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Congress

DEMOCRATS' NARROWED MINE ROYALTY PLAN PROMPTS CLEANUP CONCERNS

Environmentalists are raising concerns that Democrats' scaled-back plan to require royalty payments from hardrock mines as part of broad mining reform legislation will undermine the bill's goal of funding the reclamation of abandoned mine sites and are vowing to seek opportunities to strengthen the legislation when it reaches the House floor.

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REID, INHOFE SEEK GAO STUDY THAT MAY LIMIT BOXER SUPERFUND TAX PUSH

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) is working with Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) to request a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study into alleged excessive EPA cleanup requirements at a New Jersey Superfund site, a study that Inhofe says could undermine efforts by Senate environment committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to reinstate the expired Superfund taxes.

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Democrats Push EPA To Boost Use Of TSCA To Limit Lead In Products

Senate Democrats are urging EPA to "be stronger" in its use of existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority to target lead-containing products, with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) saying that she plans to introduce legislation to force EPA to eliminate lead in products that children use.

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House Mercury Export Ban Faces Hurdles Despite Stockpile Deal

House legislation to ban exports of elemental mercury still faces lingering obstacles, despite a recent compromise between industry and environmentalists on how to deal with expected mercury stockpiles -- one of the most contentious issues surrounding the bill.

Chemical industry officials are uncertain whether they will sign a letter encouraging lawmakers to support the export ban legislation, and it is unclear whether mining industry officials will drop their initial opposition to the bill despite the recent compromise.

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Voinovich Eyes Climate Bill Emphasizing Technology Over Emissions Cap

Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), ranking member of the Senate environment committee's clean air panel, is drafting climate legislation that would emphasize developing and deploying carbon dioxide (CO2) capture-and-sequestration technology rather than strict caps on CO2 emissions, sources familiar with the effort say.

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EPA MAY LACK INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR REMAINDER OF BUSH PRESIDENCY

The recent decision by Andrew Cochran to withdraw his nomination to serve as EPA's inspector general (IG) could soon leave the agency's IG office without a top official for the remainder of President Bush's presidency, because federal law requires the acting IG, Bill Roderick, to step down in early November.

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ACTIVISTS EYE HOUSE TO RESTORE RISK FINDINGS TO SENATE ASBESTOS BILL

Activists groups are planning to draft letters to House Democratic leaders urging them to restore legislative findings on the risks posed by asbestos which was dropped from a Senate bill requiring EPA to ban the compound due to GOP concerns that it could bolster toxic tort lawsuits, one informed sources says.

The activists are urging Democratic lawmakers to support a companion House bill, H.R. 3339, recently introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), that currently includes the findings.

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DEMOCRATS PUSH EPA TO BOOST USE OF TSCA TO LIMIT LEAD IN PRODUCTS

Senate Democrats are urging EPA to "be stronger" in its use of existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority to target lead-containing products, with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) saying that she plans to introduce legislation to force EPA to eliminate lead in products that children use.

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HOUSE MERCURY EXPORT BAN FACES HURDLES DESPITE STOCKPILE DEAL

House legislation to ban exports of elemental mercury still faces lingering obstacles, despite a recent compromise between industry and environmentalist stakeholders on how to deal with expected mercury stockpiles -- one of the most contentious issues surrounding the bill.

Chemical industry officials are uncertain whether they will sign a letter encouraging lawmakers to support the export ban legislation, and it is unclear whether mining industry officials will drop their initial opposition to the bill despite the recent compromise.

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HOUSE ACTION BUOYS WASTE INDUSTRY BID TO CLOSE RAILYARD PERMIT WAIVER

Waste industry lobbyists are welcoming House passage of a railroad safety bill that includes broad language closing a loophole in federal transportation law that exempts rail operations from environmental requirements for handling and treatment of solid waste.

The industry lobbyists say the House legislation, originally offered by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), gives them leverage in an upcoming House-Senate conference committee to amend a narrower Senate proposal offered by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), which they argue is confusing and does little to address the problem.

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