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Water

Environmentalists Threaten Suit Over Pentagon's Missile Defense Program

Environmentalists are threatening to file suit over the Defense Department's programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for its missile defense system, saying it inadequately considers the public health risks posed by the project -- notably the potential release of the rocket fuel component perchlorate.

Perchlorate has been identified as a contaminant in drinking water supplies throughout the country, and the pollutant has been linked to various military operations and installations.

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Feinstein Drafts Bill To Speed Perchlorate Cleanup Standard

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) plans to introduce legislation next year that would require EPA to set a standard by 2007 for safe exposure to perchlorate contamination in drinking water sources, which would be three years sooner than the agency is currently planning.

In an attempt to gain congressional support for the measure, Feinstein's plan would back off a 2004 deadline offered by a legislative plan introduced earlier this year that failed to move through Congress.

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EPA Sidesteps Data Dispute By Approving State's List Of Polluted Water Bodies

EPA appears to have avoided criticizing controversial state data standards that environmentalists say limit the listing of polluted water bodies that require new regulations, even though a federal appeals court recently faulted the agency's review of Florida's impaired waters list.

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Pentagon Staff Say New Directive Would Ease Environmental Commitments

An environmental group that represents Pentagon employees is raising concerns that a draft military directive would ease commitments to comply with environmental regulations in the interest of training and readiness operations.

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NEW STUDIES URGE FOCUS ON PERCHLORATE EXPOSURES FROM FOOD

Texas Tech University researchers say food can be a significant source of exposure to perchlorate, in addition to the more common pathway of drinking contaminated water, and are encouraging risk analysts to routinely consider both pathways in evaluating the contaminant.

Evaluating both pathways may result in more stringent drinking water and cleanup levels, especially following the release of recent Food & Drug Administration (FDA) sampling data on lettuce and milk (see related story).

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FDA PERCHLORATE FOOD DATA MAY AFFECT DRINKING WATER STANDARDS

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month posted the results of studies conducted from December 2003 through August 2004 measuring perchlorate concentrations in milk, bottled water and lettuce samples that could result in more stringent drinking water and cleanup standards.

The studies found perchlorate in most samples of lettuce tested, with average concentrations ranging from 7.76 parts per billion (ppb) in iceberg lettuce to 11.9 ppb in romaine lettuce.

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EPA CHALLENGES APPELLATE RULING OVERTURNING REMINING RULE

EPA is challenging an appellate ruling that required the agency to develop new Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations for water discharged from so-called remining operations on the grounds that the recent decision conflicts with Supreme Court and other rulings in the same appellate circuit.

Remining refers to additional mining that occurs at abandoned mines or previously mined sites.

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EXPERT FINDINGS MAY EASE CRITICISM OF EPA RADIATION STANDARDS

A recent report by a panel of experts endorsing a two-year-old agreement between EPA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) over cleanup authority at decommissioned nuclear power plants could help deflect long-standing criticism by other federal agencies that EPA's radiation standards are too stringent, sources following the issue say.

"This is one of the bigger advisory groups saying that EPA has a credible system" for addressing radiation, an EPA official says.

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FEARING BUSH INACTION, ACTIVISTS EYE CONGRESS TO REVAMP OCEANS POLICY

Environmentalists will be looking to Congress to take a leadership role in implementing two recent independent commissions' recommendations on revamping U.S. oceans protection policies because they believe it is unlikely the Bush administration will do so.

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STATE COURT RULES AGAINST COST CONSIDERATION IN STORMWATER PERMITS

Developers may appeal a landmark California appellate decision that could be the first in the nation to excuse a state from considering cost when setting permit limits for stormwater runoff, attorneys familiar with the case say.

Attorneys representing developers say the decision could force industry to install costly technology to meet strict California water quality standards governing stormwater runoff -- instead of relying on best management practices (BMPs) used in the past that may or may not have ensured compliance with the standards.

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