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Toxics

CAL/EPA ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ACTION PLAN FEATURES PILOT PROJECTS

Cal/EPA last week released a draft Environmental Justice (EJ) Action Plan for public comment that lays out specific responsibilities for the agency's individual outfits and details a set of pilot projects Cal/EPA intends to initiate. These projects include examining mobile and stationary source emissions in southern California and pesticide exposure in rural farming towns. Comments on the plan are due Sept. 13.

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CHLORINE INDUSTRY RIPS POTENTIAL CHLOROFORM PROP. 65 LISTING

Chlorine industry representatives are challenging the potential listing of chloroform as a developmental and/or reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65, saying it would conflict with conclusions by other scientific bodies and needlessly alarm the public. But health hazard assessment officials say newer studies show that exposure to chloroform from tap water can cause developmental problems. The listing is scheduled to be considered in November by Prop. 65's Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity Identification Committee (DART).

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NEW PRESS ON ADMINISTRATION OVER PERCHLORATE MCL TARGETS COST

Environmentalists and industry groups are focusing on the potential cost impacts of a forthcoming perchlorate maximum contaminant level (MCL) in pressing the health department and Schwarzenegger Administration to follow markedly different approaches in setting the cleanup standard. Activists are pushing for a 1-part-per-billion (ppb) MCL, arguing that there will be no costs to the state from such a stringent standard because responsible parties should be held liable for cleaning up pollution they caused.

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Toxicology Group Cancels Controversial Workshop On Flame Retardants

Facing criticism that it was working at cross purposes with EPA, the Society of Toxicology (SOT) has canceled a controversial workshop exploring alternatives to a popular flame retardant due to be phased out.

One of the workshop's main backers is now thinking about reversing course and cooperating with the agency.

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DOI Fears Liability Precedent From 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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JUDGE'S COMMENTS PROMPT EPA RULE ON EXPORT OF PCB-TAINTED SHIPS

EPA is considering a petition from the Maritime Administration (MARAD) to conduct a formal rulemaking exempting ships laden with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from legal requirements banning PCB export after a federal judge questioned whether EPA's earlier plan to grant an exemption without a rulemaking was lawful.

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NRC EYES INDUSTRY-WIDE INSURANCE FUND FOR POWER PLANT CLEANUPS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering for the first time the use of an industry-wide insurance policy that utilities could purchase to cover the cost of shutting down and cleaning up nuclear power plants. The proposal would allow nuclear power generators to pool their "decommissioning" resources into an insurance fund that would be available in the event that a particular plant needs to be dismantled.

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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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