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Toxics

HUMAN TESTING BAN MAY PROMPT EPA TO MISS PESTICIDE REVIEW DEADLINES

Amid industry requests to delay key pesticide decisions, EPA efforts to comply with the spirit of the recently enacted congressional ban on accepting human testing data for pesticide reviews in fiscal year 2006 may force the agency to miss statutory deadlines for a slew of major pesticide reviews the agency must complete by next year.

Agency officials say the development could prompt litigation against the agency for missing a statutory deadline.

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NEW DECISION MAY EXPAND HIGH COURT RULING ON PESTICIDE TORT SUITS

A ruling last week by the 8th Circuit could dramatically expand the Supreme Court's recent Bates decision rejecting industry arguments that pesticide labeling requirements preempt tort lawsuits, industry sources say.

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LEGISLATURE OKS RESOLUTION PUSHING COASTAL SULFUR EMISSION REDUCTION AREA

Lawmakers have approved a resolution calling on Congress to advance an international process requiring ships off the California coast to reduce sulfur emissions. Proponents say sulfur emission reductions are key in decreasing overall ship exhaust pollution, which inundates California ports, especially in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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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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