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Air

INDUSTRY, ENVIRONMENTALISTS FACE OFF OVER PROVISIONS IN HIGHWAY BILL

Industry and environmentalists are headed for a showdown over a number of key issues in pending transportation legislation that could dramatically rewrite federal clean air and environmental review laws. Industry says the proposed changes will reduce delays and streamline construction projects, while environmentalists argue that the provisions will significantly weaken environmental and public health protections.

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EPA EYES MAJOR REVIEW OF METHOD TO CALCULATE PAINT VOC REDUCTIONS

EPA is planning to develop a new method for calculating credits for states that seek to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from paint and coatings in their ozone plans. The agency's effort could help deflate tensions between Northeast states and industry over strict state approaches to reducing emissions from paint and coatings, agency and other sources say.

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FIRST-TIME NSR RULING ON 'EMISSIONS INCREASES' BACKS INDUSTRY

A federal appeals court has handed the utility industry a significant victory in a June 15 decision saying Duke Energy cannot be held in violation of the Clean Air Act without showing that modifications to its plants boosted hourly emissions rates. The 4th Circuit ruling in United States, et al. v. Duke Energy Corp.

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ASSEMBLYWOMAN AIMS TO REVIVE PLAN GIVING ARB INDOOR AIR POWER

Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) plans to propose legislation giving the air board new authority to regulate indoor sources of pollution, in response to the board's controversial indoor air pollution report adopted in March. While long sought by environmentalists, the planned legislation is being frowned upon by building and chemical industry representatives, who contend the board is not equipped to establish new emission regulations for a plethora of indoor sources that are already overseen to some degree by several different state agencies.

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EPA EYES MAJOR REVIEW OF METHOD TO CALCULATE PAINT VOC REDUCTIONS

U.S. EPA is planning to develop a new method for calculating credits for states that seek to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from paint and coatings in their ozone plans. The agency's effort could help deflate tensions between Northeast states and industry over strict state approaches to reducing emissions from paint and coatings, agency and other sources said.

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ARB SEEN KEEPING DAIRY DEFINITION, SLIGHTLY RELAXING CATTLE NET

Air board staff is expected to hold firm on a proposal to define dairies with more than 1,000 cows as large confined animal facilities (CAFs) for the purposes of future regulation, but may slightly relax the regulatory net for beef cattle feedlots, according to sources. The definitions, to be considered by the board next week, are being watched closely by various interests, including local air districts required to permit certain facilities and mandate control measures for the larger operations.

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KEY SENATOR PROBES SAN JOAQUIN AIR DISTRICT DEVELOPER FEE PACTS

Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) is probing the San Joaquin Valley air district's recent pacts with two developers -- including one that requires a company to pay the district more than $500,000 -- to mitigate expected air pollution. Florez plans to focus on several issues, including whether the pacts lacked proper public review, contain appropriate mitigation measures and provide adequate regulatory clarity and assurance to other developers planning construction projects.

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HILMAR FIGHTS REGIONAL BOARD FINE; CASE MAY GO TO ATTORNEY GENERAL

A major cheese manufacturer that has been a flashpoint in the debate over Cal/EPA's enforcement practices has dug in its heels to resist an unprecedented $4-million regional water board-issued fine. The company alleges that the fine came in response to political pressure and was issued by the board in an attempt to save its executive officer from being fired.

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EXPERTS PREDICT CLIMATE CHANGE WILL LOWER KEY HYDROPOWER OUTPUT

Energy experts are predicting that climate change in California and the West will decrease hydroelectricity generation in key summer months and force officials to seek more expensive, higher-polluting replacement energy. The experts also say that none of the hydropower operators are directly factoring this anticipated impact into future planning. But a representative with a major utility said experts are closely tracking potential climate change impacts, but believe they can manage future impacts with operational changes that are not uncommon today.

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New York Pressed To Adopt Risk Screening For Indoor Chemical Vapors

New York regulators say they will respond in the coming months to a proposal by the petroleum industry and other business groups that the state health department's draft guidance for detecting indoor chemical vapors from contaminated soil and groundwater include a risk-based method for screening sites as a way to limit the number of required cleanups.

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