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Congress

Early Missteps Raise Doubts About Boxer's Leadership On Climate Change

Early legislative missteps by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs the Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee, are prompting growing concerns by environmentalists, Democrats and Republicans over her ability to lead the committee, particularly in her effort to address climate change --- her stated priority.

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Push For New Nanotech Funds Drives Debate On Regulatory Limits

Upcoming legislation to reauthorize the federal government's nanotechnology program is likely to increase spending on environmental, health and safety research, while also requiring improved coordination among EPA and other federal agencies involved in the research, congressional and other sources say.

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EPA Advisers Ramp Up Focus On Environmental Impacts Of Biofuels

An EPA clean air advisory panel is setting up a workgroup that will address the possible environmental effects of biofuels, amid growing concern that the agency has not done enough to assess the impacts of increased production and use of ethanol and biodiesel.

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EPA's Long-Awaited Small Engine Rule Draws Some Industry Concerns

Manufacturers are flagging early concerns over the timelines and strict technology requirements in EPA's proposed small engine rule that affects most lawn and garden equipment, despite supporting the overall emissions limit in the rule.

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Democrats' Vow To Quickly Pass EPA FY08 Spending Bill May Limit Riders

Despite a slew of riders that lawmakers are likely to offer to EPA's pending fiscal year 2008 appropriations legislation, some congressional sources say that Democratic plans to pass the bill through the House by July 4 may limit the number of riders that appropriators will be willing to consider.

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Lawmakers Launch New Talks On Possible E-Waste Recycling Measures

Key lawmakers are beginning a new round of talks on policy issues surrounding the recycling of electronic waste, which sources say is a major step in passing legislation that would likely preempt a "patchwork" of state laws regulating the electronics industry.

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Senate Panel Appears Likely To Pass Compromise Fuel Economy Bill

The Senate commerce committee appears likely to approve next week legislation to tighten vehicle fuel economy standards, after lawmakers agreed to a bipartisan compromise that sets a strict 35-mile-per-gallon (MPG) standard while also clarifying regulators' ability to adjust the standards based on a vehicle's size and weight. However, the measure could still face hurdles on the Senate floor from Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who is raising concerns about new provisions that mandate annual improvements in the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

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States, Industry Eye Hill Push To Block OMB-Backed Permit Fee Rule

States and industry groups are looking to Congress to block a controversial Bush administration plan granting states increased clean water funds only if they increase their permit fees, after it became clear the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is moving forward with the plan despite widespread opposition.

Critics of the EPA proposed rule met with officials from OMB April 19 to reiterate their concerns, including that it would disproportionately harm small businesses and local governments and does nothing to improve water quality.

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OMB Memo Fails To Alleviate Critics' Regulatory Review Concerns

Democrats and environmentalists are criticizing a recent Office of Management & Budget (OMB) memo on implementing the administration's controversial executive order giving the White House additional power to review EPA and other agencies' regulations and guidance documents.

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Lawmakers Warn Key Wetlands Program May Face Farm Bill Cuts

House Agriculture Committee leaders are warning supporters of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs not to expect funding increases in the 2007 Farm Bill and that some programs, such as the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), may see cuts.

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