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Water

EPA Delays Major Changes To Lead And Copper Drinking Water Rule

EPA will hold off on making significant changes to its lead and copper rule (LCR) until more data is available on the presence of the contaminant in drinking water nationwide, EPA water chief Ben Grumbles said last week.

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EPA PLANS MINOR CHANGES TO LEAD AND COPPER DRINKING WATER RULE

EPA will make minor revisions to its lead and copper rule (LCR) to address concerns raised by the Washington, DC, lead crisis, but the agency is putting off significant changes until more data are available on the presence of the contaminant in drinking water nationwide, EPA water chief Ben Grumbles announced earlier this week.

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ACTIVISTS MOUNT WATER ACT SUIT OVER LAND APPLICATION OF PESTICIDES

Environmentalists have mounted a landmark challenge against a blueberry farmer for aerially applying pesticides in what could be the first Clean Water Act (CWA) challenge to applications of pesticides over lands that eventually drift into waters, attorneys say.

The suit follows EPA issuance of a rule exempting pesticide applicators from obtaining CWA discharge permits when pesticides are applied directly to waters to control pests present there, or when pesticides are applied to control pests present over waters and some of the pesticides end up in waterbodies.

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OMB TARGETS EPA RULES FOR REVISION TO HELP MANUFACTURING SECTOR

The White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) has released a report that lists 38 rules and guidances that it wants revised to reduce the burden on the manufacturing sector. The report is part of a broader administration effort to promote the manufacturing industry, and the report includes a total of 76 federal regulations for reform. The report is available on InsideEPA.com.

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TOP OFFICIALS WEIGH TRIBES' PUSH TO BOOST CLEAN WATER ACT AUTHORITY

High-level EPA officials may grant a tribal request for increased authority to set Clean Water Act (CWA) standards on tribal lands amid opposition from Senate environment committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), states and the oil and gas industry, who say the authority could create inconsistent standards that are difficult to enforce.

Specifically, tribes are asking EPA to grant them authority to set water quality standards on non-contiguous tribal lands, which contradicts the agency's long-standing policy of granting such authority only on large, contiguous reservations.

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EPA TO DEFINE SIGNIFICANT NONCOMPLIANCE FOR WET WEATHER DISCHARGES

EPA enforcement officials are developing guidance to help states identify and define "significant noncompliance" (SNC) with regulations that govern wet weather events -- including rules governing sewer overflows and runoff from industrial feedlots.

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ACTIVISTS SUE FEDS OVER OFFSHORE OIL LEASE ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS

Environmentalists this week sued federal officials over their determination that extending oil and gas leases off the California coast would result in no significant environmental impacts. The environmentalists allege that the Interior department's environmental analysis is far too narrow and fails to consider all impacts from extending the leases, including those caused by future exploration and drilling.

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SIERRA CLUB QUESTIONS EXPERTISE OF GOVERNOR'S WRCB APPOINTMENT

The Sierra Club contends one of the governor's new appointments to the state water board lacks experience in water quality issues, and is considering lobbying the Senate to withhold his confirmation. But a colleague of Gerald Secundy, who the governor tapped last week to fill the "public" position on the board, said the former oil industry executive is also a proven environmentalist and "bridge builder" who will be a great addition to the board.

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FARMERS, ACTIVISTS DISPLEASED BY WRCB FEE PLAN FOR WAIVER PROGRAM

An emerging water board proposal to assess fees on farmers complying with a controversial conditional regulatory waiver is likely to be met with resistance by farmers, who consider the charges excessive. Meanwhile, environmentalists are taking the opposite view and believe the fees being mulled by the water board are insufficient to mount an adequate regulatory program.

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Counties Push For Design Requirements At Liquid Gas Facilities

County officials are urging state and federal authorities to consider design and engineering requirements for the construction of offshore facilities that process liquefied natural gas (LNG), saying thermal discharges could threaten local efforts to meet federal water quality standards.

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