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Air

OIL INDUSTRY BALKS AT SOUTH COAST FLARE EMISSION REDUCTION PLAN

Oil industry representatives are opposing South Coast air district plans to craft regulatory amendments requiring flare emission reductions at refineries and other facilities, arguing that voluntary efforts have significantly reduced the pollution and that further controls are unnecessary and carry unacceptable costs. The industry's opposition may complicate or draw out district efforts to craft the regulatory amendments, despite the release of a new report that shows the flares result in substantial emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx).

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INDUSTRY WARNS ARB FARMERS READY TO 'COME UNGLUED' OVER SB 700

Dairy industry representatives warned air board staff last week that farmers are poised to "come unglued" over staff's forthcoming decisions to subject large confined animal facilities (CAFs) to first-time permits and pollution control measures. Staff is collecting input from industry in its effort to define large CAFs by next summer, as required by a controversial 2003 law that lifted a decades-old Clean Air Act regulatory exemption for California agriculture facilities.

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Senate Staff Eye Broad Tax Bill As New Vehicle To Renew Wind Energy Credits

Democratic and Republican staff in the Senate say renewal of a wind energy tax credit could be approved as part of catch-all tax code extension legislation if Congress fails to adopt comprehensive energy legislation or an export tax reform bill that both include the wind provisions.

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PORT POLLUTION BILL SEEN AS ENVIRONMENTAL TEST FOR SCHWARZENEGGER

The California Legislature's just-passed bill that seeks to freeze air emissions from two ports presents Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) with a stark choice between siding with environmentalists who support the measure, or with a long list of business groups that oppose it.

Some Schwarzenegger administration officials have voiced opposition to the bill, but sources say the governor has not yet indicated his stance on the legislation.

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OPPONENTS MULL LEGAL CHALLENGE TO CALIFORNIA AIR QUALITY FEE BILL

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) reportedly intends to sign a landmark state measure creating dedicated funding for certain air quality programs through new fees, leading opponents to consider drafting an argument that the fees are actually illegal taxes.

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NCSL ENVIRONMENT PANEL CHIEF FACES OPPOSITION TO CLEAN AIR PLANS

State Del. Jim Hubbard (D-MD), the recently appointed chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures's (NCSL) environment committee, is facing tough industry opposition to his plans for the group to formally oppose the Bush administration's air quality initiatives.

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CARMAKERS EYE FEDERAL PUSH TO PREEMPT HYBRID CARPOOL LANE ACCESS

Automakers opposed to a mileage requirement in a bill just passed by the California legislature that opens carpool lanes to some single-occupant hybrid vehicles are preparing to lobby the federal government to preempt the state from enacting the law. California needs federal approval to move forward, though the government has shown little appetite to stop states from imposing similar requirements.

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GEORGIA SEEKS REFORMULATED GAS WAIVER FOR ATLANTA-AREA COUNTIES

Georgia is seeking an EPA waiver sparing 13 counties surrounding Atlanta from a requirement that will likely force them to use the gasoline additive ethanol in order to comply with federal clean-air standards. The mandate, which is scheduled to take effect in 2005, would cost millions of dollars to implement and leave the state using three separate fuel mixtures, also leading to supply and distribution problems, the state's environmental protection director wrote in a letter to EPA.

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STATES SAY SHORT COMMENT PERIOD HURT STUDY OF CAIR MODEL CHANGES

States are continuing to criticize EPA for providing what they say is inadequate time to review and comment on new modeling techniques for the clean air interstate rule (CAIR), which addresses transported air pollution.

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JUDGE QUESTIONS INDUSTRY ABILITY TO LEGALLY CHALLENGE DATA LAW

Litigation challenging the data that agencies use in making decisions appears to have suffered a setback as a federal judge questioned whether industry groups in a key case have standing to sue and suggested that the data quality law does not allow courts to review the information.

"I'm having trouble seeing [statutory] language that provides for judicial review" of data quality decisions, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said during Sept. 3 oral arguments in a case that industry sources are hoping will establish courts' rights to review agency data decisions.

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