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Water

EPA's Water Act Authority Is Key To International Mercury Dispute

The scope of EPA's authority to regulate non-point sources of pollution under the Clean Water Act (CWA) is at the heart of the Bush administration's recent efforts to convince an international panel under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to forgo an in-depth investigation into whether EPA is meeting its environmental obligations to curtail mercury emissions from power plants.

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Environmentalists Say Senate Bill Would Undercut Wetland Protections

Environmentalists are mounting a campaign to strip a provision from a Senate water project funding bill that would exempt some construction projects near wetlands from extensive studies on the environmental impacts. Environmentalists are seeking an amendment to strip the provision in anticipation of a Senate floor vote later this month.

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SAN DIEGO SEWAGE REPAIR CONSENT DECREE OVERSHADOWED BY FISCAL WOES

Despite the signing of a long-awaited consent decree between the city of San Diego, U.S. EPA and environmentalists to repair the city's ailing sewage system, the city's woeful economic status is blocking any chance for substantial funding for the upgrades. The city's inability to pay for repairs may mean a future return to court, where the city was initially sued over its failure to prevent sewage spills. Meanwhile, similar struggles over sewage problems will likely become more common in California and nationwide because of aging, ailing infrastructure and limited funding, sources said.

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WRCB BIOREACTOR POLICY SEEN OPENING DOOR FOR NEW FACILITY SITINGS

The waste industry is applauding draft changes to a water board landfill policy, which is expected to clear the way for more controversial bioreactor facilities to be sited in the state. But long-term bioreactor critics are blasting the draft policy, saying it does not contain enough safeguards to prevent landfill collapse and protect water quality.

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WRCB NARROWS ORDER OVERTURNING DISPUTED WATER-REPLACEMENT MANDATE

The state water board next week is expected to approve a controversial draft order overturning a regional board decision requiring a flare manufacturer to provide replacement water to residents in a south Bay Area community serviced by wells contaminated with perchlorate at levels below the state's public health goal (PHG).

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WRCB REBUTS PALCO BANKRUPTCY CLAIMS, MAY AID ACTIVISTS IN THP DISPUTE

Environmentalists are encouraged by a recently released water board document, which dissects the Pacific Lumber Co.'s (PALCO) claims about its impending bankruptcy, and finds that the logging company's dire financial situation is entirely of its own making and not due to environmental regulations.

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DHS APPEARS POISED TO MATCH FEDERAL ARSENIC DRINKING WATER STANDARD

The health department appears poised to propose an enforceable drinking water limit for arsenic that conforms with a forthcoming federal standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb), according to documents posted on the department's website. Water agencies, particularly those that serve smaller, rural communities, had been pushing for a standard no more stringent than the federal limit, while environmentalists were advocating a much stronger level, around 2-3 ppb.

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House Panel Seeks Scientific Study Of PCB Cleanups At 'Mega Sites'

The House Appropriations Committee has ordered EPA and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to again review the effectiveness of dredging sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), with the latest report focusing on dredging at Superfund "mega-sites."

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EPA To Correct Data On Mercury Releases In Latest TRI Report

EPA officials are downplaying the impact of a near doubling of total reported mercury releases to the environment between 2000 and 2003, saying they are due in part to errors in reports from two gold mines in Nevada, which will be corrected later this year.

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Key Senator Vows To Preserve EPA Clean Water Funds At FY05 Levels

Days after House appropriators voted to cut EPA's clean water funds for fiscal year 2006, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees EPA's budget is vowing to preserve current spending levels -- though this still falls short of funding levels sought by a bipartisan group of senators.

"[The Senate] will probably get it back to $1.1 billion in that [clean water] revolving fund," Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), the chairman of the Senate interior and related agencies subcommittee, told local financing officials May 12.

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