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Congress

House Cuts Water Infrastructure Funding To Address Budget Concerns

A key House member has made 11th-hour amendments to a water infrastructure spending bill -- including a $6 billion cut in authorized funding and the addition of a tax increase on shipping cargo entering U.S. ports -- in order to address fiscal concerns from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and allow the bill to come to a floor vote as early as March 9.

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EPA Pledges To Submit PM Rulemaking Documents To Congress

EPA has pledged to send the House Energy & Commerce Committee key documents related to development of its upcoming fine particulate matter (PM2.5) implementation rule, following several requests from committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) and Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak (D-MI), who have suggested political interference by the White House.

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EPA To Cut Air Grant Budget By $18 Million In FY07 Operating Plan

EPA plans to cut $18 million from state and local air grants as part of its fiscal year 2007 operating plan, a move that is prompting swift reaction from state and local air regulators who are urging Congress to order EPA to reinstate the funding.

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Push For D.C. To Join RGGI Could Be Early Carbon Test For Congress

A campaign by environmentalists to pressure the District of Columbia (D.C.) to join the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) could prompt an early legislative test for Congress on carbon regulations.

Though environmentalists disagree over the legal requirements for Congress to endorse the move, a decision by the District to join RGGI at a minimum could be an important symbolic gesture by imposing carbon controls in the nation's capital as Congress debates the possibility of adopting similar requirements for the entire country.

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EPA Eyes Expanding Lead Repair Rule To Address Children's Exposure

EPA is evaluating government data showing nearly half a million children face potential lead exposure in non-residential facilities as it considers expanding a controversial proposed rule setting work practice standards for renovating lead-contaminated buildings to include activities at non-residential structures frequented by children.

The move follows criticism from key Democrats who have argued the agency should do more to limit children's exposure to lead.

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Renewable Energy Plan Underscores Congress' Farm Bill Challenge

A broad coalition's recently released proposal on increasing domestic energy production from renewable sources illustrates the challenge Congress will face during the upcoming Farm Bill debate in balancing competing concerns from agricultural groups --- seeking incentives to encourage biofuel production --- and environmental groups seeking to protect water quality and sensitive habitat.

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Lawmakers To Reintroduce CAFO Bill After EPA Announces Exemptions

A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers, including House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), is poised to reintroduce legislation this week that would exempt animal waste from Superfund law. The legislative effort comes after EPA last week announced it was working on a rule to exempt concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from mandates to report emissions under Superfund law.

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New TRI Data Limits May Prompt Major Decline In EPA Risk Estimates

A rule scaling back EPA's reporting requirements under its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program will lead to significant decreases in agency estimates of national environmental and human health risks, even though EPA and a congressional study say total reported releases will decrease by only 1 percent, an informed source familiar with modeling the agency conducted prior to releasing the rule says.

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Dingell Demands More Data On Long-Delayed Fine Particle Rule

Powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) is demanding documents from EPA on the White House's role in reviewing a pending implementation rule for fine particles (PM2.5), which has been delayed for years but is now scheduled to be released this month.

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EPA To Cut IG Staff Despite Congressional Democrats' Opposition

EPA appears to be moving quickly to cut inspector general (IG) office staff and close regional offices in response to funding cuts in the administration's fiscal year 2008 budget request despite ongoing concerns from Democratic lawmakers about the proposed cuts. An internal March 5 e-mail obtained by Inside EPA says the agency will begin offering buyouts to some IG staff members as soon as March 15.

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