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Congress

REVISED LANGUAGE IN ASBESTOS BAN BILL PROMPTS EXPOSURE CONCERNS

A little noticed but significant change to a Senate bill intended to force EPA to ban asbestos could allow industry to continue using materials capable of producing dangerous exposure levels to the known carcinogen and is prompting proponents of stricter legislation to lobby House members to adopt the Senate's original legislative language, several informed sources say.

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EPA WILL BEGIN FINAL REVIEW OF E-MANIFEST WASTE RULE, SEEKS LEGISLATION

EPA this week will begin the last stages of reviewing a final rule that would replace the current paper system for tracking waste shipments with a centralized electronic mechanism, although before the new program can be effectively implemented Congress must first pass legislation amending the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA).

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BUDGET STALEMATE MAY RESULT IN HUGE CUTS TO EPA FY08 FUNDING BILL

The escalating stalemate between Democrats in Congress and President Bush over fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills may ultimately force lawmakers to abandon their efforts to increase funding levels for EPA and other agencies above the president's request, according to congressional staffers. Because it is unlikely Democrats have the votes to override threatened vetoes, the longer the standoff continues the stronger Bush's hand is in rejecting any increase over his original request, these sources believe.

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PALLONE EYES BILL TO BOOST EPA AUTHORITY ON CHEMICAL SECURITY RULES

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is drafting chemical security legislation that would make EPA the lead authority on new security rules rather than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a move that would shift the focus of regulations away from security improvements and toward reducing risks from substances that can cause environmental harm.

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MINE REFORM BACKERS SAY EASY HOUSE WIN WILL HELP COUNTER REID

Environmentalists and other supporters of a sweeping hardrock mining reform bill expect that the legislation's recent easy passage on the House floor will boost their leverage in upcoming conference negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who along with other key Senators is expected to craft a competing bill more favorable to industry.

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PALLONE EYES BILL TO BOOST EPA AUTHORITY ON CHEMICAL SECURITY RULES

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is drafting chemical security legislation that would make EPA the lead authority on new security rules rather than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a move that would shift the focus of regulations away from security improvements and toward reducing risks from substances that can cause environmental harm.

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CRITICS RAMP UP OPPOSITION TO BILL EXPANDING CLEAN WATER ACT'S SCOPE

Critics of a controversial bill who say it broadly expands the Clean Water Act's scope are ramping up pressure on House lawmakers to oppose the legislation, sending a series of letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signed by a wide range of industry, property rights and conservative political groups.

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WAXMAN TARGETS ENERGY LAW OIL, GAS WATER QUALITY EXEMPTIONS

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House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) is considering a legislative fix to eliminate exemptions for oil and natural gas producers from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and other environmental laws, saying the issue needs to be "revisited."

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GROUP SAYS EPA CLIMATE ANALYSIS WEIGHTED TO FAVOR BINGAMAN BILL

The environmental think tank World Resources Institute (WRI) is criticizing a recent EPA analysis of pending Senate climate change bills, saying the agency's assumptions about a lack of international controls and certain economic conditions boost the effectiveness of a proposal by Senate energy committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), which is seen as the most favorable toward industry among varying legislative proposals.

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HIGH-PROFILE PACTS BRING MIXED HILL REACTION ON EPA ENFORCEMENT

Recent high-profile EPA enforcement settlements are bringing mixed reactions from Democratic lawmakers concerned that the Bush administration is not adequately enforcing environmental laws.

Ronald Tenpas, President Bush's nominee to head the Department of Justice's (DOJ) environment division, is winning praise from key Democratic lawmakers for his role in EPA's recent new source review (NSR) settlement with American Electric Power Corp (AEP), which the lawmakers hope shows increased environmental enforcement under the Bush administration.

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