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Litigation

INDUSTRY PRAISING APPEALS COURT DECISION TO REHEAR REMINING RULE CASE

The mining industry is calling a federal appeals court's decision to rehear a key case involving EPA regulations on certain types of mining effluent a "very favorable development," according to industry sources.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Feb. 23 granted EPA's request for an en banc rehearing of Citizens Coal Council, et al. v. EPA and stayed its previous mandate that EPA either withdraw the so-called remining rule or issue a new rule consistent with its decision.

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DESPITE PACT, BUILDERS CITE NEW DATA TO LIMIT SCOPE OF STORMWATER RULE

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is urging EPA to limit the application of its stormwater rules for small construction sites, even though the group recently settled a lawsuit with EPA to scale back enforcement under the general permit governing those sites.

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COURT'S CAFO RULING MAY UNDERMINE EPA STORMWATER PERMIT REQUIREMENT

The recent federal appellate ruling striking down key portions of EPA's rule on large animal feedlots could also undermine EPA stormwater requirements for industrial facilities and construction sites where the agency also places the onus on the facilities to obtain permits or prove they do not need them.

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EPA Attacked For Plans To Assess Economic, Ecological Benefits Of Superfund

EPA is facing criticism from its science advisers and industry over efforts to quantify the ecological and economic benefits of Superfund cleanups, which the agency has been hoping to cite to justify funding increases to address a growing backlog of sites needing remediation.

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Judge Clears Way For Overseas Dismantling Of U.S. Toxic Vessels

A federal judge has cleared the way for the Bush administration to export contaminated naval vessels for dismantling abroad, after dismissing environmentalists' lawsuit that charged the scheme violated U.S. environmental laws.

But environmentalists are still declaring a victory, saying the suit forced the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) to conduct additional environmental analyses of its plans and apply to EPA for a rulemaking to determine whether the plan violated a long-standing ban on exports of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

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GOVERNORS ECHO EPA CONCERN OVER HIGH COURT'S SUPERFUND RULING

The nation's governors have adopted a policy resolution to voice concern that a recent Supreme Court ruling will deter polluters from voluntarily cleaning up Superfund sites, echoing earlier statements by industry and EPA officials. The resolution calls on the White House and Congress to address the issue, but a source close to the governors acknowledges that a legislative fix is highly unlikely.

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EPA Boosts Contract Closeout Funds To Encourage Superfund Savings

EPA is doubling the amount of money in a fund that covers unexpected Superfund contract closeout expenses to encourage agency offices to terminate these arrangements and redistribute any unused money to ongoing projects, an agency waste official says.

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Builders Urge EPA To Expand Recent Plan For Stormwater Rule Exclusions

The nation's home builders are urging EPA to limit the use of its stormwater rules for small construction sites, even though the industry recently settled a lawsuit with EPA after the agency agreed to scale back enforcement of the general stormwater permit governing those sites.

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DOJ Argument Poses Test For State Laws Governing Use Of NRD Funds

In a case of first impression, the Justice Department (DOJ) is urging a federal court to reject plans by the U.S. Virgin Islands to use state law to allocate funds from a natural resource damage (NRD) settlement, saying the state has to comply with restrictions in federal Superfund law when allocating the funds.

State and federal sources say the case is significant because while many states have laws that allow for the recovery of NRD claims, few of the state laws contain language restricting the use of such funds, as Superfund does.

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Ruling Likely To Force Rewrite Of EPA Water Rule For Factory Farms

A federal appellate ruling is likely to force a major rewrite of EPA's rule governing discharges from factory farms, with the court backing environmentalists' arguments that the rule was not sufficiently protective, but also agreeing with industry that the feedlots are not necessarily required to have permits as EPA had mandated.

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