Posted by: Steven M. Taber | July 19, 2010

Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Newsletter, July 19, 2010, vol. 2, no. 20

Vol. 2, No. 20, July 19, 2010

The following is a summary review of articles from all over the nation concerning environmental law settlements, decisions, regulatory actions and lawsuits filed during the past week.  These were all first posted, in abbreviated form, on http://twitter.com/smtaber.  This Newsletter also appears as a post on our website Taber Law Group every Monday. Archives can be found there and on our blog, The Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Blog.

SETTLEMENTS

Irika Shipping agrees to pay $4 million in pollution caseMarine Log, July 11, 2010
Piraeus headquartered Irika Shipping S.A., pleaded guilty on July 8, 2010 before Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Motz, to felony obstruction of justice charges and violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships related to concealing deliberate vessel pollution from the M/V Iorana, a Greek flagged cargo ship that made port calls in Baltimore, Tacoma, Wash., and New Orleans. According to the multi-district plea agreement arising out of charges brought in the District of Maryland, Western District of Washington, and Eastern District of Louisiana, Irika Shipping has agreed to pay a $4 million total penalty, be placed on probation for a maximum period of five years, and be subject to the terms of an Enhanced Environmental Compliance Program.
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Mississippi Company to Pay $4,082 Civil Penalty for Aerial Pesticide Application Drift to Public Trail in Decorah, Iowa – Chris Whitley, United States Environmental Protection Agency, July 13, 2010
Mississippi company has agreed to pay a $4,082 civil penalty to the United States for an August 2009 incident in which a liquid pesticide that it sprayed over an Iowa corn field drifted to an adjacent public use trail, causing several trail users, including members of a high school cross country running team, to complain of skin and eye irritation. Custom Air, LLC, of Louisville, Miss., was hired to spray Quilt fungicide over 120 acres of corn in a field owned by Jeff Sanderman, of Decorah, Iowa, on August 12, 2009, according to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan. The field is situated immediately adjacent to the Trout Run Trail, an eight-mile public trail for bicyclists, walkers and runners that circles the city of Decorah. Several people who were on the trail on the day of the field application, including at least five members of the Decorah High School cross country team, later told a state investigator that they had been sprayed multiple times by a helicopter flying overhead near the field. The students reported various symptoms, including burning or stinging eyes, worsened allergies, and a bad taste in the mouth. None of the runners sought medical attention.
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McWane Inc. Agrees to Resolve Environmental Violations at Manufacturing Facilities in 14 States.EPA News Release, July 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Justice Department, and the states of Alabama and Iowa announced that McWane Inc., a national cast iron pipe manufacturer headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., has agreed to pay $4 million to resolve more than 400 violations of federal and state environmental laws. The settlement, filed in federal court today, covers 28 of McWane’s manufacturing facilities in 14 states and also requires the company to perform seven environmental projects valued at $9.1 million. “In addition to meeting its environmental obligations and taking corrective measures, McWane will go beyond compliance and take action to protect communities that are at the greatest risk for air and water pollution,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The additional environmental projects included in the settlement will protect children, pregnant mothers, local residents and workers from harmful pollution and are an example of securing public health and environmental benefits in addition to those achieved by compliance with our nation’s environmental laws.”
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Mcwane Inc. Agrees to Resolve Environmental Violations at Manufacturing Facilities in 14 States. – Department of Justice News Release, July 14, 2010
McWane Inc., a national cast iron pipe manufacturer headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., has agreed to pay $4 million to resolve more than 400 violations of federal and state environmental laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement, filed in federal court today in Birmingham, Ala., covers 28 of McWane’s manufacturing facilities in 14 states and also requires the company to perform seven environmental projects valued at $9.1 million.  The $4 million civil penalty will be divided among the United States, Alabama and Iowa. The environmental projects McWane will perform address storm water contamination at numerous locations; reduce mercury emissions in Provo, Utah, and Tyler, Texas; reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions in Bedford, Ind., and Anniston, Ala.; and enhance air quality in Coshocton, Ohio. Additionally, McWane has already undertaken corrective measures to resolve the violations, at a cost of more than $7.6 million.
