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Air

Facing Suit, EPA To Impose New Controls On Emissions From Motor Vehicles

EPA plans next year to propose new controls on air toxic emissions from motor vehicles -- one of the largest sources of hazardous air pollutants in the country -- amid a lengthy court battle with environmentalists who claim the agency missed a self-imposed deadline to finalize rules this year.

Petroleum industry officials say they have not yet taken a position on such a rule, but raise concerns that it could be more difficult to control vehicle emissions following an expected phase-out of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

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States' Study On Benefits Of Mercury Controls May Tighten EPA Utility Rule

A draft analysis conducted for Northeast states on the benefits of mercury controls for power plants could pressure the Bush administration to tighten its proposed mercury rules because the analysis increases the estimated health benefits of regulating mercury emissions over previous government and industry assessments, sources say.

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Sixth Circuit Declines To Broaden Landmark TVA Ruling To Superfund

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to expand to the Superfund law the application of a landmark decision in which the 11th Circuit invalidated on constitutional due process grounds administrative penalties EPA levied under the Clean Air Act.

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PETROLEUM INDUSTRY SEEKS TO DOWNPLAY INDOOR AIR RISKS IN EPA GUIDANCE

The oil industry is developing recommendations on assessing the health risks posed by petroleum-related air toxins in an effort to downplay EPA risk estimates in an upcoming guidance on how to limit indoor air contamination caused by leaking underground storage tanks (USTs).

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USDA FINALIZES RULE TO EXPAND METHYL BROMIDE 'QUARANTINE EXEMPTION'

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sept. 16 finalized its proposal to expand the use of methyl bromide's so-called quarantine exemption, calling for all imported wood packaging material to be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide, which is otherwise banned.

"This change will affect all persons using wood packaging material in connection with importing goods into the Untied States," the final rule says. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES CONTROVERSIAL GREENHOUSE GAS PLAN

Outgoing New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey (D) announced a Sept. 16 proposal to redefine carbon dioxide (CO2) as an air contaminant, taking a dig at EPA, which last year concluded just the opposite.

"While the Bush administration refuses to confront the serious consequences of rising greenhouse gas levels, New Jersey is taking the first steps toward real, regional initiatives that will reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions," McGreevey said in a statement.

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EPA SEEKS TO RESTORE REDUCTIONS IN PM RESEARCH FUNDING FOR FY2005

EPA officials are working with Senate lawmakers to restore funding cuts to its particulate matter (PM) research program after the House cut $4.7 million from the Bush administration's roughly $59 million fiscal year 2005 budget request for the research.

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NEW YORK, ENVIRONMENTALISTS PRESS INSURERS TO TARGET CLIMATE RISKS

Environmentalists and some New York state officials are pressuring major insurance companies to develop policies to reduce financial risks posed by climate change.

Following three major hurricanes that hit Florida and the Gulf Coast, environmentalists are urging states to insist that insurers develop adequate reserves that deal with natural disasters that may stem from climate change. But conservatives are emphasizing statements from some state climatologists disputing claims that the hurricanes are linked to global warming.

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LEADING HOUSE REPUBLICAN DRAFTS BILL TO CURB REGIONAL CLEAN FUELS

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) has revised earlier legislation limiting the number of regional clean fuels with new provisions that could prompt EPA to reduce the number of fuels nationally and expand the previous bill's emergency waiver provision, according to draft legislation obtaine by Inside Washington Publishers.

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PRO-ETHANOL GROUPS CITE LOW SMOG WHILE CARB SHOWS HIGH EMISSIONS

The battle over whether ethanol helps or hurts air quality is intensifying in California as a pro-ethanol group is pointing to the lowest smog levels in a decade during the first year that the state's ethanol use grew dramatically, while the state's air resources board released a report that "confirms" the corn-based additive increases vehicle emissions.

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