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Air

EPA, INDUSTRY PROPOSE PLAN TO MEASURE IN-USE DIESEL EMISSIONS

EPA is taking comment on a long-awaited proposal to require engine manufacturers to conduct in-use emissions testing of heavy-duty diesel trucks. The plan stems from a 1998 consent decree between EPA and engine makers after the agency accused them of installing "defeat devices" that allowed trucks to pass emissions tests in the laboratory but circumvent the limits on the road.

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EPA, CARB REACH RECIPROCAL DEAL ON EMISSIONS VERIFICATION TESTING

EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that allows each agency to recognize the other's verification of emissions reductions from diesel retrofits and could significantly expand cleanup of existing diesel engines across the country, sources from EPA and CARB say.

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STATES PURSUE REGIONAL EMISSIONS TRADING BEYOND PENDING EPA RULES

State organizations in the Northeast and the West are considering separate regional cap-and-trade initiatives for power plant emissions, which could supplement a proposed federal rule that covers only part of the country and which some states argue is not stringent enough.

In both cases, the state groups are trying to bring pollution down to a level that allows them to meet existing federal standards. The potential regional plans indicate that many states see a need for additional controls even as EPA is touting its new rule as a major step forward in improving air quality.

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INDUSTRY RENEWS COMPLAINTS OVER EPA'S USE OF SECRET AIR QUALITY MODEL

Industry groups are restarting efforts to stop EPA from using a model that predicts how rule changes impact industrial fuel mix, again raising concerns that the model's underlying code is secret, or proprietary, so its results cannot be verified.

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FEINGOLD SEEKS PRESIDENT'S INTERVENTION IN EPA MERCURY RULE PROCESS

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is leading a group of 24 Democratic colleagues and one independent in asking President Bush to rein in his own staff who allegedly softened language in EPA's contentious mercury proposal. The letter is the second time in recent months that senators have weighed in on the mercury issue. In April, Feingold led an effort by 45 senators from both parties who wrote to EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt asking him to withdraw the proposal. In response, EPA agreed to extend the comment period and the final rule's publication, and to reanalyze the plan.

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EPA REVIVES MULTI-MEDIA MERCURY PLAN BUT CONFLICT MAY STALL RELEASE

EPA staff are considering ways to revive development of the agency's long-stalled multi-media strategy for addressing mercury pollution, with officials debating whether to advance the agency's earlier approach or make significant changes to the plan, EPA and other sources say.

But sources outside EPA are not sure the agency will release the national strategy this year because some officials fear it could renew criticism of the Bush administration's controversial plan for controlling mercury emissions from power plants in an election year.

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APPEALS COURT'S FOIA RULING MAY BOOST ACTIVISTS' ENERGY TASK FORCE SUIT

A recent ruling by a federal appeals court limiting the White House's executive privilege to withhold documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) may help environmentalists and the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch force Vice President Cheney to release records about his controversial energy task force.

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MEXICAN TRUCK CASE INCREASES STATES' MOBILE SOURCE CONTROL DUTIES

The Supreme Court's recent decision allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads could significantly increase motor vehicle emissions that states are required to limit, by making potentially sweeping changes to Clean Air Act transportation requirements that previously held both federal and state agencies responsible for the emissions, according to legal experts, states and environmentalists.

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Researchers Suggest EPA Reconsider Fine Particulate Matter Exposure Levels

Some scientific researchers are raising the idea that EPA may need to revamp the way it addresses fine particulate matter (PM2.5) because new studies are indicating that serious health effects -- even death -- are apparent at the lowest levels that are measurable.

However, the notion is controversial because it would likely boost the importance of cost-benefit analyses when the Clean Air Act bars EPA from considering costs in setting ambient air quality standards.

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Industry Says Delays In Bush Clean Air Act Reforms Would Harm Environment

The American Chemistry Council has joined with a broad coalition of industry groups in intensifying its efforts to defend proposed Bush administration reforms to Clean Air Act permitting requirements, referred to as new source review (NSR) requirements. The coalition is warning House lawmakers in a new letter that any delay in the Bush administration's implementation of the reforms will come at the cost of cleaner air.

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