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Pipe Manufacturer McWane Slapped with $4 Million Penalty.Industry Week, July 14, 2010
Birmingham, Ala.-based McWane Inc., a manufacturer of cast iron pipes, has agreed to pay a $4 million civil penalty to resolve more than 400 violations of federal and state environmental laws, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Justice Department and the states of Alabama and Iowa announced July 14. The proposed settlement, which includes 28 manufacturing facilities in 14 states, also requires the company to perform seven environmental projects valued at $9.1 million, and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by a federal court. The settlement addresses violations of numerous laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act.
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Settlement Ensures Cleanup of Contaminated Soil at Coventry R.I. Great Lakes Container Site.EPA News Release, July 14, 2010
Twenty-six parties have agreed to help clean up the Great Lakes Container Corp. Site in Coventry, R.I. Under the settlement with EPA, the settling parties will further investigate and remove soil contaminated with hazardous substances at a cost of about $2 million. The parties will also reimburse EPA $200,000 for its site investigation costs, and pay EPA for all of its costs to oversee the soil removal work. The cost reimbursement portion of the settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period, ending on July 19.
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Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., of Wichita, Kan., to Pay $132,500 Civil Penalty to Settle Issues Involving Hazardous Waste Management.EPA News Release, July 14, 2010
A Wichita, Kan., aircraft component company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $132,500 to the United States to settle a series of alleged violations of federal hazardous waste management regulations at its manufacturing facility. Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., manufactures fuselages, under-wing components, composites, wings and spare parts for large jet engine aircraft at its facility at 3810 S. Oliver in Wichita, which was formerly part of Boeing Commercial Airlines. According to a consent agreement and final order filed in Kansas City, Kan., EPA Region 7 staff conducted an inspection of the Wichita plant in July 2006 and noted a series of violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, disposal and management of hazardous wastes.
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Spirit disagrees with EPA allegations. KSN-TV.com, July 15, 2010
Spirit AeroSystems has agreed to pay a fine to the Environmental Protection Agency for hazardous waste violations. The $132,000 penalty was ordered after inspectors found problems with the way Spirit transported waste, the way the company stored and disposed of hazardous waste and failing to provide documented hazardous waste training for employees. Spirit, however, disagrees with the EPA’s findings and released the following statement:
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Jupiter settlement could be close to final

The. U.S. government and Hammond may have reached another settlement with Jupiter Aluminum Corp. in the company’s pollution case, according to a document filed Wednesday. Although details of the settlement won’t be released until it has been approved by government officials, the notice did detail that part of the agreement includes monthly meetings Jupiter will have to take part in. The government and Jupiter have been locked in battle since 2007, when the federal government claimed in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Hammond that Jupiter had violated the Clean Air Act. The court ordered the company to pay $2 million in fines plus meet polluting standards. The government came back to court, though, when it said Jupiter wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain.
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Fulfilling sewer pact to cost city $3.5 billion. – B.J. Reyes, Star Advertiser, July 15, 2010
About $3.5 billion in sewer construction projects planned over the next 10 years will help the city comply with a consent decree to settle years of litigation alleging deficiencies in the city’s sewage and waste-water treatment systems, officials said. The amount includes projects already under way and new construction required by the settlement reached between the city, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state Department of Health and three environmental groups. Under the agreement the city has 10 years to renovate and improve sewers, and until 2024 and 2035 to refit its two sewage plants—at Honouliuli and Sand Island, respectively—to meet secondary-treatment standards required by the federal Clean Water Act. Those two plant upgrades are estimated to cost about $1.2 billion. Mayor Mufi Hannemann said his administration would seek to minimize the cost to ratepayers by seeking state and federal assistance where possible. “Yes, there’ll be costs, but rest assured we will look to identify ways to do it,” Hannemann said at a news conference yesterday. Projects to bring the city into compliance also will lead to increases in sewer fees for Oahu residents, estimated at about 3 percent to 5 percent each year for about 25 years, he said.
