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Water

SENATE BUDGET PLAN COULD RESTORE $500 MILLION IN CLEAN WATER CUTS

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), chairman of the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, is working on a proposal to increase funding for veterans groups that the senator and other observers say could allow the panel to restore at least some of the $500 million in clean water funds the House cut from EPA's fiscal year 2004 budget.

Bond's efforts come after intense lobbying by a bipartisan group of senators and a broad coalition of environmentalists, states and water utility officials reiterated the importance of restoring the funds.

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Senate GOP 'Riders' Target Environmentalists' Lawsuits Against Factory Farms

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) may seek to prevent future citizen lawsuits against concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) by attaching legislative riders to EPA's spending bill that exempt the facilities from Superfund and other environmental reporting requirements, according to a Craig staffer.

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NAFTA Probe Of Mercury Rule May Help Potential Suit By Environmentalists

A request by environmentalists for a NAFTA panel to investigate whether EPA's plan to regulate power plants fails to adequately enforce the Clean Water Act could provide the activists with information for future litigation against the agency's controversial mercury proposal, an environmental attorney tracking the issue says.

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ACTIVISTS MULL SUIT TO FORCE EPA CONTROL OF 'DOWNSTREAM' WATER USES

Environmentalists may sue EPA for failing to promulgate water quality standards for nutrients and other pollutants in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, arguing that the agency may be violating the Clean Water Act's (CWA) obligation to protect downstream waterbodies from pollution generated in upstream states, environmentalists tracking the issue say.

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EPA PLANS STORMWATER ENFORCEMENT LIMITS IN PACT WITH BUILDERS

EPA will soon propose changes to its controversial general permit for stormwater discharges at construction sites that industry and state sources say may limit the ability of the agency and private parties to sue builders for violations that occurred prior to receiving a permit.

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APPEALS BOARD URGES EXPANDED EPA ACCESS TO DATA FOR SETTING FINES

A recent decision by EPA's Environmental Appeals Board on wetlands penalties may expand the agency's ability to gather information about a defendant's finances when the party claims an inability to pay a fine, according to an attorney familiar with the case.

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EPA THREATENS CUTS UNLESS REGIONS USE NEW WATER CLEANUP METHODS

EPA is warning its regional offices that they may face funding cuts if they do not adopt new strategies to conserve resources at costly groundwater cleanups, according to a new agency document.

In an Aug. 25 action plan, developed in response to state officials' concerns that they lack the funding to manage the expensive cleanups, EPA lays out the steps it will take to improve its groundwater remedies at Superfund sites, known as "optimization."

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APPELLATE RULING MAY LIMIT GROUPS' ACCESS TO COURTS, LEGAL EXPERTS SAY

A recent appellate ruling dismissing an environmental group's attempt to stop a Forest Service timber sale on the grounds that a different environmental group had already sought to litigate the issue sets a disturbing precedent that could block industry and environmental groups' access to courts, legal experts and some environmentalists warn.

These sources say the ruling may set a precedent by expanding a legal doctrine -- known as privity -- that is used to determine when parties in litigation share similar interests that may bar them from pursuing separate litigation.

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L.A. REGIONAL BOARD ELEVATES FORMER TMDL CHIEF TO TOP STAFF POST

The Los Angeles regional water board's decision to name John Bishop, the former chief of its total maximum daily load (TMDL) division, as its new executive officer (EO) is being praised by environmentalists and regulated dischargers, who said Bishop is fair and knowledgeable.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS URGE GOVERNOR TO SIGN OCEAN PROTECTION ACT

Environmentalists are urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill to establish an ocean protection council to coordinate the state's ocean stewardship programs, saying the bill will make the state a model in terms of responding to recommendations contained in two recent national reports on ocean protection. Backers of the bill are "guardedly optimistic" the governor will sign the measure, though the Department of Finance opposes the bill because it creates a new government organization as the administration is working to consolidate state agencies and departments.

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