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Daily News

March 09, 2001

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The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is calling on congressional budget writers to boost funding for water infrastructure, but not until fiscal year 2003 despite broad agreement that funding for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure is sorely needed right away.

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March 08, 2001

Despite strong Senate support for a bipartisan brownfields bill, the prospects for speedy congressional action on brownfields legislation are unclear because of renewed partisan feuding on the issue in a key House panel.

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March 07, 2001

Senate Democrats and the Bush administration appear headed for a showdown over the president's decision to suspend a host of environmental regulations approved by the Clinton EPA. Top ranking Democrats on the Senate environment committee have set an imminent deadline for the Bush EPA to provide a legal justification for the suspension and a full list of regulations snagged by the initiative. In a letter to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, Sen.

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An unprecedented action by Congress to overturn a federal regulation could mark the beginning of a broader effort by conservative lawmakers and industry groups to challenge a host of requirements, including environmental controls. The action blocked a Clinton administration standard on worker safety.

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March 06, 2001

Though seemingly impossible only months ago, U.S. electric utility executives are apparently seriously considering the construction of nuclear plants as an option for boosting the nation's power supply, according to informed Washington sources, who are suggesting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) may soon see its first application for new nuclear generation in almost twenty years.

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President Bush's nomination of Harvard Professor John D. Graham to a key regulatory review post at the Office of Management and Budget has drawn gasps from environmentalists who say they are considering opposing his appointment during the Senate confirmation process. At the same time, industry officials are applauding the selection of Graham to be Administrator of the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs. Graham has been a vocal critic of a number of federal environmental protection programs.

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House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) has announced that he will be the "energy point man" in the House on coordinating efforts with the White House to develop a national energy strategy. A pivotal role by DeLay in the energy debate will likely draw protests from environmentalists given the GOP leader's long-standing criticism of EPA and tough environmental controls.

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March 02, 2001

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Eastern states are expected to revise a regional plan for controlling nitrogen oxides (NOx) to provide greater flexibility for emergency generators to operate during electricity supply shortages. The move comes following a request for the policy change by manufacturers of the generators and is in response to heightened concerns about possible energy shortages throughout the Northeast similar to the power crisis being experienced in California.

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A policy showdown is brewing over an EPA proposal to establish emission controls on non-road recreational vehicles and motorcycles. State air regulators say the first-time emission limits are an important step in helping local governments meet federal clean air goals, while engine makers are blasting the plan as technologically infeasible.

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February 28, 2001

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EPA and California are drafting permit "templates" to speed environmental reviews of natural-gas fired electricity generators in an effort to boost the construction of new power plants in response to the state's energy crisis, while minimizing air quality impacts.

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The nation's governors have asked President Bush to overhaul a Clinton administration plan to streamline environmental reviews of highway and other transportation projects. The governors say the plan will actually complicate state efforts to improve air quality by reducing traffic congestion and urban sprawl.

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February 27, 2001

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Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) plans to introduce legislation this week to block oil and gas drilling in Alaskan wilderness, complicating efforts by the White House and the Senate energy committee chairman to boost the nation's fossil-fuel supplies through expanded exploration. The prominent Democrat hopes to expand federal protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to include a portion eyed by the White House and some lawmakers for drilling.

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The Navy plans over the next year to conduct a major audit of the military's environmental liabilities and expenditures. The extensive financial review, to be conducted by the Naval Audit Service, will also examine the possibility of recovering unused funds for base closures and track the Navy's progress in meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets, as well as pollution prevention goals and hazardous materials reduction.

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The leading Democrat on the Senate energy committee has issued an apparent warning to his GOP colleagues that failure to boost energy conservation and efficiency in the measure would jeopardize passage of comprehensive legislation to deal with the nation's energy crisis. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-MN) questions whether the bill will garner bipartisan support without a boost to energy efficiency provisions.

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EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman says the Bush administration will oppose some Senate Republicans' efforts to broaden the scope of a bipartisan brownfields bill to include controversial reforms to the Superfund law.

Whitman told Senate lawmakers at a Feb. 27 hearing that the Bush administration "believes that brownfields legislation is important enough to be considered independently from other statutory reform efforts, such as Superfund."

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Tom Gibson has been named EPA's Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy, Economics & Innovation. Gibson is joining the agency after serving as Majority Deputy Staff Director and Counsel on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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The wood treatment industry plans to file suit this week against EPA's arsenic in drinking water rule, signifying the beginning of what is expected to be an onslaught of legal challenges intended to gut the rule.

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February 26, 2001

Environmentalists have taken legal action against air quality regulators in San Francisco, adding to a growing number of lawsuits across the country regarding the efforts of some of the nation's largest cities to reduce smog. The San Francisco lawsuit is intended to force immediate implementation of "long-standing commitments to improve air quality" or be punished by federal officials through an abrupt halt of millions of dollars in transportation project funds.

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