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Settlement Clears Way for Cleanup of Easthampton, Mass. Site. EPA News Release, July 15, 2010
Two parties have entered into an agreement with EPA to clean-up asbestos-contaminated soils at a site in Easthampton, Mass. in the near future. According to the agreement, the two parties, W. R. Grace & Co. and Oldon Limited Partnership, will pay an estimated $833,000 to clean the contaminated soil. They have also agreed to pay EPA’s past cleanup costs of $72,537. The 2.3-acre site is located in a mixed residential, commercial and agricultural area and includes a facility owned by Oldon. Grace leased the facility, located on Wemelco Way, from Oldon between 1963 and 1992. During that time, Grace received asbestos-contaminated vermiculite concentrate from the Zonolite mine in Libby, Mont., and produced Zonolite attic insulation and fireproofing material.
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City of Tacoma settles for nearly $525,000 for release of ozone-depleting gases. EPA News Release, July 15, 2010
The city of Tacoma will pay nearly $225,000 in penalties for the release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) stemming from its refrigerated appliance disposal service, according to a consent decree lodged by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The city will also pay nearly $300,000 for new pollution-reduction projects in Tacoma. From October 2004 to August 2007, The City of Tacoma Solid Waste Management Division processed more than 14,600 appliances to recover refrigerants. Due to a flawed purging process, an estimated 4,600 pounds of refrigerant was released to the environment, according to the consent decree. The CFCs released in this case are equivalent to 32,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, or approximately 530,000 roundtrip commutes between Tacoma and Seattle.
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DECISIONS

EPA Orders Illinois Livestock Operation To Pay $40,000 Penalty For Unauthorized Waste Discharges. – Louise Roys, All Voices, July 9, 2010
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has ordered Greenville Livestock Inc., 25815 Hugo Road, Centralia, Ill., to pay a $40,000 fine for failing to comply with the Clean Water Act. EPA previously ordered the facility to stop all unauthorized discharges and apply to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for a permit to discharge wastewater. Greenville is a large concentrated animal feeding operation in the Kaskaskia River watershed in central Illinois with more than 1,000 cattle. An EPA inspection found that Greenville was not using best management practices to prevent the discharge of manure and other animal production waste. EPA also discovered that the facility did not have a Clean Water Act permit to discharge.
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Central Ill. company dumps manure without permit. Chicago Tribune, July 13, 2010
A central Illinois livestock company has been dumping its manure and wastewater into a river without a permit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined the Greenville Livestock Inc. $40,000 last Friday for not following the Clean Water Act when it discarded animal waste. EPA had previously asked the facility to stop unauthorized dumping and to apply for a permit. The central Illinois animal feeding operation oversees more than 1,000 cattle by the Kaskaskia River.
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Maricopa County-based Summit Builders Construction Co. required to pay more than $100K for Clean Air Act violations.EPA News Release, July 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Summit Builders Construction Co., based in Maricopa County, Arizona, $105,610 for allegedly failing to comply with Clean Air Act regulations. In addition to the monetary fine, Summit is also required to take steps to minimize the generation of dust at its construction sites. Air pollution from particulate matter directly impacts the health of the community. It’s an especially serious issue in Maricopa County, where air quality does not meet the federal standard,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “EPA will not tolerate companies who fail to comply with dust control regulations. We are working closely with local air quality agencies to enforce rules to protect the community from airborne dust.”
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EPA Wants Airport to Help Clean Groundwater. – Mark Modler, San Fernando Valley Business Journal, July 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to help pay to clean up polluted groundwater left behind by decades of aircraft manufacturing. The EPA notified the authority, owner and operator of the Bob Hope Airport, it was being designated a “potentially responsible party” for the cleanup. The letter did not give details for the reasoning behind the designation, the authority said. The $108 million cleanup is on property that used to be owned by Lockheed Corp., which for decades manufactured aircraft. The authority acquired the airport property in 1978 and later purchased other parcels from Lockheed. The authority is disappointed in the EPA’s designation and does not believe the airport contributed to the contamination of the groundwater, said airport Executive Director Dan Feger. “The costs of this cleanup that the Airport may be forced to pay could result in increased parking rates, increased concession fees, and increased rents that will ultimately be shouldered by the travelling public,” Feger said. A lawsuit is pending in federal court to have Lockheed honor a contractual obligation to defend and indemnify the airport authority from any damages the aerospace company caused to the property.
