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EPA Wins White House Approval For Studying Endocrine Disruptors

EPA has won approval from White House budget officials for its endocrine disruptor programs, relieving concerns by agency officials that a low rating would result in spending cuts, government sources say.

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EPA Imposes New Cost-Benefit Reviews To Comply With OMB Guidance

EPA is expanding its internal review process for assessing pending regulations to comply with recent White House requirements for agency cost-benefit and other economic analyses, according to a recent agency memo obtained by Inside EPA.

The new process, which requires EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation (OPEI) to conduct additional reviews of regulatory cost-benefit analysis for major rules, is drawing strong criticism from officials across the agency, who expect the additional reviews to add months to the current review process.

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House Approval Of Ethanol Incentive Heightens Chance For Congressional Passage

The House's approval of an ethanol incentive as part of a massive industry tax-cut plan makes it nearly certain the provision will survive a congressional conference committee that will attempt to produce a final tax bill. A Senate-approved version of the tax bill contains an almost identical measure that would promote the use of the corn-based fuel.

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Dispute Leaves Yucca Nuclear Waste Site Facing Major Funding Cut

Disagreement between the Bush administration and Congress over the budgeting process for the Yucca Mountain project is likely to result in a major funding reduction for the planned nuclear waste disposal site in fiscal year 2005, according to industry, congressional and administration officials.

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EPA Science Advisers Urge Shift In Drinking Water Research Funding

EPA science advisers are urging the agency to shift its drinking water research focus from long-standing concerns about arsenic exposure and disinfection byproducts to other emerging issues, such as the development of a list of potential contaminants, the protection of watershed areas and upgrades in water distribution systems.

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Democrats Charge Administration Plans $150 Million Cut To EPA's FY06 Budget

House Democrats are citing a recently issued White House guidance to charge that the Bush administration plans to slash EPA's fiscal year 2006 budget $150 million from spending levels the administration requested for the agency in FY05. The charge comes as EPA officials have begun meeting to develop the agency's proposed FY06 budget request. Agencies generally submit their proposed budgets to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shortly after Labor Day.

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Draft Senate GOP Bill Proposes Funding Hike For Water Treatment Loans

Senate Republican staff are circulating draft legislation that would boost funding for the clean water and drinking water revolving loan funds and impose new management requirements on utility operators.

But the draft bill is silent on federal wage requirements and funding allocation provisions that key senators say have stalled bipartisan negotiations on the bill.

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House Committee Rejects Senate Plan To Double Water Infrastructure Spending

House lawmakers appear unlikely to back Senate efforts to more than double current spending on wastewater and drinking water infrastructure maintenance and improvements, despite lobbying efforts by a broad coalition of environmentalists and water utility officials.

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EPA Officials Question Reform Plan For Superfund Oversight

EPA officials say scarce enforcement resources may make it difficult to implement a key staff recommendation that the agency's enforcement office replace regional program offices in overseeing Superfund cleanups at the 70 percent of sites where polluters conduct remediation.

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EPA Program Offices Warn Security Directives Sap Environmental Efforts

EPA program officials are warning that, without increased funding, White House counter-terror directives will have "serious consequences for our environmental programs," according to an internal agency budget document on agency security activities obtained by Inside EPA.

The document, dated April 30, was prepared for a recent briefing with agency Acting Deputy Administrator Stephen Johnson and describes the agency's fiscal year 2006 security goals under various budget scenarios.

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