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Budget

Lack Of Study Funds May Clear The Way For Widely Used Pesticide

Industry research used to justify an updated EPA risk assessment for the widely used pesticide dimethoate has drawn skepticism at a meeting of the agency's Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), but neither industry nor EPA is willing to fund further studies, prompting observers at the meeting to predict that the proposed risk assessment will escape major revisions.

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EPA UNION PUSH FOR EMPLOYEE BUYOUTS DRAWS 'BRAIN DRAIN' CONCERNS

EPA's personnel office is concerned that an agency union's push for an early retirement plan for mid-level employees could create a "brain drain" that will deprive the agency of important institutional knowledge, EPA sources say.

A personnel office source says the office is still evaluating whether there is a rational basis for extending a buyout plan previously offered to high-level managers to the mid-level employees, who make up roughly 48 percent of the agency's workforce. EPA must consider "whether we can afford it financially and . . . skillwise," the source says.

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OMNIBUS BILL CUTS EPA FUNDS FOR FY05, REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL 'RIDERS

An omnibus appropriations bill Congress approved Nov. 20 will slightly cut overall EPA spending, with the agency's water infrastructure loan program and Superfund program suffering the brunt of those reductions.

At the same time, lawmakers included several "riders" that will ease environmental protections for cattle grazing and wildlife areas, while rejecting other controversial proposals that environmentalists had argued would have gutted the Endangered Species Act.

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ACTING WASTE CHIEF DUNNE FLOATS SWEEPING REFORMS FOR SUPERFUND

EPA's acting waste chief Thomas Dunne is calling for a new national dialogue on Superfund's future that should consider drastic reforms for the financially strapped program, including a moratorium on new Superfund listings and cleanup activity and separate management and funding for costly "mega-sites."

With the 25th anniversary of Superfund approaching, Dunne says policymakers need to take a fresh look at reforming the program, which is facing a declining budget and new security and cleanup responsibilities that were not considered during the law's enactment.

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OMNIBUS BILL CUTS EPA FUNDS FOR FY05, REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL 'RIDERS'

An omnibus appropriations bill Congress approved Nov. 20 will slightly cut overall EPA spending, with the agency's water infrastructure loan program suffering the brunt of those reductions.

At the same time, lawmakers included several "riders" that will ease environmental protections for cattle grazing and wildlife areas, while rejecting other controversial proposals that environmentalists say would have gutted the Endangered Species Act.

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OMB Eyes Making Costs To Industry New Measure Of EPA Performance

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) may require EPA and other federal agencies to measure the effectiveness of their programs by considering the cost to industry of implementing regulations, an EPA source says.

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EPA Funding Crunch May Hamper Research On Gulf Of Mexico Pollution

A federal budget crunch could prevent EPA and other agencies from conducting research to determine whether to alter their approach for reversing low oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico caused by pollution, one EPA source says.

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PENTAGON VOWS TO REIN IN COSTS AT PUEBLO CHEM DEMIL SITE

A high-level DOD official says the Pentagon will scale back budget plans for DOD's innovative chemical weapons neutralization project in Pueblo, CO. The new limits could force cuts of as much as $1.15 billion from the estimated $2.65 billion budget program managers say is needed to meet the Pentagon's accelerated chemical destruction goals.

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EPA Funding Crunch May Hamper Research On Gulf Of Mexico Pollution

A federal budget crunch could prevent EPA and other agencies from conducting research to determine whether to alter their approach for reversing low oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico caused by pollution, one EPA source says.

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DRAFT WATER TRUST FUND BILL WOULD CREATE NEW TAX ON BOTTLED BEVERAGES

Draft legislation being circulated among wastewater and drinking water treatment officials would create a new tax on bottled beverages to finance a trust fund for clean water and safe drinking water utilities.

According to the discussion draft, legislation tentatively titled the Clean & Safe Water Trust Fund Act of 2005 would establish a fee of five cents per container on bottled beverages -- excluding milk and fruit juices -- to finance a trust fund for clean water and drinking water projects. The draft is available on InsideEPA.com.

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