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Toxics

HIGH COURT COULD SETTLE SPLIT ON U.S. PREEMPTION OF STATE PESTICIDE LAWS

A case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court on whether federal pesticide law prevents farmers from suing manufacturers under state statutes for crop damages resulting from improper pesticide labeling could resolve a lower court split on whether the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) trumps state pesticide labeling laws.

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COLORADO SETS FIRST-TIME WATER STANDARD FOR WIDESPREAD CHEMICAL

Colorado regulators last week established first-time enforceable water quality standards for a widespread chemical contaminant that the Defense Department (DOD) and industry groups are identifying as an emerging concern.

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INDUSTRY ARGUES AGAINST EPA REGULATING METHYL BROMIDE STOCKPILES

Manufacturers, distributors and users of the ozone-depleting chemical methyl bromide are making new claims that EPA does not have the authority to regulate existing stockpiles of the pesticide. The claims, if successful, could allow industry to use volumes of methyl bromide greater than levels the U.S. agreed to in recent international talks, industry and government sources say.

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EPA PROGRAM OFFICES FEAR ORD IS RUSHING KEY CHEMICAL RISK REVIEWS

EPA program offices are raising concerns that Office of Research & Development (ORD) managers are ignoring their call to quickly complete chemical risk assessments for the agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database, sources say.

The dispute could result in "delayed chemical reviews and internal strife" if the program offices and ORD do not agree on how to review new risk assessments, one program office source says. "These assessments are supposed to be agency products," the source says.

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OIL INDUSTRY PUSHING TO RELAX EPA CHEMICAL INVENTORY DATA RULES

Key oil industry groups will push the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to recommend that EPA scale back rules requiring a broad swath of industry to provide local emergency response personnel information on chemicals stored at their facilities, according to industry representatives.

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PROP. 65 LAWYERS SAY 'DETECTION METHOD' DELETION WILL IMPROVE LAW

Most lawyers tracking a health hazard assessment process to modify a controversial Proposition 65 regulation that lays out acceptable chemical detection methods say they support a new proposal by the office to delete the section entirely. While some industry attorneys had argued that amending the section could clarify and improve the process, most concluded that relying on existing evidence law is preferable and deleting the section will lessen confusion over the regulation.

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GOVERNOR VETOES ESCORT MANDATE FOR SHIPS CARRYING AMMONIA, LIQUID GAS

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week vetoed a bill that would have required tug boat escorts in all California ports for ships carrying ammonia and liquid gas, citing existing local and Coast Guard authority to enact such requirements if deemed necessary.

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GOVERNOR NAMES LONGTIME STATE OFFICIAL BLEVINS TO TOP DTSC POST

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week officially appointed B.B. Blevins as director of the toxics department, where he has been serving as acting director since Ed Lowry stepped down from the post after learning that the governor was looking to replace him. Blevins' appointment was expected by stakeholders, one of whom described him as "reasonable, thoughtful and experienced."

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RISK, ENFORCEMENT DEBATED IN ARB WOOD-PRODUCT FORMALDEHYDE RULE

Air board officials and industry representatives are continuing to debate enforcement issues and the risk assessment basis of an evolving control measure to reduce formaldehyde emissions from a variety of composite-wood products. The rule -- the first of its kind in the nation -- has potentially widespread impacts, including that it may be copied by other states looking to reduce indoor pollution. But it also threatens to hurt U.S. industry if enforcement is insufficient to target furniture and other products imported from overseas, industry officials say.

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NEW DPR CHIEF'S FARM TIES SPUR CONCERN, BUT ACTIVISTS 'OPEN MINDED'

After raising initial concerns over the appointment of a longtime agribusiness official to head the pesticides department, environmentalists now say they will evaluate Mary-Ann Warmerdam's performance in her first months in the post before deciding whether to oppose or support her confirmation by the Senate. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's appointment of Warmerdam, who worked for the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) for two decades, is supported by agriculture officials, who believe she will be a "fair" and "judicious" director.

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