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Toxics

EPA, States Unveil Plans To Speed Decisions On Innovative Projects

EPA and state environment commissioners are creating a new method allowing states to question the agency for not acting on their proposed innovative projects. The move comes as the commissioners have initiated discussions with EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt on ways to enhance state participation in the agency's Performance Track (PT) program, which grants regulatory relief for qualifying projects and industrial facilities.

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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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ACTIVISTS URGE WRCB TO UPHOLD PERCHLORATE ORDER ON FLARE MAKER

Environmentalists last week urged the state water board to uphold a regional board decision requiring a major flare manufacturer to continue supplying bottled water to residents serviced by wells tainted with perchlorate pollution, even if the wells are contaminated at levels lower than the state's public health goal.

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ECONOMIC CONCERNS EMERGE IN DEBATE OVER PENDING ARSENIC LIMIT

With a draft arsenic drinking water standard reportedly undergoing internal review at the health department, environmentalists are making the case that the forthcoming state limit should be set at 2 parts per billion (ppb), which would be significantly more stringent than a 10-ppb federal standard due to take effect in 2006. But water agency officials believe a 2-ppb standard would be economically impossible to meet and say the state and federal governments must provide significant financial assistance to poorer, rural areas just to meet the 10-ppb standard.

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States, Environmentalists Urge Caution Over EPA Artificial Reefs Plan

States and environmentalists are urging EPA to adopt additional protective measures and limit the use of a controversial guidance on preparing contaminated vessels for sinking as artificial reefs, which could be a key disposal method for older U.S. government ships, according to recent comments submitted on the plan.

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Environmentalists File Appeal To Speed Pesticide Rule Challenges

Environmentalists are being joined by farm workers and other public health groups in appealing a federal district court decision that would likely slow legal challenges to EPA pesticide standards that the activists say ignore strict safety measures required by law to protect children. Industry officials who are defending the EPA standards say the case could determine for the first time the administrative process that outside groups must follow before going to court.

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DEMOCRAT INVITES REVISIONS IN FINAL PUSH FOR CHEMICAL SECURITY BILL

Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) says he is open to further revising controversial provisions of his chemical security bill in an effort to strike a bipartisan deal that would clear the measure for Senate passage in the waning days of the legislative session. Corzine's offer comes after he withdrew a revised chemical security bill earlier this week as an amendment to legislation that would reform the intelligence bureaucracy, which was approved by the Senate on Oct. 6.

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EPA LIKELY TO DROP DOZEN CHEMICALS FROM LIST OF POTENTIAL POLLUTANTS

EPA is unlikely to regulate a dozen chemicals it was considering for new drinking water regulations, but is uncertain whether it will develop new standards for two high-profile contaminants -- perchlorate and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) -- until after scientists complete ongoing risk assessments, agency sources say.

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HOUSE REPUBLICAN EFFORTS ON POPS TREATY SEEN AS DEAD THIS YEAR

House Republicans appear to have abandoned plans for a subcommittee vote before the November elections on legislation to implement a treaty banning persistent organic pollutants (POPs) after failing to receive White House support that the subcommittee was seeking for its bill, sources say.

With the congressional session winding down for the year -- lawmakers are expected to come back for a brief "lame duck" session after the election to address federal funding -- sources say it is unlikely the subcommittee will take up the issue this year.

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CONGRESSIONAL REPORT CITED IN PUSH FOR REVIEW OF DATA QUALITY LAW

Opponents of a controversial data quality law are citing a new congressional study in their push to seek a broader investigation of whether the law is slowing down regulatory decision making.

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