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Groups Oppose House Suggestion To Add Citizen Suit Provision To NEPA

A broad array of national environmental and industry groups are opposing a House task force's recommendation to add a citizen suit provision to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), saying such a provision could increase litigation and make it more difficult for some groups to obtain legal standing to sue.

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Inhofe Says EPA Budget Cuts Should Be Directed To Less-Popular Programs

Senate environment committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is criticizing the Bush administration for directing deep cuts to popular EPA programs that Congress is likely to restore, telling EPA officials to review the proposed fiscal year 2007 budget and determine which agency initiatives could be slashed and withstand congressional scrutiny.

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Clinton Effort Would Allow 9/11, Hurricane Victims Asbestos Compensation

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and other Democratic lawmakers are pushing an amendment to pending Senate asbestos legislation that would allow people exposed to asbestos stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Gulf Coast hurricanes and other disasters to seek compensation from an industry funded trust. The amendment also preserves the exposure victims' right to sue federal, state and local governments for exposure to the cancer-causing contaminant.

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Lawmakers Seek To Include Hurricane Victims In Asbestos Bill

As lawmakers renew debate in early February over Congress' controversial asbestos compensation legislation, several senators will likely seek to expand eligibility for compensation under the bill's $140 billion trust fund to individuals affected by the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes and other asbestos-exposure victims, according to congressional and other sources tracking the bill.

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Hurricane Cleanup Fuels Debate Over Environmental Laws, EPA Role

The unprecedented damage caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita is raising questions about whether existing laws are sufficient to handle the environmental impact of such disasters, in addition to debates about EPA's legal obligations for guarding public health in the storms' aftermath, environmentalists and other observers say.

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Lawmakers Eye Exempting DOJ From Bill Limiting Consent Decrees

In a bid to win broader support, Republican backers of legislation that would allow state and local governments to ask courts to vacate consent decrees are considering exempting decrees initiated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of EPA and other federal agencies, several sources following the issue say.

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House GOP Lawmakers Eye Options For Limiting Lawsuits Under NEPA

House Republican lawmakers are debating ways to limit lawsuits under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including enactment of new financial barriers to alleged frivolous claims by environmentalists and creation of a new federal mechanism to expedite industry permits without resorting to court battles.

The lawmakers discussed the options at a Nov. 10 House hearing before a bipartisan House task force, which is scheduled to issue recommendations later this month on ways to improve the law.

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Expanded Liability Relief In Mine Cleanup Bill Draws Activists' Criticism

A Senate bill intended to encourage voluntary "Good Samaritan" cleanups of abandoned mining sites is drawing criticism from environmentalists who are concerned that the bill's first-time protections from the Clean Water Act (CWA), Superfund and other environmental laws could benefit industry parties that might otherwise face cleanup liability.

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Waste Nominee Still Faces 'Hold' Despite EPA Pledge On Lead Paint Rule

Susan Bodine, the Bush administration's nominee to head EPA's waste office, is still facing a hold by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) over the pace of Superfund cleanups, despite the agency's recent success in getting Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to drop his threat to block all agency nominees over a delayed lead paint rule.

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Congress Moves To Allow Eminent Domain 'Takings' For Brownfields

House and Senate lawmakers are moving to exempt brownfields sites from pending legislation that would limit state and local governments' ability to take private property by eminent domain. Congress is pushing the legislation following the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the governmental entities' eminent domain authority for economic development projects.

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