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Waste

EPA IMPOSES NEW COST-BENEFIT REVIEWS TO COMPLY WITH OMB GUIDANCE

EPA is expanding its internal review process for assessing pending regulations to comply with recent White House requirements for agency cost-benefit and other economic analyses, according to a recent agency memo obtained by Inside Washington Publishers.

The new process, which requires EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation (OPEI) to conduct additional reviews of regulatory cost-benefit analysis for major rules, is drawing strong criticism from officials across the agency, who expect the additional reviews to add months to the current review process.

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CALFED FEE NEGOTIATIONS SEEN HEADED TO GOVERNOR'S OFFICE

Negotiations over user fees for the CALFED program will likely move to the governor's office in light of legislative attempts to impose fees without sufficient stakeholder input, according to water district sources. As lawmakers pursue budget trailer bill agreements, fees for CALFED users remain about the only option to ensure the program remains afloat, according to sources.

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WRCB DISMISSES DUMP WASTE DISCHARGE CHALLENGES; SUITS STILL POSSIBLE

Handing down a mixed verdict, the water board last week dismissed two petitions over a controversial landfill, one filed by a community group opposed to the dump's expansion and the other by the landfill's operator, which both challenged a regional board decision on the dump's waste discharge requirements (WDRs). Both the facility's opponents and its operator can seek to challenge the regional board decision in court, though neither side at this time has decided whether it will pursue litigation.

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CRUISE SHIP SEWAGE DISCHARGE BAN FACES TOUGHER ROAD TO GOVERNOR

A measure that would ban cruise ships from discharging raw sewage into state waters passed a key committee this week, but is seen facing a tough road to the governor, according to sources. The cruise ship industry is actively opposing the bill, citing a current voluntary industry ban on such discharges and pointing out that industry is increasingly using advanced wastewater treatment systems before discharging.

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EPA Imposes New Cost-Benefit Reviews To Comply With OMB Guidance

EPA is expanding its internal review process for assessing pending regulations to comply with recent White House requirements for agency cost-benefit and other economic analyses, according to a recent agency memo obtained by Inside EPA.

The new process, which requires EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation (OPEI) to conduct additional reviews of regulatory cost-benefit analysis for major rules, is drawing strong criticism from officials across the agency, who expect the additional reviews to add months to the current review process.

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Environmentalists Charge Brownfields Bill Undercuts Industry Cleanup Liability

Environmentalists are gearing up to fight a new brownfields bill, which they argue undermines Superfund's liability system by paying up to 75 percent of companies' cleanup costs at hazardous waste sites.

While supporters of the bill say that the measure is unlikely to pass this year, they expect that next Congress there will be a greater chance to pass the plan, which has attracted the support of a key group representing mayors.

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EPA AIR PLAN SHIFTS ACTIVISTS' FIGHT AGAINST CROP BURNING TO WASTE SUIT

EPA's proposed approval of changes to Idaho's air quality strategy allowing farmers to burn grass fields after a harvest could force activists to refocus their efforts to challenge the air quality impacts of these open burns from possible Clean Air Act litigation to an ongoing Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen suit.

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EPA LOOKS TO STAKEHOLDERS TO ADDRESS MERCURY AUTO SWITCHES

EPA will soon convene a series of stakeholder meetings to address the removal of mercury switches from automobiles, which environmentalists say contribute tons of mercury to the environment annually.

The new EPA effort comes as several states are considering legislative initiatives mandating the removal of the switches from automobiles, and follows a failed auto industry lawsuit to block a Maine program that forces automakers to pay for recovering the switches.

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SENATE LOW-LEVEL WASTE LIABILITY BILL TO FACE STIFF STATE OPPOSITION

New Senate legislation requiring members of state "compacts" that coordinate disposal of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) to share potential future liability associated with the waste is likely to face significant opposition from states that are not host to waste disposal facilities, state and congressional sources say.

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EPA Eyes Sweeping Changes To Waste Rules To Spur Redevelopment

EPA is proposing to make a host of fundamental changes to its Superfund and other waste programs in an effort to make redevelopment a more integral part of the cleanup process. The changes include new or revised rules, guidances and enforcement policies, according to an internal EPA document obtained by Superfund Report.

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