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States Develop Database On Permit Fees To Identify Potential Revenue Sources

State environment officials are developing a database on the amount of fees states charge for a range of environmental permits, as a growing number of states are looking to address budget constraints by increasing or instituting new permit fees.

The database is being compiled by the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and will likely show increased state efforts to use fees to cover administrative and other costs of permit programs in the face of dwindling federal and state funds.

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EPA Audit Unlikely To Quell Congressional Concerns Over Agency Enforcement

EPA's inspector general released a highly anticipated audit that found the agency lacks the necessary information to identify resource needs, which could fuel concerns by some lawmakers about EPA's enforcement program.

A group of mostly Democratic lawmakers requested the audit after high-profile press reports cited deficiencies in EPA's criminal enforcement program.

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Groups' Split Over Water Tax Threatens Joint Lobbying Coalition's Membership

Long-standing differences between wastewater and drinking water groups over establishing a federal trust fund for water infrastructure needs are again emerging as a significant dispute, raising questions about the future membership of a joint lobbying coalition the groups created in 1999 to boost funding for water infrastructure projects.

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Senate Budget Panel Backs Rider Restricting State Air Quality Efforts

The Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to retain a contentious rider limiting states' ability to curb emissions from small engines as part of EPA's $8.18 billion spending bill for fiscal year 2004. The bill increases EPA spending by $552 million over the Bush administration's request and $105 million over FY03 EPA spending levels, according to a committee fact sheet.

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Senate Proposal Would Limit State Authority To Curb Small Engine Emissions

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), the chairman of a subcommittee with jurisdiction over EPA's budget, has reportedly inserted language into the agency's spending bill being considered this week that would restrict the ability of California and other states to issue their own regulations curbing air pollution from small engines.

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States Urge EPA To Push For Sufficient Funds In FY05

SALT LAKE CITY -- State environmental commissioners are urging EPA to recommend to the White House that the agency's fiscal year 2005 budget adequately fund state waste programs so that states continue to effectively implement delegated programs.

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Environmentalists Seek Senate Sponsors For House Riders To EPA Funding Bill

Environmentalists are seeking Senate sponsors for key funding and policy amendments the House attached to EPA spending legislation late last week that boost EPA enforcement and waste cleanup funding, while barring the Bush administration from implementing contentious pesticide and cost-benefit policies.

The amendments' backers say their passage shows conservatives are wary of opposing environmentalists and Democrats on several high profile green issues.

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Budget Cuts May Force Changes In EPA Process For Distributing Water Grants

The allotment formula EPA uses to distribute millions of dollars in state loans for drinking water system improvements may undergo a significant change because of the anticipated reduction in data gathered by states as a result of federal budget cuts and less assistance to states from the federal government.

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OMB Revises EPA Privatization Plan, But Fails To Quell Criticism

The Office of Management and Budget's announcement that it is dropping its controversial plan setting quotas for EPA and other agencies to open half of all jobs to private competition, replacing it with an agency-specific approach, is drawing bipartisan criticism that the administration is still arbitrarily seeking to cut the federal workforce.

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House Committee Urges EPA To Fully Fund Energy Star Conservation Program

The House Appropriations Committee has urged EPA to spend more than $50 million on its Energy Star program in the upcoming fiscal year. The committee's decision comes amid reports that EPA has cut the operating budget for the current fiscal year by as much as one-third for the highly touted program, which provides a federal seal of approval for energy-efficient consumer products.

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