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Air

ENGINE MAKERS TO SEEK DELAY OF ARB HEAVY-DUTY DIESEL OBD RULE

Heavy-duty diesel engine makers are expected to seek a delay or relaxation of a draft air board regulation requiring 2010 engines to meet advanced on-board diagnostic (OBD) specifications that improve emission controls. The engine makers say they are already burdened with meeting new state and national 2007 engine emission standards, and the air board should seek harmony with a federal OBD rule being developed that would kick in later.

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SOUTH COAST FLEET-RULE WAIVER ALL BUT DEAD FOLLOWING EPA REVIEW

It appears unlikely the air board will seek a waiver from U.S. EPA to allow the reinstatement of controversial South Coast air district "clean fuel fleet" rules that were shot down last year by the Supreme Court. In a win for the diesel engine and vehicle industry, EPA officials told state board staffers there are at least three conditions that must be met for the rules to potentially qualify for a federal waiver -- one of which could take up to five years to meet and would essentially defeat the purpose of the effort.

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SAN JOAQUIN RULE TO CHARGE DEVELOPERS POLLUTION FEE BOGS DOWN

A landmark San Joaquin Valley air district regulation that would establish an "indirect source" fee on developers of new residential, commercial and industrial units to mitigate pollution has bogged down over technical, legal and political reasons, according to sources. Officials recently decided to carve out the residential portion of the rule and proceed with it first, putting off the provisions for commercial and industrial development, according to a district official.

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Maryland Lawmakers Push Power Plant Bills In Advance Of Clear Skies

Maryland lawmakers plan to introduce legislation in the coming week that would impose emission restrictions on four pollutants from power plants in advance of the Bush administration's Clear Skies legislation. A number of states have voiced concerns that the federal legislation could make it more difficult for local authorities to establish their own air quality requirements, and the Maryland legislation is intended to establish state standards before Congress enacts the Bush administration's legislative plan.Maryland Del. James Hubbard (D) and Sen.

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ACTIVISTS CRITICIZE EPA PLAN FOR FACILITY WAIVERS IN RESIDUAL RISK RULE

EPA air office plans for exempting low-risk industrial facilities from a new round of air toxics controls is facing criticism from environmentalists, who say the Clean Air Act does not allow the agency to provide site-specific exemptions.

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KEY UTILITY LAWYER SUGGESTS 'GLOBAL SETTLEMENT' TO RESOLVE NSR SUITS

A key industry lawyer is suggesting that parties involved in ongoing new source review (NSR) lawsuits may need to enter into "global settlement" talks to resolve the litigation in exchange for an agreement by power companies to implement standards contained in the agency's pending Clear Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).

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HIGH COURT RULING RAISES SENTENCING DOUBTS IN ENVIRONMENT CRIMES SUITS

Recent Supreme Court rulings overturning mandatory federal sentencing guidelines are raising significant uncertainty over how, or whether, the Justice Department (DOJ) will seek strict sentences for criminal violations of environmental laws, DOJ and defense attorneys say.

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INDUSTRY FEARS SWEEPING IMPACT FROM TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION SUIT

U.S. industry groups are urging a federal appeals court to overturn a recent district court ruling that found federal Superfund law can apply to transboundary contamination, saying the decision could prompt widespread retaliation against U.S. companies by a host of foreign governments for air and water pollution that crosses international borders.

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NEW EPA LEAD PLAN TO DETERMINE NEED FOR REGULATORY REVISIONS

EPA has developed a plan for reviewing health effects data on lead air emissions that is intended to speed the process for considering whether regulatory revisions are necessary. The plan adopts data review reforms used by EPA to develop its health effects report on ozone, which is expected to be released within weeks. The plan is available at InsideEPA.com.

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PILOT PROJECT WILL HELP EPA CORRELATE AIR DATA, PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACTS

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is working with EPA and three states on a landmark pilot project evaluating how to correlate air pollution data with medical information in a future nationwide health tracking program.

Sources say the pending study, with early results expected this spring, will help the agency determine whether the public health impacts of air pollution should be measured using ambient air quality data or using modeling forecasts.

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