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Water

EPA APPEARS TO DROP CLEAN WATER GUIDE FOR COALBED METHANE DRILLING

Following opposition from the Energy Department (DOE), EPA appears to have abandoned plans to develop technology-based treatment guidelines for water discharged from coalbed methane (CBM) drilling operations on tribal lands, EPA and environmentalist sources say.

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DOI FACES STRONG OPPOSITION TO APPEALS PROCESS FOR HYDROPOWER DAMS

The Interior Department (DOI) is facing broad opposition to its proposed administrative appeals process that allows only dam operators to appeal conditions DOI may attach to hydropower dam licenses, with environmentalists and tribal sources warning the process unlawfully precludes groups from participating and protecting water quality.

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INCREASE IN FISH ADVISORIES UNLIKELY TO RESULT IN NEW WATER CONTROLS

Despite increases last year in state fish consumption advisories for mercury and other toxins, states are unlikely to add the majority of these waterbodies to their Clean Water Act (CWA) list of impaired waters that require new discharge limits, state and EPA sources say.

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EPA THREATENS CUTS UNLESS REGIONS USE NEW WATER CLEANUP METHODS

EPA is warning its regional Superfund 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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DRAFT BLUEPRINT LAYS OUT REVENUE OPTIONS FOR CLEAN WATER TRUST FUND

Municipal wastewater treatment officials are circulating a draft blueprint for a clean water infrastructure trust fund that suggests financing the fund by taxing bottled drinks or reinstating an expired Superfund tax targeting large corporations, sources say.

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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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