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Litigation

Court Ruling Allows Outside Parties To Challenge EPA Appeals Board Decisions

In a landmark ruling, a federal appeals court has concluded that interested parties have the right to challenge decisions by EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), even if those parties were not allowed to intervene in the initial case.

The EAB is the final word on administrative appeals for all major environmental statutes that EPA administers. Parties wishing to challenge an EAB decision must go to federal court.

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DOJ Revises Environmental Indictments In Key Case To Win Stricter Sentences

The Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning Washington state's criminal sentencing guidelines is prompting the Justice Department (DOJ) to revise its indictments in a key environmental crimes case -- along with a host of other pending criminal suits -- to ensure it can still win strict sentences for defendants in the sentencing phase of the trial.

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Court Ruling Allows Outside Parties To Challenge EPA Appeals Board Decisions

In a landmark ruling, a federal appeals court has concluded that interested parties have the right to challenge decisions by EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), even if those parties were not allowed to intervene in the initial case.

The EAB is the final word on administrative appeals for all major environmental statutes that EPA administers. Parties wishing to challenge an EAB decision must go to federal court.

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EPA Enforcement Directive Allows New Water Discharges From Gulf Drilling

A new EPA directive will allow new water discharges from oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while the agency works to complete Clean Water Act permit requirements for the facilities. The directive was issued following criticism from industry and a member of Congress that the delayed water act requirements were slowing oil and gas production and exacerbating rising fuel prices.

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Inspector General Report Underscores Budget Constraints For EPA Enforcement

A new EPA inspector general (IG) report calling on the enforcement office to improve its tracking of progress under a refining industry enforcement initiative appears to underscore the overall resource pressures faced by the agency as it tries to measure the effectiveness of past industry settlements while pursuing new enforcement actions.

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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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