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Toxics

NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE SETTLEMENT INCREASES PRESSURE FOR YUCCA

The first settlement between the U.S. government and a utility over the government's failure to assume control over commercial nuclear waste by a statutorily mandated deadline will likely increase pressure on the federal government to open the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, NV, by 2010, industry sources say.

"From an industry standpoint, it creates more impetus to build it on schedule," a nuclear industry source says.

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DOI FEARS CLEANUP COST PRECEDENT IN CROSS-BORDER TOXICS CASE

Top Interior Department (DOI) officials are raising concerns about EPA efforts to force a Canadian company to clean up contamination in a Washington state lake because of fears DOI's Bureau of Reclamation, which operates a nearby dam, could face Superfund liability at the lake as well as hundreds of other dams it operates, government sources say.

DOI's concerns could put further pressure on EPA to retreat from its efforts to hold Canadian mining giant Teck Cominco liable under CERCLA for mining releases that originated in Canada but eventually settled in Lake Roosevelt.

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EPA INACTION PROMPTS INDUSTRY TO SEEK COURT ORDER ON LEAD REPORTING

Despite ongoing EPA efforts to review and possibly revise a controversial rule on reporting lead use and releases, a group representing small businesses is pushing a federal court for an immediate ruling to repeal the standard.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently filed a motion for summary judgment in its three-year-old lawsuit against the reporting requirements after EPA officials said it would be at least another year before the agency might revise the standard. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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EPA MAY USE REGION III GUIDE TO PERMIT REMAINING UNREGULATED RCRA UNITS

EPA may adopt Region III guidelines for permitting the bulk of remaining unregulated Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) facilities, including a host of munitions disposal sites, to help meet the agency's ambitious goal of preventing releases at 95 percent of hazardous waste facilities by 2008, according to an Office of Solid Waste (OSW) official and agency documents.

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USDA Proposes Extending Methyl Bromide 'Quarantine Exemption' To Domestic Use

The Bush administration is proposing to expand the so-called "quarantine exemption" for the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol to allow its use in domestic agriculture shipments. Until now, the exemption has only been used to allow the pesticide to be sprayed on international shipments of nursery plants and crops.

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EPA May Use Region's Guide To Permit Unregulated Toxic Waste Facilities

EPA may adopt Region 3 guidelines for permitting the bulk of remaining unregulated Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) facilities, including a host of munitions disposal sites, to help meet the agency's ambitious goal of preventing releases at 95 percent of hazardous waste facilities by 2008, according to an Office of Solid Waste (OSW) official and agency documents.

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NAFTA PANEL AGREES TO RARE PEER REVIEW OF CHILDREN'S HEALTH STUDY

A North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel has taken the unusual step of allowing an external review of its draft study evaluating toxic chemicals' impact on children's health, following criticism of the report by EPA, the Canadian government and industry groups. The parties argue that the panel's report wrongly equates disposal of wastes in regulated landfills with releases into the environment, and improperly links waste releases to children's exposure.

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EPA BACKS OFF SUPPORTING DISPUTED ASBESTOS DEMOLITION METHOD

EPA is backing away from its earlier decision to approve a controversial method to demolish asbestos-contaminated buildings until it completes additional testing on the technique's safety.

The delay comes after agency scientists questioned the safety of the method -- known as wet demolition -- and environmentalists said its use may violate federal environmental laws, including the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act and Superfund.

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INDUSTRY QUESTIONS EPA CALL TO LOWER NEW POWER PLANTS' SO2 LIMITS

Power plants may be unable to meet stringent sulfur emissions limits EPA regions are asking states to include in a number of draft permits for proposed new power plants -- limits that EPA argues correct state reliance on data that underestimate emissions standards achievable by the facilities.

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TECHNOLOGY TO MEET EPA NOX RULE MAY POSE CHALLENGES FOR UTILITIES

A new emissions reduction technology known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) that utilities are effectively required to use in complying with nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards for the Eastern United States could create unintended air pollution, a problem that surfaced recently when a major power company was forced to shut down some SCR units at an Indiana facility.

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