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Air

ON EVE OF PROPOSAL, NORTHEAST EMISSIONS PLAN STILL FACES QUESTIONS

The Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has issued a straw proposal of its long-awaited plan to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power generators in the region, but sources familiar with the nation's first broad-based, mandatory CO2-reduction cap caution that an agreement is far from sealed as a slew of questions remain on a number of critical details.

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EPA WEIGHING QUESTIONS OVER SCOPE OF CONTROVERSIAL NSR REGULATION

EPA officials appear to be debating the scope of a controversial new rule adopting an interpretation of new source review (NSR) requirements that would further open the door to extensive modifications to existing power plants without case-by-case environmental reviews, according to knowledgeable sources and draft rule language.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS FEAR IMPACT OF REFINERIES' STARTUP AFTER HURRICANE

Environmentalists are raising concerns that EPA may invoke a long-standing policy to waive penalties on Gulf Coast refineries shut down by Hurricane Katrina for exceeding permitted emissions limits if they all come back online at similar times and emit more pollutants than expected.

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OBSERVERS EXPECT PIECEMEAL BILLS ON ENERGY IMPACTS OF HURRICANE

Industry officials and environmentalists are downplaying the prospects for broad energy legislation to address fuel vulnerabilities highlighted by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, an assessment that comes in response to recent statements by congressional leaders on the need to reexamine these issues just weeks after Congress passed a massive new energy law.

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NORTH CAROLINA MAY SUE EPA OVER EXCLUSION OF GEORGIA FROM SIP CALL

Officials in North Carolina are considering a lawsuit over an EPA plan to exempt the entire state of Georgia from a regional nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction plan known as the NOx SIP call.

The officials are also opposing the agency's conclusions that pollution sources in Georgia will not impact North Carolina's ability to attain a new ozone standard.

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STATES STRUGGLING TO WIN AIR PLAN CREDITS FOR CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS

State officials are finding it difficult to obtain credit in their air quality plans for energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) projects, charging that EPA has imposed too many obstacles to using these and other innovative strategies for meeting strict new ozone and particulate matter standards.

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OHIO INDUSTRIES RENEW PUSH TO STRIP STATE EPA OF AIR TOXICS AUTHORITY

Industry groups in Ohio claim they have secured support in the state legislature for a bill to strip the state of its ability to control air toxics that EPA does not already regulate, possibly setting a precedent for other states.

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EPA MAY FACE NEW LAWSUITS OVER CONTENTIOUS HAZARDOUS WASTE MACT

EPA is facing possible new litigation from both industry and environmentalists over its revised air toxics rule for facilities burning hazardous waste, fours years after a federal court backed environmentalists' previous objections to the rule and ordered the agency to rewrite its original proposal.

The Cement Kiln Recycling Coalition (CKRC), which was the lead industry plaintiff in the original suit against the agency, is concerned about the regulation's risk assessment requirements. One industry source says the group is considering litigation on the issue.

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ACTIVISTS CALL FOR MONTANA MERCURY RULE TO CONTROL WESTERN COAL TYPE

Montana environmentalists plan to ask the state to regulate power plant mercury emissions at levels stricter than EPA's, in a move that may lead to widespread regulation of sub-bituminous coal, a Western variety for which mercury removal could be unusually difficult.

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EPA WEIGHS REGULATING HYDROGEN SULFIDE AS HAZARDOUS AIR POLLUTANT

Prompted by new scientific data from more than a dozen states, EPA officials are considering whether to recommend to senior officials that the agency list hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) in its air toxics program, which would likely prompt new emissions control requirements, agency sources say.

If the agency decides to move forward with a listing, which environmentalists asked the agency to do in 1999, it would mark the first time EPA has added an air toxic to the list of 188 HAPs Congress codified in 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act.

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