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Litigation

ACTIVISTS PUSH WATER UTILITY JOINT FILINGS IN LANDMARK TMDL LITIGATION

Environmentalists are urging a federal appeals court to force Washington, DC's sewer authority to file a joint brief with two national wastewater treatment organizations -- rather than letting all three entities file separate briefs -- in an ongoing appellate battle over whether EPA must set aggregate discharge restrictions as daily rather than an annual or seasonal limits.

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EPA, HAWAII TRACKING SUIT ON LEGALITY OF EXTENDING EXPIRED WATER PERMITS

EPA and Hawaii state officials say they are tracking a potentially precedent-setting federal district court case against Honolulu addressing the legality of an EPA provision allowing dischargers to operate under expired clean water permits, although the officials have not indicated whether they will try and intervene in the case.

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RULING MANDATING BALLAST WATER PERMITS TO BOOST PERMITTING BURDENS

A federal district court decision requiring Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for ballast water discharges from ships could drastically increase the number of permits EPA and states must issue, and raises difficult questions about what technology and discharge standards EPA must develop for ballast water pollutants.

The ruling comes in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, whose jurisdiction encompasses the Port of Oakland -- which is significant because it is one of the largest and busiest ports in the United States.

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COURT DECISION NARROWS FEDERAL PROTECTION OF RURAL WATER DISTRICTS

A recent federal appellate court decision could make it more difficult for rural water districts to claim federal protection from municipal water system expansion into areas previously viewed as falling within the purview of rural districts, attorneys say.

The case is a victory for municipal systems, many of which are trying to increase their customer base in order to boost revenues -- and offset the cost of replacing aging infrastructure and meeting new drinking water standards, the attorneys say.

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EPA REJECTS INDUSTRY ARGUMENTS FOR RE-HEARING IN TOXIC TESTING CASE

EPA is defending its whole effluent toxicity (WET) tests, and a federal court's calculations used in a decision upholding the tests, in a brief submitted to the court opposing industry efforts to have the court rehear arguments concerning WET's reliability.

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Court Decision Narrows Federal Protection For Rural Water Districts

A recent federal appellate court decision could make it more difficult for rural water districts to claim federal protection from municipal water system expansion into areas previously viewed as falling within the purview of rural districts, attorneys say.

The case is a victory for municipal systems, many of which are trying to increase their customer base in order to boost revenues -- and offset the cost of replacing aging infrastructure and meeting new drinking water standards, the attorneys say.

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Industry Eyes Supreme Court Precedent In Push For Data Act Review

Industry attorneys are arguing that a 1979 Supreme Court ruling could help convince an appellate court that industry has the right to sue EPA and other government agencies under the Information Quality Act (IQA) even though the law is silent on the issue.

The industry also plans next week to cite in the litigation -- Salt Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Tommy Thompson -- legislative language suggesting that it was Congress' intent to grant judicial review of agency decisions on corrections sought to government-disseminated information.

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Split Ruling Allows GE To Challenge EPA Enforcement Of Superfund Law

A federal judge is allowing General Electric (GE) to continue its landmark challenge to the way EPA administers a key cleanup enforcement provision of the federal Superfund law, despite also ruling for EPA that the company had failed to show the provision was unconstitutional on its face.

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In Fight Against New Exemptions, Critics Cite Pentagon's Failure To Use Existing Waivers

Opponents of Defense Department (DOD) efforts to win waivers from key environmental requirements are arguing that the military's acknowledged failure to use existing national security exemptions demonstrates that additional legislative exemptions are not needed.

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ACTIVISTS FEAR LOSS IN CHEM WEAPONS SUIT COULD LIMIT RCRA OVERFILING

A federal judge's rejection of a citizen suit seeking to shut down an Army chemical weapons incinerator in Anniston, AL, could undermine plaintiff's ability to file suit in federal court under Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) targeting state permit actions, according to sources involved in the suit.

An attorney for the plaintiffs is recommending the groups appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. But an environmentalist says the groups have not yet decided whether to mount an appeal.

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