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Waste

ACTIVISTS PLAN LAWSUIT TO FORCE DOE COMPLIANCE WITH EPA CLEANUP PACT

Environmental groups are planning to sue the Department of Energy (DOE) to force it to comply with a Clinton-era cleanup agreement with EPA that the agency claims it lacks the legal authority to enforce.

If successful, the planned litigation could force DOE compliance with strict Superfund cleanup standards at more than a hundred contaminated DOE sites around the nation, environmentalists and government sources say.

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EPA Allows General Electric To Justify Use Of PCB Detection Tool

EPA Region 2 Administrator Jane Kenny is allowing General Electric (GE) to prove the adequacy of its preferred polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) detection method at the Hudson River -- which could help GE and other companies reduce contaminated sediment sampling costs and scale back cleanup requirements.

One government source says that if GE can demonstrate its method is equivalent to other technologies, it could help companies facing PCB cleanups scale back the scope of any dredging requirements because they are based in part on the amount of PCBs detected.

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Unique Coalition Of Industry, Environmentalists Fights IRS Waste Tax Proposal

An unusual coalition of industry groups and environmentalists is opposing an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposal to fix long-standing limits on the use of tax-exempt financing for waste disposal facilities that recycle, according to sources in the coalition.

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Yucca Mountain Faces New Hurdle After Court Rejects EPA Radiation Rule

The Department of Energy's (DOE) plans to construct a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, NV, is facing a major new hurdle after a federal appeals court vacated a key EPA radiation protection standard that is integral to the project's legality. The ruling means that EPA will likely have to rework its radiation protection standard to ensure that the site will isolate radiation from nuclear waste for 300,000 years, instead of the 10,000-year compliance period that the regulations currently require.

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EPA MAY DROP PLAN TO SPLIT CATHODE TUBES FROM MERCURY WASTE RULE

U.S. EPA may drop plans to separate a controversial provision establishing recycling requirements for cathode ray tubes (CRT) from a rule that would also ease recycling standards for equipment containing mercury, agency sources said. The consideration comes as some states, including California, are establishing CRT recycling requirements, sparking industry concern that no federal standards could lead to a series of conflicting mandates.

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NEW CONTROLS PROPOSED FOR BIOREACTORS MAY TRIGGER FRESH DISPUTE

Several new conditions favored by environmentalists will be added to draft bioreactor regulations before they are voted on by the waste board next week, setting up a potential debate with industry groups and bioreactor proponents that preferred the rules in their previous form. The changes to the draft rules were made at the board's permitting and enforcement (P&E) committee this week at the behest of member Mike Paparian.

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BILL OVERTURNING DTSC VARIANCES FOR TOXIC WOOD WASTE ADVANCES

A bill overturning toxics department-issued variances on treated wood disposal, which also sets new restrictions on what kind of landfills the wood can be sent to, cleared a key Senate committee last week after late amendments were made strengthening some of its provisions. One major waste company is still opposed to the bill, arguing that the wood waste ought to face stricter disposal standards and should not be allowed to go to municipal landfills.

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STAKEHOLDERS QUESTION EPA CRITERIA FOR CHEMICALS FROM DETERGENTS

EPA efforts to develop water quality criteria for a group of pollutants found in detergents and other household products are raising concerns among stakeholders, with the wastewater treatment industry saying there are no reliable test methods to identify the pollutants in their waste streams.

Meanwhile, environmentalists argue that the proposed criteria may not be protective enough of aquatic life.

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EPA MAY EASE STATE BURDENS FOR CLEANING MERCURY-POLLUTED WATERS

EPA is considering ways to limit state responsibilities for drafting cleanup plans addressing mercury-polluted waters when the contamination stems from out-of-state power plants and other sources, agency sources say. The move follows pressure from New England states for federal help in reducing mercury that enters their waters from outside state borders.

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ELECTION FEARS MAY STALL REVIVED EPA MULTI-MEDIA MERCURY PLAN

EPA staff are considering ways to revive the agency's long-stalled multi-media strategy for addressing mercury pollution, with officials debating whether to advance the agency's earlier approach or make significant changes to the plan, EPA and other sources say.

But sources outside EPA are not sure the agency will release the national strategy this year, because some officials fear it could renew criticism of the Bush administration's controversial plan for controlling mercury emissions from power plants in an election year.

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