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Litigation

Industry, Utilities Oppose Lawsuit To Expand Clean Water Permitting Requirements

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and municipal utilities are preparing to fight a lawsuit by an outdoor recreation group that could significantly expand the authority of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to address aesthetic concerns -- such as odor -- under the law's permitting program.

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Agriculture Industry Seeks Broad Participation In EPA Enforcement Agreement

The agriculture industry is encouraging dairy and poultry farms to be part of a voluntary EPA initiative that would temporarily suspend enforcement against animal feedlots in exchange for industry monitoring of environmental impacts.

Industry officials say having dairy and poultry operations participate in the initiative with other agricultural sectors would allow for more comprehensive research and a more accurate measure of pollution.

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EPA TO PURSUE KENTUCKY CLEAN AIR LAWSUIT DESPITE INDUSTRY EFFORT

EPA will continue pursuing a new source review (NSR) lawsuit against a Kentucky utility because the case is the "poster child" for Bush administration efforts to counter allegations it is backing off clean air enforcement, a former government official says.

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EPA ENFORCEMENT BUDGET CALLED TOO SMALL FOR NEW TRADING PROBES

Budget constraints are likely to prevent EPA's criminal enforcement division from pursuing investigations like the one that prompted last week's arrest of an economist accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars from utilities participating in a California emissions trading program, according to sources familiar with EPA enforcement issues.

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INDUSTRY SEEKS FUNDS TO BROADEN PARTICIPATION IN EPA'S PENDING CAFO PACT

Agriculture industry officials are trying to secure funding so that dairy and poultry operations can join other industry sectors in EPA's pending agreement that temporarily suspends enforcement against feedlots that participate in the deal.

Industry officials say including additional sectors in the deal would allow for more comprehensive research across the entire industry, leading to more accurate tools for measuring pollution.

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NEW EPA POLICIES SEEK TO INCREASE USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS

EPA is poised to release new policies and tools over the next several months that could bolster development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects as part of future enforcement settlements and state clean air plans, according to EPA, state and industry sources.

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CRUISE SHIP SEWAGE DISCHARGE BAN FACES TOUGHER ROAD TO GOVERNOR

A measure that would ban cruise ships from discharging raw sewage into state waters passed a key committee this week, but is seen facing a tough road to the governor, according to sources. The cruise ship industry is actively opposing the bill, citing a current voluntary industry ban on such discharges and pointing out that industry is increasingly using advanced wastewater treatment systems before discharging.

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Upcoming EPA Policies Seek To Promote Renewable Energy Projects

EPA is poised to release new policies to promote renewable energy and conservation projects as part of enforcement agreements and state air quality strategies, according agency, state and industry sources.

The effort comes amid increasing concern among policymakers over how to balance growing energy needs and environmental requirements. The concern is particularly acute among local officials who are facing deadlines for developing new state implementation plans (SIPs) for meeting increasingly stringent federal air quality standards.

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EPA Budget Constraints Seen Thwarting Future Enforcement Investigations

Budget constraints are likely to prevent EPA's criminal enforcement division from pursuing investigations like the one that prompted last week's arrest of an economist accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars from utilities participating in a California emissions trading program, according to sources familiar with EPA enforcement issues.

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EPA Decides Against Appealing Contentious Toxics Reporting Ruling

EPA has decided not to appeal a recent federal court ruling that struck down portions of an EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) rule that required the mining industry to report releases of naturally occurring mining wastes.

The agency's decision sets the stage for an expected petition from environmentalists for a new agency rule. Environmentalists say the agency's decision means two billion pounds of toxic materials may go unreported in future years.

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