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Waste

U.S. EYES INTERNATIONAL 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 an international commission to prevent future cross-border environmental disputes that could rise from proposed Canadian mining and drilling projects near the U.S. border.

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BROWNFIELDS LIABILITY BILL UNDER INDUSTRY ATTACK FOLLOWING LOSS

While the fate of sweeping brownfields liability relief legislation is unclear, many building and development industry representatives are attacking a less controversial bill that is viewed by stakeholders as proceeding to the governor's desk. Environmentalists supporting AB 389 (Assemblywoman Cindy Montañez, D-San Fernando) now expect a tough fight with industry to preserve the standards proposed in the bill.

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SCHWARZENEGGER VETOES $202,000 FOR SEPTIC TANK CLEANUP, TRAINING

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed from the final Fiscal Year 2004-05 budget for the water board $202,000 for the completion of statewide septic tank system standards and local training to enforce the standards. Though Schwarzenegger had eliminated this funding in his May revision to the budget, the funding was reinserted after a legislative budget conference committee reached a compromise to use waste discharge funds instead of general funding.

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INDUSTRY SKEPTICAL OF CPR PLANS TO CONSOLIDATE TOXIC CLEANUP PROGRAMS

Industry sources are skeptical that recommendations in the just-released California Performance Review (CPR) report calling for a consolidation of toxic cleanup responsibilities currently held by the water and waste boards and the toxics department will lead to a more efficient process. Stakeholders believe the consolidation proposal has the potential to streamline site cleanups, but without specifics on how the proposal will be implemented, could just as easily open a new set of problems in terms of regulatory oversight.

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CPR RECOMMENDATION TO ELIMINATE WASTE BOARD FACES STRONG OPPOSITION

Any effort to act on a California Performance Review (CPR) recommendation to eliminate the waste board will meet strong resistance from stakeholders, who say that while there is an opportunity to limit some of the board members' responsibilities, entirely removing their presence is unacceptable. Another key CPR recommendation, to consolidate under one agency waste management programs currently overseen by several departments, is receiving a much more positive response from environmentalists and industry groups, however.

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GOVERNOR'S VETO OF $2 MILLION FOR METAL SHOP CLEANUP DRAWS FLAK

The Assembly speaker and environmental groups say they are surprised and dismayed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed $2 million from the budget earmarked for metal-plating facility cleanup and regulatory compliance aid, which targeted reduction of hexavalent chromium contamination. The funding plan was spearheaded by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles), who also is the author of a pending bill that would set up a grant and loan program for the metal shops.

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CPR CAL/EPA OVERHAUL VISION EXPECTED TO SPARK DEBATE, SOME BILLS

The California Performance Review (CPR) recommendations to eliminate Cal/EPA boards and convert all entities into divisions under an overarching department are expected to spark weighty discussion among officials and stakeholders, but very likely will not all come to fruition, sources said. A scenario may emerge where disparate interests will latch on to specific recommendations in the report, which could lead to pitched battles in the Legislature next year.

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TAMMINEN PRESSES WRCB, DTSC TO COORDINATE BROWNFIELDS PROGRAMS

Cal/EPA Secretary Terry Tamminen is pressing the water board and toxics department to better coordinate their brownfield cleanup and certification programs, which sources say reflects growing concern among agency officials, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature over brownfields management in general. The agency's brownfields activities are also expected to be discussed at separate meetings planned by the Los Angeles regional water board and Assemblywoman Cindy Montañez (D-San Fernando).

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EPA Targets Key Issues For Reforming Hazardous Waste Rules

EPA officials appear to have identified three priority issues for reforming the agency's hazardous waste generator program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in response to comments by various industry groups and the U.S. Navy.

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Nuclear Commission Eyes Industry-Wide Insurance For Power Plant Cleanups

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering for the first time the use of an industry-wide insurance policy that utilities could purchase to cover the cost of shutting down and cleaning up nuclear power plants. The proposal would allow nuclear power generators to pool their "decommissioning" resources into an insurance fund that would be available in the event that a particular plant needs to be dismantled.

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