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Air

GOP Platform Avoids Criticizing Congress Over Clean Air Legislation

The Republican Party platform approved this week by delegates at the national convention in New York City lauds President Bush's Clear Skies legislation to address pollution from electric utilities, but makes no mention of an alternative regulatory approach that the administration has touted as necessary because the president's bill has languished for years in Congress.

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Chemical Makers Cite Court Ruling In Push To Delay EPA Air Rule

A group of chemical companies is citing an appeals court ruling last year in urging EPA to delay implementation of part of a major air toxics rule and conduct an administrative review of the measure even as the agency continues settlement talks with the industry over the rule.

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EPA Region Poised To Finalize Landmark Clean Air Rule For Tribal Lands

The White House is reviewing a final EPA Region 10 regulation that would for the first time implement clean air rules for all tribal lands in an entire EPA region, but the rule is facing fierce opposition from non-tribal residents who fear the measure does not guarantee them due process rights.

Agency sources say they have addressed the due process concerns raised by non-tribal members by having federal, not tribal, entities take responsibility for implementing the requirements to preserve non-tribal parties' due process rights.

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California To Enact Fees Funding Host Of Air Quality Programs

The California legislature late on Aug. 27 approved a bill, pushed by a broad coalition of government and industry officials and environmentalists, seeking to generate about $80 million annually through fees to fund a host of air quality programs. California EPA is a major backer of the measure and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to sign it into state law.

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REGION X POISED TO FINALIZE LANDMARK CLEAN AIR RULE FOR TRIBAL LANDS

The White House is reviewing a final EPA Region X regulation that would for the first time implement clean air rules for all tribal lands in an entire EPA region, but the rule is facing fierce opposition from non-tribal residents who fear the measure does not guarantee them due process rights.

Agency sources say they have addressed the due process concerns raised by non-tribal members by having federal, not tribal, entities take responsibility for implementing the requirements to preserve non-tribal parties' due process rights.

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COLORADO ENVIRONMENT CHIEF GIVES UNUSUAL SUPPORT TO KEY BUSH PLANS

Colorado environment chief Doug Benevento has won notoriety among fellow state officials for being the lone state environment commissioner to endorse now-stalled Defense Department (DOD) legislation seeking exemptions from environmental laws.

Benevento's maverick support for the bill -- a key Bush administration legislative proposal -- reflects his broader efforts to embrace other White House priorities, including its new source review reforms, which Colorado has moved to adopt, and flexible environmental compliance programs like environmental management systems (EMSs).

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KEY SCIENTIFIC PANEL'S NSR REVIEW HAMPERED BY LACK OF HARD DATA

A key scientific panel is struggling to gather quantitative data detailing the new source review (NSR) air permitting program's impacts on the electric utility industry, causing frustration just weeks before the panel begins to develop preliminary conclusions about how the controversial NSR reforms are affecting air quality and public health, sources say.

"There has not been a lot of effort to collect and analyze the kind of data [the committee is] looking for," a source close to the study says.

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ACTIVISTS PRESS RENEWABLE SOURCE PLAN FOR 'HYDROGEN HIGHWAYS'

Environmentalists involved in Cal/EPA's "Hydrogen Highways" initiative will press officials to craft a strategy to increase the amount of hydrogen tapped from renewable energy sources in carrying out the expected transportation energy transition, in an effort to ensure environmental benefits. While natural gas is a decent starting point, environmentalists say that upping the amount of hydrogen from geothermal, biomass and solar sources is crucial to making the campaign a bona fide success in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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SENATE APPROVES OPENING CARPOOL LANES TO HYBRID VEHICLES

Despite a late lobbying push by the Ford Motor Co., the Senate this week easily approved a measure that will allow some hybrid vehicle drivers to access the state's "carpool lanes" even when driving alone. The legislation is intended to encourage the purchase of the ultra-fuel-efficient vehicles.

Ford's lobbying effort appeared to have little effect on slowing the bill with one Republican senator calling the company's chairman a "billionaire crybaby," and accusing him of "unmitigated gall."

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INDUSTRIES URGE ARB TO TONE DOWN INDOOR POLLUTION REPORT

Industry groups are pressing air board staff to tone down key elements of a draft indoor air pollution report, arguing that cancer-risk estimates and general negativity contained in the report toward a variety of home products and building materials are misleading, will likely alarm the public and could lead to unnecessary regulations. One of industry's primary fears is that lawmakers -- who requested the report in 2002 legislation -- will focus on the negative aspects of the report to justify bills next year mandating indoor exposure standards and new product emission limits.

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