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Water

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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EPA Revives Controversial Plan For Updating Radiation Exposure Limits

EPA is planning to re-propose a controversial radiation protection guidance that reportedly includes an annual exposure limit of radiation that agency staff 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 and Indoor Air (ORIA).

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GROUP CITES NEW DATA IN PUSH FOR EPA WATER STANDARD FOR PERCHLORATE

Data recently released by a drinking water suppliers association showing nationwide perchlorate contamination could help the group convince EPA to develop a drinking water standard for the contaminant, sources with the group say.

Because EPA considers occurrence data when deciding whether to develop standards known as maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for drinking water contaminants, the new information could be helpful in proving that a standard is necessary, according to sources with the group, the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

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NEW EPA RISK PLAN COULD LIMIT DREDGING AT SEDIMENT CLEANUPS

EPA is urging its project managers to conduct more detailed risk analyses of dredging and other methods for cleaning up contaminated sediment, which will likely limit the use of dredging as a cleanup method, agency and industry sources say.

An agency source says the new approach aims to focus on other remedies beyond dredging in cleaning up contaminated sediment sites and to place a greater emphasis on using a mix of remedies.

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APPELLATE RULING PROTECTS KEY USDA WETLANDS CONSERVATION PROGRAM

A federal appeals court has backed a long-standing Agriculture Department (USDA) wetlands program that state officials say is crucial in the wake of the Supreme Court's contentious SWANCC decision and could help the Bush administration achieve its goal to increase wetlands acreage every year.

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