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Air

EPA May Launch National Effort To Speed Diesel Emission Reductions

EPA is considering a national program to encourage or require diesel trucks to implement costly software fixes to reduce air pollution, but the agency is likely to face opposition from engine manufacturers even if the program is voluntary.

The move is being considered because EPA erred in calculating how long it would take to make the fix and reduce emissions, after finalizing a landmark 1998 consent decree that required the engine industry to fund these changes.

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DOE Advisors Urge EPA To Revisit Clean Air Compliance Deadlines

A newly issued report by a Department of Energy (DOE) advisory body calls on EPA to reconsider compliance deadlines for implementing national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) as one of a number of measures to ensure adequate domestic supplies of petroleum. "As presently structured, attainment deadlines precede the benefits that will be achieved from emissions reductions already planned," the report from the National Petroleum Council states.

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Bush Administration Urged To Strengthen Interstate Air Pollution Rule

The Bush administration is facing 11th-hour pressure to strengthen its clean air interstate rule (CAIR) to curb utility sector pollution, with a prominent Senate Republican questioning whether it will protect the Great Smoky Mountains and environmentalists reiterating concerns that its emission reduction targets and deadlines are insufficiently stringent.

Sources say EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt restated his personal commitment to moving the regulation forward during a meeting with several environmental groups this week.

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Auto Industry May Face Investor Pressures To Drop Climate Change 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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EPA SEES BOOST TO AIR RULES FROM DATA ON OZONE AND MORTALITY RATES

EPA will include new information about ozone and mortality rates in an upcoming cost-benefit review of the agency's Clean Air Act program, which will likely boost the estimated benefits and garner broader support for a number of air quality standards, including the administration's upcoming mercury, particulate matter and regional haze rules, agency sources say.

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EPA WEIGHS OVERHAULING OZONE RULES FOR VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS

EPA will soon seek comment on a proposed overhaul of the way it regulates ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may seek to replace the current emphasis on reducing overall VOC content in the atmosphere with a more flexible system that distinguishes between each compound based on its potential to form ozone, EPA and other sources say.

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MERCURY STUDY COULD BOOST EFFORTS TO IMPLEMENT EPA FISH TISSUE CRITERION

A new EPA-backed study showing increased effectiveness of state mercury control programs that assess mercury based on fish tissue levels rather than the amount in the water column could boost efforts to implement the agency's 2001 fish tissue-based water quality criterion, sources familiar with the study say.

EPA and several New England states will soon publish the study indicating that state water quality programs to control mercury are more effective when they measure mercury levels in fish tissue rather than the total amount of the pollutant found in a waterbody.

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EPA Eyes Overhauling Rules To Control Smog-Forming VOCs

EPA will soon seek comment on a proposed overhaul of the way it regulates ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may seek to replace the current emphasis on reducing overall VOC content in the atmosphere with a more flexible system that distinguishes between each compound based on its potential to form ozone, EPA and other sources say.

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Utility Analysis Shows Profitability Unaffected By Air Pollution Controls

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.

"The value of efficient large coal fired power plants can actually increase rather than decrease with stringent environmental control programs," says an executive summary provided to Inside EPA by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA).

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Senate Environment Chairman Seeks Delay In EPA's Formaldehyde Risk Review

Senate environment committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is urging EPA to delay revising its risk estimates for formaldehyde, a key chemical emission from plywood manufacturing facilities and natural gas turbines, until federal researchers complete a pending study on the chemical in about 18 months.

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