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Litigation

Appeals Court Backs EPA Process For Listing Superfund Sites

A key federal appeals court has upheld EPA's process for determining whether hazardous waste sites should be placed on Superfund's National Priorities List (NPL), agreeing that agency regulations require it to consider the exposure pathway that poses the greatest risk to human health and the environment, even if that pathway is not present at the site.

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Industry Challenges Constitutionality Of California VOC Emissions Fee

The National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) last month filed suit in a California court challenging the constitutionality of a new state fee program for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. An NPCA source says the rule, if upheld, could devastate the industry in California and could encourage other states to proceed with similar programs. NPCA alleges that the fee is really a tax and does not meet California or federal requirements for levying a tax.

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NEW YORK ANNOUNCES MAJOR IN-STATE NEW SOURCE REVIEW SETTLEMENT

New York announced two landmark settlements over new source review (NSR) permit violations with in-state utilities under which the companies agreed to historic pollution cuts. In addition to the emissions reductions, the settlement is significant because it stems from the first NSR suit filed by a state against companies operating inside its borders, and comes as settlement talks between the federal government and other utilities have long been at a standstill.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS MAY SUE TEXAS TO REDUCE HAZE AT NATIONAL PARK

Environmentalists may use a major, five-year study on causes of air pollution at Texas Big Bend National Park in a possible lawsuit against either the state or EPA aimed at improving visibility at the site. Environmentalists believe litigation may be necessary to get the state to enact regulations aimed at curbing pollution from sources found to affect the park, including power plants.

A successful suit could be duplicated in other states, because the report found emissions from across the country were affecting the park, environmentalists say.

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INDUSTRY SUES CALIFORNIA CLAIMING VOC EMISSIONS FEE IS UNLAWFUL TAX

The National Paint & Coatings Association (NPCA) last month filed suit in a California state court challenging the constitutionality of a new state fee program for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. An NPCA source says the rule, if upheld, could devastate the industry in California and could encourage other states to proceed with similar programs.

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COURT NARROWS PRECEDENT-SETTING RULING 'VACATING' CLEAN AIR RULE

A federal appellate court has narrowed its previous precedent-setting decision to vacate an EPA air rule in its rejection of a Bush administration request to reconsider the case. The latest ruling, which backs an industry challenge to an EPA-approved list of alternatives to an ozone-depleting chemical, grants future courts the discretion in allowing the agency to revise allegedly flawed regulations.

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GROUPS SUE EPA FOR FAILING TO UPDATE REFINERY POLLUTION CONTROLS

Environmental groups are suing EPA claiming the agency has failed to update new source performance standards (NSPS) for oil refineries despite a statutory requirement that it do so every eight years. EPA last set NSPS for refineries in the 1970s and '80s, and never set a requirement for emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which is a major pollutant from these sources, the complaint alleges.

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Courts Deny Environmentalists' Bid To Restrict Military Training Pending NEPA Dispute

Federal courts are rejecting efforts by environmentalists and other opponents of new Defense Department training facilities to impose temporary injunctions on the projects before the court has ruled on whether DOD has followed environmental requirements.

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Administration Moves Controversial Clean Air Waiver For Livestock Operations

The Bush administration appears to be moving forward with its controversial agreement on granting Clean Air Act enforcement exemptions for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), despite speculation by sources outside the government that EPA would likely alter or drop the initiative after repeated delays.

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Ohio Deal May Be Model For Reducing Chlor-Alkali Mercury Emissions

A recent agreement requiring an Ohio chemical manufacturer to install equipment to reduce mercury emissions caused by chlorine production may be a model for other states and EPA to follow in preventing similar releases from other chlor-alkali facilities, which are a major source of mercury in the environment.

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