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Air

EPA PLANS INTERNATIONAL TALKS ON NEW DIESEL RULES FOR OCEAN VESSELS

EPA is preparing to hold multilateral discussions on a potential agreement that would limit diesel engine pollution from ocean-going vessels in North American ports, including cruise ships and cargo ships, agency officials say.

Industry groups and environmentalists agree that ships are a significant source of diesel emissions, and that current international standards are likely not stringent enough. But industry groups are withholding an opinion on new standards pending studies on how they could impact fuel supplies.

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Coal Lobby Challenges Analysis Behind Northeast Talks For CO2 Cap

A group that promotes coal-fired generation of electricity is trying to bypass discussions among Northeast state staff on developing a regional carbon dioxide emissions cap -- by urging higher ranking state officials to intervene in an ongoing economic analysis that would support CO2 controls. The revisions sought by the group would raise the estimated costs of proceeding with the precedent-setting CO2 plan.

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Senate Panel's Bill Provides Exemptions From Data Quality Act

Senators have included a little-noticed provision in the spending bill for the Commerce Department barring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from implementing controversial data quality guidelines, which affect EPA and other federal agencies. If enacted, the provision could bar future challenges to NOAA studies on a range of issues, including climate change.

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ACTIVISTS' BID FOR NAFTA INQUIRY MAY BACK FUTURE SUIT ON MERCURY PLAN

Environmentalists' bid for a NAFTA panel to investigate whether EPA is adequately enforcing the Clean Water Act by limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants could provide the groups with information to be used in future litigation against EPA's controversial mercury emissions control plans, an environmental attorney tracking the issue says.

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Leading House Republican Drafts Broad Bill To Curb Regional Clean Fuels

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) appears to be revising an earlier bill that would limit the number of regional clean fuels with new provisions that could prompt EPA to reduce the number of fuels nationally and expand the previous bill's emergency waiver provision to cover a range of fuel programs regulated under the Clean Air Act.

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Administration's Analysis On Controlling Drift Could Weaken Various Air Rules

The Bush administration's decision to include a controversial analysis that finds reduced benefits for controlling particulate matter (PM) under the agency's upcoming rule to limit drift could weaken requirements for reducing the pollutant through other air regulations. EPA sources say the analysis could undermine future agency arguments about the cost-effectiveness of limiting particulates through technology-based standards on power plants, exhaust controls for vehicles, and other measures.

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NAFTA Probe Of Mercury Rule May Help Potential Suit By Environmentalists

A request by environmentalists for a NAFTA panel to investigate whether EPA's plan to regulate power plants fails to adequately enforce the Clean Water Act could provide the activists with information for future litigation against the agency's controversial mercury proposal, an environmental attorney tracking the issue says.

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New Ethanol Study Seen Bolstering California Push For Fuel Waivers

A new study that found high emission increases from California vehicles running on ethanol-treated reformulated gasoline (RFG) may intensify the state's push for a wavier to the federal RFG oxygen mandate, sources tracking the issue say.

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INDUSTRY EYES POSSIBLE FIXES TO IMPLEMENTATION OF EPA OZONE RULE

Industry officials are preparing to ask EPA to make a series of fixes that would likely ease requirements for complying with the agency's strict new ozone standard, according to an internal industry email.

A number of industry groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), are considering filing an administrative petition with EPA that will ask the agency to change its rule implementing the agency's 8-hour ozone standard, according to an NAM email sent to its members and later distributed by environmentalists. The email is available on InsideEPA.com.

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DEMOCRATS EYE BUDGET 'RIDER' TO REQUIRE EPA STUDY OF MERCURY RULE

Congressional Democrats may try to attach a legislative rider to EPA's upcoming budget bill that would force the agency to conduct studies on its controversial mercury emissions plan that top officials have so far declined to conduct.

One House Democratic source says the rider would not ban EPA from finalizing its mercury trading proposal -- a plan critics say would delay adequate reductions for too long -- but would instead earmark funding the agency would be required to use to analyze more stringent mercury emissions proposals.

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