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Water

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EPA is delaying the release of a controversial draft guidance that critics say could allow states to avoid setting strict clean water permit limits for mercury, according to several agency officials involved with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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INDUSTRY QUESTIONS CHARACTERIZATION OF LANDFILL DISPOSAL IN TRI DATA

The waste treatment and other industries claim separate reports issued by EPA and a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel wrongly equate disposal of waste in regulated landfills with releases into the environment, according to industry sources and documents.

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EPA COMPLIANCE PLAN SEEKS TO SIDESTEP OIL AND GAS PERMIT DELAYS

EPA issued a directive last month that allows new discharges from Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms as the agency works to finalize delayed Clean Water Act (CWA) permit requirements for the facilities. The action follows criticism from industry and at least one federal lawmaker that the delayed CWA requirements were slowing oil and gas production.

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DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT SOUGHT FOR BILL GIVING SYSTEMS ARSENIC RELIEF

Backers of a newly introduced bill requiring states to permanently exempt small water systems from EPA's arsenic and other drinking water rules are seeking Democratic support for the measure before deciding whether to try attaching it as a legislative rider to EPA's spending bill, small water system sources say.

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SUIT TESTS U.S. AGENCIES' LIABILITY FOR WATER UTILITIES' STORMWATER FEES

Municipal wastewater treatment officials are preparing to file amicus briefs in a case that may set a precedent on whether federal facilities are required to pay user fees to the utilities that handle their stormwater runoff.

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EPA Enforcement Directive Allows New Water Discharges From Gulf Drilling

A new EPA directive will allow new water discharges from oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while the agency works to complete Clean Water Act permit requirements for the facilities. The directive was issued following criticism from industry and a member of Congress that the delayed water act requirements were slowing oil and gas production and exacerbating rising fuel prices.

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