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Waste

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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HOUSE DEMOCRATS URGING WHITE HOUSE TO 'QUICKLY' ADD VIEQUES TO NPL

Several House Democrats, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), are urging the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to add former Navy training ranges on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra to Superfund's National Priorities List (NPL) in order to speed cleanup there.

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INSPECTOR GENERAL URGES DOE TO CHANGE HANFORD CLEANUP AGREEMENT

Energy Department (DOE) investigators are criticizing DOE's cleanup of its Hanford, WA, facility, and calling on the department to dramatically change its methods for remediating billions of gallons of liquid waste beneath the site, including revising its cleanup agreement with EPA and the state of Washington.

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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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