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Water

Utilities Cite Study In Push To Delay EPA Drinking Water Rule

Drinking water utility officials are urging EPA to delay a rule that could force them to change the disinfectants they use to treat water because of concerns that the new disinfectant -- intended as an alternative to chlorine -- creates more toxic byproducts than those the rule was intended to reduce.

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ACTIVISTS FACE HIGH HURDLES IN FORCING EPA TO WITHDRAW WETLANDS GUIDE

Environmentalists could face an uphill battle in forcing the Bush administration to withdraw a controversial guidance that activists say narrowly interprets what waters are subject to federal regulation, despite arguments in a recent EPA legal filing that support a broad definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

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REGIONS PUSH LOCAL OFFICIALS FOR STRICT MERCURY LIMITS IN WATER PERMITS

Regional EPA officials are urging state and local regulators to require strict numeric discharge limits in their water permits based on the amount of mercury in fish tissue -- despite the agency's support for a more flexible approach in a pending draft guidance.

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UTILITIES URGE EPA TO DELAY ISSUING CONTENTIOUS DRINKING WATER RULE

Drinking water utility officials are urging EPA not to finalize a rule that could force them to change the disinfectant they use to treat drinking water because of concerns raised in a recent study that the new disinfectant -- intended as an alternative to chlorine -- creates more toxic byproducts than those the rule was intended to minimize.

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EPA OFFSHORE PERMIT WILL TEST USE OF STATE STANDARDS IN U.S. WATERS

EPA's recent decision to include California water standards in a permit for oil drilling discharges into federal waters will likely spark litigation on whether states can force their pollutant limits on facilities beyond state boundaries, an EPA source says.

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WSPA SUIT EXPECTED ON EPA OFFSHORE OIL PERMIT APPLYING STATE RULES

Environmentalists say they are "pleasantly surprised" by U.S. EPA's decision to incorporate California Ocean Plan (COP) standards in its newly finalized general permit for discharges from offshore oil platforms, though it is now widely assumed that the oil industry will challenge the permit. In issuing the permit, EPA said it is incorporating the state standards at the insistence of the coastal commission, though it disagrees that the oil rigs are legally required under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) to comply with COP standards at the point of discharge.

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TAMMINEN DIRECTS WRCB TO PROTECT WETLANDS ABANDONED BY FEDS

Picking up an issue that the Legislature failed to advance, Cal/EPA Secretary Terry Tamminen has directed the water board to adopt waste discharge requirements (WDRs) for wetlands left unprotected by the federal government as a result of a landmark 2001 Supreme Court decision. Legislation pushed by environmentalists that ostensibly sought the same goal as the secretary's recent directive stalled this year in the face of heavy opposition from agriculture and building industry groups.

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EPA Regions Urge States To Adopt Strict Mercury Limits In Water Permits

Regional EPA officials are urging state and local regulators to require strict numeric discharge limits in their water permits based on the amount of mercury in fish tissue -- despite the agency's support for a more flexible approach in a pending draft guidance. The issue has attracted the attention of both industry and environmentalists who say it may foreshadow how EPA will implement mercury water limits in other parts of the country.

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EPA Permit For Offshore Drilling May Spark Legal Challenge

An EPA official says the agency's decision to include California water standards in a permit for oil drilling discharges into federal waters will likely spark a legal challenge.

The source says the agency's decision to issue a general permit governing oil rigs off the coast of California that includes the state's more stringent water quality standards, even though the rigs are located in federal waters, will almost certainly prompt litigation.

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Doubts Remain On EPA FY05 Spending Levels, Despite Senate Budget Boost

Uncertainty about the congressional schedule and major cuts pending in the House version of EPA's funding bill have observers doubting that the agency's fiscal year 2005 budget will include the more than $700 million boost above the administration's request that Senate appropriators approved this week.

"It looks like EPA did well [in the Senate VA-HUD bill]," an agency official says. "We would love to be able to sustain the Senate level. . . but history tells us it probably won't happen."

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