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Air

EPA, DOE Eye Study On Benefits Of Coal Gasification Power Plants

EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) are launching a new study on the environmental impacts of generating electricity with a clean-coal technology known as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC). The study could help federal and state efforts to encourage use of the technology through environmental permits or legislation, according to EPA and industry sources.

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EPA Delay Of Formaldehyde Review Raises Doubt About Air Act Waivers

EPA has agreed to a request by Senate environment committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) to delay a formaldehyde risk review, prompting questions among plywood makers, the natural gas turbine industry and state air regulators about proposed Clean Air Act exemptions for the pollutant.

The industry groups sought the exemptions by arguing that formaldehyde emissions from their operations posed minimal risks. But the delay in EPA's risk review may alter the data that the agency relied on when initially proposing to grant the regulatory waivers, sources say.

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DOE, Utility Pact On Climate Change 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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EPA Advises Regional Staff On Mercury Cap-And-Trade Benefits

EPA headquarters is 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 most U.S. mercury contamination, as part of an agency effort to educate its staff about the pollutant, according to agency sources.

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Advisory Group Struggles Toward Consensus On Air Regulation Reforms

A workgroup of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) is poised to issue major recommendations this month for changes to the way EPA regulates air quality. But it remains unclear to what extent the group will be able to come to an agreement, and group members may postpone discussion of some issues until next year, sources say.

A draft of the report the workgroup is preparing for CAAAC calls for new air monitoring requirements, controls on industrial boiler emissions, and changes to the way states prepare air quality blueprints.

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Utility Official Urges States To Reject Opt-Out Clause In EPA Mercury Rule

A leading electric utility official is urging conservative state legislators and other state officials to block efforts to opt out of EPA's plan to trade mercury emission credits -- even though the agency's preferred approach allows states to do so.

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Engine Makers Vow Lawsuit Over California Diesel Truck Rule

Fearing devastating national economic impacts, heavy-duty engine makers vowed to sue the California Air Resources Board (ARB) over its Dec. 9 adoption of a regulation requiring manufacturers to fix thousands of truck engine computers to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by the end of next year.

The industry argues the ARB action violates state and federal legal settlements for the engine fixes, but if allowed to proceed could devastate the industry financially if other states choose to also adopt the California regulation.

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INDUSTRY URGES STATE LAWMAKERS TO LIMIT OPT-OUTS FROM EPA MERCURY PLAN

Electric utility representatives are urging conservative state legislators and other state officials to prevent their states from opting out of EPA's plan to trade mercury emissions credits -- even though the agency's preferred approach allows states to do so.

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AIR OFFICE SEEKS CANCER GUIDE'S RELEASE TO ISSUE TOXICS STANDARD

EPA air officials have asked the agency's research office to finalize its draft cancer risk assessment guidelines by March 31 so the air office will not be prohibited from issuing "residual risk" air toxics standards as set out in a little-noticed provision of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments.

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U.S. WEIGHS DELAYING METHYL BROMIDE CUTS BY TRIMMING HALON SUPPLY

The Bush administration is evaluating a plan to slow the phase-out of the controversial pesticide methyl bromide by destroying stockpiles of the ozone-depleting fire suppressant halon, a plan that proponents say could offset any harm from continued use of the pesticide, according to government and other sources.

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