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Air

UTILITIES CITE FINANCIAL, OTHER OBSTACLES TO COMPLIANCE WITH CAIR

Officials with large investor-owned utilities that produce coal-fired power are urging EPA to delay by at least two years the initial 2010 deadline to reduce interstate air emissions, claiming that high costs, and the demands of retrofit technology, will prevent utilities from getting the job done in time. One utility official claims it will cost Southern Company alone at least $5 billion over the next 10 years to retrofit existing coal plants and, using that estimate, it could cost the entire industry over $15 billion.

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ILLINOIS DECISION NOT TO BACK STATE EMISSION RULES OUTRAGES ACTIVISTS

Environmentalists say they are shocked and angered by an Illinois EPA (IEPA) report concluding it would be "irresponsible" to move forward with state-specific requirements for electric utilities to reduce emissions, particularly because top state officials have long criticized EPA's approach to regulating these emissions as far too weak.

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DOE SCOPES UPCOMING ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR CO2 STORAGE PROJECTS

The Department of Energy (DOE) has outlined the potential environmental effects it will study as part of an upcoming environmental assessment of its efforts to develop methods for capture or store carbon dioxide (CO2) -- an assessment that could set precedents for environmental requirements governing research and other projects to combat or minimize global warming.

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FIRST-TIME SHIPPING GREENHOUSE INDEX PROCEEDS AFTER DISPUTE TABLED

International negotiators have tabled a dispute over pending climate change guidelines for ships, allowing officials to continue developing a first-time procedure for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from ocean-going vessels.

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EPA DENIES CO2 AUTHORITY TO COURT AS AIR CHIEF HINTS AT FUTURE CONTROLS

At the same time that EPA air chief Jeffrey Holmstead created a furor by suggesting that mandatory climate change regulations are possible in the future, EPA is asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit to deny a request by state attorneys general and environmental groups to force the agency to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as part of its statutory duty under the Clean Air Act.

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DOE FACES TOUGH QUESTIONS ON ADDING CHP TO GREENHOUSE REGISTRY

Department of Energy (DOE) officials plan to offer recognition for combined heat and power (CHP) systems in revisions to proposed greenhouse gas reporting guidelines, giving manufacturing industries an incentive to use energy-efficient systems that produce heat and energy at the same time. But sources following the issue say the department will face complicated questions over how to account for emissions reductions that stem from the use of CHP.

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OFFSHORE WIND OPPONENTS HOPE WARNER KEEPS TRYING TO BLOCK PROJECT

Sen. John Warner (R-VA) was forced to drop a controversial amendment to the defense authorization bill earlier this month that would have banned offshore wind projects pending further congressional action on the issue, but opponents of Cape Wind, the first and largest planned offshore wind farm in the nation, say the issue is far from dead.

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PENNSYLVANIA TO BECOME FIRST STATE TO INCLUDE FOSSIL FUEL IN RPS

The Pennsylvania legislature is poised to pass the nation's first renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that would include electricity generated by fossil fuels including coal waste. Gov. Edward Rendell (D) heartily supports using coal waste as a fuel and is unlikely to sign such a measure unless the fuel is included, sources say.

Despite the controversy over the move, the only outstanding question appears to be whether coal waste would be considered a "renewable" energy source or if it would be defined as an "advanced" energy source.

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INDUSTRY PUSHES EPA TO EXEMPT CATTLE FEEDLOTS FROM AIR PERMIT RULES

Industry groups are urging EPA to issue guidance that would designate air pollution from cattle feedlots as "fugitive" emissions, a move that could exempt the industry from federal permit requirements and offer a shield from citizen lawsuits, sources say.

While the agency's response to the suggestion remains unclear, EPA has already explored the prospect of temporary enforcement waivers for other types of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), mainly egg farms, dairies and swine facilities.

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LAND MANAGERS, ACTIVISTS WORRY LONGVIEW OFFSETS ARE BAD PRECEDENT

Federal land managers at the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, along with environmentalists, say a clean air permit for the West Virginia-based Longview power plant may set a terrible precedent by giving plants "paper" offsets that do not guarantee any reduced sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution.

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