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Waste

STAKEHOLDERS QUESTION EPA CRITERIA FOR CHEMICALS FROM DETERGENTS

EPA efforts to develop water quality criteria for a group of pollutants found in detergents and other household products are raising concerns among stakeholders, with the wastewater treatment industry saying there are no reliable test methods to identify the pollutants in their waste streams.

Meanwhile, environmentalists argue that the proposed criteria may not be protective enough of aquatic life.

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EPA MAY EASE STATE BURDENS FOR CLEANING MERCURY-POLLUTED WATERS

EPA is considering ways to limit state responsibilities for drafting cleanup plans addressing mercury-polluted waters when the contamination stems from out-of-state power plants and other sources, agency sources say. The move follows pressure from New England states for federal help in reducing mercury that enters their waters from outside state borders.

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ELECTION FEARS MAY STALL REVIVED EPA MULTI-MEDIA MERCURY PLAN

EPA staff are considering ways to revive the agency's long-stalled multi-media strategy for addressing mercury pollution, with officials debating whether to advance the agency's earlier approach or make significant changes to the plan, EPA and other sources say.

But sources outside EPA are not sure the agency will release the national strategy this year, because some officials fear it could renew criticism of the Bush administration's controversial plan for controlling mercury emissions from power plants in an election year.

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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 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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