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Congress

Democrats Work To Lift GOP Hold On Bill Forcing EPA To Ban Asbestos

Senate Democrats are working to overcome a Republican senator's efforts to block a floor vote on a bipartisan bill requiring EPA to ban asbestos.

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EPA IG Nominee Parries Tough Questioning From Senate Democrats

President Bush's nominee for EPA inspector general (IG), Andrew Cochran, appeared to stave off tough questioning from Senate Democrats concerned about his independence from the Bush administration, his experience reviewing environmental issues and his commitment to reviewing both EPA programs and financial matters.

Cochran repeatedly vowed at an Oct. 2 confirmation hearing to conduct a range of aggressive investigations if confirmed and denied that he is concerned only about financial audits.

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As Senate Eyes Farm Bill Tax Credits, Activists Seek Wetlands Fund

As the Senate prepares to consider funding several Farm Bill programs with tax credits, rather than direct payments, environmentalists are urging key committee leaders to create a trust fund for an important wetlands protection program as a way to preserve direct payments for the programs.

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House Democrat Sees Long Road To Developing Clean Water Trust Fund

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is pledging to drum up congressional support for a federal clean water trust fund to pay for wastewater infrastructure, but the member of the House Ways & Means Committee is warning it may take a couple of years to work out the details on the size, structure and funding mechanism for the fund.

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Environmentalists Fear Voluntary Cleanup Plan Could Hamper Mining Bill

Environmentalists are raising concerns that possible attempts by sporting groups to add voluntary cleanup protections to a House mining reform bill would create jurisdictional conflicts in Congress that could complicate promising efforts to move the legislation in the current Congress.

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House Panel Floats Plan For Energy Department To Store Surplus Mercury

Members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee are proposing a plan under which the Department of Energy (DOE) would take custody of elemental mercury generated within the United States while generators that send the metal to DOE for storage would be relieved of liability, according to draft legislative language obtained by Inside EPA. The proposal is likely to win praise from industry officials, who have long argued that the federal government should take responsibility for mercury stockpiles.

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Democrats Fault EPA Claims In Bid To Preserve Superfund Budget Hike

House Democrats are accusing EPA of making misleading claims about the complexity of pending cleanups at toxic waste sites in an effort to preserve a $27 million increase for Superfund cleanups contained in the agency's pending fiscal year 2008 spending bill, which President Bush has threatened to veto, Capitol Hill sources say.

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Water Infrastructure Bond Bill May Offer Alternative To EPA Plan

A recently introduced bill aimed at letting states keep interest earned on investments made with federal water infrastructure loans may offer lawmakers a less controversial alternative to an EPA plan to boost infrastructure funding through bonds that fund partnerships with the private sector.

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FY08 Budget Clash Could Force Cuts To Democrats' Priorities For EPA

The showdown between President Bush and congressional Democrats over federal spending limits in fiscal year 2008 could force lawmakers to scale back proposed funding increases for key Democratic policy priorities, including huge increases for EPA's clean water state revolving loan fund (SRF) and new funding for an EPA-led climate change commission, Capitol Hill sources say.

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Limited New Superfund Sites Highlight Need For Inquiry, Democrats Say

EPA's addition of only seven new sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) represents the lowest number of contaminated sites added in at least 12 years, according to a Democratic source, who says EPA's actions underscore the need for a pending Government Accountability Office (GAO) inquiry into the listing decisions.

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