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Congress

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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SENATE RAMPS UP INTERNAL DISCUSSIONS ON CLIMATE BILL REVISIONS

In anticipation of floor debate, Senate staff are intensifying discussions on possible changes to climate change legislation including weekly meetings on possible cost-containment approaches and options for ensuring a level playing field between U.S. and foreign companies, according to Senate and other sources.

In addition, discussions are underway or likely on topics that include preemption of separate state actions on climate change and inclusion of language to boost nuclear power in a climate bill, these sources say.

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NEW HOUSE GOP TASK FORCE EYES SHIFT IN STRATEGY ON CLIMATE LEGISLATION

House Republicans are launching a new task force on climate change issues to allow the lawmakers who have opposed climate change legislation to take a more active role in shaping national policy on the issue.

The creation of the group by key leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee signals an attempt by the House GOP to shift its strategy away from blocking passage of any global warming legislation to offering affirmative policy suggestions that can be seriously considered in the ongoing legislative debate.

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PANELS APPROVE BILL TO REVOKE EPA POLICY BLOCKING DIESEL SETTLEMENTS

U.S. House and Senate panels have unanimously adopted legislation to revoke a U.S. 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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BOXER PUSHES SHIP EMISSIONS BILL DESPITE SENATE INACTION ON AIR TREATY

U.S. Senate Democrats, led by Barbara Boxer (D-CA), are pushing a bill to mandate cuts in domestic marine engine pollution in part to pressure the United States to secure similar reductions in ongoing international treaty talks. But U.S. EPA says the Senate must first act on a separate bill to make the United States party to the treaty before it can adopt the international standard.

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Industry, Activist Negotiations May Scale Back Sewer-Overflow Notification Bill

Negotiations between the wastewater sector and environmentalists could result in major revisions to House and Senate legislation requiring wastewater facilities to quickly notify the public when heavy rains and other wet weather events result in sewage overflows.

Informed sources say the changes being considered could scale back the stringency of the bill and give EPA more discretion in addressing its monitoring requirements.

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BOXER PUSHES SHIP EMISSIONS BILL DESPITE SENATE INACTION ON AIR TREATY

Senate Democrats led by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are pushing a bill to mandate cuts in domestic marine engine pollution in part to pressure the United States to secure similar reductions in ongoing international treaty talks, but EPA says the Senate must first act on a separate bill to make the United States party to the treaty before it can adopt the international standard.

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DEMOCRATS MAY IGNORE BUSH'S EPA BUDGET CUT, AWAIT NEXT ADMINISTRATION

Democratic lawmakers and others are harshly criticizing President Bush's plan to cut EPA's budget by $330 million in fiscal year 2009, to $7.14 billion -- the lowest requested funding level since 1997, according to a state source -- prompting suggestions that Congress will ultimately side step the president's budget request by funding the agency through a continuing resolution until a new administration takes office in early 2009.

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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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WAXMAN SUBPOENA HIKES POLITICAL STAKES IN EPA WAIVER DENIAL

House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) on Feb. 8 sent a subpoena to EPA seeking unredacted copies of a 2007 staff briefing to Administrator Stephen Johnson, which reportedly argues that a decision to deny California a Clean Air Act waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions would stand on a flimsy legal foundation.

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