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Congress

Waste Industry Looks To House To Close Railyard Permit Exemption

Solid waste industry officials are looking to House lawmakers to move legislation that will close a loophole in federal transportation law that allows rail operations to avoid environmental requirements for waste transfer facilities, after Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) scaled back his efforts on the issue.

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To Begin Discussion, House Democrats Unveil New Superfund Tax Bill

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who joined the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee earlier this year, late last month introduced a bill to reinstate the expired Superfund taxes as a way of initiating discussion on the controversial issue.

House Democratic sources say that lawmakers recognize the bill has limited prospects for passage in the current Congress and lawmakers intend to focus their efforts instead on boosting annual appropriations for the toxic waste cleanup program. This bill is the "start of a very long process," one source says.

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Utilities May Lose Bid For White House Veto Threat On Energy Bill RPS

The electric utility industry appears to have lost a push to convince the White House to threaten a veto of pending energy conference legislation if it includes a mandatory 15 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) included in the House version of the bill.

One key source familiar with the utilities' efforts says the White House is preparing to release a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) ahead of the House-Senate energy conference on H.R. 6 that will oppose the RPS but stop short of a veto threat.

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EPA IG Nominee Withdraws Over Democrats' Conditions For Support

Andrew Cochran, President Bush's nominee to be the next EPA Inspector General (IG), has withdrawn his nomination over what he calls "unacceptable and indefensible" conditions that Democrats sought to impose on the work he would conduct in the position in order to win their support.

His withdrawal is a significant victory for congressional Democrats concerned that any GOP nominee confirmed for the key watchdog slot would continue to function into the next administration, since there are currently no limits on how long Inspectors General may serve.

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Democrats Drop Asbestos Risk Findings To Address GOP's Toxic Tort Concerns

The Senate Oct. 4 unanimously approved a bill requiring EPA to ban asbestos after Democrats dropped legislative findings on the substance's risks that a GOP senator feared could bolster toxic tort lawsuits filed by those alleging to have been sickened after coming into contact with the known carcinogen, Capitol Hill sources say.

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EPA IG NOMINEE PARRIES TOUGH QUESTIONING FROM SENATE DEMOCRATS

President Bush's nominee for EPA inspector general (IG), Andrew Cochran, appears to have staved 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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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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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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