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Air

Oil Industry Seeks Delay In Clean-Diesel Rule To Ease Delivery Snags

Oil industry officials are urging EPA to delay by as much as one year the agency's upcoming low-sulfur diesel standard, calling on the agency to temporarily raise allowable sulfur levels several parts per million (ppm) higher than EPA's 15 ppm standard, according to sources tracking the issue.

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States Plan Lawsuit Over Coal Market Impacts Of EPA Mercury Rule

The governor of Illinois and the state's new senator, Barack Obama (D-IL), are joining a growing number of state officials mostly in the East who are concerned that EPA's mercury regulations create an unfair advantage for coal mined in the West, setting the stage for these states to file suit over the rule following its publication in the Federal Register.

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Northeast Delays Landmark Climate Change Strategy To Assess Local Effects

The Northeast will likely postpone unveiling its framework for a regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI) expected this summer to allow participating states time to assess the energy and financial impacts of the landmark cap-and-trade emissions program, officials in the region say.

Officials working on the program also say they are likely to give wide discretion to states in deciding how to implement the initiative, leaving a daunting task ahead for governors and state legislators between now and the target date for implementing the program in 2008.

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ACTIVISTS LAUNCH LEGAL STRATEGY TO TARGET FLARING FROM REFINERIES

Activists are filing a series of lawsuits targeting refineries across the country in an effort aimed at pressuring industry to agree to new limits on when they can incinerate excess gas in a practice known as flaring. The environmentalists hope that by forcing industry to pay millions of dollars in penalties for emissions that result from flaring they can force industry to agree to a new EPA rule regulating the practice.

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WHITE HOUSE SEEKS ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSUITS LIMIT IN HIGHWAY BILL

The White House is recommending changes to a Senate highway bill that include adding a 180-day deadline for legal challenges to transportation projects based on environmental impacts and restricting the types of projects that can be funded under EPA's traffic congestion management program.

The recommendations could raise new roadblocks for final passage of the highway bill, which is pending on the Senate floor and awaiting a vote later this month.

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EPA EYES HIGHWAY BILL FUNDING TO BOOST DIESEL RETROFIT PROJECTS

EPA wants a final congressional highway bill to provide federal funds for industry to update diesel engines to help meet the agency's air quality standards, EPA officials say, a provision the construction industry may oppose because it could give states unprecedented authority in overseeing the updates.

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee included the funding provision for the projects in its version of the massive federal highway financing bill that is now awaiting a floor vote, but the House version does not contain similar language.

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EPA FACES PRESSURE TO EXEMPT BEEF PROCESSORS FROM REPORTING RULES

EPA may grant a request from cattle processors and a key senator to issue a regulatory finding that the industry says would formally exempt the sector from having to report air emissions from animal waste. Industry officials hope to use the finding to avoid citizen suits that have already forced poultry and hog operations to report their emissions.

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SENATORS CITE EPA GREENHOUSE INVENTORY IN PUSH FOR NEW CONTROLS

Senators pushing legislation for mandatory controls on greenhouse gases plan to cite a new EPA analysis showing the power plant sector is responsible for the latest annual rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, congressional sources say.

Several Senate sources say senators including John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Jim Jeffords (I-VT) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) are all likely to cite the new inventory, released in late April, as evidence that a mandatory approach that applies to power plants is the only effective way to reduce GHG emissions and curb global warming.

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GROUPS FEAR GHG REDUCTION TARGETS WILL HURT COMPETITIVENESS

Industry groups are raising concerns that greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets sought by California state officials may be premature and could hurt the business climate and competitiveness.

These concerns may affect the fate of a proposal pending in California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) office that could serve as a model for other states, and could sink a state bill that establishes specific GHG emission reduction targets by 2010 and 2020, sources say.

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NORTHEAST DELAYS CLIMATE CAP AGREEMENT TO ANALYZE IMPACT ON STATES

Northeast states will likely postpone unveiling the framework for a regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI) expected this summer because they need more time to assess the impact of a cap-and-trade program on individual states, officials in the region say.

Officials working on the program also say they are likely to give wide discretion to states in deciding how to implement the initiative, leaving a daunting task ahead for governors and state legislators between now and the target date for implementing the program in 2008.

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