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Water

EPA Enforcement Directive Allows New Water Discharges From Gulf Drilling

A new EPA directive will allow new water discharges from oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while the agency works to complete Clean Water Act permit requirements for the facilities. The directive was issued following criticism from industry and a member of Congress that the delayed water act requirements were slowing oil and gas production and exacerbating rising fuel prices.

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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 & 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 extra studies to add months to the current review process.

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CALIFORNIA STUDY MAY PRESSURE EPA TO TIGHTEN KID'S PROTECTIONS

A California study that found the state's ozone air quality standards fail to adequately protect children and other sensitive groups could put pressure on EPA to strengthen its children protection requirements, according to public health advocates, state officials and environmentalists.

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TWO HIGH COURT RULINGS MAY LIMIT CITIZEN SUITS AGAINST EPA, AGENCIES

The Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in an environmental decision last month could broadly shield EPA and other executive branch agencies from citizen suits seeking to force agency action to protect the environment, while an earlier decision allowing Mexican trucks into the United States may also limit citizen suits under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), according to court watchers, legal experts and environmental attorneys.

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ACTIVISTS MAY PUSH FOR DIOXIN CONTROLS AFTER COURT PVC PLANT RULING

Environmentalists plan to argue for more stringent controls on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plants, including possible curbs on dioxin emissions, in the wake of a federal court ruling that will require EPA to revisit a controversial air toxics rule.

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Industry Blasts Massachusetts Study On Public Health Standards For Perchlorate

A group of defense contractors potentially liable for perchlorate contamination in several states is arguing that Massachusetts' recently released draft toxicological profile on the pollutant contains "serious errors" and "bears many of the same flaws" that EPA has been accused of by the "medical and scientific community" in proposing federal standards.

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States, Utilities Urge Appeals Court Not To Require Water Transfer Permits

An array of states and municipal groups are urging a federal appeals court not to require clean water permits for water transfers, claiming it would create significant problems for state and local government efforts to meet water supply and irrigation needs. In amicus briefs submitted to the U.S.

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EPA Water Study May Spur New Investment In Power Generation Following Blackout

A planned EPA study on backup power sources at sewage treatment facilities may lead large facilities to build expensive power generators, because many plants lost power due to their non-reliance on onsite generators during August's blackout, according to a water office source. Such investments could add millions of dollars in new costs to water facilities at a time when they are struggling to fund existing infrastructure needs.

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Small Water Systems Fear New Security Requirements From EPA

Small drinking water suppliers fear EPA will create new requirements for water systems that must conduct vulnerability assessments under the bioterrorism act, even though the law's accompanying conference report states that the statute does not provide that authority. The concerns arose after the agency told small systems that EPA had developed a set of six assessment review criteria, after the agency rejected assessments some small systems had completed and submitted to EPA for review.

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EPA Retreats On Expansive Trading Scheme For Water Toxins

EPA officials are backing off a far-reaching water trading idea that would have scrapped specific discharge limits for individual dischargers and instead allowed broader flexibility to determine how to bring polluted water bodies into compliance with environmental standards. But EPA -- which is considering a pollution trading scheme as part of its rule overhauling the agency's impaired waters program -- may, however, move ahead with a provision that would reduce the agency's oversight on individual trades.

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