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Toxics

EPA Details Implementation Plan For Land-Use Restrictions At Superfund Sites

In anticipation of an independent audit, EPA has issued a new strategy for implementing land-use controls at Superfund sites that will address in part concerns that the agency has failed to adequately monitor restrictions on the future of use of sites that have been removed from the National Priorities List (NPL), EPA sources say.

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Cleanup Delays Prompt Democratic Calls For Renewed Superfund Tax

EPA's recent acknowledgment that it was unable to start cleanups at 34 Superfund projects in fiscal year 2004 has renewed Democratic criticism of the Bush administration for not supporting renewal of an industry tax that had funded the waste cleanup program. In separate letters to Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), EPA's acting waste chief Thomas P. Dunne says the agency initiated cleanup action at 27 Superfund projects nationwide during last fiscal year.

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Industry Raises Data Quality Concerns Over 'Residual Risk' Air Rule

Industry groups are questioning the scientific analyses EPA used in proposing its first "residual risk" air toxics standard, saying the agency may have violated data guidelines under the Information Quality Act. The proposed rule addresses air emissions from coke oven batteries, and could set a precedent for the way EPA develops similar requirements for a host of major industries.

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Federal Study Backs Controversial EPA Approach To Dioxin Mixtures

EPA scientists say a major new federally funded study on dioxin and related compounds confirms the agency's risk assessment approach to mixtures of the chemicals and provides a boost to its controversial dioxin report just as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is beginning a critical review of the document.

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Former EPA General Counsel Recommends Data Quality Reforms

EPA's former general counsel is suggesting that the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) require federal agencies to reference the Information Quality Act (IQA) in rulemaking preambles, effectively paving the way for certain data-based disputes to be challenged in federal court. The recommendation is likely to be controversial, and has already prompted protests from environmentalists who say the move could complicate ongoing efforts to clarify the role of courts in determining data quality.

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California, Pentagon Agree On Identifying Perchlorate Polluted Sites

The Department of Defense and the California EPA have reached an agreement on a protocol for setting priorities to sample drinking water sources contaminated by the chemical perchlorate near military facilities throughout the state. The protocol is the first of its kind in the country and stems from a federal-state working group formed last year to address perchlorate cleanup concerns in California.

Perchlorate is a component of rocket fuel and munitions and is a ubiquitous groundwater contaminant among western and southwestern states.

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EPA AGREES TO LET ENVIRONMENTALISTS PARTICIPATE IN RISK REFORMS

EPA has agreed to include environmentalists in a series of professional workshops on overhauling its chemical risk reviews after the activists claimed they were excluded while industry is participating, EPA sources and environmentalists say.

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EPA REVISES REGULATORY REVIEWS TO DISCOUNT LONG-TERM BENEFITS

EPA science advisers are recommending a revised regulatory review process that would discount the long-term benefits of environmental controls and emphasize the projected costs of future regulations.

The new approach, which builds on a preliminary analysis included in EPA's nonroad diesel rule released in May, will be used to assess controls on particulate matter in the agency's upcoming interstate air quality standard, and will eventually be adopted for all EPA air standards, a key agency air economist says.

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EPA TARGETS ARSENIC REDUCTIONS THROUGH WATER DISTRIBUTION RULE

EPA is considering requiring drinking water systems to place controls in their distribution systems that minimize arsenic and other contaminants after a recent agency study revealed higher arsenic levels in the systems than the federal limit allows, agency sources say.

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EPA WATER, PESTICIDE OFFICES STRUGGLE TO CRAFT NEW ARSENIC RISK VALUE

EPA water office officials are raising concerns over an effort by the agency's pesticide office to adopt a less stringent risk assessment value for arsenic based on new studies that show it is less toxic to animals than competing studies on its toxicity to humans, EPA and industry sources say.

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