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Congress

HOUSE CALIFORNIA LAW FOCUS MAY AID PUSH TO TIGHTEN SENATE ASBESTOS BILL

House Democrats are studying a strict California law governing the use of asbestos in road construction, a move that could help public health activists who are urging House lawmakers to strengthen a recently passed Senate bill intended to force EPA to ban the known carcinogen, informed sources say.

One informed source says the California law, which generally allows regulators to ban road material containing any asbestos, sets a precedent showing that regulators can set a threshold stricter than the levels contained in the Senate bill.

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DEMOCRATS VOW TO KILL EPA FY09 PLAN FOR TANK INSPECTION FLEXIBILITY

Congressional Democrats are vowing to kill EPA's revived attempt to give states flexibility in meeting leaking underground oil tank (LUST) inspection requirements, saying the plan is "dead on arrival" because lawmakers see it as an attempt to avoid spending LUST funds.

The agency is also sparking separate Democratic ire over its fiscal year 2009 budget request to slash funding by millions of dollars for several of its core waste programs.

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DINGELL PROBE TARGETS KEY INDUSTRY CONSULTANT ON EPA RISK ISSUES

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) is investigating whether a major industry consulting firm -- the Weinberg Group -- is seeking to influence EPA decisions on pesticides and other chemicals by "reshaping" regulatory debates even when the outcomes are inconsistent with available science.

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WATER SECTOR PUSHES FOR RELIEF IN HOUSE CHEMICAL SECURITY BILL

Water industry lobbyists are urging House lawmakers to include provisions in a pending chemical security bill granting wastewater and drinking water facilities relief from requirements that could force them to replace chemical treatment practices with technologies that reduce the risks from a terrorist attack -- a switch industry says could cost millions.

Industry officials say their discussions with Hill staffers appear to be showing some progress, though Democratic sources indicate they may not be open to providing the relief in the bill.

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FIGHT LOOMS FOR CHAIR OF KEY ENERGY PANEL AFTER WYNN PRIMARY LOSS

Reps. Hilda Solis (D-CA) and Gene Green (D-TX) may battle later this year to become chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee's panel on environment and hazardous materials, with Green saying he is interested in the position at the same time as staffers say Solis appears to be the leading contender.

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Democrats Vow To Kill EPA FY09 Plan For Tank Inspection Flexibility

Congressional Democrats are vowing to kill EPA's revived attempt to give states flexibility in meeting leaking underground oil tank inspection (LUST) requirements, saying the plan is "dead on arrival" because lawmakers see it as an attempt to avoid spending LUST funds.

The agency is also sparking separate Democratic ire over its fiscal year 2009 budget request to slash funding by millions of dollars for several of its core waste programs.

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Solis Emerges As Lead Contender For Key Panel Chair After Wynn Loses Primary

Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) appears to be the leading candidate among Democratic lawmakers to replace Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD) as chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee's panel on environment and hazardous materials after Wynn lost his Feb. 12 Democratic primary, according to several congressional sources.

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House Panels Hold Initial Talks To Settle Brownfields Funding Dispute

Key House committees have held initial talks aimed at settling long-running differences over authorized funding levels for EPA's brownfields program, differences which appear likely to stymie passage of a just-introduced bill aimed at increasing funding levels for the program.

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Dingell Probe Targets Key Industry Consultant On EPA Risk Issues

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) is investigating whether a major industry consulting firm -- the Weinberg Group -- is seeking to influence EPA decisions on pesticides and other chemicals by "reshaping" regulatory debates even when the outcomes are inconsistent with available science.

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BUSH EXECUTIVE ORDER ALLOWS EPA TO IGNORE CONGRESSIONAL EARMARKS

President Bush has issued an executive order directing EPA and other federal agencies to ignore future earmarks not included in spending bills approved by Congress -- a move that gives EPA new discretion to ignore congressional directions on how to spend its fiscal year 2009 funding.

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