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Lawmakers Amend Spending Rider To Require NAS, Not EPA, To Conduct State Air Study

Lawmakers debating the fiscal year 2003 federal spending bill have revised a number of EPA riders in the bill, including shifting responsibility from EPA to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for a contentious study of the procedures states use to develop emissions standards that differ from federal regulations, sources say.

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Obey Plans Last-Ditch Bid To Cut Riders, Raise EPA Spending In FY03 Bill

Rep. David Obey (WI), lead Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, is considering a last-ditch effort to remove several riders from EPA's spending bill for fiscal year 2003 that state officials and environmentalists say are environmentally damaging, congressional sources and environmentalists say. Obey and other Democrats will also try to convince Congress to raise EPA spending to levels agreed to by the House last year, the sources say.

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EPA Touts Trading, Permitting Plans To Fill Water Funding Gaps

EPA water chief Tracy Mehan says new tools such as EPA's water trading policy and watershed-based permitting plan, coupled with longstanding goals like improved asset management, will be needed to meet major water infrastructure funding needs in the absence of massive new federal funds. Mehan offered the multi-tiered approach at an EPA-convened water infrastructure forum Jan. 31.

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Drinking Water Panel Set To Back Low Income Subsidies In New Report

A panel of a federal drinking water advisory committee will soon recommend new steps to shield low-income households from water rate hikes that government and water system official agree are needed to meet major treatment and infrastructure costs in coming years, according to panel sources.

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States, Environmentalists Lobby To Block Riders In FY03 Budget

As lawmakers prepare to negotiate on the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2003, environmentalists and state officials are lobbying to block a host of so-called environmental riders, including an amendment imposing tougher federal oversight requirements on state air quality standards and an industry-backed proposal to allow continued uses of an ozone-depleting compound.

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Bush Hydrogen Plan Would Redefine Renewable Energy Funding To Include Coal, Nuclear

President Bush's plan to spend more than $1 billion to boost the production of hydrogen fuel cells would have the net effect of restructuring the Department of Energy's renewable energy program by drawing away research funds from wind and solar development while shifting some funds to traditional energy sources such as nuclear and coal-fired generators for use in hydrogen production.

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EPA Seeks Funds To Launch Effort Demonstrating Effectiveness Of Programs

EPA is seeking new funds to demonstrate that key programs and regulations improve human health and the environment in response to a controversial assessment by the White House's Office of Management & Budget (OMB) which found that the agency lacked sufficient justification for these programs.

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DOJ Budget Signals Crackdown On Hazmat Shipments To Address Security Concerns

The Justice Department (DOJ) is seeking fiscal year 2004 funds to crack down on violators of hazardous material transportation laws in an effort to address heightened concerns about homeland security, a key DOJ source says. Government lawyers will be looking for initial cases to serve as models for more widespread prosecution, signaling a major shift in the government's enforcement of hazardous material transportation laws, since most violators are currently not subject to federal prosecution but given administrative fines instead.

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Administration Criticized Over Proposed Cut Of Agriculture Renewable Energy Funding

Renewable energy advocates are criticizing a Bush administration request to eliminate in fiscal year 2004 funding previously mandated by Congress under the 2002 Farm Bill that would help the agriculture industry produce wind, biomass and other forms of renewable energy.

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DOE Budget Includes Increased Funding For Carbon Sequestration, Coal Power

The Department of Energy's $23.4-billion request for fiscal year 2004 includes a request for increased funding for carbon sequestration and a greater emphasis on advancing fuel-cell technology.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Feb. 3 touted the request as a 25-percent increase from what was requested during the last year of the Clinton administration.

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