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EPA Eyes Multi-Year Strategy To Ease Superfund Budget Woes

EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) is developing a multi-year Superfund cleanup planning and funding strategy in an effort to address the program's budget constraints. Sources say dwindling funds have already contributed to cleanup delays at a number of waste sites, including the highly publicized cleanup effort for New York's Hudson River.

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Senate Rejects Superfund Tax Renewal

The Senate has soundly defeated an effort by a largely Democratic coalition to reauthorize the Superfund taxes as part of a fiscal year 2004 budget resolution. But the sponsors of the renewed tax say they will continue to push for passage.

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Senate Adds $3.5 Billion To Bush Clean Water Loan Funding Request

The Senate has added $3.5 billion to the administration's request for funding EPA's state revolving loan fund (SRF) programs, approving a total of $5.2 billion for the programs. The efforts come as the Senate is considering a non-binding congressional blueprint for fiscal year 2004, and may foreshadow budget battles in the upcoming months as Congress works to complete appropriations legislation by this fall.

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White House Seeks To Reform Budget Process For Waste Cleanups

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is drafting legislation that would drastically alter the way the government budgets for future hazardous waste cleanups by requiring that cleanup funds be set aside at the time that federal agencies procure assets that generate such waste.

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States Blast EPA Method For Evaluating Brownfields Program

The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) is criticizing an EPA proposal to track employment levels and increases in revenue resulting from the cleanup of contaminated properties as a way to measure the success of the agency's brownfields program, saying the approach is inappropriate and represents guesswork.

The agency's proposal comes after EPA's inspector general last summer strongly criticized the agency's use of economic, rather than environmental and human health, criteria to evaluate the program.

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EPA Offers States Options For Cutting Water Program Costs

Knowing that states face increased budget constraints, EPA water officials are offering states a suite of ideas for making water programs less costly, including new permit streamlining and greater use of statistical sampling in water quality monitoring.

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Bipartisan Senate Push Seeks To Restore Bush Proposed Water Funding Cuts

The Bush administration faces a bipartisan push in the Senate to restore proposed funding cuts for EPA water quality state grants, while Democrats are calling for an increase in funds for Superfund and environmental enforcement. The efforts come as the Senate is poised to consider a non-binding congressional blueprint for fiscal year 2004, and may foreshadow budget battles in the upcoming months as Congress works to complete appropriations legislation by this fall.

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Senate Budget Chairman Sets Stage For Renewed Showdown Over ANWR Drilling

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles (R-OK) has included revenue estimates from opening up a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration in a pending fiscal year 2004 budget resolution, setting the stage for a contentious congressional debate that helped kill comprehensive energy legislation last year.

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Industry Fears States Will Use Resource Damage Claims To Offset Budget Woes

The recent expanded effort by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to investigate and enforce claims of natural resource damage (NRD) is raising industry fears that states may seek to use the controversial claims to offset state environmental budgets cuts resulting from a nationwide plague of deficits.

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House Lawmakers Pledge Restoration Of FY04 Brownfields Funding Cuts

House lawmakers are pledging to reinstate cuts to federal brownfields funding by appropriating $25 million in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) grant program that the Bush administration cut in its fiscal year 2004 budget. This effort comes as congressional lawmakers are promoting legislation to ease municipal governments' ability to access the funds.

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