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Congress

SENATE FARM BILL SEEKS CAFO STUDY AS ALTERNATIVE TO SUPERFUND WAIVER

Senate agriculture committee leaders have granted a small concession to a bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking to exempt farming operations from Superfund liability by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the pending Farm Bill to study the cost of using animal manure as a feedstock in bioenergy production.

Lawmakers who support the waiver argue that the cost of bioenergy production will be excessively high if farming operations are not exempt from Superfund liability.

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DEMOCRATS PRESS DHS TO JUSTIFY ENVIRONMENTAL WAIVERS FOR BORDER FENCE

In a move that could embolden a court challenge by environmentalists, key House Democrats are seeking to force the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to justify its recent decision to waive a slew of environmental laws in order to make way for a controversial immigration control fence on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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AS DEMOCRATS STEP UP PROBES, EPA ENFORCEMENT CHIEF DEFENDS RECORD

EPA's top enforcement official is stepping up his defense of recent settlements and the longer-term track record of the agency's Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA) amid an intensifying and widening House Democratic investigation of the office.

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BILL REVOKING EPA DIESEL BAN MAY BE ONLY CLEAN AIR MEASURE TO PASS

Legislation to overturn an EPA policy barring the use of enforcement settlement funds for diesel retrofit projects is winning bipartisan support and may be the only clean air bill to be signed into law in the 110th Congress, a key GOP staffer says.

The legislation, introduced in both the House and Senate last month, gives EPA legislative authority to approve diesel retrofits under supplemental environmental projects (SEPs), which are special projects that companies agree to undertake as part of enforcement settlements with the agency.

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DOJ Official Floats Higher Emissions Threshold For NSR CO2 Rule

A Department of Justice (DOJ) official is floating the possibility that Congress could seek to raise the emissions threshold for when carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary sources would trigger regulation under the Clean Air Act's new source review (NSR) program, in a signal that policymakers are grappling with how to set permitting requirements once the agency begins regulating greenhouse gases.

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GROUP SAYS EPA CLIMATE ANALYSIS WEIGHTED TO FAVOR BINGAMAN BILL

The environmental think tank World Resources Institute (WRI) is criticizing a recent EPA analysis of pending Senate climate change bills, saying the agency's assumptions about a lack of international controls and certain economic conditions boost the effectiveness of a proposal by Senate energy committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), which is seen as the most favorable toward industry among varying legislative proposals.

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DASCHLE PREDICTS CONGRESS WILL NOT FINISH ENERGY BILL THIS YEAR

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) predicts Congress will not succeed in passing comprehensive energy legislation this year because congressional leaders are still far from "consensus" on the key issues of biofuels, renewable electricity and others, while also faulting the ongoing informal conference process. But he is more hopeful energy legislation could pass early next year.

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DEMOCRATS PUSH PERCHLORATE BILL DESPITE GOP LITIGATION CONCERNS

House Democrats are pushing forward with legislation that would force EPA to set an enforceable drinking water standard for the ubiquitous rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate despite House Republicans' concerns that passage of the bill could lead to contentious litigation.

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HOUSE, SENATE STRIKE DEAL TO BLOCK ARMY TRAINING GROUND EXPANSION

An Army plan to expand a key training ground in Colorado hangs in the balance after House and Senate conferees to the fiscal year 2008 (FY08) military construction appropriations bill agreed to maintain a one-year block on funding for the project at Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS), CO, following local opposition over environmental issues and private landowner rights. The conference version, however, has not yet been finalized by Congress.

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White House Urges House To Delay Action On Mercury Export Ban Bill

The White House is opposing a carefully negotiated bill to ban mercury exports passed by the House energy committee and is urging the House to delay floor action on the measure.

In a Nov. 13 Statement of Administration Policy (SAP), the White House says lawmakers should wait to act until an EPA-led workgroup issues recommendations.

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