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Air

EPA Weighs Options For Addressing Future Vapor Intrusion Risks

EPA staff is considering strategies for determining potential risks from indoor chemical vapors from soil and groundwater -- known as vapor intrusion -- on polluted properties that may be redeveloped in the future, according to an agency source. Among the options under consideration are incorporating advice for detecting future contamination in a revised vapor intrusion guidance scheduled to be released later this year, or even developing a separate guidance on the issue at a later date.

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Dingell Seeks Status Of Bush Administration Actions On Refining Capacity

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John Dingell (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is asking the Bush Administration to detail its efforts to boost refining capacity, inquiries that appear to raise questions about industry's enthusiasm for expansion, despite calls for easing regulatory pressures on refiners in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

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EPA AIR MONITORING PLAN FOR HURRICANE WASTE DISPOSAL FACES CRITICISM

EPA is facing criticisms from its science advisers over plans to monitor emissions likely to result from Louisiana's efforts to dispose of significant quantities of Hurricane Katrina debris through incineration and open burning.

Members of a special Science Advisory Board (SAB) workgroup said Sept. 14 that when large scale burning of building debris, dead livestock and other waste occurs, it will increase emissions of fine particles (PM2.5) and EPA should rework its air monitoring plan to increase monitoring of open burning sites.

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EPA ADVISERS RAISE CONCERN OVER AIR IMPACTS OF HURRICANE SEDIMENT

EPA's science advisers are raising concerns that dust generated by contaminated sediment left behind by New Orleans floodwaters could pose public health threats.

As a result, members of a special Science Advisory Board (SAB) workgroup are urging the agency to develop a plan for monitoring air particles from sediment dust, which the agency could use to issue public health warnings and determine when people could move back into flooded residential areas of the city.

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ENGINE MAKERS, REFINERS FACE OFF ON POSSIBLE EPA DIESEL RULE WAIVER

Petrochemical refiners are urging EPA to relax sulfur limits in diesel fuel in response to hydrogen supply disruptions resulting from Hurricane Katrina. But engine manufacturers are opposing the effort, saying it may damage many engines and increase particulate matter emissions.

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LAWMAKERS BALK AT FUEL EFFICIENCY DESPITE RENEWED ENERGY DEBATE

Senate lawmakers appear to be resisting additional vehicle fuel efficiency measures despite talk of new legislation to remedy energy supply and demand problems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, hinting at further uphill battles for groups who touted conservation and other alternatives to energy development in a recently approved energy law.

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STATES EYE LIMITED TRADING IN MODEL FOR EXCEEDING EPA MERCURY RULE

State and local air officials may endorse limited emissions trading in an upcoming model rule for helping states adopt regulations more stringent than EPA's mercury regulation for electric utilities, acknowledging states that have developed or that may want to consider such flexibility for the industry.

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CIRCUIT RULING MAY VASTLY BROADEN EPA NAAQS DEADLINE AUTHORITY

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit provides EPA broad discretion in giving a California area more time to meet a statutory clean air deadline, potentially granting the agency much more leeway in allowing additional time -- without penalty -- for other areas to meet national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), environmentalists say.

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AUTO PLANT OBJECTION TO GHG CAP-AND-TRADE REFLECTS CAL/EPA CHALLENGE

A California plant that assembles select Toyota and General Motors automobiles is the first major industrial facility to outright object to Cal/EPA-floated options for a carbon cap-and-trade program to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions sought by the governor. The company's objections, along with indications of further industry opposition in the coming months, are making the agency's task increasingly challenging, sources said.

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RAILROADS RIP NEW SOUTH COAST ATTEMPT TO REGULATE EMISSIONS

Railroad companies are blasting a new rulemaking by the South Coast air district to regulate multiple emissions at their facilities, repeating arguments that such action is preempted by federal law and saying it jeopardizes a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) with state air officials to reduce emissions. The district's efforts may lead to a court challenge that could test a local air district's ability to regulate various railroad activities as an indirect or area-wide source under the state's toxic hot spots law.

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