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Toxics

WRCB STATEWIDE SEDIMENT STANDARDS 'DISAPPOINT' ENVIRONMENTALISTS

Environmentalists are "disappointed" with the state water board's recently released draft statewide sediment standards because they had anticipated the objectives would go further toward setting actual policy. The standards, known as sediment quality objectives (SQOs), are expected to affect permits issued by regional water boards with jurisdiction over enclosed bays and estuaries, and may help regional boards set cleanup standards in those areas.

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CAL/EPA, EPA PLAN ASBESTOS RISK ASSESSMENT TO PRODUCE RULE FACTORS

Health hazard office, air board and U.S. EPA officials plan to launch a risk assessment for naturally occurring asbestos to produce key factors that local officials and other regulators can use to craft future emission reduction rules for construction and related projects, according to EPA Region IX officials. The air board will also review two of its asbestos air toxic control measures (ATCMs) to determine whether they need to be updated, or if a new ATCM should be drafted, the EPA officials said.

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Expanded SAB Review Of EPA Arsenic Study May Undermine Standards

EPA science advisers are questioning data the agency relied on when developing the risk assessment supporting its strict drinking water standard for arsenic due to take effect next year -- which could undermine the drinking water regulations, product safety requirements and cleanup targets at hazardous waste sites.

The development could also boost arguments by a slew of industry sectors -- including mining, pesticide, wood treatment and others -- that there are "safe" levels of arsenic exposure that warrant relaxed cancer estimates.

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Ruling May Expand High Court Case Allowing State Law Pesticide Claims

An appellate ruling issued earlier this month could dramatically expand the Supreme Court's recent Bates decision, which rejected industry arguments that compliance with EPA pesticide labeling requirements preempt tort lawsuits under state law, industry sources say.

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EPA Review Of Lead Paint Rule's Costs Leads Activists To Continue Suit

Despite an EPA commitment to develop lead paint cleanup regulations, environmentalists are vowing to continue pressing a suit against the agency over concerns EPA is considering the costs of different regulatory options, which the activists fear may help justify limiting the rule's public health protections.

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Congressional Study Details EPA Power To Regulate Chemical Security

Congressional researchers are suggesting that EPA has always had the statutory authority needed to force the chemical industry to shore up security vulnerabilities, even though the Bush administration has downgraded the agency's role on the issue in favor of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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Appellate Ruling May Limit Environmental Product Liability Claims

A recent federal court decision barring a chemical company from suing a tank manufacturer for damages stemming from chemical leaks could set a Superfund law precedent by allowing claims to lapse even before an injury is discovered, sources say. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled July 28 in Burlington Northern & Sante Fe Railway Company v. Skinner Tank Company, et al., that provisions in Superfund law do not preempt state limits on when a party can be sued.

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Environmentalists Question EPA Review Of Risk-Based Air Toxics Rules

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is warning that EPA has to initiate a new air toxics rulemaking process because the agency's administrative reconsideration of its controversial risk-based exemptions for industrial boilers and process heaters unlawfully broadens the universe of emissions sources eligible for the waiver.

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ORD NOMINEE MAY FACE INQUIRY ON WHITE HOUSE ROLE IN EPA TOXICS REVIEWS

The Bush administration's nominee to head EPA's research office will likely face questions from Senate Democrats over his past support for a strong White House role in reviewing agency risk assessments.

The nominee, George Gray of Harvard University, has publicly supported handing White House offices, such as the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), a central responsibility in selecting review panelists and ensuring that agencies implement their recommendations.

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INHOFE THREATENS CONFIRMATION FLAP OVER NAPHTHALENE RISK REVIEW

Senate environment committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is urging EPA to reconsider classifying the widely used chemical naphthalene as a "likely" carcinogen. Inhofe also plans to question the science behind this and other recent agency toxics decisions during the upcoming confirmation hearing for the nominee to head the agency's research and development office.

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