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Waste

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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KEY REPUBLICANS ASK NAS TO EVALUATE POSSIBLE UTILITY WASTE PANEL BIAS

Key Republicans are asking the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to act on environmentalists' claims that its upcoming panel evaluating the controversial practice of minefilling coal combustion wastes (CCW) may be biased because it contains more members who oppose new federal regulation of the practice.

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NJ DEMOCRAT SAYS NYC WASTE SCHEME MAY UNDERMINE CLEAN BEACH PLAN

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) says New York City's recently announced 20-year waste management plan may undermine an EPA strategy aimed at preventing medical waste and other garbage from washing onto the state's beaches by authorizing new garbage barges.

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GOVERNMENT RAISES NOVEL RCRA ARGUMENT IN SHIP EXPORT DISPUTE

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

One environmental attorney familiar with the litigation says it may be the first case 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 MAY DELAY WIPES AND TOWELS RULE PENDING FUNDING FOR RISK REVIEW

EPA may be forced to delay its controversial rule exempting industrial wipes and towels from hazardous waste requirements unless it can obtain funding to reevaluate and respond to public comments on a risk assessment used to develop the rule, according to a top waste office official.

"The rulemaking can't go forward without [the Office of Solid Waste (OSW)] being able to answer comments on the risk assessment," the source says. However, "there are not a lot of resources for that" in EPA's fiscal year 2005 budget, the source says.

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