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Briefs (right)

Bill Would Let EPA Relax
Rules for Cleanup

By Michael Janofsky

The Environmental Protection Agency could suspend laws governing air, water or land in responding to Hurricane Katrina, under a measure introduced Thursday by the chairman of the Senate environment committee.

The legislation, which drew immediate criticism from environmental groups, would create a 120-day period in which the agency’s administrator, Steven L. Johnson, could waive or modify laws if it became “necessary to respond in a timely and effective manner” to a situation created by the storm.

It would allow changes in law at the discretion of the administrator in consultation with the governor of “any affected state.”

“This legislation is purely about providing EPA the clarity and certainty it will need down the road to ensure a timely and effective response,” said Bill Holbrook, a spokesman for the chairman, Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma.

He added: “As Administrator Johnson indicated yesterday, there are a number of uncertainties remaining, and we, as well as the administration, do not want those uncertainties to delay actions that affect people’s health.”

The proposed legislation was introduced shortly before President Bush addressed the nation from New Orleans, outlining his vision for rebuilding areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, where floodwaters have left enormous areas of environmental degradation.

At Least 20 Killed by Suicide
Car Bombers in Baghdad

By Robert F. Worth and Richard A. Oppel Jr.

A second day of suicide bombings in Baghdad killed at least 20 people Thursday and wounded at least 31, following a series of attacks that left almost 150 people dead and much of the capital paralyzed on Wednesday.

Iraqi policemen and commandos were the targets of Thursday’s assaults, both in the southern area of the capital.

Sixteen policemen were killed and 13 were wounded in the first of the attacks, a Ministry of Interior official said. Eight civilians were also wounded.

Later, a suicide car bomber killed four Iraqi police commandos and wounded 12, including two civilians, the official said.

In other violence, a bus carrying Ministry of Trade employees was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad, leaving one person killed and 16 wounded.

In the same area, an American military Humvee was targeted by a suicide car bomber, the Interior Ministry official said, but he added that the area was closed by U.S. forces and that no further information was available.