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Air

INTERSTATE RULE FACES NUMEROUS LAWSUITS DESPITE GENERAL SUPPORT

Environmental groups, state and local officials and several utilities have filed lawsuits over EPA's new clean air interstate rule (CAIR). The groups are questioning aspects of the rule including its geographical scope, the emissions allocation methods and its impacts on a visibility standard impacting national parks.

CAIR requires major reductions in nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants in the Eastern half of the United States.

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DRAFT EPA RISK ASSESSMENT LABELS MTBE AS 'LIKELY' HUMAN CARCINOGEN

EPA has developed a draft risk assessment that concludes the widely used gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is a "likely" human carcinogen, which if approved would trigger significantly more costly and extensive cleanups nationwide, agency sources say. MTBE has been identified as a contaminant in drinking water supplies across the country.

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EPA EMISSIONS TESTING RULE PROMPTS FIGHT OVER OBD ACCESSIBILITY

EPA's rules that require emissions tests using computer technology known as on-board diagnostics (OBDs) have prompted a fight between automakers and independent repair shops over access to the computer system.

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EPA TRUMPS REGIONS IN APPROVING NEW AIR MODELING TACTICS FOR PARKS

EPA overruled many regional officials who held extensive meetings this year urging the agency to reject a controversial air modeling procedure affecting pristine areas, which paves the way for more industrial expansion near a North Dakota national park and could set a precedent nationwide.

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GROUP SEEKS TO FORCE AGENCY TO PROMULGATE LEAD-BASED PAINT RULE

EPA may be reconsidering its decision to abandon work on a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rule that would force remodelers to clean up lead-based paint in older buildings at the same time the agency is facing legal action forcing it to finalize the rule. An EPA cost-benefit analysis obtained by the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) -- which represents agency employees -- found that the rule could prevent lost intelligence quotient (IQ) points in several hundred thousand children, a PEER source says.

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EPA ACTION ON UPSET EMISSIONS PLANS MAY CURTAIL ACTIVISTS' CHALLENGES

EPA is proposing to remove the public's ability to access company plans for dealing with unanticipated pollution known as "upset" emissions which may expose communities to high levels of air toxics like benzene, in a move that could curtail environmentalists' ability to pursue lawsuits challenging chemical plants and refineries.

The move comes in response to a regulatory petition an environmental group filed seeking more access to these plans, and after a separate activist group filed a lawsuit over the same issue.

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STATES EYE STRICTER MODEL RULE TO CURB PAINT COATING EMISSIONS

The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) may establish a more stringent model rule that its 13 member sates could use to limit emissions from paints and coatings, despite continued industry lawsuits against states using the existing model rule, OTC sources say.

The move comes after air officials in Delaware ran modeling to predict what further emissions reductions might be possible by adopting standards equivalent to those an air district in California put in place last year.

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EPA PURSUES RULE TO EXCLUDE PM AIR VIOLATIONS BASED ON 'NATURAL EVENTS'

EPA is developing a new rule to detail when states can ignore violations of federal particulate matter (PM) standards due to the impact of "natural events" such as forest fires or wind-borne dust.

Yet some state officials are worried the move could open the door to major changes in EPA's current policy on natural events, with uncertain consequences for states that face penalties if they exceed the agency's ambient air quality standards.

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INDUSTRY SEEKS TO DEFINE FARM EMISSION SOURCES TO LIMIT ENFORCEMENT

An agricultural industry task force may ask the federal government to adopt definitions of farm air emission sources, in a move that could limit enforcement of clean air and Superfund laws on farms and animal feedlots.

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Senators Press Bush Administration To Support Funding In Diesel Retrofit Bill

A bipartisan group of senators is pressing the Bush administration to reverse its opposition to the $1 billion funding level in the proposed Diesel Engine Retrofit Act, in light of nearly universal support for the bill and the tremendous health benefits it is expected to provide.

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