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PENNSYLVANIA DEP, INDUSTRY JOIN FORCES TO OPPOSE EPA MERCURY PLAN

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Kathleen McGinty has persuaded the coal industry and its union to put aside differences with the state over EPA's proposed mercury plan, and join forces to seek to persuade the agency to back away from a proposal that they believe would disproportionately harm Eastern coal.

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THINK TANK EYES FORMING PANEL WITH EPA TO HELP COMPLETE MERCURY RULE

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) may form a policy panel to provide advice on the feasibility of EPA's proposed mercury rule as the agency seeks to finalize the controversial plan, which would require utilities to reduce toxic mercury emissions for the first time.

However, it is unclear what relationship the group would have with EPA, which has already disbanded one mercury advisory group and rejected suggestions to convene another.

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INTERNATIONAL DISPUTE COULD HALT NEW CLIMATE GUIDELINES FOR SHIPS

An emerging global dispute is threatening to derail the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) development of first-time guidelines for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from ships, leaving EPA and other U.S. officials concerned that the disagreement could not only threaten the pending guidelines, but also undermine a host of future IMO standards on the environment and other issues.

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POWELL URGED TO OK INDEPENDENT RELEASE OF ARCTIC WARMING REPORT

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing Secretary of State Colin Powell to allow the stand-alone release of a key international report recommending policies to mitigate the effects of climate change on the Arctic.

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NORTHEAST GRAPPLING WITH KEY ISSUES FOR NATIONAL CLIMATE MODEL

Northeast regulators seeking to develop a landmark regional climate change program are confronting several issues that could make it difficult for the program to achieve its goal of becoming a national model for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, according to observers and participants in the effort.

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CALIFORNIA'S CO2 RULE FACES MAJOR HURDLES BEFORE TAKING EFFECT

Implementation of California's landmark greenhouse gas regulations for passenger and light-duty vehicles faces several substantial administrative hurdles, in addition to a likely lawsuit by the auto industry.

Not only must the California Air Resources Board (CARB) convince EPA that a Clean Air Act waiver is warranted to allow the rules to take effect, but it faces potential noncompliance by the industry based on arguments that there is inadequate lead-time to meet the new technology requirements, according to government and industry sources.

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REPUBLICANS TAKE AIM AT WIDELY REFERENCED CLIMATE CHANGE STUDY

Senate Republicans are calling into question the validity of a scientific study that forms the basis of many climate change policies, including the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Republican Policy Committee (RPC) is now highlighting arguments raised by economists who say the so-called hockey stick study, authored by Michael Mann and first published in 1998, includes faulty assumptions, unreliable methodology and cannot be trusted, these critics charge.

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EPA SEEKS MORE SNOWMOBILE LIMITS IN YELLOWSTONE THAN NPS PROPOSES

EPA is urging the National Park Service (NPS) to better protect the environment than it is proposing to do in its new plan to allow 720 snowmobiles per day in Yellowstone National Park this coming winter.

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CALIFORNIA MEXICAN TRUCK LAW MAY FACE ENFORCEMENT DIFFICULTIES

A new California law aimed at limiting increased air pollution from Mexican trucks may be difficult to enforce and also subject to legal challenge, sources say.

Sources tracking the issue say the law appears to contain enforcement shortcomings that could severely limit the state's ability to mitigate even a fraction of the expected increase in pollution. And these sources say the law may be ripe for a challenge by U.S. parties under the Clean Air Act and federal commerce law, or a lawsuit by Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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INDUSTRY ARGUES FOR ELIMINATING CALIFORNIA MOBILE SOURCE WAIVERS

Industry groups are mounting a push to eliminate California's ability to set mobile source emissions standards independently from EPA, as well as the option for other states to adopt California rules. Groups are making this case in front of an ongoing National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel looking at state mobile source standards, and they also anticipate future calls for legislation.

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