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Airport officials want cleanup costs covered. – Bill Kisliuk, Glendate News Press, July 14, 2010
Bob Hope Airport officials are fighting an U.S. EPA order to share in the $108-million tab to clean up contaminated groundwater created by former aerospace manufacturing at the site. Airport officials have asked a federal judge to order Lockheed Corp., also listed in the order, to cover the airport’s portion of the cleanup costs. The legal maneuver follows a July 6 letter in which the EPA named the Burbank airport as a “potentially responsible party” for the decades-old ground contamination. Officials with the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority say the contamination — including groundwater contaminated by chromium, dioxane and volatile organic compounds — occurred when Lockheed manufactured planes and equipment on the site acquired by the airport authority in 1978.
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Crested Butte Ski Resort Loses Latest Appeal. The Associated Press, July 15, 2010
A review officer for U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has affirmed a forest supervisor’s decision blocking Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s plan to add skiing on Snodgrass Mountain. However, reviewing officer Gloria Manning on Wednesday also instructed Gunnison National Forest Supervisor Charlie Richmond to tell the resort what kind of expansion would be acceptable. If nothing is acceptable, Manning said, Richmond should consider whether to change the forest’s management plan to reflect what’s now suitable for Snodgrass. The resort says Snodgrass is within boundaries of its special use permit, but Richmond said in November that its expansion plan wasn’t in the public interest. Resort officials are considering what to do next.
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

Builders to sue EPA over lead-paint rule. Inman News, July 12, 2010
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for removing an “opt-out” provision in its lead paint regulations, NAHB announced Thursday. In April 2008, the EPA issued the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which required “lead-safe” work practices in homes built before 1978 — the year the federal fovernment officially banned lead paint.
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Appeal Filed in Lawsuit to Protect Grand Canyon From Uranium Mining. Center for Biological Diversity, July 12, 2010
Conservation groups and Native American tribes today appealed a federal court decision that denied a request to halt uranium mining just six miles north of Grand Canyon National Park. The appeal filed with the Ninth District Court of Appeals challenges a lower court’s June 17 decision on the groups’ request for a preliminary injunction at the Arizona 1 uranium mine. The appeal was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, Kaibab Paiute Tribe and Havasupai Tribe. The case could set important precedent on whether long-closed mines on public lands can resume operations using outdated mining plans and environmental reviews. The Bureau of Land Management approved the Arizona 1 mining plan in 1988. The mine closed in 1992 before producing any uranium. It was allowed to reopen in November 2009 without a plan update or environmental assessment to reflect new information, including that the mine could damage the hydrology, spring ecology, biodiversity and cultural resources of Grand Canyon National Park and adjacent public lands.
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Save the Peaks Court Rescheduled for July 20, 2010. Censored News, July 12, 2010
An Arizona District Court has once again rescheduled oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging the proposed use of treated sewage effluent for snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks located in northern Arizona. The oral arguments have been moved from July 16th and rescheduled to be heard at 1:00 PM (MST-AZ), Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 in the United States District Court in Phoenix, Arizona. The Save the Peaks Coalition and other groups are continuing their call for support and will be rallying at the courthouse on June 20th at 11:00 AM and urging everyone to join them in the courtroom at 1:00 PM. The case known as The Save the Peaks Coalition, et al. v. U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will be heard before Honorable Judge Mary H. Murguia. The suit asserts, among other things, that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) prepared by the USFS ignores the possibility of human ingestion of snow made from treated sewage effluent. Snowbowl would be the only ski area in the world to use 100% wastewater to make snow. They would use 1.5 million gallons per day, storing and spraying this wastewater on a mountain that is holy to more than 13 Indigenous Nations.
