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Government Roundup

September 23, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 38

The White House Office of Management & Budget is warning federal agencies to prepare for a government shutdown on Oct. 1 as a result of ongoing congressional squabbling over the fiscal 2014 budget. The House of Representatives was expected to pass a bill after C&EN press time that links continued federal funding with cuts to the Affordable Care Act, something Senate leaders oppose.

Federal approvals for critical minerals mines would speed up under a bill (H.R. 761) passed by the House of Representatives last week. Many Democrats oppose the measure, which confines agency oversight and limits lawsuits, saying it erodes environmental protections. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Critical helium legislation passed the Senate last week, possibly averting an Oct. 7 shutdown of the Federal Helium Reserve. A shutdown would exacerbate a nationwide helium shortage, since the reserve currently provides 42% of U.S. helium supply.

Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Maryland was tentatively approved by the Department of Energy to export 0.77 billion cu ft of natural gas per day. This is the fourth DOE-approved U.S. LNG terminal. It brings the total amount of LNG approved for export to countries without U.S. free-trade agreements to 6.37 billion cu ft per day.

EPA abides by federal law when managing conflict-of-interest issues for its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, finds the agency’s Office of Inspector General. EPA’s management is “in accordance with applicable statutes and regulations,” says the report. It also states that “receipt of federal grant funds may not constitute a financial conflict of interest.”


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