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Toxics

TOXIC TORT RULING FURTHERS SPLIT OVER THRESHOLD FOR CLASS ACTION SUITS

A recent federal appellate ruling in a toxic tort case that lowers the bar for bringing class-action suits in federal court furthers a split among appellate circuits and makes it more likely the Supreme Court will address the issue, according to legal observers.

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HOUSE GOP RENEWS CALLS FOR ACTIVE WHITE HOUSE SUPPORT OF POPS BILL

House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans are reiterating calls for the White House to actively support legislation to implement an international treaty banning persistent organic pollutants (POPs), congressional and EPA sources say, while also launching staff discussions with the panel's Democrats in the hopes of crafting a bipartisan compromise on the bill.

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E-REPORTING RULE SEEKS TO ALLAY COMPETING STATE, ENFORCEMENT FEARS

EPA's recently completed rule establishing long-delayed requirements for submitting reports and other documents to the agency electronically appears to ease competing state and enforcement office concerns about the rule's method of authenticating the electronic reports, according to EPA and state sources familiar with the issue.

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EPA TO FORM INTERNAL WORKGROUP ON OVERHAULING RISK ASSESSMENTS

High-ranking EPA officials have decided to form a workgroup to examine how the agency selects relevant data for assessing the potential public health risks from environmental pollutants. The new group, which could recommend sweeping changes in the way EPA conducts risk reviews, reflects an industry request, but falls short of industry's proposal that the findings of the workgroup should be applied to past agency decisions.

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AGENCIES MAY FINALIZE DATA QUALITY GUIDANCE BY END OF SEPTEMBER

EPA, DOD and the Department of Energy (DOE) are striving to finalize guidance documents for creating quality assurance project plans (QAPPs) for federal facility cleanups, which will fulfill the last of three initial data quality goals that an intergovernmental task force developed. The guidance could be signed by the three agencies as early as the end of the month, an EPA source says.

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JUDGE QUESTIONS INDUSTRY STANDING TO SUE OVER DATA QUALITY PETITIONS

Litigation challenging the data used to support EPA and other agencies' decision-making may have suffered a setback as a federal judge questioned whether industry groups in a key case have standing to sue and suggested that the data quality law does not allow courts to review the information.

"I'm having trouble seeing [statutory] language that provides for judicial review" of data quality decisions, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said during Sept. 3 oral arguments in a case that industry sources are hoping will establish courts' rights to review agency data decisions.

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HOUSE GOP RENEWS CALLS FOR ACTIVE WHITE HOUSE SUPPORT OF POPS BILL

House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans are reiterating calls for the White House to actively support legislation to implement an international treaty banning persistent organic pollutants (POPs), congressional and EPA sources say, while also launching staff discussions with the panel's Democrats in the hopes of crafting a bipartisan compromise on the bill.

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VETO SEEN FOR ESCORT MANDATE ON SHIPS CARRYING AMMONIA, LIQUID GAS

Opposition by the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) may result in a veto of a bill that would require tug boat escorts of vessels carrying certain hazardous materials into some state ports. The measure was narrowed during the last hours of the legislative session to target three chemical compounds and ports in San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays.

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OEHHA SLOWS ACRYLAMIDE REGULATORY ACTION TO CONFER WITH FDA

Health hazard assessment officials have slowed their proposed Proposition 65 regulatory plan for the food chemical acrylamide to confer further with federal officials over existing and planned research. Officials are not expected to propose a new exposure threshold or draft warning label language for the chemical until late October at the earliest, according to sources. An office source denied the delay has anything to do with increasing industry pressure on the Schwarzenegger Administration to pull back the regulatory proposal.

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EPA To Form Internal Workgroup On Overhauling Risk Reviews

High-ranking EPA officials have decided to form a workgroup to examine how the agency selects relevant data for assessing the potential public health risks from environmental pollutants. The new group, which could lead to sweeping changes in the way EPA conducts risk reviews, reflects an industry request, but falls short of industry's proposal that the findings of the workgroup should be applied to past agency decisions.

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