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Air

WATCHDOG GROUPS RAMP UP FIGHT AGAINST INFORMATION QUALITY LAW

Environmentalists and other citizen groups are ramping up their efforts to fight the controversial data quality law, with one group calling for its repeal and another planning to push key legislators to seek a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the law's impact on EPA and other agencies' resources.

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DOE DATA SHOW NSR HAS LITTLE IMPACT ON PLANT EFFICIENCY, ACTIVISTS SAY

Environmentalists are claiming an Energy Department (DOE) chart showing that coal-fired power plants' energy efficiency has changed little since the mid-1960s undermines EPA and industry arguments that revising the new source review (NSR) air permit program will increase facilities' efficiency.

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INDUSTRY QUESTIONS EPA CALL TO LOWER NEW POWER PLANTS' SO2 LIMITS

Power plants may be unable to meet stringent sulfur emissions limits EPA regions are asking states to include in a number of draft permits for proposed new power plants -- limits that EPA argues correct state reliance on data that underestimate emissions standards achievable by the facilities.

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RESEARCH TYING AIR POLLUTION TO WESTERN DROUGHT MAY PROMPT EPA STUDY

New research showing a link between transported air pollution and drought could bolster staff calls within EPA's research office to study the growing body of scientific evidence linking this pollution to broader disruptions in weather patterns, agency sources say.

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TECHNOLOGY TO MEET EPA NOX RULE MAY POSE CHALLENGES FOR UTILITIES

A new emissions reduction technology known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) that utilities are effectively required to use in complying with nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards for the eastern United States could create unintended air pollution, a problem that surfaced last month when a major power company was forced to shut down some SCR units at an Indiana facility.

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NEW STUDIES HEIGHTEN CONFLICT ON MERCURY CONTAMINATION, SOURCES

Environmentalists and the electric utility industry are pushing competing studies in the latest face-off over mercury pollution, with environmentalists lamenting widespread toxic mercury contamination in fish and the industry claiming power plants generate almost none of the mercury in the environment.

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ELECTION FEARS PROMPT EPA TO DELAY GUIDE ON MERCURY DISCHARGE PERMITS

EPA is delaying the release of a controversial draft guidance that critics say could allow states to avoid setting strict clean water permit limits for mercury over fears that Democrats and environmentalists will criticize the administration's mercury control efforts in an election year, several EPA sources say. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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ARB WEIGHS MULTIPLE FACTORS TO DEFINE LARGE FARMS FOR REGULATION

Air board staff is embarking on a complicated effort to define large confined animal facilities (CAFs) for regulation under a controversial law passed last year that lifted a decades-old regulatory exemption for the facilities. Farm and dairy organizations that have expressed skepticism over initial formulas used to define large CAFs are closely following the air board approach because it will determine how many dairies will be regulated statewide.

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CPR CAL/EPA OVERHAUL VISION EXPECTED TO SPARK DEBATE, SOME BILLS

The California Performance Review (CPR) recommendations to eliminate Cal/EPA boards and convert all entities into divisions under an overarching department are expected to spark weighty discussion among officials and stakeholders, but very likely will not all come to fruition, sources said. A scenario may emerge where disparate interests will latch on to specific recommendations in the report, which could lead to pitched battles in the Legislature next year.

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Utility Commissioners Urge EPA To Revise Air Rule To Encourage Renewables

State utility regulators are urging EPA to revise its proposal for controlling air pollution that drifts over state boundaries, calling on the agency to support more emission credits to new power plants that use renewable and efficient sources of energy, such as wind and cogeneration facilities.

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