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Congress

States Launch Bid To Kill House Limits On SRF Funding Flexibility

On the eve of a key Senate hearing on wastewater infrastructure legislation, state water officials have launched an effort to ensure that any Senate bill eliminate or modify provisions in the House-passed version of the bill that state officials say limits their flexibility in using funds they receive from EPA's clean water state revolving loan fund (SRF).

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Republicans Will Offer 'E-Manifest' Bill To Meet State Concerns

Senate Republicans are hoping to reintroduce and pass revised legislation from last year that would promote the adoption of electronic systems for processing waste shipment forms and -- at the request of state officials -- penalize waste management companies that continue to use paper systems, a Senate Republican source says.

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Congress Unlikely To Back Chemical Pacts Before Revising TSCA, CRS Says

Congress is unlikely to enact legislation implementing three major international chemical agreements before lawmakers tackle the increasingly important issue of amending the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address questions over how the decades-old law can be used to regulate nanotechnology and other mounting chemical management questions, according to a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.

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EPA Decides To Outsource IG's FY08 Audit, Forcing Staff Reassignments

EPA has decided to outsource the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) audit of the agency's fiscal year 2008 financial statements, a move that will prompt reassignments of OIG staff and will likely raise the ire of congressional Democrats, who are already concerned about job cuts and related staffing issues at OIG.

OIG staff were told in a Sept. 10 e-mail obtained by Inside EPA that the office has lost the bidding process for conducting EPA's FY08 financial audit, meaning a private company will now be responsible for auditing the agency's annual financial statements.

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EPA Defers Key Indoor Air Decisions To DHS Despite Broad Concerns

EPA is deferring authority to address post-disaster indoor air contamination to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), despite assertions from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and key Democrats that the agency needs to be better prepared to handle such situations.

A leading Senate Democrat is already saying that EPA's decision to defer authority will be the subject of upcoming oversight activities.

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Oklahoma AG's Vow Fails To Limit Industry Fears Over CAFO Waste Suit

The Oklahoma attorney general (AG) is indicating that he may be willing to negotiate a very limited settlement in a controversial Superfund case involving large-scale poultry farms in Arkansas and Oklahoma, but an agriculture industry source says that even such a narrow settlement in this case could have disastrous effects for the industry.

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House Advances Bill Making ORD Chief Co-Chair Of Green Chemistry Program

A recently passed House bill to create a new so-called green chemistry research program, which would provide interagency coordination on discovering and disseminating environmentally benign chemicals and substances in commerce, would make the head of EPA's Office of Research & Development (ORD) co-chair of the working group responsible for implementing the effort, potentially handing EPA expansive new powers to influence chemical risk research and management if the bill is ultimately enacted.

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Craig's Troubles May Stifle Industry's Environment, Energy Agenda

Sen. Larry Craig's (R-ID) political troubles and possible resignation could be a major setback for the legislative agenda of industry groups who say they would be losing a strong advocate of offshore drilling and key opponent of mandatory greenhouse gas controls. Moreover, the senator's possible departure would prompt a shakeup on the environment and energy committees, where Craig is a senior member, as well as changes on an appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over EPA's budget.

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Key Democrat Eyes Mandatory 'Floor' In Pending E-Waste Legislation

Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD), chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee's panel on the environment and hazardous materials, says he is working on a discussion draft of electronic waste legislation that sets a mandatory basic "floor" of requirements but would not preempt states from setting stricter requirements than a national plan.

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CRS Report Details Procedural Hurdles For Energy Bill Conference

Procedural concerns being raised on Capitol Hill about convening a conference committee on final passage of energy legislation are detailed in a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, which says energy bills passed by both chambers earlier this summer must overcome "constitutionally-required congressional procedures" before the bills can go to conference.

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