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Air

EPA Revises Regulatory Reviews To Discount Long-Term Benefits

EPA science advisers are recommending a revised regulatory review process that would discount the long-term benefits of environmental controls in a way that would emphasize the projected costs of future regulations.

The new approach, which expands on a preliminary analysis included in EPA's nonroad diesel rule released in May, will be used to assess controls on particulates in the agency's upcoming interstate air quality standard, and will eventually be adopted for all EPA air standards, a key agency air economist says.

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Study Downplays Clean Water Effect Of Future Acid Rain Regulations

A preliminary EPA-New York state analysis downplays the likelihood that EPA's pending clean air interstate rule or other stringent future air emissions requirements will reduce high acidity levels in some Northeast lakes without additional acid neutralizing measures, agency sources say.

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Industry Seeks Repeal Of Clean Air Waiver Process For Stricter California Rules

Industry groups are mounting a push for Congress to eliminate California's ability to set mobile source emissions standards independently from EPA, as well as the option for other states to adopt those California rules. Groups are making their case to a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel that has been formed to look at state mobile source standards.

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INDUSTRY FACES TOUGH CHOICE ON METHYL BROMIDE ALLOCATION OPTIONS

Agriculture industry officials are facing tough choices in endorsing an approach for EPA to allocate limited quantities of the pesticide methyl bromide in 2005 because any system EPA adopts could also affect availability in future years, when access to alternative pesticides and other critical conditions may change.

The issue is also important to EPA because it may inform how large an exemption to seek from international and domestic limits on the pesticide in 2006 and 2007.

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ACTIVISTS SEE IG STUDY AIDING ARGUMENTS IN EPA NSR RECONSIDERATION

Environmentalists say a recent inspector general's (IG) report that concludes EPA's new source review (NSR) routine maintenance rule hampered enforcement of the program could help critics pressure the agency to amend the rule as part of its ongoing administrative reconsideration process.

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ACTIVISTS WIN UNUSUAL MOTION TO POSTPONE WISCONSIN NSR SETTLEMENT

Environmentalists have convinced a Wisconsin district court to delay the approval of a consent decree between EPA and the utility We Energies in a highly unusual move that raises fresh questions about one of the few new source review (NSR) settlements proposed between a utility and the Bush administration in the midst of EPA NSR reforms.

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UTILITIES DELAY ACTION ON NSR PACTS PENDING FINAL TRANSPORT RULE

Some power companies are reluctant to pursue settlements with EPA over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act's new source review (NSR) program until the EPA finalizes its regulation to curb transported air pollution, sources say.

These utilities may be delaying action on the settlements at least in part because they are concerned that the pacts would create market disadvantages if their competitors were not subject to pollution-reduction requirements under the clean air interstate rule (CAIR) should it be delayed, sources following the discussions says.

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INDUSTRY GROUPS PETITION EPA TO EXTEND 8-HOUR OZONE DEADLINES

Several industry groups, led by the American Petroleum Institute (API), filed a Sept. 24 petition with EPA asking the agency to extend the deadlines for complying with its strict 8-hour ozone rule. The groups argue that EPA's new analysis of the rule shows many communities will fail to meet the standard on time, unless local areas require significant additional emission cuts from sources other than those already subject to federal rules that industry believes are unnecessary.

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HIGHWAY BILL EXTENSION INCLUDES 2.5-CENT ETHANOL PROVISION

A bill allowing continued funding for highway projects from Sept. 30 -- the end of the 2004 fiscal year -- to June 1, 2005, transfers 2.5-cents-per-gallon in excise taxes from ethanol sales out of the general fund and into the highway trust fund, retroactive to the beginning of the 2004 fiscal year.

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INSPECTOR GENERAL FINDS LITTLE PROGRESS ON SMOG REDUCTION

EPA's inspector general (IG) is out with a Sept. 29 report criticizing the agency and states for failing to reduce ozone precursor emissions in several major cities, prolonging urban problems with smog and related health problems.

The IG finds EPA has seriously delayed cleanup of dangerous air pollution by letting cities postpone legally required cleanups.

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