing as a potential boost to the treaty's chances of being ratified by the Senate.

Senators from farm states are a vital group that must support the treaty or else it will fail to be ratified, observers say.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Environmentalists supporting the inclusion of sinks in the Kyoto Protocol have outlined a set of rules that countries must follow to avoid the potential environmental damage sinks pose.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense and the Center for International Environmental Law, among others, have delivered to delegates a draft set of rules for including sinks in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.

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In the midst of continued confusion over last week's election, Republican members of the House have begun the process for selecting the chairmen and committee members that will determine the legislative agenda of the next Congress, including environmental legislation.

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California air regulators have approved ethanol specifications for the composition of reformulated gasoline that will be in place in time for the state's anticipated ban on the controversial fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). The ethanol requirements are needed to spell out the replacement of MTBE while ensuring compliance with a federal oxygenate mandate. The specifications have attracted the support of Midwest ethanol suppliers who earlier had raised some concerns.

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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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