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Air

SCIENTISTS ACCUSE INDUSTRY OF MANIPULATING MAJOR PM2.5 STUDY'S RESULTS

Scientists involved in a major Atlanta-area study on the health effects of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution say the utility group funding the study is "inappropriately" interpreting its initial data as evidence that power plant emissions have a "miniscule" impact on cardiovascular health, when compared to other PM2.5 sources such as mobile emissions sources.

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Business Opportunities May Complicate U.S. Opposition To CO2 Rules

Some U.S. industry groups see increasing business opportunities over the next several years in efforts to slow global warming, though it is not clear that those opportunities will be enough to tip the domestic political balance toward mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, according to industry sources, consultants, and environmentalists.

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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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SENATE GOP TO ALLOW STATES TO GO BEYOND FEDERAL RULES IN CLEAR SKIES

Senate Republicans will include new language in the Clear Skies bill they are planning to re-introduce in January that allows states to require more stringent emission reductions than the pollution caps to be imposed by the federal government, sources say.

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OIL INDUSTRY REVIEW DRAWS COMPETING CALLS FOR CRACKDOWNS, PERMIT RELIEF

Citing past compliance violations and a lack of tough rules on the books, environmentalists and air district officials are pressing energy commissioners to recommend new pollution crackdowns on petroleum infrastructure facilities, as part of an evolving report to the governor and Legislature. Meanwhile, oil industry representatives are reacting defensively to the environmental review, saying that any commission report should equally evaluate all other energy sectors, including hydroelectric, wind and solar power.

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I/M PANEL BACKS ANNUAL TEST FOR OLDER VEHICLES, HIGH-MILEAGE CARS

The state's Smog Check program oversight panel is backing air board recommendations to seek new legal authority for annual inspections of older cars with high emissions as well as high-mileage vehicles, according to a draft report. It is unclear whether the recommendations will help spur new legislation early next year; the panel indicates that targeting high-mileage vehicles may be too controversial and technologically difficult.

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ARB SEEKS MEXICAN TRUCKING INDUSTRY INPUT IN BORDER INSPECTION REG

Air board staff is scheduled in February to meet with Mexican trucking industry representatives as part of the rulemaking for a new border inspection program aimed at reducing pollution when Mexico-based trucks are granted full access to U.S. roads under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The outreach to the Mexican industry is significant because the industry to this point is virtually unaware of the state law that requires the regulation, and it remains unclear whether Mexican officials may fight the rule under NAFTA.

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EPA To Back Industry Technology For Less Frequent Air Monitoring

EPA plans to allow industry to use an air emissions monitoring technology that will dramatically reduce the frequency that facilities will have to test for pollution releases. The upcoming recommendation stems from an agreement between EPA and the utility industry on overhauling the agency's air quality monitoring program.

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Pentagon Staff Say New Directive Would Ease Environmental Commitments

An environmental group that represents Pentagon employees is raising concerns that a draft military directive would ease commitments to comply with environmental regulations in the interest of training and readiness operations.

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EPA, DOE EYE STUDY ON BENEFITS OF COAL GASIFICATION POWER PLANTS

EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) are launching a new study on the environmental impacts of generating electricity with a clean-coal technology known as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC). The study could help federal and state efforts to encourage use of the technology through environmental permits or legislation, according to EPA and industry sources.

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