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Wednesday, Sep 17th

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Administration Loosens Species Protections

The Interior Department yesterday finalized rules changing the way it administers the Endangered Species Act, enabling other government agencies to decide on their own whether a project would harm an imperiled species without an independent scientific review.

The agency received nearly 235,000 comments on the endangered species proposal, at least 208,000 of which were form letters decrying the rule.

"As the Bush administration fades off into the sunset, it continues to take brazen pot shots at everything in sight, including America's landmark conservation law, the Endangered Species Act," said House Resources Committee Chairman  Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.), who said he would introduce legislation seeking to overturn the rule next year. 

TVNL Comment: The Bush administration's legacy of death and destruction will continue to have a negative impact on this planet for a long, long time.

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California Rules to Cut Diesel Truck Pollution Called Most Sweeping in U.S.

The California Air Resources Board today approved two diesel truck regulations that will dramatically cut the largest source of diesel pollution in the state and are the first of their kind in the United States, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The Air Resource Board estimates that the truck regulations are expected to save 9,400 lives between 2010 and 2025 and greatly reduce health care costs.

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EPA Drops Rules Easing Controls on Power Plants

Six weeks before leaving office, the Bush administration is giving up on an effort to ease restrictions on pollution from coal-burning power plants, a key plank of its original energy agenda and one that put the president at odds with environmentalists his entire eight years in the White House.

President George W. Bush had hoped to make both changes to air pollution regulations final before leaving office on Jan. 20. In the midst of a coal-fired power plant construction boom, the rules would have made it easier for energy companies to expand existing facilities and to erect new power plants in areas of the country that meet air quality standards.

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Fragranced Products Emit Toxic Chemicals

Steinemann put six different fragranced products - dryer sheets, a fabric softener, a laundry detergent, and three different air fresheners (one solid, one spray and one oil) - into an isolated, room-temperature enclosure and used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that they emitted. She found that together, the products emitted almost 100 different VOCs, every one at levels higher than 300 micrograms per cubic meter.

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Exxon Valdez spill payments reach claimants

The millions of dollars Exxon Mobil Corp. has surrendered as punishment for the Prince William Sound oil spill have started hitting the streets, nearly 20 years after the disaster.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs and Exxon continue to battle in court over whether the oil company owes interest on the punitive damages award. If so, the interest could roughly double the total payout.

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EPA to gut mountaintop mining rule protecting streams

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday approved a last-minute rule change by the Bush administration that will allow coal companies to bury streams under the rocks leftover from mining.

The 11th hour change before President George W. Bush leaves office would eliminate a tool that citizens groups have used in lawsuits to keep mining waste out of streams. Mining companies had been pushing for the change for years.

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Bush administration quietly works to torpedo global warming regulations

Top Bush administration figures have been e-mailing sympathetic mayors and other allies encouraging them to oppose Environmental Protection Agency rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The Supreme Court last year ordered the EPA to craft a proposal to limit the emissions under the Clean Air Act, but the White House made clear it doesn't like the idea.

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