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DEMOCRATS CHARGE ADMINISTRATION PLANS $150 MILLION CUT TO EPA'S FY06 BUDGET

House Democrats are citing a recently issued White House guidance to charge that the Bush administration plans to slash EPA's fiscal year 2006 budget $150 million from spending levels the administration requested for the agency in FY05.

The charge comes as EPA officials have begun meeting to develop the agency's proposed FY06 budget request. Agencies generally submit their proposed budgets to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) shortly after Labor Day. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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EPA TO INCLUDE CLIMATE CHANGE IN NEXT STATE-OF-ENVIRONMENT REPORT

EPA is planning to address global climate change in its next report on the state of the environment, a key agency official says, after removing a section on the topic from the inaugural version of the document.

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EPA TO UNVEIL SCIENTIFIC REVIEW THAT MAY PROMPT TOUGHER AIR PARTICLE CONTROLS

An EPA scientific panel is expected within the next few days to release the latest version of its scientific document on the health effects of pollution from fine particles (PM2.5), which could lead to recommendations for stricter limits on the air pollutant.

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COURT RULING MAY ELEVATE SNOWMOBILE ISSUE FOR NEXT WHITE HOUSE

A recent federal court ruling questioning EPA regulations for snowmobile engines may give environmental groups a new opportunity to push for stronger standards, though some environmentalists say a major change could depend on the presidential election.

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UAW WON'T SUPPORT BUSH, DESPITE KERRY PLAN TO HIKE CAFE STANDARDS

The United Autoworkers Union (UAW) will not support the re-election of President Bush in part because of the loss of autoworker jobs under his administration, a United Autoworkers union lobbyist says. The union instead is supporting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, despite the Massachusetts senator's uncertain views on raising mandatory fuel economy standards.

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DEMOCRATS USE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES TO REACH RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

Democratic activists seeking to narrow the Republican advantage among religious voters are promoting environmental issues as a way to reach voters who supported President Bush in the last election.

At the same time, a key left-leaning group is launching a multi-year effort to court religious communities on issues that include the environment, noting recent interest from Christian, Jewish and other faith groups in mercury pollution and global warming.

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ACTIVIST REPORT OFFERS FIRST-TIME COMPARISON OF MULTI-POLLUTANT BILLS

A high-profile study released by environmentalists earlier this month is the first analysis to compare the health impacts of three major multi-pollutant bills pending in Congress, likely providing ammunition to opponents of the Bush administration's Clear Skies initiative.

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ADVOCATES HAIL HEART ASSOCIATION LINK OF POLLUTION TO HEART DISEASE

The first-time acknowledgment by the American Heart Association (AHA) that air pollution is a serious cardiovascular risk is being applauded by environmental advocates who hope the scientific statement is only the beginning of AHA activism on the issue. They say the significance of a group such as AHA weighing in could boost efforts to require stringent reductions in air pollution and lead to even stricter clean air standards.

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NORTHEAST ATTORNEYS GENERAL DEMAND PRESIDENTIAL RESPONSE ON TVA

Seven Northeast attorneys general (AGs) are urging President Bush to immediately order the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to remedy alleged clean air permit violations by installing pollution control equipment, arguing that only the president has the authority to require such actions now that the challenge to the government utility by EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) was lost in federal court and rejected for review by the Supreme Court.

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INDUSTRY DEALS MAY PRESSURE REGULATORS ON CLEAN-COAL TECHNOLOGY

Environmentalists and industry officials say two recent industry agreements on advanced coal gasification technology may pressure regulators to embrace the technology as an alternative to traditional coal-fired power generation.

Environmentalists say the agreements could bolster their pleas that air quality regulators and utility commissions must consider requiring the technology -- integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology -- while some industry officials say the agreements could make it easier for banks and utilities to back the emerging technology.

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