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5th Circuit’s shameful disappearing act. – Jonathan R. Nash, The National Law Journal, July 12, 2010
One might suppose that the losing plaintiffs in a case alleging that greenhouse-gas emissions from oil and energy companies led to property damage from global warming would deserve to have the decision of a lone trial judge reviewed by a panel of appellate judges. That’s in keeping with the old adage that “two minds are better than one,” which generally holds true in appellate decision-making. The thinking is that the more judges who participate in an appeal, the more likely the court is to reach a correct outcome. Somehow the exact reverse result has obtained in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit case of Comer v. Murphy Oil. The appellate court has concluded that the absence of a quorum dictates that the judgment of a single judge — the trial judge — will control, notwithstanding the fact that a panel of three appellate judges initially voted to reverse the trial judge. This outrageous elevation of mechanics — and erroneous mechanics, at that — over justice ought not to stand, especially in a case of such national importance.
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Enviros challenge permit for Centralia coal plant.The Associated Press, July 9, 2010
Environmental groups are calling on the Ecology Department to do more to limit water pollution from Washington’s only coal-fired power plant. Ecology issued a draft permit last month governing wastewater discharge at the TransAlta plant in Centralia. The environmental law firm Earthjustice filed a response to the proposal Friday on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Portland, Ore.-based Northwest Environmental Defense Center. They say the draft permit doesn’t do nearly enough to ensure the health of nearby Hanaford Creek, where the wastewater is discharged, or other rivers the creek feeds. They say the problem is that TransAlta uses a series of settling ponds to filter the wastewater, but many metals and chemicals – including selenium – aren’t being filtered out.
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Industry stadium bill aids others seeking to bypass law. – James Wagner, Whittier Daily News, July 10, 2010
It has always been an uneasy and tricky relationship: developers and environmental laws. Last year after local billionaire Ed Roski Jr., CEO and chairman of Majestic Realty Co., received an unprecedented relaxation of state environmental laws which granted his proposed NFL stadium full approval, others tried to get the same. “It’s what people feared would happen,” said Sean Hecht, executive director of UCLA’s environmental law center. The march to follow suit began earlier this year when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed an attempt to exempt 25 construction projects from legal challenges based on the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970. It continued last month when a group seeking to build a competing NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles sought its own CEQA exemption.
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Billionaire beats legal challenge on stadium plan that violated state law. – Karen de Sa, The Monterey Herald, July 13, 2010
Before Southern California billionaire Edward Roski Jr. could satisfy the Los Angeles region’s craving for the return of pro football, he needed a stadium. And before that stadium could be built on 592 acres of land in City of Industry, 20 miles east of Los Angeles, Roski needed to resolve a pair of lawsuits over whether the project complied with the state’s environmental laws. So Roski, who together with his wife and his company have contributed more than $2 million to California campaigns in the last decade and who has a fleet of lobbyists with ties to key legislators, did what anyone with such connections would do: He had his people write a bill. From there, Roski’s commercial real estate company, Majestic Realty, teamed up with Rep. Isadore Hall, D-Compton, a legislator eager to make a name for himself. In September 2009, promising construction jobs at a time of economic hardship, the two pushed the bill on a fast track that steamrolled opportunities for objections.
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Duke, enviros square off over wood power. – Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer, July 13, 2010
Power companies, environmentalists and forestry interests will appear before the N.C. Utilities Commission on Wednesday to argue over Duke Energy’s plan to burn wood with coal at two power plants. The issue is what kind of wood – waste scraps or whole trees cut into chips – may be burned to meet North Carolina’s 2007 renewable-energy law. It’s important because the organic material called biomass, including wood, is expected to produce most of that green energy. Two environmental groups have challenged Duke’s plan to cofire wood with coal at plants in Rowan County and in South Carolina. The Environmental Defense Fund and Southern Environmental Law Center say the energy law refers only to “wood waste.” Cutting down trees to fuel power plants could devastate the state’s forests, they say. As it now stands, utilities wouldn’t have to replant trees.
