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Democrats Turn Up The Heat In Inquiry On Bush Regulatory Review Order

House Democrats are increasing pressure on the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to reveal how the administration drafted a recent executive order giving the administration more power over EPA and other agencies' regulatory decisions and who was consulted in the drafting process.

Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), who chairs the House Science & Technology oversight subcommittee, promised at an April 26 oversight hearing to request documents on the issue and to hold additional future hearings to address concerns that the order scales back transparency.

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House Banking Panel Oversight May Complicate Climate Change Debate

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) may enter the fray over climate change by holding a hearing on the mechanisms of a carbon dioxide (CO2) cap-and-trade system, according to a key Republican lawmaker.

The move could further complicate the House debate over climate change, increasing political tensions among committees overseeing the high-profile issue, including the newly created Select Committee on Energy Independence & Global Warming.

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Plan For Post-Cleanup Trust Fund Expected To Face Hill Opposition

A proposal to create a federal trust fund to absolve property owners of some cleanup liability for dormant contaminated sites is facing some early hurdles, with supporters acknowledging it will likely face a cool reception on Capitol Hill where Democrats may view it as a corporate buyout, opposition from trial lawyers because it limits future toxic tort suits and caution from industry because of remaining uncertainties.

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Governors Warn EPA Drinking Water Waivers Could Undermine Cleanups

The National Governors Association (NGA) is raising "significant questions" over an EPA proposal to allow small water utilities to meet less stringent drinking water standards than large utilities, saying the proposal could hamper cleanups at Superfund sites.

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In Probe On Job Cuts, House Democrats Question Acting IG's 2006 Bonus

Democratic lawmakers are probing a more than $15,000 bonus EPA paid to acting inspector general (IG) Bill Roderick in 2006 as they expand their ongoing investigation into a controversial Bush administration plan to cut 30 full-time IG office staff and trim the IG office's budget by $5.1 million in fiscal year 2008.

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High Court CO2 Ruling Bolsters Slumping EPA Staff Morale

The recent Supreme Court ruling that EPA has authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, as well as last November's Democratic takeover of Congress, has provided a small bump up in EPA staff slumping morale, according to staff sources.

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Former EPA Counsel Warns Mercury Suit May Hinder Future CO2 Rules

Former EPA general counsel Ann Klee, along with an energy industry attorney, are warning that environmentalists' challenge of an EPA cap-and-trade program to regulate mercury emissions, if successful, could undermine the agency's authority to set up a similar program for greenhouse gases (GHGs).

However, an environmentalist attorney familiar with the mercury lawsuit downplays the concerns, saying much depends on how the court rules in the pending mercury lawsuit.

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EPA Chief Argues Ruling May Allow Voluntary Policies To Address CO2

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson is arguing that the Supreme Court's ruling classifying carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act may still provide the agency with significant discretion to consider voluntary policies to address the pollutant, according to testimony Johnson is scheduled to deliver April 24.

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Withdrawal Of EPA Nominees Brings Uncertainty Over Next Steps

President Bush's decision to withdraw controversial nominations for top agency posts is prompting lingering uncertainty about how the positions will be filled.

Bush last week withdrew his request to the Senate that acting EPA air chief William Wehrum be confirmed as assistant administrator for the Office of Air & Radiation (OAR) and that Defense Department (DOD) official Alex Beehler become the agency's next Inspector General (IG).

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Key Senators Split Over Credit Allocations In Utility Emissions Bill

Sens. Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are introducing on April 19 separate bills for controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions from power plants, instead of the joint legislation they introduced in the last Congress.

The lawmakers are introducing separate bills following apparent disagreement on how to allocate emissions credits under a future cap-and-trade system.

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