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Water

EPA To Expand Voluntary Programs Amid Deepening Budget Cuts

Senior EPA officials and regional directors are trying to improve and increase the agency's use of voluntary programs that encourage pollution cuts by industry, EPA sources say, as the agency is facing long-term budget shortfalls that could make it more reliant on such programs in future years.

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EPA Urges Sewer Systems To Hike Rates To Fund Sustainable Infrastructure

EPA officials are re-emphasizing the agency's philosophy that the rates charged by sewer systems should reflect the full cost of treating wastewater discharges, in an effort to achieve a sustainable water infrastructure. The push comes as some members of Congress are raising concerns about the Bush administration's proposed fiscal year 2006 budget for the clean water state revolving loan fund (SRF), which finances infrastructure projects.

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EPA Children's Health Advisers Told Perchlorate Limit Is Adequate

Researchers from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) told an EPA advisory panel on children's health that an exposure limit recently adopted by the agency for the contaminant perchlorate is adequate to protect children and pregnant women. The exposure limit could be the basis of upcoming drinking water standards and cleanup requirements for the pollutant, and the EPA advisory panel is considering whether those possible measures are sufficient to protect children.

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EPA PREPARES TO REVIVE CONTROVERSIAL RADIATION PROTECTION STANDARD

EPA is planning to re-propose a controversial radiation protection guidance that includes an annual exposure limit for radiation that the agency and environmentalists have repeatedly criticized as unsafe, government and other sources say.

One environmentalist is vowing "the mother of all fights" if the guide includes the same numeric exposure limit as an earlier Clinton-era proposal, which was tabled after an internal dispute between the agency's Superfund program and the Office of Radiation & Indoor Air (ORIA).

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WYOMING DRAFTS FIRST EPA-BACKED PLAN TO LOWER WATERS' DESIGNATED USE

Wyoming has proposed the first-ever EPA-supported plan allowing regulators to downgrade designated uses of waterbodies created by effluent, which will alleviate dischargers' long-standing inability to meet strict water quality limits in streams that are ubiquitous in western states.

The state's plan is likely to help hundreds of oil and gas drilling facilities in the state meet water quality standards.

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OIL INDUSTRY EYES DOE STUDY TO GAIN STORMWATER PERMIT EXEMPTION

The oil and gas industry is using a recently published Energy Department (DOE) study claiming EPA stormwater permitting requirements would significantly decrease domestic oil production to convince the agency to abandon a planned regulation for the construction of oil and gas drilling sites, industry sources say.

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CORPS GRANTS MOUNTAINTOP MINING PERMITS AFTER COURT BLOCKS NWPS

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun issuing individual Clean Water Act (CWA) permits that allow several coal mining companies to resume operations in part of West Virginia that were blocked when a federal district court barred the Corps from issuing general permits for the facilities last summer.

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Wyoming Drafts EPA-Backed Plan To Ease Standards For Effluent Streams

Wyoming has proposed the first EPA-supported plan for downgrading designated uses of streams and rivers created by industrial and sewer discharges. The plan would alleviate the need for dischargers to meet strict water quality standards for these types of streams, which are numerous throughout the arid West.

The state's plan is likely to help hundreds of oil and gas drilling facilities in Wyoming to meet water quality standards.

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EPA Views Ohio Water Permit As National Model For Livestock Industry

EPA regional officials say standards set by Ohio to reduce wastewater pollution at livestock operations could serve as a national model for addressing the massive amounts of wastes produced by factory farms. The methods adopted by the state would eliminate the need to apply excess manure to land during winter months and dramatically reduce polluted runoff.

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Industry Cites NAS Study To Ease California Perchlorate Limit

Citing the findings of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel, a coalition of companies that face significant liability stemming from perchlorate contamination is calling on California regulators to set a public exposure goal of 236-part-per-billion (ppb) for the contaminant, a level almost 40 times less stringent than the state's current limit.

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