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Air

Scientists Question Utility Claims About Air Pollution Health Effects

Scientists involved in a major study on the health effects of tiny soot particles in the Atlanta metropolitan area say a utility group that is funding the effort is "inappropriately" interpreting initial findings in a way that could ease future emission controls. The utility group says the findings show that power plant emissions have a "miniscule" impact on cardiovascular health when compared to air pollution from vehicles.

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Scientists Question Utility Claims About Air Pollution Health Effects

Scientists involved in a major study on the health effects of tiny soot particles in the Atlanta metropolitan area say a utility group that is funding the effort is "inappropriately" interpreting initial findings in a way that could ease future emission controls. The utility group says the findings show that power plant emissions have a "miniscule" impact on cardiovascular health when compared to air pollution from vehicles.

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Moderate Democrats Offer Environment Agenda For Western, Rural Voters

A centrist Democratic think tank has developed an environmental policy agenda for the next four years that is intended to appeal to western and rural voters. The policy recommendations are based on local and state initiatives that emphasize market-based approaches to reducing environmental contaminants, such as a cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions.

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EPA Could Extend Mercury Deadline To Stretch Clear Skies Debate

Despite widely-held assumptions to the contrary, EPA could delay its controversial mercury regulations on power plants beyond a March deadline negotiated with environmentalists, in the event the Bush administration and congressional Republicans want more time to debate Clear Skies legislation in 2005, legal experts say.

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EPA Eyes Overhauling Air Pollution Prevention Rules For Wilderness Areas

EPA is considering revamping the way it sets air pollution limits in its prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permit program for national parks and other pristine areas. In an upcoming proposal due out early next year, the agency may change its traditional approach from one that allows new and modified emission sources to incrementally increase pollution, to a policy that would essentially set a fixed cap defining how much total pollution an area can sustain before negative impacts are felt.

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EPA Advisers Issue Surprise Call To Study CO2 Emissions Cuts

An EPA advisory committee's new air quality report includes a surprise recommendation for the agency to help states evaluate reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that may be achieved under rules primarily intended to curb pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter.

The committee added the recommendation to a comprehensive report that calls for major changes in the way EPA regulates air quality. Members of the committee note the report has ambitious goals, but acknowledge that implementing them will require substantial funding.

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EPA Air Toxics Program Faces Key Legal Test On Risk-Based Exemption

EPA's air toxics program is facing a key test over the legality of its controversial risk-based exemptions, with observers expecting continued controversy if the agency expands its use of an approach exempting some industrial sources from stringent requirements for installing costly pollution control technologies.

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EPA REJECTS INDUSTRY ARGUMENT IN ASSERTING METHYL BROMIDE OVERSIGHT

EPA has rebuffed an industry argument that the agency lacks the authority to restrict access to stockpiles of the controversial pesticide methyl bromide, which could set up a legal battle over the agency's oversight of the ozone-depleting substance.

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EPA PLAN WOULD EXEMPT MANY OZONE NONATTAINMENT AREAS FROM I/M

EPA is proposing long-awaited amendments to its vehicle inspection and maintenance (I/M) program that would exempt many areas from having to implement the unpopular vehicle emissions tests. Areas designated in basic or marginal nonattainment with the 8-hour ozone standard would not be subject to I/M program requirements, according to the proposal.

The plan states that I/M programs would be needed only in areas already found to be in moderate nonattainment classifications or higher. Areas in serious or higher nonattainment must set up "enhanced" I/M programs.

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EMA VOWS LAWSUIT OVER CALIFORNIA DIESEL TRUCK ENGINE-FIX REGULATION

Heavy-duty engine makers are vowing to sue the California air board over its rule requiring manufacturers to fix thousands of truck engine computers to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by the end of next year. The industry argues the rule violates state and federal legal settlements for the engine fixes, and if allowed to proceed could crush the industry financially if other states choose to adopt it.

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