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EPA MAY EXPAND INNOVATIVE NEVADA PLAN ON MERCURY FROM GOLD MINES

EPA is evaluating the effectiveness of a recently instituted plan to reduce mercury emissions from Nevada gold mining operations -- a major source of U.S. mercury pollution -- to determine whether the voluntary initiative should be expanded to other regions at a time when skyrocketing gold prices are prompting more companies to start mining gold, EPA sources say.

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EPA REGIONAL STAFF ADVISED OF MERCURY CAP-AND-TRADE BENEFITS

EPA headquarters officials are advising regional administrators and staff on the benefits of the agency's cap-and-trade mercury proposal, as well as the likely global origins of the majority of U.S. mercury contamination, as part of an agency effort to educate its staff about the contaminant, according to agency staffers.

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DOE, UTILITY CLIMATE PACT OMITS ENDORSEMENT OF REGULATORY CREDITS

The Department of Energy and the electricity utility sector have signed an agreement on voluntary greenhouse gas cuts that omits language from an earlier proposal which would have committed the department to awarding emission-reduction credits for any future regulations as part of a climate change registry being revamped by the agency.

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REPORT FINDS POWER COMPANIES UNPREPARED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION

As pressure builds for the Bush administration to return to its 2000 campaign promise supporting mandatory action to combat climate change, a new report by environmentalists finds that both U.S. power companies and their European counterparts are ill-prepared to reduce greenhouse gases. However, the report finds that European companies fare better than those in this country.

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MINERS BACK CALL FOR GREENHOUSE GAS LIMITS IN BIPARTISAN ENERGY REPORT

The United Mine Workers of America is endorsing recommendations by a bipartisan energy policy commission that call for mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with a new federal program to promote specific clean-coal technology.

Sources say the endorsement may indicate growing momentum for global warming regulations, but backs policy initiatives less stringent than a climate change bill by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT).

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POSSIBLE IDAHO PACT COULD HELP ACTIVISTS PUSH FOR CAFO CONTROLS

Environmentalists may agree to a court settlement in the coming weeks that could strengthen their campaign for strictly enforced air permitting requirements at concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The settlement could mandate emissions controls at a large Idaho dairy, and comes after a district court ruled for the first time that feedlots must be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

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CRITICS SAY AUTOMAKER SUIT OVER CALIFORNIA CLIMATE RULE PREMATURE

California state officials and environmentalist attorneys say the lawsuit filed last week by the auto industry to overturn the state's greenhouse gas auto regulation is aimed at slowing momentum behind the adoption of similar rules elsewhere, and is an effort to "make people nervous" in California and other states. They add that the suit is almost certain to be dismissed because it was filed while the rule is not yet final.

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DOJ SEEKS REVERSAL OF OPEN RECORD RULES FOR SOME ADVISORY PANELS

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reverse an earlier ruling that applied the open record requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) to executive branch task forces that informally included non-governmental members. Oral arguments are scheduled for Jan. 27 in the case, which is on remand from the Supreme Court.

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POWER COMPANY CLIMATE REPORTS MAY BOOST LEGISLATIVE MOMENTUM

Investor groups say reports issued to shareholders this year by two electric power companies may increase momentum for greenhouse gas (GHG) legislation similar to the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act. While not endorsing any new law, the reports acknowledge that future climate mandates for the power sector are all but certain.

"For them to recognize that greenhouse gas regulation is inevitable, that's a big step," one source with an investor group says.

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INVESTORS EXTEND CLIMATE CHANGE PUSH TO REAL ESTATE, MANUFACTURERS

Sustainable investment groups are planning to ask real estate companies how they are taking action to reduce energy use that contributes to global warming, as part of a push to extend a shareholder climate change campaign to a broader range of industries.

The shareholder groups also expect to file new resolutions at manufacturing companies, while continuing efforts from past years to target automakers and power plants.

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