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Enviro-Newsbrief February 18, 1999


Enviro-Newsbrief                             February 18, 1999

     The following is a daily update summarizing news of interest
to EPA staff. It includes information from current news sources:
newspapers, newsletters, and other publications. For more
information, contact the EPA Headquarters Information Resources
Center at (202) 260-5922, or e-mail LIBRARY-HQ.

**Viewpoints expressed in the following summaries do not
necessarily reflect EPA policy**

A searchable archive of past Enviro-Newsbriefs can be found on
the EPA web site at the following URL:
http://www.epa.gov/natlibra/hqirc/enb.htm



** CLEAN AIR **

EPA Wants Light Trucks To Meet Car Standards. The Washington
Post, February 18, 1999, ppE1,8. Full text available at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-02/18/169l-02189
9-idx.html .

     The Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations
that would require light trucks and sports utility vehicles to
reduce their emissions to the same level required for cars. An
accompanying regulation would require oil companies to begin the
production of cleaner gasoline.
     These new regulations, which are both expected to be
implemented in 2004, would markedly improve the quality of the
nation's air, according to EPA. Because the regulations will
result in higher prices on both gasoline and vehicles, they could
help to reduce consumer demand for vehicles that use a lot of
fuel, such as SUVs.  Light trucks (including SUVs, pickups, vans
and minivans) currently make up 47.5 percent of new vehicles sold
in the nation. On average, they get about 20.7 miles per gallon
of gasoline, while traditional automobiles get about 27.5 miles
per gallon.
     The regulations follow nearly two years of battling by the
automobile manufacturing industry and the petroleum industry over
which industry should be responsible for reducing air pollution.
"The industry would like very much to be positive in this thing,"
said an auto industry executive. "We're going to work hard to put
the best light on a bad situation."
     Environmental officials at the state and local level are
lauding this decision. William Becker, director of a national
organization of state and local air pollution officials, called
the proposed rules "the single most important action that [EPA]
Administrator [Carol] Browner will be taking over the next couple
of years in addressing air pollution and environmental quality."



** ENVIRONMENTALISM **

Training Needed for Salt Lake City Olympics Eco-Awareness. Lycos'
Environmental News Service, February 18, 1999. Full text
available at http://ens.lycos.com/ens/feb99/1999L-02-17-09.html .

     As a result of the recent bribery scandal surrounding the
2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, environmentalists are hoping
that new leadership for the event will focus more on the
environmental impact of the games. "Environment," along with
"Culture" and "Sports," is one of the official tenets of the
games in Salt Lake, but it has yet to receive much attention.
Environmentalists are beginning to pressure the new president of
the Olympics in Salt Lake City and Utah's governor to appoint
environmentalists to the Olympic Board Management Committee or to
drop the "Environment" tenet.



** OIL SPILL **

Half of Fuel on Oregon Ship Is Burned; Coast Guard Considers
Disposal Methods. Daily Environment Report, February 18, 1999,
pA-7.

     The US Navy's attempt to burn off fuel from the New Carissa
succeeded in burning about half of the 400,000 gallons aboard the
ship, said the US Coast Guard yesterday. The remaining fuel is
not a major threat for a spill because it is thick and waxy, but
it is also difficult to burn.
     The ship has broken in half since its grounding, and most of
the remaining fuel is in the forward half. Coast Guard officials
are considering towing this half out to deep water and sinking
it. The thickness of the fuel and the cold temperature of the
water would reduce the risk of oil contamination. Another option
would be to dismantle the front section of the ship to remove the
oil, but the heavy surf could increase the likelihood of leaks.
Also, roads would have to be built on the beach to remove the
fuel.
     According to EPA officials in Region X, no special permits
are required for the Coast Guard to dispose of the ship at sea
because this is an emergency situation.
     A Coast Guard investigation into the cause of the grounding
of the New Carissa is being opened today.




** TOXIC SUBSTANCES **

Major Animal Welfare Groups Ask Gore To Delay HPV Chemical
Testing Program. Daily Environment Report, February 18, 1999,
ppA-7-8.

     Several major animal rights groups have sent a letter to
Vice President Al Gore protesting the implementation of the high
production volume (HPV) chemical testing program. Under the HPV
Challenge Program, companies will generate new test data or
release unpublished data on the health and environmental effects
of 2,800 chemicals.
     The letter urges the Vice President to delay the program
until the following four issues can be addressed: 1) a lack of
public review on the initiative, which was not described in the
Federal Register; 2)examination of existing data; 3)the needless
inclusion of well-studied substances in this initiative, and;
4)the adoption of non-animal testing procedures.
     "It is time for Gore to understand this is not the way to
proceed," said Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians
Committee for Responsible Medicine. Barnard warned that if the
program was not delayed until serious concerns could be
addressed, people who formerly viewed Gore as an environmentalist
and supporter of animal welfare would see him as "a phony."

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