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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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