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Air

EPA Eyes Major Review Of Method To Calculate Paint VOC Reductions

EPA is planning to develop a new standard for how to calculate credits for states seeking to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from paint and coatings in their ozone plans in a move that could help deflate tensions between states and industry, agency and other sources say.

EPA will soon publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) calling for data, information and comment on the best approach for calculating emission reductions from architectural, industrial and maintenance (AIM) coatings, an EPA source says.

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Coke Plants' Resurgence Prompts Midwestern Mercury Concerns

An apparent resurgence of the coal coking industry in the United States is prompting concerns by EPA and environmental groups over new mercury emissions and other pollution at pending new plants in Midwestern states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Coke made from burning coal at high temperatures -- a key component of steel -- is considered a viable industry in this country again after years of decline, informed sources say. The most notable reason is that China, which had been exporting coke to the United States, is now using most of the product to meet its own demand.

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SENATE SUPPORT GROWS FOR MODEST CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATIVE PLAN

Proponents and opponents of mandatory greenhouse gas programs say there is growing Senate support for creating a modest climate change program as part of upcoming Senate energy legislation.

Some observers say there may even be enough support for creating a modest permit program for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions along the lines of an amendment likely to be offered by ranking energy committee Democrat Jeff Bingaman (NM), although they caution the issue is still fluid.

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EPA CLEAR SKIES ANALYSIS PLEDGE MAY NOT RESOLVE DEMOCRATS' CONCERNS

EPA Administrator Steve Johnson's recent pledge to conduct long-sought analysis of the Bush administration's Clear Skies bill and other multi-pollutant legislation appears unlikely to satisfy Democratic concerns about the adequacy of EPA data on the proposals' benefits.

House Democrats and Senate sources say Johnson's latest offer, which expands on a pledge he made in April, still falls short of what they are seeking, suggesting that EPA's proposal is unlikely to bring the debate back to the merits of the legislation, as Johnson is seeking.

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Sen. Chafee Facing Conservative Backlash In 2006 Re-Election Bid

Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI), the moderate Republican who represents a crucial swing vote on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, is facing a grass-roots rebellion from some Rhode Island conservatives seeking to derail his bid to win another term in the chamber.

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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 May Broaden State Exemption Power Under Haze Control Plan

EPA and the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) are debating criteria for exempting individual pollution sources from new visibility requirements, amid indications that EPA's upcoming final visibility rule may give states more discretion than EPA previously proposed in deciding whether a specific facility should be regulated, according to agency and other sources.

An agency source says EPA may increase the number of days a facility is likely to cause visibility effects without being subject to new emissions rules, compared to an approach EPA proposed last year.

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EPA SHIFTS BASIS FOR DENYING STATE WAIVERS FROM ETHANOL RULES

EPA appears to have shifted its rationale for denying California a waiver from the reformulated gasoline program's oxygenate content requirement, saying the state has dispelled earlier concerns that the waiver could increase certain emissions but arguing the benefits are still insufficient to justify the exemption.

The ethanol industry and other observers are also expressing surprise after EPA cited energy and economic concerns in choosing to deny requests from California, as well as New York and Connecticut, for a waiver from the requirements.

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EPA DRAFTING FEDERAL RULE THAT COULD PREEMPT STATES ON CAIR

BURLINGTON, VT -- EPA will propose a federal rule directing states how to implement the agency's clean air interstate rule (CAIR) for electric utilities in an apparently aggressive move that could curtail states seeking to adopt rules more stringent than CAIR.

EPA air chief Jeffrey Holmstead announced at the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) meeting here June 7 that the agency will propose a federal implementation plan (FIP) for CAIR in August and finalize it next March, five months before similar state implementation plans (SIPs) are due.

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EPA MAY BROADEN STATE EXEMPTION POWER UNDER HAZE CONTROL PLAN

EPA and the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) are debating criteria for exempting individual pollution sources from new visibility requirements, amid indications that EPA's upcoming final visibility rule may give states more discretion in deciding whether a specific facility should be regulated than EPA previously proposed, according to agency and other sources.

An agency source says EPA may increase the number of days a facility is likely to cause visibility effects without being subject to new emissions rules, compared to an approach EPA proposed last year.

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