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Water

OCEANS PANEL RETREATS FROM PLAN TO CONSOLIDATE NONPOINT PROGRAMS

A panel charged with recommending new federal policies to protect and improve ocean health has backed off a draft recommendation to consolidate certain federal nonpoint water pollution programs currently administered by EPA and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), according to documents released by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

The change is among a host of key modifications the panel made when finalizing a draft report it released earlier this year.

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PAPER INDUSTRY URGES EPA TO CHANGE WATER QUALITY BACTERIA INDICATORS

The forest and paper industry is urging EPA not to use new bacterial measures for determining fecal contamination in coastal recreational waters because those bacteria are present in industry effluent that the agency did not intend to regulate through the new criteria.

In comments filed on the agency's revised water quality criteria for coastal recreational waters, paper industry and industry-financed research groups say they oppose the new criteria because the bacteria are present in non-human sources -- such as the effluent from paper production.

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EPA, CORPS UNDERTAKING COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF CLEAN BEACH PLAN

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have launched a comprehensive review of a 15-year-old initiative for finding and cleaning up floatable debris -- including medical waste -- that washes up onto beaches, after a House Democrat raised concerns about beach contamination incidents this summer.

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EPA LENGTHENS COMPLIANCE DATE EXTENSION FOR TROUBLED OIL SPILL RULE

EPA has added 18 months to the already extended compliance deadline requiring facilities that store oil to implement spill prevention measures, bowing to industry pressure to lengthen a planned one-year delay proposed in June to meet deadlines in the agency's revised spill prevention, control and countermeasure (SPCC) rule.

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NEW YORK CITY DEFENDS EFFORTS TO BAR PERMITTING OF WATER TRANSFERS

New York City is rejecting the State of New York's claims that water transfers require Clean Water Act permits, as part of an ongoing legal battle addressing similar issues raised in a controversial Supreme Court decision.

In the case, Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, et al. v. New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the city is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to reconsider its 2001 ruling requiring Clean Water Act permits for water transfers.

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COURT GIVES EPA BROAD POWER OVER TIMING OF EFFLUENT GUIDELINE PLANS

A federal district court has quashed environmentalists' legal efforts to force EPA to issue a plan for developing new effluent guidelines and create court-ordered deadlines for issuing future effluent guideline plans.

"Congress intended for the EPA to conduct regular reviews of its effluent guidelines, and the EPA is doing so," the court's Aug. 11 ruling says. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS, STATES EYE NEW LOBBYING ALLIANCE ON WATER ISSUES

CHICAGO -- Environmentalists and state water quality officials are exploring new areas for cooperation in the wake of their joint participation in efforts to increase federal water infrastructure funding, but it is not yet clear whether the discussions will lead to new commitments on specific issues, state sources say.

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WATER GROUPS REACH AGREEMENT ON NEW SECURITY PANEL FORMAT

Water utilities have reached agreement on plans to form a new water security coordinating body that will work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on counter-terrorism policy, instead of relying on an existing body, according to water sector sources.

The groups are working with federal officials to form the organization in order to comply with a 2003 homeland security presidential directive (HSPD) that calls for security coordinating bodies for various critical infrastructure sectors, including the drinking water and wastewater sectors.

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STATE, LOCAL OFFICIALS URGE EPA TO DELAY REVIEW OF AMMONIA CRITERIA

State and local government officials are urging EPA to postpone reviewing its water quality criteria -- and possibly permit limits -- for ammonia, arguing that there are significant problems with studies that prompted the review.

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MISSOURI SUIT COULD CLARIFY EPA ROLE IN WATER STANDARD DISPUTES

Wastewater utility officicals are weighing in on a key water quality standards lawsuit in Missouri that may define EPA's role in intervening in state water quality standard disputes, according to state and wastewater treatment industry officials.

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