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Anchorage man faces up to $177,500 in EPA fines for destroying wetlands and streams.EPA News Release, July 13, 2010
David D’Amato faces penalties of up to $177,500 for destroying wetlands and streams at his property in Anchorage, Alaska in violation of the Clean Water Act, according to a complaint from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In September and October 2005, D’Amato used heavy equipment at the Hunter Heights subdivision, located in the Bear Valley area of Anchorage, to dredge 1,300 feet of stream and fill nearly an acre of wetlands on a 29-acre property, according to EPA. D’Amato performed this work without obtaining the required Clean Water Act permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The unauthorized work allowed D’Amato to access, enlarge and create diversion channels on the property.
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Environmental Justice Communities Sue EPA. – Mike Rhodes, Fresno Alliance, July 13, 2010
A San Joaquin Valley community group sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today to force the agency to undertake long overdue action on a plan aimed at curbing dangerous fine particulate matter air pollution. The Association of Irritated Residents (AIR) alleges that EPA has failed to approve or disapprove California’s plan to meet the Clean Air Act’s minimum requirements for fine particulate matter pollution to the detriment of Valley residents’ public health and well-being. Fine particulate matter is a deadly pollutant that aggravates respiratory conditions, including asthma, and also contributes to cardiac illness. California must regulate PM2.5 air pollutants, which have a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less and are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, but as the lawsuit alleges, the EPA is not doing its part to ensure California can act. The American Lung Association ranks the San Joaquin Valley counties of Kern, Tulare, Fresno, and Kings as the second, third, sixth and ninth most PM2.5-polluted counties in the United States for long term exposure.
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West Bridgewater landowner charged with federal environmental crimes blames town. – Amy Littlefield, Enterprise, July 14, 2010
A West Bridgewater mobile home park owner charged with violating federal environmental law has been ordered to undo damage to wetlands on the Brockton border. But Edward Medairos, owner of Westbridge Landing on Main Street, blames town and city officials for his plight. The dispute stretches back to 2007, when the West Bridgewater Conservation Commission gave Medairos permission to build a flood-prevention berm between the 67-unit mobile home park and the Salisbury Plain River. “I did what I was told to do by the town of West Bridgewater,” said Medairos.
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Class Action Claims Lead Taints Kids’ Foods. – Tim Hull, Courthouse News Service, July 14, 2010
A federal class action claims that more than 100 food products for babies and children contain dangerous levels of lead. Named as defendants in Denver are Coca-Cola, Gerber, Motts and the Hain Celestial Group. Named plaintiff Suzanne Kennedy claims the defendants produce dozens of supposedly kid-friendly products with lead levels that violate California’s safe drinking water standards. The 54-page complaint claims to be a response to a host of “notices of violations” filed in June by the California-based nonprofit Environmental Law Foundation.
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Judge orders EPA to file amended lawsuit against Erie Coke by Aug. 2. – Lisa Thompson, Erie Times-News, July 14, 2010
Federal environmental regulators have until Aug. 2 to spell out what claims they plan to pursue against Erie Coke Corp. in the wake of the settlement reached between Erie Coke and the state Department of Environmental Protection. U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin issued an order Monday directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to file an updated version of its federal lawsuit. The new lawsuit could lay out the final regulatory claims against the troubled plant on East Avenue. Erie Coke and DEP resolved their protracted dispute over pollution from the plant in June with a $21 million consent decree. Erie Coke paid a $6 million fine. The company and its owner, J.D. Crane, must also pay an additional estimated $15 million over the next three years to bring the East Avenue plant into compliance with Pennsylvania’s Air Pollution Control Act, the Clean Air Act, other regulations and the plant’s air-quality permit.
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Suit filed seeking more details on dispersants.The Associated Press, July 14, 2010
BP’s use of chemicals to disperse the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is coming under renewed scrutiny, as environmentalists head to court to seek more information about potential health hazards and a Senate panel plans a Thursday hearing on the issue. The company has used at least 1.8 million gallons of dispersants on the Gulf’s surface and 5,000 feet deep at the source of the leak. Earthjustice filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday in Florida to force the Environmental Protection Agency to turn over safety studies on the chemicals. On Thursday, EPA chief Lisa Jackson is scheduled to testify on dispersants before the Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science. BP says the chemicals have kept much of the spill from reaching the Gulf coast.
