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Litigation

FEDERAL COURT ALLOWS LANDMARK SUIT AGAINST DOD BASE TO ADVANCE

A federal judge is allowing an unprecedented lawsuit to proceed against DOD's plan to build a new airbase off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, finding that a U.S. law governing the preservation of historic sites may require the military to consider the impact of the project on an endangered sea mammal found in the surrounding waters.

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JUDGE REJECTS ACTIVISTS' BID TO BLOCK EXPORT OF TOXIC NAVAL 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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ACTIVISTS SEEK SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN EFFLUENT GUIDELINES REVIEW CASE

Environmentalists are filing a motion for summary judgment calling for a federal court to require EPA to perform thorough reviews of all existing effluent guidelines on an annual basis, in the latest action of a running legal battle between activists and EPA over the program.

Activists' motion for summary judgment, and a separate brief opposing a motion from EPA, were filed Feb. 28 in Ecological Rights Foundation and Our Children's Earth Foundation v. U.S. EPA, which is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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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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