Governor Gray Davis has been a man of action since the recall effort became a reality. Shortly after signing the long, hard-fought privacy legislation, he announced he would fight the Bush administration's final New Source Review rule. The contentious language of the rule released August 27 allows old power plants, refineries, and other industrial plants to expand without installing air-pollution controls, much to the dismay of many heads of state and clean-air advocates. "As we speak, the Bush administration is threatening to impose Texas-style environmental standards on California," Davis said August 28. The administration's plans to ease the federal Clean Air Act standard, he said, "aid and abet industrial polluters." Power plants in California that could reap the benefit of the new rule include Reliant's Etiwanda facilities in Southern California. Curtis Kebler, Reliant's director of asset management, said the company was in the process of reviewing the rule to see what the new information entailed. The NSR rule revision has been under fierce attack since it was announced months ago. A dozen East Coast attorneys general and California's Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed suit to bar the implementation of the proposed revision. They, along with the California Air Resources Board, are expected to challenge the final measure in court. Davis said he would sign a bill by Senator Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto), SB 288, which would require plants that upgrade in California to comply with stronger pollution standards. "These programs would ensure that emission controls are installed at the most cost-effective time in the construction or major modification of a facility," the governor said. The latest focus of the debate has been on how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines "routine maintenance," with industry representatives stating that the lack of clarity has kept them from upgrading their facilities. "The EPA is helping to remove powerful disincentives that stand in the way of better efficiency and reliability for the electrical system in the United States," said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry lobbying organization. Under the routine maintenance measure, emissions-control technology would not need to be installed if the cost of new equipment is not more than one-fifth the replacement cost of key equipment, such as a turbine. The new rule has led to not only a state-federal clash but possibly a clash with the judiciary branch. On August 7, a federal court held that First Energy Ohio Edison's failure to install pollution controls when it made significant plant upgrades violated the Clean Air Act's routine maintenance provision. Industrial plant owners got more good news today, which is sure to raise the hackles of environmentalists. The EPA rejected a petition that sought to have carbon dioxide regulated as a pollutant on grounds that the agency lacks the authority to regulate it.