SHORT CUTS

EPA TO REGULATE DIESEL, DIESEL-BURNING ENGINES

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is setting emission standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses slated to take effect beginning in 2007. The agency also will require refineries to start producing diesel with a lower sulfur content by mid-2006. Several industry groups and companies have petitioned the EPA to reconsider the decision, but the EPA recently rejected the petitions.

Petroleum producers estimate that the regulations could raise the price of diesel fuel by 11 cents. The rule is intended to reduce sulfur emissions by 95 percent and force vehicle manufacturers to produce engines that burn diesel more cleanly, the goal being to reduce soot and smog emissions by at least 90 percent.

WATER TMDL RULE PUT ON HOLD

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The EPA has proposed delaying the effective date of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rules by 18 months. The agency announced that it is proposing to reconsider some of the choices made in the July 2000 rule and will suggest necessary changes in the spring of 2002.

According to American Nursery and Landscape Association and other Clean Water Working Group coalition partners, this is good news because of concerns that the rule, as published, would hold farms, nurseries and other green-industry operations to specific numeric targets and permits for nonpoint source pollution. The EPA also proposed revising the date on which states are required to submit the next list of impaired waters. EPA is proposing to revise the date from April 1, 2002, to October 1, 2002.

For more details, go to www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/index.html.

RESEARCHERS CLONE POWDERY-MILDEW RESISTANCE GENE

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Ames, Iowa, have cloned and characterized the powdery mildew resistance gene from barley. This is the first successful cloning of a gene that confers active disease defense to small-grain cereals.

ARS scientists, working with outside researchers, isolated from barley two of the 30 alternative forms of the Mla resistance gene, Mla6 and Mla1. A patent has been filed on the newly isolated genes.

Powdery mildews form a superficial white, powdery coating on leaves, buds, shoots and flower petals. The mildews are caused by more than 1,600 species of fungi. It is a significant pest of turfgrasses, particularly Kentucky bluegrass, as well as numerous ornamentals.

The Ames researchers were able to show that Mla6 confers resistance to powdery mildew in wheat. This is the first demonstration of using genetic engineering to transfer a resistance gene between cereal crop species. The research aids the understanding of how disease resistance genes work in interactions between pathogens and their crop plant hosts.

NOTICE TO BENSUMEC USERS

PBI/Gordon is requesting that turf professionals do not use any Bensumec 4LF until further notice. More information, including instructions on what to do if you have already applied it and are experiencing some discoloration, is available at http://www.pbigordon.com/bensumec_message.htm.

GOLF CAREER GUIDANCE

Interested in a golf career but awakening to the fact you'll never make the PGA tour? Don't despair! Other golf-related career paths are open to you. Careers in Golf offers you an in-depth look at a range of career paths from golf pro, to superintendent, to facility manager. It also offers job-hunting tips, a list of golf-related organizations and manufacturers and interviews with golf industry professionals. A great resource for job seekers, Careers in Golf is authored by Nancy Berkley and available through the National Golf Foundation. Call 888-ASK-4NGF or go to www.ngf.org for more information.

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