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Waste

BILL MAY FORESHADOW DEBATE ON INTERSTATE WASTE LIMITS NEXT YEAR

A key House subcommittee chair has introduced bipartisan legislation to limit solid waste imports as a way to initiate what is likely to be a heated debate in the next Congress over restricting Canadian and interstate trash shipments.

One source says it is unlikely the latest legislative effort to restrict trash shipments will pass this year because it was introduced late in the congressional session.

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EPA STRUGGLING TO MEASURE BENEFITS OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH GRANTS

EPA is finalizing a policy to ensure agency grants result in measurable environmental benefits, but is still struggling to develop ways of quantifying environmental results stemming from research grants.

EPA officials expect to issue a final "order on environmental results under assistance agreements" in January 2005, but agency and congressional sources say EPA is still not sure how it will be able to measure the results of grants that are made for research into environmental issues.

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INDUSTRY-ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION FIGHTING IRS PLAN FOR WASTE FACILITIES

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, coalition sources say.

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EPA MULLS CHEMICAL MAKERS' CALL FOR INCREASED RCRA FUELS RELIEF

EPA is weighing a chemical industry proposal to expand a Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) rule exempting hazardous wastes burned as fuel from some permitting requirements if they are comparable to traditional energy sources like fuel oils, according to EPA and industry sources.

The recent proposal, if adopted, would allow the chemical industry to decrease reliance on expensive natural gas to power its operations, industry sources say.

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DOE BACKS EPA PLAN TO EASE WASTE RULES FOR VOLUNTARY MANAGEMENT

The Department of Energy (DOE) is backing an EPA proposal to grant relief from hazardous waste requirements if regulated entities are implementing voluntary management practices known as environmental management systems (EMSs), one of a host of agency proposals to boost EMS use through regulatory relief.

DOE and industry both use EMSs at their facilities in an effort to improve environmental compliance, and argue that EMS compliance can substitute for certain prescriptive regulatory requirements, such as recordkeeping and paperwork mandates.

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EPA NARROWS ISSUES FOR REFORMING HAZWASTE GENERATOR PROGRAM

EPA officials appear to have identified three priority issues for reform in the agency's Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste generator program in response to comments the agency received from industry and the U.S. Navy.

While the agency is also considering a number of other issues for reform, one EPA source agrees that the three major issues targeted by industry and the Navy for reform are valid.

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APPROPRIATORS FUND DEFENSE CLEANUP ACCOUNTS AT BUDGET REQUEST

House and Senate conferees to the fiscal year 2005 defense appropriations bill last month agreed to fund the Army and Navy's cleanup accounts at the president's request, reversing a move by the Senate to boost funding for those programs by more than $160 million each. The House and Senate approved the bill July 22.

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ACTIVISTS SEEK TO LINK SUPERFUND PERFORMANCE TO FUNDING SHORTFALLS

Environmentalists have released a report that claims EPA has failed to adequately protect human health and groundwater at all Superfund sites, in an effort to pressure the Bush administration to drop its opposition to renewing the expired taxes that once funded the program.

EPA is rejecting the report as misleading.

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U.S. EYES BILATERAL PANEL TO EASE FUTURE CROSS-BORDER DISPUTES

EPA, state officials and a key senator are suggesting that U.S. and Canadian officials seek advice from a bilateral commission to prevent future cross-border environmental disputes from proposed Canadian mining and drilling projects near the U.S. border.

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EPA ALLOWS GENERAL ELECTRIC TO JUSTIFY USE OF PCB DETECTION TOOL

EPA Region II 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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