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Air

DOUBTS RAISED ON EPA PACT TO REVIEW BATON ROUGE RFG REQUIREMENTS

EPA has agreed to reconsider a request by Baton Rouge, LA, to waive a federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirement even though the Clean Air Act bars such waivers for "severe" ozone nonattainment areas.

An EPA Region VI source says the agreement takes the agency into "uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no process exists" to consider waiving a program that is required by the statute. The source would not elaborate on the specifics of the review until the case is resolved in court.

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NEW YORK IMPLEMENTS EMERGENCY RULES TO REDUCE ACID RAIN POLLUTION

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) last week announced emergency rules to require electric utilities to make significant reductions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), after an earlier version of the acid rain rule was overturned by the state supreme court on a technicality. Additionally, a federal appeals court rejected a separate state law that imposed restrictions on credit trading, finding the restrictions were unconstitutional.

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EPA INACTION PROMPTS INDUSTRY TO SEEK COURT ORDER ON LEAD REPORTING

Despite ongoing EPA efforts to review and possibly revise a controversial rule on reporting lead use and releases, a group representing small businesses is pushing a federal court for an immediate ruling to repeal the standard.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently filed a motion for summary judgment in its three-year-old lawsuit against the reporting requirements after EPA officials said it would be at least another year before the agency might revise the standard. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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MISSOURI SUIT ON EPA AIR RULE MAY BOOST CALLS FOR STRICTER LEAD LEVELS

A new Missouri lawsuit seeking more stringent EPA clean air rules for lead smelters could provide environmental and public health advocates another opportunity to push for stricter federal health limits on children's exposure to lead, sources following the issue say.

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USDA SEEKS TO EXPAND USE OF METHYL BROMIDE 'QUARANTINE EXEMPTION'

The Bush administration is proposing to expand the so-called "quarantine exemption" for the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide to allow its use in domestic agriculture shipments under the Montreal Protocol. Until now, the exemption has only been used to allow the pesticide to be sprayed on international shipments of nursery plants and crops.

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INHOFE FIRES BACK AT DEMOCRATS IN CASE CHALLENGING BUSH NSR REFORMS

Senate environment committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is attacking recent Democratic legal arguments challenging the Bush administration's new source review (NSR) reforms, arguing in a new brief that Congress never intended to regulate existing power plants under the NSR program.

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JUDGES REJECT ACTIVISTS' EFFORT TO BROADEN SCOPE OF BUSH NSR REFORM

In one of the first legal decisions on the issue, EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has rebuffed an environmental group's effort to seek upgraded pollution controls at a power plant using a revised definition of what constitutes an "emissions unit" under the Bush administration's 2002 new source review (NSR) reforms.

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EPA RELEASES GUIDE ON SIP CREDIT FOR RENEWABLE, EFFICIENCY PROJECTS

A new EPA guidance outlines how states can earn credit in their state implementation plans (SIPs) for energy-sector projects that promote renewable resources and efficiency, providing a boon for states that have been seeking ways to promote such efforts, according to state sources familiar with the Aug. 5 document.

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ERRORS DELAY PUBLICATION OF MAJOR AIR TOXICS RULES BY MONTHS

Minor errors are causing lengthy delays in promulgating at least two court-ordered air toxics rules, delaying industry compliance and impeding litigation.

While EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt signed both rules in February -- in time to meet the court-ordered deadlines -- the air rule for plywood manufacturers was not published until July 30 and the toxics rule for boilers has yet to be published in the Federal Register. However, EPA posted both regulations on its website and issued press releases when Leavitt signed them.

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CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CITES 2003 CASE TO PUSH EPA EMISSIONS RULE DELAY

A group of chemical companies is citing the precedent set by a 2003 appellate ruling to urge 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.

The Aug. 11 petition, filed by Clariant America, Eastman Chemical Company and Rohm & Haas Company, asks EPA to stay the application of the leak detection and repair (LDAR) requirements of the miscellaneous organic national emissions standards for hazardous air pollution (MON) rule.

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