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Senate Environment Panel Drilling Claim May Spark Jurisdictional Fight

Claims by Senate environment committee members that their panel will have significant jurisdiction over issues relating to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling could spark a jurisdictional fight with the Senate energy committee, which is the traditional lead panel on the issue, sources say.

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Bush Revives Controversial EPA, OMB Nominees With Senate Submission

Despite strong Democratic opposition, President Bush this week resubmitted four controversial nominations for key environmental posts to the Senate after the nominees failed to clear the 109th Congress due to lawmakers' concerns about either their records or EPA policies.

At the same time, four controversial Bush nominees for appeals court positions have withdrawn their nominations, including William Myers III, whose nomination last year raised concerns among environmentalists because of what they say is Myers' anti-environmental record.

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Key House Panel Chair Vows To Pressure EPA On Environmental Justice

Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD), who Democrats nominated Jan. 9 to chair a key House subcommittee with jurisdiction over EPA, is vowing to highlight the effect of Bush administration's environmental policies on minority populations, which could renew debate over the agency's controversial 2005 decision to drop race as a factor in identifying communities disproportionately affected by pollution.

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House Democrats To Scrutinize Upcoming NAS Review Of OMB Risk Guide

A soon-to-be-released National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review of a controversial White House risk assessment bulletin will likely face heightened congressional scrutiny, as House Democrats who urged NAS to ensure that its review would be stringent have now assumed key majority leadership roles.

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Lawmakers Eye Mercury Monitoring Bill In Bid To Tighten EPA Regulation

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is planning to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to create a nationwide mercury monitoring network to assess actual emissions and deposition levels, in an effort aimed at eventually providing data to force EPA to tighten its controversial mercury emissions control rule.

The bill proposes to expand EPA's network for monitoring mercury deposition by making it the lead agency in charge of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP).

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Boxer Seeks Perchlorate Monitoring, Health Level As Interim Measure

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the chair of the Environment & Public Works Chairman, is pushing EPA to establish a perchlorate health advisory level and a contamination monitoring program as a set of interim measures to address the ubiquitous contaminant until EPA decides whether to set an enforceable drinking water standard.

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Uncertainty Over Key House Subcommittee Prompts Concerns

Uncertainty over who will chair a key House subcommittee with jurisdiction over waste and water issues is raising concern among some Democrats and environmentalists, who fear the chairmanship could go to a member of Congress that lacks a strong environmental voting record.

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Democrats Oppose DHS Plan To Preempt State Chemical Security Rules

Democratic lawmakers are drafting legislation to block language in pending Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chemical security regulations that would preempt states from setting more stringent standards than the federal plan. The legislative effort comes as activists complain that DHS's preemption language is based on weak legal arguments.

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Uncertainty Ensures Court, Hill Action On Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court's fractured 2006 ruling on when Clean Water Act (CWA) protections apply to waterbodies and wetlands assures that federal courts, Congress and EPA will continue to grapple with the issue in the coming year.

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Farm Bill Push Renews Doubts Of Ethanol's Environmental Benefits

Upcoming efforts to further boost the use of ethanol through the 2007 Farm Bill and other legislation is prompting renewed doubt about the fuel's environmental benefits, particularly its relative inefficiency in reducing greenhouse gases and its growing contribution to air and water pollution.

The concerns are prompting policymakers and many environmentalists to push for ensuring that any new measures to encourage increased ethanol production also include new requirements to limit the fuel's environmental harms.

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