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Waste

BROWNFIELDS MOA DRAWS MIXED REVIEWS; CRITICS FEAR MORE CONFUSION

A draft intra-agency agreement floated by Cal/EPA intended to better coordinate brownfields cleanup oversight is being met with initial concerns that the plan could further complicate and confuse the process, thereby retreating from the agency's goal of streamlining oversight activities at blighted properties. This sentiment is not universal, however, with some stakeholders seeing the draft agreement as imperfect improvement over the status quo.

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EPA Rebuffs States' Request To Endorse Use Of Sewage Sludge As Fertilizer

EPA has declined the request of numerous states to explicitly endorse disposing of biosolids by using them as fertilizer, an endorsement states had sought to protect them against lawsuits challenging the practice, state sources say.

States had been seeking EPA's endorsement, a Wisconsin source says, because it could help fend off lawsuits from environmentalists and local municipalities that have continually questioned publicly owned treatment works' (POTWs) authority to land-apply biosolids.

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EPA Rejects New Policy Despite Mine-Waste Releases During Florida Hurricanes

EPA appears to have rejected suggestions that it lift a ban on recycling the one billion tons of radioactive phosphate mining waste stored in Florida, a move that could have reduced waste piles that caused the release of millions of gallons of contaminated water during last summer's hurricanes.

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Superfund Flap May Split Mining Support In Colorado Senate Race

The mining industry in Colorado may be split in its support for candidates to the U.S. Senate, in a race that has attracted national attention and includes highly publicized charges and counter-charges on environmental protections.

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Congress Reins In Legal Dispute By Reclassifying Nuclear Wastes

A controversial provision approved by Congress earlier this month allowing the Department of Energy (DOE) to reclassify high-level radioactive waste at two major federal facilities may limit the impact of ongoing litigation by environmentalists who are seeking a more permanent disposal of the waste, according to an attorney involved in the case.

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Science Academy Launches Coal-Waste Study Amid Charges Of Bias

The National Academy of Sciences has been put on notice by environmentalists and the two Republican senators from the coal-producing state of Pennsylvania about an upcoming review of disposal practices for coal combustion wastes.

Environmentalists allege that a panel formed to conduct the review is biased against federal regulation of the disposal practice, while the senators are urging the academy to ensure the congressionally mandated study is fair and balanced.

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Court Weighs Whether EPA Should Consider Exposure Pathway For Superfund Sites

In an unprecedented case that could have broad implications for designating future Superfund sites, a key federal appeals court will decide whether EPA must consider a chemical's likely exposure pathway when evaluating whether contaminated sites should be placed on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

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FORMER EPA GENERAL COUNSEL RECOMMENDS DATA QUALITY REFORMS

EPA's former general counsel is suggesting that the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) require federal agencies to reference the Information Quality Act (IQA) in rulemaking preambles, effectively paving the way for certain data-based disputes to be challenged in federal court. The recommendation is likely to be controversial, and has already prompted protests from environmentalists who say the move could complicate ongoing efforts to clarify the role of courts in determining data quality.

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INDUSTRY FEARS RULING ON EPA REMINING RULE CREATES LEGAL LIMBO

A recent federal appellate decision invalidating an EPA rule easing Clean Water Act (CWA) effluent requirements for companies that remine once-abandoned coal mines leaves the industry in legal limbo because it also criticizes case-by-case permitting that could be required until the agency issues a new rule, an industry source says.

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WASTE RECLASSIFICATION PROVISION MAY LIMIT LEGAL CHALLENGE

A controversial provision approved by Congress earlier this month allowing the Energy Department (DOE) to reclassify high-level radioactive waste in South Carolina and Idaho may limit the impact of ongoing litigation over the issue presently before a federal appeals court, according to an attorney involved in the case.

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