EPA Action: House panel moves USEPA budget bill

Also in this report: Agency unveils first-ever assessment of U.S. wadeable streams; EPA, AWWA to celebrate National Drinking Water Week; Great Lakes updated water quality plans now available; Six trade groups join sustainable water infrastructure partnership; 37 facilities go extra mile to improve environment; Stormwater claims cost Idaho DOT, contractor nearly $1M; Worker safety convictions fifth for McWane in two years; Voluntary disclosure earns 3M toxic substances settlement...

In other news below:
-- Agency unveils first-ever assessment of U.S. wadeable streams
-- EPA, AWWA to celebrate National Drinking Water Week
-- Updated plans for each of the Great Lakes now available
-- New partnership to help ensure water infrastructure sustainability
-- 37 facilities go beyond legal requirements to improve environment
-- New England individuals, groups honored with environmental awards
-- Idaho DOT, contractor to pay nearly $1M over federal stormwater claims
-- New York City fined for drinking water violations
-- Part of Missouri water quality standards approved
-- Worker safety convictions fifth for McWane Divisions in two years
-- Complaint seeks $10K penalty for wetlands violations at Latrobe, Pa., airport
-- Marshfield, MA, students receive Presidential Award for environmental project
-- Case settled over 3M voluntary disclosures of toxic substances violations
-- Ridgecrest, Calif., ordered to stop discharging metals into sewer system
-- Oahu construction firm ordered to restore wetlands
-- Stockton facility may pay $62K for injection well violations

House panel moves USEPA budget bill
DENVER, May 8, 2006 (WaterWeek) -- Congressional action on USEPA's FY2007 budget got under way May 4 when a House Appropriation Committee panel approved a measure that would provide $7.6 billion for the agency, $55 million less than in FY2006 but $254 million more than requested by the White House, according to the American Water Works Association.

As summarized by the Interior and Environment Subcommittee, the bill would also provide $2.3 billion for agency programs and management, $10 million below FY2006 but $30 million more than requested. It would also provide $3 billion for state a tribal assistance grants, which is $209 million less than in FY2006 but $207 million more than requested.

The panel did not release the full text of the bill, and its summary fails to detail funding amounts for specific grants. However, a DC-based newsletter that reports exclusively on USEPA reported that the subcommittee measure, which now heads to full committee markup, provides $688 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund as requested by the White House. That is $200 million less than the FY2006 amount.
Also see:
-- "House proposes dramatic cut to key clean water program"
-- "EPA, AWWA to celebrate National Drinking Water Week by promoting water infrastructure awareness"
-- "American Water celebrates National Drinking Water Week"

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Among other recent agency headlines:

EPA unveils first-ever assessment of U.S. wadeable streams -- WASHINGTON, DC, May 5, 2006 -- What's the state of the union's streams? The EPA set out to answer that question in a just-completed, multiyear study of wadeable streams -- those which are shallow enough to be adequately sampled without a boat -- across the country. These essential natural resources that have been under-sampled in the past.

The study, Wadeable Streams Assessment (WSA), is the first consistent evaluation of the streams that feed rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Alaska and Hawaii weren't included in the report but have pilot projects underway. Measuring chemical and physical indicators that reveal stress or degradation, the survey found that stream conditions vary widely across the diverse ecological regions of the country, and that streams in the West were in the best condition. Humans, the researchers found, have a significant impact on wadeable streams. A majority of streams showed evidence of human influence along the streams, such as dams, pavement and pastures...

Updated plans for each of the Great Lakes now available -- CHICAGO, May. 4, 2006 -- The EPA released biennial status reports on each of the five Great Lakes today. These comprehensive environmental management plans provide details on the steps needed to ensure protection, restoration and environmental maintenance of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. The plans outline the environmental status of each lake, highlight successes, identify problems, and propose solutions.

The lake-wide plans are a requirement of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes. All of the plans, except for Lake Michigan which is entirely in the United States, were developed with Environment Canada. They are collaborative efforts of the state, federal, tribal and provincial governments, as well as stakeholder organizations, setting priorities and programs that address toxic pollutants, pathogens, shoreline development, uncontrolled runoff and erosion...
Also see: "Great Lakes cleanup projects get new direction"

New Partnership to help ensure water infrastructure sustainability -- WASHINGTON, DC, May 3, 2006 -- The EPA along with six leading water and wastewater utility organizations announced a statement of intent to ensure the long-term viability of our nation's water systems to promote effective utility management. The formal partnership will focus on improved water and wastewater utility performance through education, management tools and performance measures.

The six trade associations signing this Statement of Intent are: the Water Environment Federation; National Association of Clean Water Agencies; American Water Works Association; Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies; American Public Works Association; and the National Association of Water Companies. Over the next 12 months, EPA and the associations will work with utilities to identify the key attributes of sustainable management. They also will develop measures to use in gauging utility effectiveness, and develop a strategy to promote widespread adoption of sustainable management practices across the water sector. Additional contributions will be solicited through focus group meetings and other communications with individual utilities...

