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Water

EPA Considers Narrow Revisions To Contentious Clean Water Act Rules

EPA water officials are considering whether to draft a streamlined version of long-stalled, contentious Clean Water Act rules -- which have been under consideration since the Clinton administration -- under which states set aggregate pollution limits for waterbodies, according to state and EPA sources.

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State, Local Officials Urge EPA To Delay Water Quality Review For Ammonia

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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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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EPA LENGTHENS COMPLIANCE DATE EXTENSION FOR TROUBLED OIL SPILL RULE

EPA has added 18 months to the already extended compliance deadline for 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 PRESS ON CALIFORNIA OVER PERCHLORATE MCL TARGETS COST

Environmentalists and industry groups are focusing on the potential cost impacts of a forthcoming California perchlorate maximum contaminant level (MCL) in pressing the state health department and Schwarzenegger administration to follow markedly different approaches in setting the drinking water standard.

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EPA CITES LITTLE-USED POWER TO INCLUDE NAVIGATION DREDGING IN CLEANUP

EPA is close to finalizing an agreement with Massachusetts that relies on little-used Superfund authority allowing states to "enhance" some cleanup plans that will let the state include navigational dredging as part of EPA's plans to dredge contaminated sediments from portions of New Bedford harbor.

Invoking the authority will allow Massachusetts to streamline permitting requirements for disposal of sediment from the two projects, reduce disposal costs, coordinate monitoring and increase coordination between the two dredging projects, EPA says.

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'HABITAT BANKING' COULD HELP MILITARY MANAGE ENDANGERED SPECIES

Land conservation experts may support allowing the military to receive credit for off-base efforts to protect threatened and endangered species, thereby lessening the pressure on the military to maintain habitat on its installations.

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DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DEVELOPING NEW GREEN PROCUREMENT POLICY

The Defense Department is close to finalizing a new policy on so-called green procurement, reiterating the military's requirement under several laws and executive orders to buy a range of environmentally friendly products, and outlining a strategy for meeting those requirements along with metrics for measuring progress.

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ACTIVISTS SEEK PERMITS FOR WETLANDS CONNECTED BY GROUNDWATER

Environmentalists are seeking to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to regulate construction projects on wetlands in Georgia and Tennessee as part of a broader effort to require Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for discharges to wetlands and other waterbodies connected to navigable waters by groundwater.

If environmentalists file suit, the cases -- for an airport expansion project in Tennessee and a titanium mine in Georgia -- would broaden environmentalists efforts to force regulation of waterbodies that are connected to navigable waters by groundwater.

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SENATORS, ACTIVISTS CITE BUSH WETLANDS GOAL TO OVERTURN KEY POLICIES

A bipartisan group of senators -- including the Democratic presidential ticket of John Kerry (MA) and John Edwards (NC) -- and two key environmental groups are citing President Bush's goal of "gaining" a significant amount of wetlands acreage to press for reversal of controversial wetlands policies, claiming the policies undermine the president's new goals.

The calls to reverse the policies come as Bush is highlighting his wetlands protection initiatives on the campaign trail to boost support from key hunting and fishing groups (Water Policy Report, Aug. 9, p22).

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