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Budget

California Lawmakers Eye Fuel Fees To Pay For Emission Reduction Efforts

Legislation introduced in California would divert revenue from existing diesel fuel taxes, or establish new fees on gasoline and diesel purchased at the pump, to help pay for air pollution and other environmental protection programs. The proposals reflect concern among state officials nationwide who are looking for ways to fund environmental protection programs amid increasing budget constraints.

But the California legislation is expected to face strong opposition from the oil industry, anti-tax groups and automobile associations, sources say.

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OMB Downgrade Of EPA Regulatory Benefits Draws Fire From Lawmakers

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has adjusted downward by $60 billion earlier estimates of the benefits of EPA regulations. The adjustment is the result of an OMB decision to exclude the benefits of EPA's acid rain program, which was established before the ten-year period covered by the latest review, according to a key OMB official.

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House Renewable Energy Caucus Seeks Boost To Bush Funding Proposal

The leaders of a House bipartisan caucus on renewable energy are formulating a strategy for increasing federal funds, following criticism by advocacy groups who say the Bush administration's recent budget request falls short on conservation and relies too heavily on fossil fuels other traditional energy sources.

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EPA Finds Poor Clean Water Compliance At Federal Facilities

EPA has concluded that nearly one-third of federal facilities were not in compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA) in fiscal year 2002, compared with more than 90 percent compliance rates for hazardous waste, clean air and drinking water statutes. While federal facilities compliance rates are generally equal or better than private industry for most environmental laws, CWA compliance is significantly lower than the private sector, according to a new EPA study.

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DOE Budget Broadens Eligibility For Increased Clean-Coal Research Funds

The Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing increasing clean-coal research spending by more than 50 percent and is dramatically expanding the criteria for projects to qualify for the federal assistance. DOE also is expected to submit to Congress by the end of this month a detailed timeline for developing a prototype coal-fired power plant that produces zero greenhouse gases.

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DOE Cuts Oil, Gas Extraction Research Funding Tagged 'Ineffective' By OMB

President Bush's budget request for fiscal year 2005 would cut funding for the Department of Energy's (DOE) key research initiatives for developing technologies to boost oil and natural gas production. While the initiatives' goals mirror the president's priorities for increasing U.S. energy independence, the White House budget office has ranked the research programs as "ineffective."

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EPA Renews Request For Increased Cleanup Funds Despite Past Congressional Denials

EPA has renewed a request to Congress for increased funding for both the Superfund and brownfields cleanup programs, a proposal that was rejected by lawmakers in appropriating current fiscal year spending.

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EPA Proposed Cuts In Water Funding Draws Criticism From States

EPA is proposing substantial cuts in funding for nonpoint sources of water pollution and sewage treatment infrastructure, while requesting $20 million in spending increases for monitoring to improve assessments about the nation's overall water quality, among other program increases.

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Environmentalists Blast EPA Proposed Research Spending Reduction

EPA proposed reductions in research spending are drawing sharp criticism from environmentalists -- who question how an administration that stresses "sound science" can justify the cuts. Overall, agency research spending would fall by about $100 million from 2004 levels, according to budget analysts.

At the same time, some cuts are prompting worry among agency staff as well.

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EPA Proposes Ending Research Funds For Building Cleanups Amid Ricin Scare

EPA is planning to eliminate research funding for developing technologies to clean up buildings contaminated by biological toxins or other dangerous pollutants resulting from a terrorist attack, according to the agency's fiscal year 2005 budget request. EPA created the program in the wake of the anthrax attacks in 2001 that contaminated several congressional office buildings, and was originally intended to last through fiscal year 2005.

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