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Policy & Regulatory Briefing: Truck Fuel Standards, Air Rules under Fire

President Obama is expected to announce new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks tomorrow at Interstate Moving Services in Springfield, Va., the Hill said. A White House statement said the standards will save fuel and cut pollution.

The EPA will take comments on its draft Scientific Integrity Policy (pdf) until Sept. 6. The policy addresses quality standards, communications with the public, the use of advisory committees and peer review, and professional development. Comments should be sent to osa.staff@epa.gov.

Illinois governor Pat Quinn announced on Sunday that he has signed bills creating a council to study the potential for wind energy projects on Lake Michigan, and allowing counties to establish wind farm districts. Both laws take effect immediately, the Daily Herald reports.

PNM, the New Mexico electric utility owned by PNM Resources, said it will appeal the EPA’s decision to require expensive environmental controls on the San Juan Generating Station. The company said the federal rules can be met with a state-approved technology that is one-tenth the cost of the selective catalytic reduction units the agency is requiring.

Platts.com reported that Edison Electric Institute, the leading U.S. investor-owned utility trade group, will ask President Obama to extend by six years the compliance deadline for the EPA’s rule limiting mercury and air toxics emissions. The agency predicted most facilities will be able to meet the original maximum achievable control technology deadlines but does allow one-year extensions.

Two southern electric power companies registered their concerns about EPA-proposed air emissions regulations. Dallas-based Luminant is seeking a stay of the part of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that applies to electric generating units in Texas. Atlanta-based Southern Company submitted comments, saying that the requirement for maximum achievable control technology could result in approximately 40 per cent of the coal fleet being either retired or transitioned to natural gas.

Construction has begun on an oil refinery on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota after the EPA approved a permit for discharging treated wastewater from the process, FuelFix.com said. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said the tribe may still need to get other permits but the wastewater one was important.

Citing improper hazardous waste disposal and poor technical standards, China has shut down 583 lead acid battery manufacturing plants, the Economic Observer said. The Chinese government said the Ministry of Environmental Protection inspected more than 1,900 plants through the cooperation of nine government departments.

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