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Trouble with EPA's radwaste rules.

Trouble with EPA's radwaste rules

The federal government's program to dispose of highlyradioactive nuclear waste continues to suffer setbacks. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must alter its standards regulating the amount of radioactivity emitted from a radioactive-waste repository (SN: 8/24/85, p.119). The ruling responds to a suit filed by four states and three environmental groups.

The court's three-judge panel agreed with the plaintiffs thatEPA did not take the Safe Drinking Water Act sufficiently into consideration when setting its standards. The rules would allow drinking water near a repository to be contaminated with radioactivity at levels higher than the agency allows under the act. EPA must rewrite the rules or explain the apparent inconsistency. EPA officials have not yet decided whether to ask for a rehearing by the full court.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering more than 30 billsproposing to delay, abandon or change the repository program established under the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The Department of Energy has also backed down on postponing its quest for a second repository site (SN: 6/7/86. p.359).
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Title Annotation:Environmental Protection Agency
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 1, 1987
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