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Air

CHAMBER CITES AIR TOXICS PACT TO PUSH FOR OMB ROLE IN EPA SETTLEMENTS

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's challenge to EPA's recent proposed settlement with environmentalists that sets deadlines for reviewing two air toxics standards is part of the group's broader campaign to increase White House oversight of agency settlements that may result in new regulations.

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EPA DELAYS ACTION ON CHEMICAL SECTOR PUSH FOR WASTE-TO-FUEL PLAN

EPA is delaying action on a chemical industry proposal to expand regulatory exemptions for hazardous waste burned as fuel because it must first meet a court-ordered deadline for failing to meet Clean Air Act requirements for setting an unrelated waste rule.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) proposal is being held back because the agency's review of the plan will not happen before action is taken on revising the air standards that brought about the court deadline, agency and industry sources say.

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CALIFORNIA DRAFTS GREENHOUSE TARGETS, WEST COAST TO FOLLOW

California's environmental regulators and energy commission officials are drafting landmark greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for the state expected to be announced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) early next year, according to sources. West Coast regional GHG reduction targets are subsequently expected to be announced jointly by California, Oregon and Washington officials, according to a source involved in the effort.

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CALIFORNIA PENSION FUND MAY PRESS AUTO INDUSTRY TO SKIP CLIMATE SUIT

Key members of the board overseeing California's employee pension fund are urging fellow board members to convince the auto industry to avoid an expected lawsuit over the state's groundbreaking new climate change standards, using the leverage from the board's $838 million investment in the industry.

The move could lead to a broader campaign among other investment groups to back shareholder resolutions asking the auto industry to address greenhouse gas emissions from cars on the road.

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OMNIBUS BILL CUTS EPA FUNDS FOR FY05, REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL 'RIDERS'

An omnibus appropriations bill Congress approved Nov. 20 will slightly cut overall EPA spending, with the agency's water infrastructure loan program suffering the brunt of those reductions.

At the same time, lawmakers included several "riders" that will ease environmental protections for cattle grazing and wildlife areas, while rejecting other controversial proposals that environmentalists say would have gutted the Endangered Species Act.

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STEVENS' ROLE AS PANEL CHAIR SUGGESTS NEW FOCUS FOR CLIMATE DEBATE

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' (R) likely ascension to chairman of the commerce committee could change the focus of the Senate's debate on climate change -- with Stevens focusing more on mitigating climate impacts in Alaska and elsewhere and less on outgoing chairman Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) bill regulating greenhouse gas emissions, Senate sources say.

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ANALYSIS SHOWS COAL PLANTS PROFITABLE DESPITE ENVIRONMENTAL RULES

A new analysis by an international consulting firm finds that future environmental requirements -- including many possible policies for curbing greenhouse gases -- are unlikely to erode the competitiveness of most coal-fired power plants and could even make many facilities more competitive as they install pollution controls.

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STATE GROUP EYES NEXT MOVE AFTER AVIATION EMISSIONS TALKS COLLAPSE

State and local air pollution regulators are examining their legal and regulatory options for reducing emissions from airports over the next several years after the collapse of long-running talks facilitated by EPA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aimed at developing emissions reduction strategies for the aviation sector, according to an association representing the state and local officials.

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EPA ARGUES COURT LACKS JURISDICTION IN ONGOING MERCURY LAWSUIT

EPA claims a lawsuit calling for the agency to implement strict mercury rules for power plants must be dismissed because the court hearing the case does not have jurisdiction to decide it.

EPA's Nov. 18 response to the court is the latest development in a lawsuit brought by the National Wildlife Federation, the Izaak Walton League of America and the Natural Resources Council of Maine alleging that EPA exceeded statutory deadlines for issuing stringent power plant mercury regulations.

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NORTH CAROLINA LIKELY TO SUE TVA AS ACTIVIST CASE MOVES AHEAD

North Carolina's attorney general is planning to sue the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for alleged violations of EPA's new source review (NSR) regulations, in a move that could add weight to an already-pending lawsuit that citizens groups filed against the utility.

At the same time, North Carolina is threatening to sue EPA for failing to respond to its petition filed under the Clean Air Act to control upwind pollution.

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