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Toxics

NEW EPA TECHNOLOGY GROUP SEEKS TO TACKLE HIGH-PROFILE PROBLEMS

EPA's newly formed Environmental Technology Council (ETC) -- an agency clearinghouse intended to boost the use of innovative technologies to address environmental problems -- is targeting 10 high-profile environmental problem areas, including boosting compliance with expensive drinking water rules, limiting agricultural pollution and using new monitoring technologies to assist enforcement.

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EPA TO REVISE CATEGORIES FOR ASSESSING CHILDREN'S CHEMICAL EXPOSURE

EPA will soon propose changes to the categories it uses in determining children's exposure to high-production chemicals in response to an industry lawsuit, according to industry and agency sources.

The changes are part of a legal agreement reached last month with chemical makers to resolve a lawsuit challenging the agency's Inventory Update Rule (IUR), which requires manufacturers to report a range of data on chemicals produced annually in volumes of 25,000 pounds or more, as long as the information is "readily available."

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CRITICS VOW EFFORT TO OVERTURN PROPOSITION 64 IN NOVEMBER 2006

Opponents of Proposition 64 have vowed to overturn the initiative in November 2006 with their own ballot measure. This year's initiative, which prohibits environmental groups and others from bringing "unfair competition" lawsuits against companies unless damages have been suffered by victims, was supported by nearly 60% of California voters, according to the Secretary of State's office.

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EQUITY, HEALTH IMPACT MONITORING EYED FOR 2004-05 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The 2004-2005 legislative session that officially begins next month is expected to see a significant number of bills proposing programs to link chronic diseases to environmental contaminants, and potential measures to reduce exposures, according to sources. But lawmakers will have to temper their legislative proposals with realistic fiscal planning, working within Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's vision of no new taxes or fees, according to a legislative source.

"A lot of environmental legislation is predicated on agencies being [fiscally] able to do their jobs," the source said.

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INDUSTRY RAISES FURTHER OBJECTIONS OVER EJ PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE

The proposed implementation of the precautionary principle into Cal/EPA's environmental justice (EJ) policy could backfire by delaying the development of life-saving technologies, industry representatives argued this week. But environmental, community and tribal activists contended the concepts being supported by Cal/EPA are much more likely to save lives and further EJ causes.

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Bush Failure To Appeal Wildlife Ruling May Prompt Rules On EPA Consultations

A decision by the Bush administration not to appeal a recent court ruling that the Fish and Wildlife Service has routinely failed to adequately protect the habitat of endangered species will likely result in new regulations with implications for various federal agencies, including EPA, according to government and other sources.

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EPA To Approve Major Waste Risk Tool Despite Industry Concerns

EPA is close to approving use of an ambitious multimedia risk assessment tool that will likely ease waste disposal requirements after more than a decade in development, but some industry officials say they still have doubts about its reliability.

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Lead Cleanup Dispute Raises Unusual Arguments Against EPA Risk Model

A dispute over EPA cleanup levels at a Texas waste site is sparking unusual criticism from labor unions and local environmentalists that the agency's contentious model for setting lead cleanup levels is inadequate.

The model, known as the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic Model (IEUBK), is routinely criticized by industry groups and Republican lawmakers as resulting in unnecessarily stringent and expensive cleanup levels.

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Senate Environment Committee To Lose Chemical Security Jurisdiction

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to lose jurisdiction next year over legislation requiring security improvements at chemical plants, bringing new lawmakers to the debate and making the fate of the contentious bill uncertain next Congress.

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Environmentalists Cite Unusual Ruling To Speed EPA Air Toxics Rule

Environmentalists are citing a recent federal appeals court's unusually detailed ruling that defines when an agency's timetable for action is unreasonable to urge the court to make EPA promptly set new air toxics standards required by a 2000 court order for cement kilns.

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