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Air

CALIFORNIA'S CO2 RULE FACES MAJOR HURDLES BEFORE TAKING EFFECT

Implementation of California's landmark greenhouse gas regulations for passenger and light-duty vehicles faces several substantial administrative hurdles, in addition to a likely lawsuit by the auto industry.

Not only must the California Air Resources Board (CARB) convince EPA that a Clean Air Act waiver is warranted to allow the rules to take effect, but it faces potential noncompliance by the industry based on arguments that there is inadequate lead-time to meet the new technology requirements, according to government and industry sources.

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REPUBLICANS TAKE AIM AT WIDELY REFERENCED CLIMATE CHANGE STUDY

Senate Republicans are calling into question the validity of a scientific study that forms the basis of many climate change policies, including the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Republican Policy Committee (RPC) is now highlighting arguments raised by economists who say the so-called hockey stick study, authored by Michael Mann and first published in 1998, includes faulty assumptions, unreliable methodology and cannot be trusted, these critics charge.

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EPA SEEKS MORE SNOWMOBILE LIMITS IN YELLOWSTONE THAN NPS PROPOSES

EPA is urging the National Park Service (NPS) to better protect the environment than it is proposing to do in its new plan to allow 720 snowmobiles per day in Yellowstone National Park this coming winter.

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CALIFORNIA MEXICAN TRUCK LAW MAY FACE ENFORCEMENT DIFFICULTIES

A new California law aimed at limiting increased air pollution from Mexican trucks may be difficult to enforce and also subject to legal challenge, sources say.

Sources tracking the issue say the law appears to contain enforcement shortcomings that could severely limit the state's ability to mitigate even a fraction of the expected increase in pollution. And these sources say the law may be ripe for a challenge by U.S. parties under the Clean Air Act and federal commerce law, or a lawsuit by Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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INDUSTRY ARGUES FOR ELIMINATING CALIFORNIA MOBILE SOURCE WAIVERS

Industry groups are mounting a push to eliminate California's ability to set mobile source emissions standards independently from EPA, as well as the option for other states to adopt California rules. Groups are making this case in front of an ongoing National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel looking at state mobile source standards, and they also anticipate future calls for legislation.

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Key Senators, Environmentalists Attack Exemption In EPA Air Toxic Rules

Environmentalists and two prominent senators are challenging the Bush administration's landmark air toxics rules for plywood producers and industrial boilers, fearing they set a dangerous precedent for excluding facilities from Clean Air Act requirements by downplaying the risks posed by ambient pollutants and emission sources "co-located" at a facility.

These critics warn if the rules stand, industries could petition EPA to apply the agency's new risk-based methodology to existing rules and overhaul the agency's air toxics program.

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Water Conservation Efforts Expected To Boost Utility Use Of Coal Gasification

Increasing concerns about water conservation, particularly in the West, are likely to boost the use of a new advanced coal gasification technology that is more efficient than traditional coal-fired power plants, with environmentalists already citing the issue in questioning proposed permits for new conventionally designed facilities, according to utility regulators, environmentalists and industry analysts.

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State Officials Decline To Vote On Plan For Limiting Multiple Air Pollutants

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 5 -- State environment secretaries at their annual meeting have rejected voting on a draft resolution that would have urged EPA to include air emission control requirements for all power plants in its upcoming interstate air pollution rule. After a two-hour debate on the resolution, which would have provided strong backing for EPA's thrust on emissions trading, the Environmental Council of the States decided on Oct. 5 to put off a vote for now.

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EPA LIKELY TO SEEK FULL APPELLATE REVIEW OF RARE AIR RULE 'VACATUR'

EPA is planning to appeal a precedent-setting federal appellate decision vacating a clean air rule because agency officials fear it could set a dangerous precedent for immediately vacating defective air quality standards rather than remanding them to the agency for reconsideration, sources tracking the issue say.

EPA is particularly worried that if the ruling is allowed to stand, future courts can rely on the precedent to vacate rules that could be easily remedied, leaving the agency without any standard and potentially harming the environment, attorneys say.

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California's CO2 Rule Faces Major Administrative Hurdle To Win EPA Waiver

Implementation of California's landmark greenhouse gas regulations for passenger and light-duty vehicles faces several substantial administrative hurdles over the next several years, in addition to a likely lawsuit by the auto industry.

Not only must the state's Air Resources Board (ARB) convince the federal EPA that a Clean Air Act waiver is warranted to allow the rules to take effect, it faces potential noncompliance by the industry based on arguments that there is inadequate lead-time to meet the new technology requirements, according to government and industry sources.

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