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Air

EPA TO CONSIDER ADDING MERCURY, OTHER POLLUTANTS TO CEMENT KILN MACT

EPA has agreed to consider regulating mercury emissions along with hydrocarbons and hydrogen chlorides from Portland cement kilns under the terms of a settlement it reached last month with the Sierra Club.

The group sued EPA in October 2004 over the agency's failure to respond to a federal appeals court's remand of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule for the kilns.

The June 23 settlement requires the agency to finalize a new MACT within one year. A copy of the agreement is available on InsideEPA.com.

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LAWMAKERS AIM TO STRIKE MERCURY RULE UNDER CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW ACT

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are invoking a little-used law in an attempt to overturn EPA's controversial power plant mercury emissions rule.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and 29 other senators moved to strike the rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to invalidate executive branch rulemakings by a majority vote.

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EPA ANNOUNCES NEW HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY PARTNERSHIP

EPA along with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) launched a new partnership designed to improve home energy efficiency by 10 percent over the next decade, including a major expansion of the Energy Star program, in an effort to help reduce air pollution and save consumers money.

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PEW CENTER REPORTS SAY QUICK ACTION REDUCES COST OF CO2 CONTROLS

A major U.S. think-tank is circulating two reports that argue quick action would reduce the costs of reducing greenhouse gases. The reports call for firm regulatory timetables to reduce emissions from electrical utilities and recommend dozens of energy efficiency measures to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) from buildings, which are both major sources of greenhouse gases in the United States.

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WHITE HOUSE TOUTS G-8 MEETING AS SUCCESS FOR U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James Connaughton is touting the outcome of the recently concluded G-8 summit of industrialized nations as an indication the United States has successfully steered the climate change debate past the controversies of the Kyoto treaty and toward global cooperative efforts to encourage clean-energy technologies and sustainable development policies, without mandatory emission controls.

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CRITICS FAULT DOE GREENHOUSE GAS REGISTRY REFORMS AS INEFFECTIVE

Environmentalists and industry groups are criticizing proposed changes to the Department of Energy's (DOE) voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) registry, arguing that intended improvements would not likely result in emission reductions and could jeopardize industry participation.

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NORTH CAROLINA CLIMATE PANEL UNLIKELY TO SEEK EMISSIONS CAP

A newly created North Carolina panel on climate change appears unlikely to recommend any statewide mandate to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, after business groups convinced lawmakers to scale back their original goals.

The North Carolina House of Representatives July 7 passed a bill creating the panel after the state Senate passed a similar measure May 25. The two chambers are now required to iron out differences between the bills, which supporters describe as minor technical issues. The legislation is available on InsideEPA.com.

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PROPOSED COAL PLANT COULD SET NATIONWIDE TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS

EPA, the Navajo Nation and utility industry sources say a proposed coal-fired power plant on tribal land in New Mexico would be the cleanest conventional coal facility in the country, and could set a new baseline for emissions controls that utilities would need to obtain air permits.

Yet the plant is facing local opposition from those who do not want any new facility in the tribal region, which covers 25,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

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SENATORS PRESS ADMINISTRATION OVER DELAYS IN ACID RAIN REPORT

Key Senate Democrats are redoubling efforts to urge the Bush administration to release an overdue report to Congress on the impact of acid rain and current pollution controls, which observers say could help evaluate current emissions reduction plans like the administration's controversial Clear Skies bill, its recently issued clean air interstate rule (CAIR) and haze control requirements.

At issue is the White House's failure to release a periodic report on the adequacy of existing measures to reduce acid rain required by the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990.

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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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