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ATLANTA -- At a major EPA conference on alternative ways to finance water infrastructure projects, the agency has advanced key agenda items that officials are pushing to shore up ailing infrastructure without the addition of significant new federal funds.

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Environmentalists Question EPA Risk Assessment For GE Crops

Environmentalists are questioning whether EPA has adequately assessed the risks posed by genetically engineered crops, saying the deaths of hundreds of bee colonies, known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), could be due to farmers' use of the crops.

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EPA Outsourcing Plan Intensifies Controversy Over Proposed IG Cuts

EPA is soliciting proposals to temporarily outsource millions of dollars worth of work currently conducted by its Office of Inspector General (IG), an effort that could fill slots the agency is vacating as part of its controversial plan to cull up to 30 full-time IG staff, but which is intensifying Democratic opposition to proposed fiscal year 2008 funding cuts to IG.

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Energy Star Eyed To Help Small Businesses Respond To Climate Policy

Senate Small Business Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and other committee members are looking to EPA's Energy Star program to help small businesses respond to energy price increases due to climate policies.

Kerry is raising concerns that proposed cuts to EPA's Energy Star program in fiscal year 2008 would prevent the program from conducting energy audits that help small businesses respond to future energy price increases due to climate change requirements.

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Lawmakers Seek To Reverse EPA Bar On Settlement Funds For Diesel Projects

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is seeking to reverse an EPA policy barring use of enforcement settlement funds for diesel retrofit projects, which reduce emissions of harmful pollutants.

Led by Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), the lawmakers are requesting language in EPA's upcoming spending bill to clarify that retrofits can be funded by supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) that stem from EPA enforcement agreements.

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Lawmakers Eye Options To Push Bills On High-Emitting Synfuel Technology

Policymakers from both parties are considering their legislative options for pushing legislation promoting controversial coal-to-liquids (CTL) fuel technology, which many lawmakers view as a way to enhance energy security but which environmentalists fear will increase greenhouse gas (GHG) and other harmful emissions.

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Revised Senate Bill May Not Meet States' Bid For Strict Emission Controls

Sens. Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are crafting a revised version of their multi-pollutant emissions bill that will likely codify key requirements in EPA's clean air interstate rule (CAIR), and may abandon language that benefits clean-burning power units such as natural gas plants, congressional sources say.

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Environmental Justice Groups Seek Greater Role In Climate Debate

Environmental justice (EJ) advocates are seeking a greater role in the debate over possible climate change legislation, charging that even Democratic lawmakers and traditional environmental groups are devoting little attention to how a future greenhouse gas emissions regime could impact low-income and minority communities.

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Bush Order Revokes Clinton TRI Requirements For Federal Facilities

A recent executive order signed by President Bush revokes Clinton-era measures requiring federal facilities to report their pollution releases to EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which the agency uses for a slew of regulatory decisions governing water quality, emissions and other regulatory requirements.

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States Seek To Limit EPA Waiver For Farms' Emissions Data Reporting

State air officials are proposing an alternative to EPA's controversial effort to exempt animal feeding operations (AFOs) from Superfund reporting requirements, arguing the agency's move would deprive them of key data on air pollution that contributes to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions.

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