New report profiles environmental stewardship in major sectors -- WASHINGTON, DC, May 1, 2006 -- Steel recycling has reached a 20-year high. The number of buildings meeting green building standards doubled last year. Paint and coating manufacturers now reclaim 97% of all waste solvents for further use. The forest products sector now leads all manufacturers in use of co-generation, a highly efficient process that creates heat and electricity from a single source. These are just a few of the environmental performance trends highlighted in a new EPA report released today.

The 2006 Sector Strategies Performance Report is a joint product of EPA's partnerships with some of the nation's most important economic sectors. Collectively, these sectors contribute nearly $2.1 trillion to the gross domestic product and $5 billion in environmental spending each year. Through EPA's Sector Strategies Program, more than 20 national trade associations -- representing 12 major sectors of the U.S. economy -- are working with the agency to improve their environmental performance while also reducing unnecessary administrative burden. They represent over 780,000 manufacturing facilities. The report also provides a first-time look at how EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data can be used to target the greatest hazard reduction opportunities when managing chemicals...

37 facilities go beyond legal requirements to improve environment -- WASHINGTON, DC, April 27, 2006 -- Whether they're large or small, public or private, the newest members of the EPA's National Environmental Performance Track program all have one thing in common: protecting the environment. The program welcomed 37 facilities that have agreed to demonstrate strong environmental performance beyond their existing legal requirements. The new Performance Track facilities have made strong commitments to the environment in a wide range of categories. For example, 23 new members have committed to reducing their energy use over the next three years. Other members have plans to reduce water use and hazardous waste generation...
Also see:
-- "EPA honors Tyson Foods' Noel, MO, complex for environmental excellence" (May 8, 2006)
-- "Eight Organizations in NY/NJ Step Up To Cut Down Lead, Mercury and PCBs in Their Waste" (May 3, 2006)
-- "8 Facilities in Southeast Commit to Environmental Improvements Beyond Regulatory Requirements" (April 28, 2006)
-- "Four Ariz. companies join EPA's environmental 'honors' program" (April 27, 2006)
-- "La Jolla, Calif. company joins EPA's environmental 'honors' program" (April 27, 2006)

Additional EPA News:
-- "Water district ordered to remove chemicals from drinking water" (May 5, 2006)
-- "Bay State Individuals and Groups Receive Prestigious Regional Environmental Awards" (May 3, 2006)
-- "Granite State Individuals and Groups Receive Prestigious Regional Environmental Awards" (May 3, 2006)
-- "Connecticut Citizens Receive Prestigious Regional Environmental Award" (May 3, 2006)
-- "Maine Citizen and Two Groups Receive Prestigious Regional Environmental Awards" (May 3, 2006)
-- "Rhode Island Researcher Receives Regional Environmental Award" (May 3, 2006)
-- "Environmental Officials will Discuss Ongoing Superfund Cleanup at Public Meeting in Gray, Maine" (May 3, 2006)

-- "Idaho Transportation Department and Contractor to Pay Total of $895,000 to Settle Federal Storm Water Discharge Claims" (May 3, 2006)
-- "EPA Fines New York City for Drinking Water Violations" (May 1, 2006)
-- "EPA Approves Part of Missouri's Water Quality Standards" (May 1, 2006)
-- "U.S., New York Lodge Consent Judgment with Suffolk County to Remedy Water Pretreatment Violations; County to Pay $1 Million" (April 28, 2006)
-- "Cast Iron Pipe Manufacturer, Company Officials Found Guilty of Environmental Crimes and Worker Safety Violations - Convictions Represent Fifth for McWane Divisions in Two Years" (April 27, 2006)
-- "EPA complaint seeks $10,000 penalty for wetlands violations at Latrobe, Pa. airport" (April 27, 2006)
-- "Students from Marshfield, MA, Receive Presidential Award for Environmental Project" (April 26, 2006)

-- "EPA Settles Case Involving 3M Voluntary Disclosures of Toxic Substances Violations" (April 25, 2006)
-- "Ridgecrest, Calif. ordered to stop discharging metals into sewer system" (April 25, 2006)
-- "Oahu construction co. ordered to restore wetlands" (April 25, 2006)
-- "Stockton facility may pay $62,000 for injection well violations" (April 24, 2006)

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In earlier EPA Action reports: "EPA Action: Progress cited in Charles River report card" -- Also in this report (April 21, 2006): Young leaders recognized by president for environmental, community impacts; Workshops on Toxic Release Inventory reporting planned; Report says Long Island Sound water quality improves; New document aimed at improving wetlands monitoring programs; Motor vehicle disposal wells in Hawaii must close by January; Visteon settles on hazardous waste violations at two Mich. plants; $4M settlement reached at Chase Brass and Copper Site in Watertown, CT; Six sites added, four proposed for Superfund's National Priorities List; Projects funded to improve Anacostia River; Va. organizations recognized for bay protection efforts; Keene, NH, fined for wastewater treatment plant violations; Public water supply wells in Maunabo proposed for Superfund cleanup; NY company cited for underground fuel tank violations at Stroudsburg and Scotrun, Pa. stations; Hampden Township receives regional award for environmental performance...

For the latest EPA news releases, click here.

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