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Congress

Democrat Lifts EPA Nominee Hold After Agency Tightens Benzene Rule

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is lifting his hold on EPA's general counsel nominee following the agency's last-minute decision to restrict the number of refineries that can buy emissions credits to comply with the agency's new rule on benzene fuel limits, in response to concerns from Northwest lawmakers.

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Draft Bush CAFE Bill Seeks To Limit Court Jurisdiction In Legal Disputes

The Bush administration is circulating a draft bill amending corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirements that would give the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit exclusive jurisdiction to hear legal disputes over vehicle efficiency standards and would codify contested standards for light trucks now being challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

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States Warn EPA Budget Cuts May Hamper Key Program Implementation

Proposed cuts to EPA's fiscal year 2008 budget may undercut states' ability to implement key clean air, water and waste programs mandated by federal law, state officials and others are warning in response to President Bush's new budget request to Congress that continues his trend of shrinking the agency's funding each year.

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Democrats Face Grassroots Push For Stronger Environmental Justice Plans

Congressional Democrats, who are working to tighten federal environmental justice (EJ) and civil rights policies, are facing growing pressure from grassroots groups to strengthen legislative proposals that activists say do not go far enough to protect low-income and minority communities from pollution.

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Administration Farm Bill Plan Pushes Funds For Water Credit Trading

The Bush administration's newly released 2007 Farm Bill proposal includes an increased emphasis on water quality credit trading, recommending $50 million to develop uniform standards for quantifying credits, establishing credit registries, and offering credit audit and certification services.

Additionally the proposal calls for streamlining several conservation programs and using the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to encourage growing perennial crops as a biomass reserve for cellulosic energy production.

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Pact Paves Way For Pelosi Panel To Coordinate House Climate Debate

House Democratic leaders appear to have struck an agreement that paves the way for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to create a controversial Select Committee on Energy Independence & Climate Change, while allowing the standing committees to proceed to write legislation that addresses the causes and effects of climate change.

A key lawmaker says the select committee will likely play a "useful role" in the climate change debate by coordinating witnesses and testimony for the several standing committees that share jurisdiction on the issue.

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EPA To Ask Congress To Relax Rules For State Fuel Tank Inspections

EPA will ask Congress to provide states more flexibility to meet stringent new compliance and inspection requirements for underground fuel tanks that were outlined in the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT).

Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson made the announcement Feb. 5 at a briefing with reporters to discuss the administration's fiscal year 2008 budget, which seeks $72.4 million for the underground storage tank (UST) program, a slight decrease from the previous year's request of $72.7 million.

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Budget Proposal Heightens Tensions Over Water Infrastructure Bill

EPA's just-released fiscal year 2008 budget proposal is seeking to bolster private investment in clean water infrastructure, a development that is likely to heighten tensions with House lawmakers, who appear likely to approve legislation later this week to increase federal investment in the agency's clean water state revolving fund (SRF).

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Bush Seeks To Cut Core EPA Programs By Millions In FY08 Request

President Bush is seeking to slash millions of dollars from core EPA programs while freezing state and local grant funding in his fiscal year 2008 budget request released Feb. 5, continuing his trend of cutting EPA's overall budget each year.

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Key Senator Sees House Taking Early Lead In Hill Climate Change Debate

Senate energy committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) says the House is likely to move faster on climate change legislation than the Senate, signaling a shift in the process that many congressional and other sources had previously believed would start in the upper chamber.

"The House looks like they are on a pretty fast track," Bingaman told reporters Jan. 30 in response to a question about whether the Senate or House will move first on climate legislation.

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