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Air

SOUTH COAST RIPS CPR PLAN TO STREAMLINE PETROLEUM PROJECT PERMITTING

South Coast air district officials are ripping a recommendation in the administration's California Performance Review (CPR) report to streamline the local permitting process for petroleum infrastructure expansion. The board was expected Oct. 1 to approve a resolution opposing the CPR's recommendation, arguing that it improperly and haphazardly wrests legal authority from local agencies to review and approve appropriate permits.

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EPA DISHES OUT $6 MILLION FOR WEST COAST DIESEL-REDUCTION PROJECTS

U.S. EPA Region IX and state air officials this week announced $6 million of EPA funding for West Coast projects to reduce diesel emissions from trucks, ships, locomotives and other diesel sources. The projects, funded in part by EPA's "West Coast Diesel Emission Reduction Collaborative," include installing electric repowering facilities at truck stops to reduce idling, developing technology to reduce locomotive emissions and renovating some port facilities to provide electric powering for large cruise ships.

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EPA WAIVER, INDUSTRY NONCOMPLIANCE MAY THWART ARB VEHICLE GHG RULE

The implementation of the air board's landmark greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations for passenger and light-duty vehicles faces several substantial administrative hurdles over the next several years, in addition to a likely lawsuit by the auto industry. Not only must the board convince U.S. EPA that a Clean Air Act waiver is warranted to allow the rules to take effect, it faces future noncompliance by the industry based on arguments that there is inadequate lead-time to meet the new technology requirements, according to sources.

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Utilities Delay Action On NSR Pacts Pending Air Transport Rule Release

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 Bush administration finalizes EPA's upcoming regulation to curb transported air pollution, sources say.

The sources say some utilities might be delaying action on the settlements at least in part because they are concerned that the pacts would create competitive disadvantages if their competitors were not subject to the rule's requirements.

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Senators Urge Powell To Allow Independent Release Of Arctic Greenhouse Gas Report

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing Secretary of State Colin Powell to allow the stand-alone release of a key international report recommending policies to mitigate the effects of climate change on the Arctic.

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ACTIVISTS' BID FOR NAFTA INQUIRY MAY BACK FUTURE SUIT ON MERCURY PLAN

Environmentalists' request for a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel to investigate whether EPA is adequately enforcing the Clean Water Act (CWA) by limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants could provide the groups with information to be used in future litigation against EPA's controversial mercury emissions control plans, an environmental attorney tracking the issue says.

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NORTHEAST STATES WORRY OVER EPA GUIDE WAIVING SOME OZONE MANDATES

EPA's plan to continue waiving some nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction requirements as states transition to implementing the agency's new 8-hour ozone rule is reviving northeast states' concerns about potential increases in ozone transported from upwind states obtaining the exemptions, state sources say.

EPA is proposing in a Sept. 1 draft guidance -- which updates a 1993 guidance on ozone rule implementation -- to continue waiving NOx requirements under section 182(f) of the Clean Air Act in areas where lowering emissions can create local ozone increases, or "disbenefits."

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SPIKE IN UTILITY SO2 EMISSIONS PROMPTS CRITICISM OF TRADING PROGAMS

EPA's new report showing a 4 percent increase in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants in 2003 -- the first time acid rain emissions have increased since 1998 -- is drawing criticism from environmentalists over the benefits of emissions trading programs.

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REGIONS PUSH LOCAL OFFICIALS FOR STRICT MERCURY LIMITS IN WATER PERMITS

Regional EPA officials are urging state and local regulators to require strict numeric discharge limits in their water permits based on the amount of mercury in fish tissue -- despite the agency's support for a more flexible approach in a pending draft guidance.

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STATE COMMISSIONERS DEBATE NEW POLICY ON MULTIPOLLUTANT CONTROLS

State environmental commissioners are debating a resolution that would urge EPA to include a minimum air emissions control requirement for all power plants in upcoming federal multipollutant control rules likely to rely significantly on emissions trading, according to a state source familiar with the debate.

The debate comes in advance of the Environmental Council of the States' (ECOS) annual meeting Oct. 3-5, where ECOS will discuss possible revisions to a three-year-old policy statement on multipollutant emissions reductions.

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