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Congress

Senators May Seek Legislative Fix To EPA Benzene Trading Proposal

Northwest senators may seek a legislative fix to an EPA proposal that allows refiners to buy emissions credits rather than reduce levels of the air toxic benzene in fuel, citing concerns that the plan could hurt air quality in the region and may violate the Clean Air Act.

Sources say that in the absence of any new law, the senators' concerns may preview arguments in any potential future litigation once the rule is final.

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Carper Wins Some Nuclear Oversight In New Environment Panel Plan

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has ceded jurisdiction over most nuclear safety issues to Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) in his role as chair of a subcommittee on clean air issues, amid vigorous committee debate over how to organize the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee in the new Congress.

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Democrats' Oil Trust Fund Bill Faces Bipartisan Concerns In Senate

Democrats' plans to pass legislation revoking oil industry incentives and shifting royalty payments into development of alternative energies faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where both Democratic and GOP lawmakers are likely to raise concerns over implementation of a new trust fund the law would create, sources say.

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States Offer Mixed Reviews Of Democrats' Plan to End Earmarks

Democrats' plans to ban earmarks in EPA's pending fiscal year 2007 budget are drawing mixed responses from state officials, with some saying the move could jeopardize their work while others say programs could benefit from being funded through EPA's general funds rather than earmarks.

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Election Results Put Pentagon On Defensive On Environment Issues

After years of enjoying heavy influence on environmental policy debates, the Defense Department may now be put on the defensive after the 2006 elections -- having to justify hard-fought environmental exemptions it had already won, observers say.

"We don't want to lose any of the gains" says one informed source, adding the revisions DOD attained in 2003 under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) are the most at risk of being lost. "We'll certainly be wanting to preserve gains," as opposed to offering new measures, the source says.

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Senate Environment Panel Drilling Claim May Spark Jurisdictional Fight

Claims by Senate environment committee members that their panel will have significant jurisdiction over issues relating to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling could spark a jurisdictional fight with the Senate energy committee, which is the traditional lead panel on the issue, sources say.

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Bush Revives Controversial EPA, OMB Nominees With Senate Submission

Despite strong Democratic opposition, President Bush this week resubmitted four controversial nominations for key environmental posts to the Senate after the nominees failed to clear the 109th Congress due to lawmakers' concerns about either their records or EPA policies.

At the same time, four controversial Bush nominees for appeals court positions have withdrawn their nominations, including William Myers III, whose nomination last year raised concerns among environmentalists because of what they say is Myers' anti-environmental record.

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Key House Panel Chair Vows To Pressure EPA On Environmental Justice

Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD), who Democrats nominated Jan. 9 to chair a key House subcommittee with jurisdiction over EPA, is vowing to highlight the effect of Bush administration's environmental policies on minority populations, which could renew debate over the agency's controversial 2005 decision to drop race as a factor in identifying communities disproportionately affected by pollution.

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House Democrats To Scrutinize Upcoming NAS Review Of OMB Risk Guide

A soon-to-be-released National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review of a controversial White House risk assessment bulletin will likely face heightened congressional scrutiny, as House Democrats who urged NAS to ensure that its review would be stringent have now assumed key majority leadership roles.

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Lawmakers Eye Mercury Monitoring Bill In Bid To Tighten EPA Regulation

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is planning to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to create a nationwide mercury monitoring network to assess actual emissions and deposition levels, in an effort aimed at eventually providing data to force EPA to tighten its controversial mercury emissions control rule.

The bill proposes to expand EPA's network for monitoring mercury deposition by making it the lead agency in charge of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP).

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