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Toxics

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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Delayed EPA Action Sparks Industry Fears Over Use Of Ozone-Safe Chemical

Industry says EPA's approval of a safe alternative to chemicals that pose a risk to the stratospheric ozone could be of limited benefit because the agency has failed to move quickly on delisting the substitute substance from regulation as a volatile organic compound (VOC).

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EPA To Issue New Guidance Governing Water Permits For Pesticide Users

EPA is preparing to release a new guidance document addressing whether aerial pesticide applications that impact waterbodies will face Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting requirements to replace existing interim guidance exempting many pesticide users from the water permit program, agency officials say.

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EPA Appears Poised To Release Draft Plan On Metals Risk Assessment

EPA is poised to release a long-awaited draft version of its new framework for metals risk assessment, which is expected to favor a methodology that will allow industry to push for relaxed reporting requirements, industry sources say. Five "issue papers," which were commissioned last year to help the agency craft the framework, became public earlier this month, and representatives of mining and engineering companies say the papers' release indicates that the guidance is essentially completed. "The framework is due out really any day," one industry source says.

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Government Raises Novel Waste-Law Argument In Ship Export Dispute

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is citing a seldom-used provision of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to convince a federal judge that contaminated government vessels are "scrap metal" and therefore free from RCRA export restrictions.

One attorney with an environmental group says the case may be the first to address the scope of the RCRA exemption for scrap metal, which frees exporters from stringent notification and consent requirements under the law. The court could set a precedent on the provision's reach, the source says.

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EPA Details Rejection Of Industry Claim That Pact Waived TSCA Reports

EPA attorneys have outlined their legal argument for rejecting claims by DuPont and other industry officials that a decade-old agreement with chemical makers had excluded the company from having to report key findings about the environmental risks from a widely used chemical. The dispute has attracted the attention of some of the nation's largest chemical companies, which were also involved in the pact, because it could determine their responsibilities under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to report potential public health risks.

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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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