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Air

RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT GROUP RELEASES GUIDE TO CLIMATE RISKS

The responsible investor group CERES is out with a first-of-its-kind guide for investors who want to reduce their climate risks, and institutional investors such as state treasurers are praising the report.

A CERES source says the group decided to produce the guide following an investors' summit last fall on climate risks. Also following the summit, groups asked the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to require mandatory climate change risk disclosure, a move the SEC is considering, according to sources familiar with the request.

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EPA TO SEEK ADVICE ON AIR RULES' INADEQUATE MONITORING REQUIREMENTS

EPA is poised to seek comment on air rules that may contain inadequate requirements for emissions monitoring, possibly leading to future rules that tighten these requirements. But environmentalists are skeptical about whether the public outreach will bring any tangible results, and are pushing the agency to instead require all air permits to contain stringent monitoring provisions.

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CALIFORNIA OFFICIALS EYE BILL TO SET MEXICAN TRUCK STANDARDS

Lawmakers and stakeholders pushing legislation to require Mexican trucks entering California to carry documents proving their engines meet EPA emission standards say they plan to insert the language into a new bill soon, according to sources following the effort.

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STATES PRESS EPA TO REJECT PAINT INDUSTRY ATTACK ON OZONE PLANS

Eastern states are pressing EPA to reject a paint industry data quality challenge that alleges EPA should not approve several state ozone reduction plans, claiming the Information Quality Act (IQA) does not apply to the challenged information and that industry's effort threatens existing regulatory review procedures.

The dispute addresses the degree to which information supporting state regulations subject to EPA approval are also subject to the IQA.

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EPA, NOAA SAY EARTH OBSERVATION SYSTEM WILL HAVE DRAMATIC EFFECT

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher last week announced a 10-year plan to link the systems that monitor the Earth and the people that monitor such systems -- from satellites, to buoys, to radar, to air and water monitors. These efforts are expected to result in an unprecedented ability to forecast climate, weather and atmospheric events, administration officials say.

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DOUBTS RAISED ON EPA PACT TO REVIEW BATON ROUGE RFG REQUIREMENTS

EPA has agreed to reconsider a request by Baton Rouge, LA, to waive a federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirement even though the Clean Air Act bars such waivers for "severe" ozone nonattainment areas.

An EPA Region VI source says the agreement takes the agency into "uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no process exists" to consider waiving a program that is required by the statute. The source would not elaborate on the specifics of the review until the case is resolved in court.

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NEW YORK IMPLEMENTS EMERGENCY RULES TO REDUCE ACID RAIN POLLUTION

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) last week announced emergency rules to require electric utilities to make significant reductions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), after an earlier version of the acid rain rule was overturned by the state supreme court on a technicality. Additionally, a federal appeals court rejected a separate state law that imposed restrictions on credit trading, finding the restrictions were unconstitutional.

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EPA INACTION PROMPTS INDUSTRY TO SEEK COURT ORDER ON LEAD REPORTING

Despite ongoing EPA efforts to review and possibly revise a controversial rule on reporting lead use and releases, a group representing small businesses is pushing a federal court for an immediate ruling to repeal the standard.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently filed a motion for summary judgment in its three-year-old lawsuit against the reporting requirements after EPA officials said it would be at least another year before the agency might revise the standard. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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MISSOURI SUIT ON EPA AIR RULE MAY BOOST CALLS FOR STRICTER LEAD LEVELS

A new Missouri lawsuit seeking more stringent EPA clean air rules for lead smelters could provide environmental and public health advocates another opportunity to push for stricter federal health limits on children's exposure to lead, sources following the issue say.

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USDA SEEKS TO EXPAND USE OF METHYL BROMIDE 'QUARANTINE EXEMPTION'

The Bush administration is proposing to expand the so-called "quarantine exemption" for the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide to allow its use in domestic agriculture shipments under the Montreal Protocol. Until now, the exemption has only been used to allow the pesticide to be sprayed on international shipments of nursery plants and crops.

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