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Congress

U.S. Noncommittal On Mercury Strategy Ahead Of Key Treaty Talks

The State Department is emphasizing its continued support of voluntary partnerships to curb global mercury pollution rather than a binding treaty, while leaving the door open to consider more stringent options, according to a letter the department sent to two senators this week that previews the U.S. position ahead of a highly anticipated United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) meeting on the issue.

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Dingell Proceeds With Climate Agenda Amid House Panel Uncertainty

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) is proceeding with efforts to position his committee as a central player in the debate over climate change emissions, even as Dingell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are still at odds over her plan to create a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Climate Change --- which Dingell has criticized as superfluous.

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Lawmakers Eye Quick Passage Of Meth Lab Cleanup Standards Bill

Congressional lawmakers are eyeing quick passage of a bill that would require EPA to develop cleanup guidelines that states could adopt to address often-remote methamphetamine labs that can explode and contaminate nearby land and water.

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Clinton Vows To Push For Broader Testing Of Lower Manhattan

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), the chair of the Senate Superfund and environmental health subcommittee and a 2008 presidential candidate, is vowing to press for a more expansive program to test for contamination stemming from the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers in 2001.

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Pelosi Climate Panel Aims To Pressure Senate, Boost Democrats In 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) plan to create a select committee on global warming appears in part to be an attempt to put pressure on the Senate to speed its development of climate legislation, while at the same time keeping the issue alive for Democratic candidates in the 2008 elections, sources say.

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State Of The Union Energy Proposals Prompt Democratic, Activist Criticism

Democrats and environmentalists are strongly criticizing air quality and energy proposals announced in President Bush's State of the Union address as falling short of what is needed to address climate change and increase alternative energy use -- suggesting these proposals will meet a tepid reception in the Democratic Congress.

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Bush Focus On 'Alternative Fuels' Spurs Fears Of CO2 Emissions Boost

President Bush's State of the Union focus on developing "alternative fuels" -- rather than "renewable fuels" -- as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil as well as help address climate change is prompting concern from Democrats and activists that the administration will encourage controversial coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel projects that they warn would lead to a significant increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and actually worsen global warming.

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Boxer Eyes EPA Action On Disputed Chemical, As Agency Finalizes Risk Study

Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is taking steps to address health concerns related to EPA's review of the chemical dibutyl phthalate, a source following the issue says.

Boxer's perceived interest in dibutyl phthalate, which can cause developmental problems in children and fetuses, comes as she moves to chair a new EPW subcommittee that will address children's health issues.

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Harkin Seeks To Boost Cellulosic Energy In Looming Farm Bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) is eying several agriculture conservation programs to encourage the use of renewable fuels from cellulosic feedstocks in the upcoming Farm Bill.

"I don't know which program's the best," Harkin said Jan. 17 at an Agriculture Committee hearing on U.S Agriculture Department (USDA) conservation programs. Because many supporters of cellulosic energy are pushing the use of switchgrass and similar grasses for ethanol production, the Grassland Reserve Program may be a good option he said.

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Funding Re-Emerges As Chief Concern For Water Infrastructure Bill

House lawmakers are poised to introduce a bipartisan bill aimed at reauthorizing EPA's clean water state revolving fund (SRF) in the coming weeks but appear divided on how to finance it, with Republicans and EPA touting the use of private funding sources and industry incentives while Democrats are reportedly considering options that may include new taxes.

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