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Water

RULING ON CWA PERMIT LIMITS DEFENSE IN CONVICTION OVER VIEQUES PROTEST

A federal appellate ruling continuing an expired Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for the Navy has limited the defenses for a group of protesters convicted of illegally entering waters surrounding the former Naval training island of Vieques, PR.

Attorneys for the protesters say they may ask for a rehearing on the issue -- even though the court sent the case back to the lower court on another point -- saying it sets a dangerous precedent that could ease dischargers' ability to continue discharging under expired permits.

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PACT AT ALASKA BASE COULD BACK GROUPS' OPPOSITION TO DOD EXEMPTIONS

The military's recent agreement to settle citizen litigation over contamination at the Army's Fort Richardson, AK, training range could help environmentalists fight Pentagon arguments for exemptions from environmental laws because military officials often cited the suit as evidence they needed the exemptions to preserve readiness, activists say.

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INDUSTRY CONCERNED OVER COSTS OF GREAT LAKES WATER AGREEMENT

Industries located in the Great Lakes region are raising concerns that a proposed regional approach to limiting water withdrawals by requiring conservation projects and water returns will set up a complex and expensive permitting process that could drive industries out of the region.

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AMSA PLANS NAME CHANGE TO BOOST ENVIRONMENTAL IMAGE, FUNDING APPEAL

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) is planning to change its name to create a more environmentally friendly image as the group seeks widespread public support for creating a trust fund to finance infrastructure upgrades, among other objectives, AMSA sources say.

"When people say 'environmentalists,' we want them to think of us first," one AMSA source says.

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PALLONE SAYS NEW YORK WASTE SCHEME MAY HARM EPA BEACH PLAN

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) says New York City's recently announced 20-year waste management plan may undermine an EPA strategy aimed at preventing medical waste and other garbage from washing onto the state's beaches by authorizing new garbage barges.

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CZMA RULING MAY BOOST CITIES' ABILITY TO CHALLENGE U.S. COASTAL PLANS

A recent precedent-setting appellate ruling could boost municipalities' ability to challenge federal projects in coastal areas under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), lawyers involved in the case and other legal observers say.

The sources say the ruling could boost local government's ability to challenge oil and gas drilling and other extractive activities in federal waters. Industry sources did not return calls seeking comment.

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EPA UNLIKELY TO DEVELOP REGULATIONS GOVERNING COALBED METHANE MINING

EPA appears unlikely to develop regulations to address coalbed methane (CBM) mining operations' effects on the nation's waterbodies and drinking water supplies, despite recent concerns raised by some agency staff and environmentalists about the practice's environmental risks, EPA sources say.

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STATE EYES GRAVEL MINING PERMIT TO READY FOR WATER ACT EXPANSION

A California regulatory board is developing a Clean Water Act (CWA) general permit for gravel mining excavation activities, in light of concerns that a federal appellate court will uphold a ruling that could require many gravel mining operations to obtain CWA permits for the first time, state sources say.

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OPPOSING GROUPS LOBBY EPA TO ADDRESS CONSTRUCTION PERMIT CHANGES

Construction industry groups and states are calling on EPA to revise proposed changes to its controversial stormwater general permit for construction sites before taking final action on the issue in December, with one construction group calling the proposal confusing and New York state saying the changes would undermine environmental enforcement.

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LOUISIANA HIGH COURT TAKINGS DECISION HELPS BUSH PLAN TO GAIN WETLANDS

The Louisiana Supreme Court has reversed a $1.3 billion takings award that could have threatened the state's coastal wetlands restoration effort, which the Bush administration is relying on to help meet its ambitious goal of "gaining" 3 million acres of wetlands in five years, state sources and environmentalists say.

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