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Likely Recess Appointment For Wehrum Promises Sparks Over Air Policy

EPA's already controversial clean air policies appear headed for even more contentious debate in the 110th Congress if, as many observers expect, President Bush gives acting air chief William Wehrum a recess appointment, which sources say could come as early as the President's Day holiday beginning Feb. 19.

Wehrum, whose nomination has become a lightning rod for Democratic criticism because of controversial air rules he has advanced, is reportedly privately discussing the prospect of a recess appointment. He is "looking forward to a recess appointment," one source says.

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GOP Changes On Senate Environment Panel May Boost CO2 Bill Prospects

Republican plans to make Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) a member of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee could significantly boost the chance that legislation mandating carbon dioxide (CO2) cuts could successfully pass the committee with bipartisan support because Alexander is a key co-sponsor of a bill to mandate cuts in utility air pollution, including CO2.

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Report Details Democrats' Likely Clean Water Priorities For Key Panel

A report quietly released just prior the November election by the top Democrat on a key House panel suggests the new Democratic majority will place a strong emphasis on increasing funding in EPA's budget for wastewater infrastructure improvements and providing legislative clarity on which waterbodies and wetlands are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) protection, among other issues.

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Key Bush Environment Nominees Face Uncertain Future In 110th Congress

Two key Bush administration nominees for environmental posts face an uncertain future given strong signals that Republicans plan to defer full Senate consideration of their nominations until the 110th Congress, where the Democratic majority is likely to be more hostile to the nominees.

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Environmentalists Seek New Influence With Democrats On Capitol Hill

Environmentalists are taking early steps to capitalize on their newfound clout in the wake of November elections, touting ways incoming Democratic leaders could encourage cleaner energy sources and urging their supporters to push House and Senate leaders to tackle the problem of global warming.

As part of the effort, environmentalists are at least temporarily going out of their way to praise incoming Democratic leaders, after an internal dust-up when some environmentalists questioned Democrats' commitment to environmental issues.

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New EPW Climate Focus Could Spark Race To Claim Subcommittee Chair

Incoming Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) plan to reorganize the committee to focus on climate change issues could spark a race between Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Thomas Carper (D-DE) to win chairmanship of a key subcommittee overseeing the issue.

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House Logging Bill Underscores Democrats' Split On NEPA Exemptions

A House bill introduced earlier this month by two key Colorado Democrats is highlighting differences among congressional Democrats over how to address concerns that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is hindering construction and resource extraction projects.

Some sources say the introduction of the bill demonstrates that western Democrats are facing political pressure in an election year to respond to concerns from logging, mining and other industry groups to ease NEPA requirements.

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Ruling Sparks Industry Push For Court Review Of Agencies' Data Decisions

Industry officials are planning to push for a series of administrative, judicial and legislative remedies to overcome this week's long-awaited court order that blocked their bid for a precedent-setting ruling granting judicial review of EPA and other federal agencies' decisions under the Information Quality Act (IQA). But key members of the business community are split on whether to push for new legislation that would explicitly establish private parties' right to sue under the act or whether they should instead focus on new test cases.

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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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