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Litigation

STATES EYE OUTCOME-BASED MEASURES FOR EPA ENFORCEMENT REVIEWS

The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will begin compiling outcome-based performance measures that state officials hope EPA will use in an ongoing review of how consistently the agency evaluates state enforcement programs.

States also want EPA to eventually adopt the performance measures as a more accurate way of assessing the success of state enforcement programs, which occurs, for instance, when EPA responds to environmentalists' petitions for the agency to withdraw environmental programs delegated to states and to respond to critical inspector general audits.

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ACTIVISTS REJECT EPA SUGGESTION TO LIMIT SCOPE OF LAWSUIT ON LEAD RULES

Environmentalists have rebuffed a suggestion by EPA to limit the geographic scope of a lawsuit seeking comprehensive review of national lead emissions standards to Missouri and several other states with metals smelters. Environmentalists say EPA needs to evaluate and strengthen safety standards for the toxic metal beyond those states directly affected by the smelters.

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JUDGE SUGGESTS MICHIGAN WASTE LAWS MAY SURVIVE INDUSTRY CHALLENGE

A federal judge in Michigan has rebuffed industry efforts to block a series of controversial waste control laws from taking effect, indicating the laws may survive constitutional challenges that have plagued other state efforts to limit waste imports.

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INDUSTRY WEIGHS APPEAL OVER RULING LIMITING FLOW CONTROL CHALLENGES

A waste industry association may appeal a recent federal appellate ruling that could limit its ability to challenge local garbage flow-control ordinances on constitutional grounds.

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APPEALS COURT FINDS ACTIVIST SUIT ON WASTE RECLASSIFICATION NOT 'RIPE'

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has rejected a challenge by environmentalists to the Department of Energy's (DOE) authority to reclassify high level nuclear waste at an Idaho site as less hazardous, which environmentalists say will clear the way for leaving the waste on-site.

In the Nov. 5 ruling in Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of Energy, the court found the issue was not yet ripe for review because DOE has not yet moved to implement a guidance that asserts its authority to reclassify some wastes as "incidental to reprocessing."

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APPEALS COURT DECISION COULD DEVASTATE CLEAN AIR ACT CITIZEN SUITS

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit is likely to be devastating for future citizen suits under the Clean Air Act, according to attorneys familiar with the case.

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ACTIVISTS REJECT EPA SUGGESTION TO LIMIT SCOPE OF LAWSUIT ON LEAD RULES

Environmentalists have rebuffed a suggestion by EPA to limit the geographic scope of a lawsuit seeking comprehensive review of national lead emissions standards to Missouri and several other states with metals smelters. Environmentalists say EPA needs to evaluate and strengthen safety standards for the toxic metal beyond those states directly affected by the smelters.

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LANDMARK APPELLATE RULING ALLOWS GROUPS TO SUE FOR CLEAN WATER DATA

A federal appeals court has for the first time clearly stated that environmental groups have standing to sue dischargers to disclose monitoring and reporting data under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The Nov. 1 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit is "critically important" to citizens' ability to enforce the CWA, an environmental attorney familiar with the case says, noting that the CWA permitting program is a self-monitoring system. "We think it is an important victory for environmental groups."

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HOUSE DEMOCRAT PLANS BILL TO PROTECT IGS FROM POLITICAL ATTACKS

Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper (D) is planning to reintroduce legislation aimed at strengthening the power of EPA and other inspectors general (IGs) and preventing the internal auditors from being removed from office for political reasons, congressional sources say.

Cooper's plans come as EPA IG Nikki Tinsley is facing charges from congressional Republicans and industry representatives that her recent investigations of EPA clean air policies demonstrate bias against the Bush administration and go beyond what she is authorized to investigate.

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NEW YORK HIGH COURT UPHOLDS STATE'S EMERGENCY ACID RAIN RULES

The New York Supreme Court upheld emergency acid rain rules that require power plants in the state to install year-round nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution controls, and reduce NOx and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions far beyond federal requirements. The court last month rejected an industry appeal of the emergency rules.

With the temporary rules finally taking effect, New York will become the first state to require NOx emission reductions of 70 percent and SO2 reductions of 50 percent, creating the most far-reaching acid rain program in the nation.

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