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Toxics

EPA REVIEW OF LEAD PAINT RULE'S COSTS LEADS ACTIVISTS TO CONTINUE SUIT

Despite an EPA commitment to develop lead paint cleanup regulations, environmentalists are vowing to continue pressing a suit against the agency over concerns EPA is considering the costs of different regulatory options, which the activists fear may help justify limiting the rule's public health protections.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS QUESTION EPA REVIEW OF RISK-BASED AIR TOXICS RULE

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is warning that EPA must initiate a new air toxics rulemaking process because the agency's administrative reconsideration of its controversial risk-based exemptions for industrial boilers and process heaters unlawfully broadens the universe of emissions sources eligible for the waiver.

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GROUPS FORECAST SLEW OF NEW REGULATIONS UNDER PM COARSE STANDARD

Observers from academia, industry and activist groups forecast a host of new regulations for factories, the construction industry and even brake pad composition if EPA presses ahead with a new particulate matter (PM) standard for coarse particles known as urban "PM coarse."

At the same time, almost no interest group appears to be happy with the proposal by EPA staff to regulate urban PM coarse but exclude rural areas from standards. Environmentalists think the standard should apply everywhere, and industry groups argue there should be no PM coarse standard.

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AIR OFFICE FACES CRITICISM OVER FAILURE TO ISSUE METHYL BROMIDE RULE

EPA's air office is under growing pressure, both internally and from chemical industry and farm groups, to issue a rule allowing additional critical uses of the banned pesticide methyl bromide in 2005, as agreed to by the parties to an international treaty. EPA has yet to issue the rule despite meeting two months ago with industry groups which highlighted the urgent need to move quickly.

Industry sources now fear the agency will act too late for them to be able to use the additional authorized amounts of methyl bromide when needed next month to begin treating their fields.

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NAS STUDY OF HIDDEN ENERGY COSTS MAY FORCE MAJOR POLICY CHANGES

A sweeping study of the hidden costs of energy use and production required by the new energy law could lead to re-appraisals of a slew of federal environmental policies on global warming, oil spills, mercury emissions and security for protecting energy facilities, according to sources familiar with the plan.

The study, which will examine the oil, electricity, nuclear and renewables sectors, is included in the conference report for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and will be completed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in two years.

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EPA DRAFTING NSR RULE BACKING NEW EMISSIONS MEASUREMENT APPROACH

EPA is working on a regulation that would back the electric utility industry's interpretation of how to measure pollution increases under the new source review (NSR) program, raising questions over whether the agency is retreating from the approach used to pursue alleged violations by Duke Energy and other utilities, according to knowledgeable sources.

The work comes with EPA air chief Jeffrey Holmstead poised to depart the agency, and amid speculation that the air office is poised to soon issue one or more proposals or final rules.

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NEW REPORT CONCLUDES CAIR INADEQUATE TO PROTECT SOME ECOSYSTEMS

A long-overdue government report suggests EPA's clean air interstate rule (CAIR) may be inadequate to protect or restore some ecosystems from the damage caused by acid rain, and that further emission reductions from utilities may be necessary.

The White House released its National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program Report to Congress on Aug. 22, following requests from several lawmakers. The study is required by statute every two years but was last completed in 1998. The report is available on InsideEPA.com.

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ENERGY LAW STUDY COULD BACK USE OF CROSS-SOURCE EMISSIONS TRADING

The new national energy law requires EPA to evaluate the idea of allowing companies to trade air emissions credits between mobile and stationary sources of pollution, a mandate that environmentalists fear is the first step towards authorizing widespread use of the controversial practice.

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EPA PUSH TO INCLUDE AIR TOXICS IN STATE AIR PLANS DRAWS MIXED REACTION

EPA is working on a guidance for states to include air toxics in their state air quality plans for the first time, and also examine multiple pollutants within a single plan. Yet the agency is getting mixed reaction from EPA regions and state air officials who say the potential change, aimed at streamlining the state planning process, could instead add significant complications.

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Water Utilities Cite Study To Defend EPA Disinfection Byproduct Rule

Drinking water utility officials are citing a new study partially funded by EPA that finds fewer risks from disinfection byproducts (DBPs) than previous research in an effort to defend a pending agency regulation that environmentalists have opposed because they believe it encourages the use of chlorine.

The final agency rule, which is expected by early next year, addresses how utilities must treat DBPs to prevent miscarriages in pregnant women and other public health risks.

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