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Water

OIL INDUSTRY QUESTIONS EPA PLAN TO STUDY DRILLING DISCHARGES IN GULF

The oil industry is urging EPA to conduct a limited review of whether discharges from offshore oil and gas operations affect an oxygen-depleted area in the Gulf of Mexico before launching a more extensive study, saying a broad evaluation could "consume significant time and financial resources," according to industry comments.

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RESEARCH TYING AIR POLLUTION TO WESTERN DROUGHT MAY PROMPT EPA STUDY

New research showing a link between transported air pollution and drought could bolster staff calls within EPA's research office to study the growing body of scientific evidence linking this pollution to broader disruptions in weather patterns, agency sources say.

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ELECTION FEARS PROMPT EPA TO DELAY GUIDE ON MERCURY DISCHARGE PERMITS

EPA is delaying the release of a controversial draft guidance that critics say could allow states to avoid setting strict clean water permit limits for mercury over fears that Democrats and environmentalists will criticize the administration's mercury control efforts in an election year, several EPA sources say. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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WRCB HIT WITH COMPETING PETITIONS OVER L.A. REGION'S BOEING PERMIT

The water board has been hit with competing petitions appealing a controversial stormwater discharge permit issued to a Boeing Co.-operated rocket testing facility. Observers say the board's decision could set a precedent on the level of discretion regional boards can exercise when adding numeric effluent limitations to permits not justified by standard statistical analyses.

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CPR CAL/EPA OVERHAUL VISION EXPECTED TO SPARK DEBATE, SOME BILLS

The California Performance Review (CPR) recommendations to eliminate Cal/EPA boards and convert all entities into divisions under an overarching department are expected to spark weighty discussion among officials and stakeholders, but very likely will not all come to fruition, sources said. A scenario may emerge where disparate interests will latch on to specific recommendations in the report, which could lead to pitched battles in the Legislature next year.

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EPA Officials Say Election Concerns Delay Guidance On Mercury In Water

EPA is delaying the release of a controversial draft guidance that critics say could allow states to avoid setting strict clean water permit limits for mercury, according to several agency officials involved with developing the documents. These sources say release of the guidance has been postponed indefinitely over concerns that Democrats and environmentalists could attack the document as part an election-year effort to criticize the administration's mercury control efforts.

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House Bill May Resolve California Suit Over International Water Treatment

Legislation on wastewater treatment funding approved by a House committee could play a key role in resolving a long-standing lawsuit in California filed by environmentalists and San Diego regulators against the International Boundary and Water Commission, an agency created to implement treaties between the United States and Mexico related to water use and resources.

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EPA Plan For Changing Waterbodies' 'Designated Uses' Draws Industry Criticism

A new EPA plan to ease states' ability to meet water quality standards by changing the intended use of their waterbodies is drawing criticism from wastewater treatment industry officials, who say the plan offers no concrete advice on how states can more effectively complete this process.

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HIGH COURT RULINGS COULD LIMIT CITIZEN SUITS AGAINST EPA, AGENCIES

The Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in an environmental decision last month could broadly shield EPA and other federal agencies from citizen suits seeking to force the government to take action to protect the environment, according to court watchers, legal experts and environmental attorneys.

Some sources say the ruling could limit suits against EPA that allege the agency failed to ensure states implement their air quality plans, while others suggest it could shield EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from suits alleging that they failed to protect wetlands.

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IG SAYS EPA FAILS TO ASSESS ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF CLEAN WATER FUND

EPA is failing to measure the water quality benefits of its clean water infrastructure funding program, a problem the agency recognizes and is vowing to address by creating proposed indicators, according to a new study by EPA's internal watchdog.

A study issued this month by EPA's inspector general (IG) says agency water officials must improve their ability to measure the environmental effects of the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF), which provides money to states for upgrading sewage treatment infrastructure, among other projects.

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