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Budget

DOUBTS REMAIN ON EPA FY05 SPENDING LEVELS, DESPITE SENATE BUDGET BOOST

Uncertainty about the congressional schedule and major cuts pending in the House version of EPA's funding bill have observers doubting that the agency's fiscal year 2005 budget will include the more than $700 million boost above the administration's request that Senate appropriators approved last week, including a major boost for Superfund.

"It looks like EPA did well [in the Senate VA-HUD bill]," an agency official says. "We would love to be able to sustain the Senate level. . . . but history tells us it probably won't happen."

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DOUBTS REMAIN ABOUT EPA FY05 SPENDING, DESPITE SENATE BUDGET BOOST

Uncertainty about the congressional schedule and major cuts pending in the House version of EPA's funding bill have observers doubting that the agency's fiscal year 2005 budget will include the more than $700 million boost above the administration's request that Senate appropriators approved this week.

"It looks like EPA did well [in the Senate VA-HUD bill]," an agency official says. "We would love to be able to sustain the Senate level. . . but history tells us it probably won't happen."

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DEMOCRATS EYE BUDGET 'RIDER' FOR EPA STUDY ON MERCURY RULE

Congressional Democrats are considering plans to attach a legislative rider to EPA's upcoming budget bill that would force the agency to study alternatives to its controversial mercury emissions plan, after top officials have so far declined to move forward on this research.

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SENATE GOP 'RIDERS' TARGET ENVIRONMENTALISTS' LAWSUITS AGAINST CAFOS

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) may seek to prevent future citizen lawsuits against concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) by attaching legislative riders to EPA's spending bill that exempt the facilities from Superfund and other environmental reporting requirements, according to a Craig staffer.

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Doubts Remain On EPA FY05 Spending Levels, Despite Senate Budget Boost

Uncertainty about the congressional schedule and major cuts pending in the House version of EPA's funding bill have observers doubting that the agency's fiscal year 2005 budget will include the more than $700 million boost above the administration's request that Senate appropriators approved this week.

"It looks like EPA did well [in the Senate VA-HUD bill]," an agency official says. "We would love to be able to sustain the Senate level. . . but history tells us it probably won't happen."

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Draft Blueprint Lays Out Revenue Options For Clean Water Trust Fund

Municipal wastewater treatment officials are circulating a draft blueprint for a clean water infrastructure trust fund that suggests financing the fund by taxing bottled drinks or reinstating an expired Superfund tax targeting large corporations, sources say.

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Senate Panel Boosts EPA's FY05 Funding By $700 Million

The Senate Appropriations Committee has boosted EPA's fiscal year 2005 budget by more than $700 million above the Bush administration's request, including a $500 million increase for clean water infrastructure funds. The bill also increases Superfund funding by $120 million over FY04 levels.

The committee voted Sept. 21 to approve the VA-HUD Appropriations bill, which funds EPA at $8.5 billion for FY05 -- $134.6 million above the FY04 enacted level.

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EPA THREATENS CUTS UNLESS REGIONS USE NEW WATER CLEANUP METHODS

EPA is warning its regional Superfund offices that they may face funding cuts if they do not adopt new strategies to conserve resources at costly groundwater cleanups, according to a new agency document.

In an Aug. 25 action plan, developed in response to state officials' concerns that they lack the funding to manage the expensive cleanups, EPA lays out the steps it will take to improve its groundwater remedies at Superfund sites -- known as "optimization."

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DRAFT BLUEPRINT LAYS OUT REVENUE OPTIONS FOR CLEAN WATER TRUST FUND

Municipal wastewater treatment officials are circulating a draft blueprint for a clean water infrastructure trust fund that suggests financing the fund by taxing bottled drinks or reinstating an expired Superfund tax targeting large corporations, sources say.

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SENATE BUDGET PLAN COULD RESTORE $500 MILLION IN CLEAN WATER CUTS

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), chairman of the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, is working on a proposal to increase funding for veterans groups that the senator and other observers say could allow the panel to restore at least some of the $500 million in clean water funds the House cut from EPA's fiscal year 2004 budget.

Bond's efforts come after intense lobbying by a bipartisan group of senators and a broad coalition of environmentalists, states and water utility officials reiterated the importance of restoring the funds.

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