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EPA Faces DOD Push For Weaker Risk Levels As It Begins RDX Analysis

As EPA relaunches its reassessment of the risks of royal demolition explosive (RDX), a widely used munitions' component, the agency is facing pressure from the Defense Department (DOD) to weaken its current toxicity levels after DOD research called for EPA to soften current risk values and a federal health agency incorporated the research into its analysis.

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Industry Split Over Reintroduced Electronics Recycling Export Ban Bill

Electronics recyclers and the broader scrap recycling industry are split over whether to support a recently reintroduced House bill that would bar certain used electronics from being shipped to developing countries, and would increase EPA's authority to regulate electronic waste (e-waste).

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EPA IG Cancels Study Of Delayed Superfund NPL Listings

EPA's Inspector General (IG) has decided to drop a study it initiated earlier this year to uncover why EPA has a backlog of sites proposed to Superfund's National Priorities List (NPL), the list of the worst contaminated sites in the country, but has never moved forward on them or removed them from the proposed list.

In a recent cancellation memo to the agency's enforcement and waste chiefs, the IG says it is canceling the project after conducting preliminary research.

The IG cites two reasons for this decision: first, that EPA has no requirement to finalize proposed sites on the NPL, and second, that a sampling of sites revealed the agency was pursuing alternative cleanup approaches at these sites. "As a result, we have decided to close this assignment."

The IG's Office of Program Evaluation notified the EPA enforcement and waste chiefs April 4 of its plan to launch the study, noting the effort is part of the IG's fiscal year 2013 annual plan.

In a notification to these offices, the IG said its "preliminary research objective is to determine why some Superfund sites that have been proposed for NPL listing have remained in the proposed status for many years without being finalized on the NPL or removed from the proposed NPL list."

EPA could benefit from this evaluation by taking up opportunities to reallocate resources to ensure environmental and human health protection at the highest priority Superfund sites, the April 4 memo said.

 

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EPA Urges Federal Facilities To Replace Most Mercury Thermometers

EPA is pushing federal facilities to replace their mercury-containing non-fever thermometers with less toxic versions and is recommending safe disposal methods for existing ones, despite barriers to a phase-out caused by industry and government standards requiring the use of traditional mercury-based thermometers.

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Boxer Sets Marker For Key Legislative Fixes To Support TSCA Reform Bill

Senate environment panel Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has set four key markers for fixes to a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill that she says are vital for the measure to win her support and committee approval, including setting deadlines for EPA regulatory action and protecting existing state chemicals programs.

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California Warns TSCA Reform Bill May Hinder State Environmental Laws

California's top environmental official is warning that the Senate Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill may have the unintended consequence of hindering enforcement of state air, water, greenhouse gas (GHG) and other rules, building on prior concerns from the state that the bill may preempt its strict chemicals programs.

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EPA Issues New Data 'Stopping' Rules As Key Step In IRIS Reform Process

EPA has released new “stopping” rules governing when and how new data should be included in Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessments of chemicals' toxicity, the agency's latest step in reforming the IRIS process that also includes an updated plan for completing the complex analyses that can take many years to complete.

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TSCA Reform Advocates Warn Major Bill Changes May Kill Bipartisan Effort

Democratic and GOP senators supporting a bill to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are signaling they are open to some changes to the bill in order to address other senators' concerns on uncertainty about its preemption of state chemicals rules and other efforts, but warn major amendments could kill the bipartisan measure.

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California Advocates Push To Tighten TSCA Bill Ahead Of Senate Hearing

California environmentalists and public health advocates are raising major concerns with a bipartisan Senate bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and pushing changes to ensure it protects public health, ahead of a July 31 hearing on TSCA reform efforts -- the Senate environment panel's first such hearing this year.

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House Seeks Compromise Language For Bills To Streamline NEPA Review

Democratic and Republican members of a key House committee are pressing environmentalists and industry to craft compromise language for a bill that would restrict EPA and other agencies' powers to review projects' environmental impacts, after the Senate approved similar measures in recent transportation and water-resources bills.

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