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Congress

FACING HILL UNCERTAINTY, CRITICS EYE SUIT AS BEST PLAN TO HALT TRI RULE

Supporters of legislation that would reverse a highly controversial EPA rule easing reporting requirements for its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program are looking to a pending lawsuit as a more effective means of pressuring the agency in the near term, given the uncertainty of legislation passing this year, sources following the issue say.

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CRS SAYS HOUSE BILL REQUIRES BROAD NEW COST ANALYSES OF EPA RULES

EPA would have to launch a massive 10-year plan for reviewing all existing rules to analyze their impacts on small entities if legislation moving through the House to amend the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) becomes law, a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report says.

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EPA NIXES CALL FOR AGENCY-WIDE PLAN TO ASSESS VOLUNTARY PROGRAMS

EPA is rejecting recommendations from its Office of Inspector General (OIG) that it develop a systematic agency-wide process for developing, testing and evaluating the effectiveness of its voluntary programs, claiming such an effort would be "difficult" given the agency's wide range of voluntary efforts.

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CRS SAYS CONGRESS COULD SIMPLIFY COMPLEX EPA ENFORCEMENT LAWS

A new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report identifies several areas of overlap in EPA's enforcement of environmental laws that lead to ineffective implementation of the laws, and suggests that Congress could act to resolve the issues through oversight hearings or legislative fixes.

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CRS Says Existing Plants Will Be Spared From Strict Mercury Control Reviews

The recent appellate ruling vacating EPA's clean air mercury rule (CAMR) will likely allow environmentalists to pursue their claims for strict mercury controls at new or modified power plants but will not likely trigger a Clean Air Act provision requiring states to impose strict mercury controls at existing plants, according to a Feb. 28 Report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Congress' nonpartisan research arm.

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Congress Warns EPA Funding Cuts May Hamper Key Regulatory Efforts

House and Senate lawmakers are warning that President Bush's requested funding levels for EPA in fiscal year 2009 will hamper key regulatory efforts, including agency development of a first-time mandatory registry for reporting greenhouse gas emissions; state efforts to come into attainment with EPA air standards; and efforts to process new Clean Water Act permits.

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OSC's Johnson Inquiry Seeks Stricter Reviews Of EPA Officials' Election Roles

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the agency that oversees federal employees' conduct, is urging EPA to strengthen its oversight of political appointees' roles in political campaigns after finding that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson's appearance at a 2006 GOP campaign fundraiser created the appearance of impropriety and "in effect" solicited political activity from industry groups with pending agency business.

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Dingell Climate Change White Paper Prompts State Concerns Over Preemption

State sources say they are troubled by language in a new white paper from House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) and other committee lawmakers that invites discussion of preempting state programs to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) from vehicles in a future federal climate change bill.

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Congress Moves To Revoke EPA Settlement Policy Blocking Diesel Projects

House and Senate panels have unanimously adopted legislation to revoke an EPA policy blocking diesel retrofits from being part of enforcement settlements, reflecting bipartisan support and growing momentum in Congress to overturn EPA's ban on including the retrofits as supplemental environmental projects (SEPs).

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House Democrats Craft Asbestos-Ban Bill Stricter Than Senate Legislation

In an effort to reduce exposure to asbestos, House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats are poised to unveil a draft bill aimed at forcing EPA to ban asbestos-containing products which is substantially stricter than a controversial bill the Senate approved last year, according to a copy of the draft legislation obtained by Inside EPA.

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