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Congress

EPA UNCERTAINTY OVER LEAD RISKS MAY HINDER PUSH TO TIGHTEN PAINT RULE

EPA's uncertainty over the risks to human health posed by lead exposures could open the door to the agency adopting weaker lead paint removal standards in an upcoming regulation than those favored by agency advisors and Democratic lawmakers.

EPA is moving closer to issuing the long-sought regulation -- known as the lead renovation, repair and painting (LRRP) rule -- having sent the final rule to the White House Office of Management & Budget for inter-agency review Dec. 6.

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LIEBERMAN JOINS SKEPTICS' GROWING SCRUTINY OF DHS BORDER FENCE WAIVERS

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is weighing in with other congressional skeptics who are closely scrutinizing the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) recent decision to waive a slew of environmental laws to make way for a controversial illegal-immigration fence on the U.S.-Mexico border, asking the department to justify its decision at the same time as a broad coalition of activist and other interest groups is stepping up its opposition to the waiver.

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GAO REPORT ENDORSES CONGRESSIONAL REVERSAL OF EPA'S TRI RULE

The Government Accountability Office's (GAO) latest report on a highly controversial EPA rulemaking lowering reporting thresholds for its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program explicitly endorses congressional efforts to reverse the regulation and backs much of the criticism Democratic lawmakers, state regulators and environmentalists have leveled at the rule.

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KEY CONSERVATIVE NAMED TO LEAD GOP LAWMAKERS ON HOUSE WASTE PANEL

House Republicans have named Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), a prominent conservative, to be the ranking member of the Energy & Commerce Committee's environment and hazardous materials subcommittee -- a key panel with oversight of Superfund and other waste laws.

However, the move is sparking early concerns from some environmentalists concerned with lawmaker's past voting record.

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LAWMAKERS FOCUS VOLUNTARY MINE CLEANUP EFFORTS ON WATER ACT WAIVERS

With support from Western governors, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers is pushing a stand-alone bill exempting from Clean Water Act (CWA) liability parties that voluntarily clean up abandoned mines, while leaving for later broader efforts to exempt the so-called Good Samaritan parties from Superfund liability.

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AFTER HILL BACKING, LAWMAKERS HOPE EPA WILL FUND METH CLEANUP PLAN

House backers of a widely supported EPA program for setting voluntary cleanup levels for illegal drug laboratories say they hope the agency will fund the program in its upcoming budgets, a move that will allow the program's supporters to avoid the difficult step of seeking program funds in the annual appropriations process.

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PELOSI RETREAT IN FY08 BUDGET STANDOFF MAY FORCE MASSIVE CUTS TO EPA

EPA could suffer a $400 million cut to its current funding under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) latest proposal to break the budget standoff between Congress and the White House, with Pelosi set to accept the president's requested levels for all federal agencies, which would fund EPA at much lower levels than in FY07.

Agency programs could also suffer additional hits because lawmakers appear likely to retain some funding earmarks for local projects, which would siphon monies away from the agency's overall budget.

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Experts Urge Key Lawmaker To Help Clarify EPA's Post-Disaster Role

A panel of leading U.S. exposure assessments experts is telling a key member of Congress that a disaster preparedness workshop should be organized "as soon as possible" to address key issues such as whether EPA or some other federal agency should take the lead in dealing with post-disaster exposure assessment.

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DRAFT HOUSE BILL PRECLUDES EPA FROM FUTURE CHEMICAL SECURITY ROLE

Draft House legislation that would create comprehensive new chemical security standards for industrial facilities excludes any EPA role in either setting or overseeing the standards, despite environmentalists' long-standing calls for a formal agency role in developing and implementing such rules.

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New Findings May Bolster Democrats' Bid For Perchlorate Cleanup Standard

A new scientific study that concludes the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate may be more harmful to nursing infants than previously thought could bolster House lawmakers' push for pending legislation that would mandate EPA set a drinking water level and effectively a cleanup standard for the chemical.

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