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Fannie and Freddie Are Sued in California. – Todd Woody, The New York Times, July 14, 2010
The California attorney general’s office on Wednesday sued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over actions by the mortgage finance companies that have derailed a popular financing program that allows homeowners to pay for energy efficiency improvements through a surcharge on their property taxes. This month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, issued guidelines to lenders that restricted the ability of homeowners to participate in the financing programs, called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE. Twenty-two states have authorized the programs, which have drawn $150 million in stimulus funding support from the Obama administration.
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Environmental groups sue Lower Colorado River Authority. Austin Business Journal, July 15, 2010
Three anti-pollution groups have accused the Lower Colorado River Authority of committing 10,000 violations against the federal Clean Air Act. The groups— Environmental Integrity Project, Environment Texas and the Texas Campaign for the Environment— warned the Central Texas provider Thursday that they plan to file a lawsuit for alleged infractions at its coal-fired power plant near LaGrange in Fayette County. Two of the plants three units are partly-owned by Austin Energy. The lawsuit trails a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision to overhaul the state’s Flexible Air Permitting rules, under which the Fayette Power Project and 121 other Texas plants operate. The agency has proposed striking down the rules, saying the violate the Clean Air Act.
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Lower Colorado River Authority denies claims in posed lawsuit. Austin Business Journal, July 16, 2010
The Lower Colorado River Authority denies allegations that a power plant it co-owns with Austin Energy has violated the federal Clean Air Act. The Central Texas provider was delivered a notice Thursday of three environmental groups’ plan to sue, claiming the plant between Austin and Houston committed more than 10,000 violations against the act and that LCRA owes the state $500,000 for its emissions. LCRA officials released a statement saying the allegations are based on faulty methodology and flawed conclusions. “Many of us have dedicated our careers to work at an organization that values environmental stewardship. Our employees live near the plant and raise their families there. When focused on clean air instead of inexact assumptions, reasonable people will see that LCRA has a very good story to tell,” LCRA General Manager Tom Mason said in the statement.
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Idaho, Montana Groups Challenge Oil Equipment Transport. Flathead Beacon, July 15, 2010
A plan to move more than 200 huge loads of oilfield equipment from the Port of Lewiston in Idaho and through northwestern Montana is being challenged in both states. The Missoula County commission wants Montana’s Transportation Department to do a more extensive environmental impact statement of Imperial Oil’s proposal to haul the gear to an oil field in northern Alberta. In a letter to transportation commission chairwoman Nancy Espy of Broadus, Missoula city commissioners took the agency to task for treating the pending movement of the large modules through the state “strictly from a mitigation standpoint.” “Clearly, the intention of the department was to issue a permit, regardless of the validity of public opposition,” commissioners wrote in a letter signed Wednesday. “It is also clear this route, when permitted, will become a permanent route, despite claims by the department to the contrary.”
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Washington Briefs: Housing industry sues EPA over lead paint rule. – Kent Hoover, Phoenix Business Journal, July 15, 2010
Four housing industry associations are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for removing an opt-out provision in renovation regulations for houses built before 1978, when lead paint was banned. The provision enabled contractors to skip the extra work-area containment, dust control, cleanup and recordkeeping measures required by the rule, as long as there were no children under 6 or pregnant women in the house. The lead-safe renovation rule adds an average of $2,400 to the cost of renovations in older homes, according to the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB’s partners in the lawsuit against EPA are the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. The lawsuit contends the agency dropped the opt-out provision — which was included when the rule was issued in 2008, during the Bush administration — without any new scientific data.
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Enviro Groups to Sue Coal Plant Touted by Texas as Permitting Success. – Gabriel Nelson, The New York Times, July 15, 2010
In the wake of U.S. EPA’s rejection of a Texas program that permits the state’s largest air pollution sources, environmental groups have challenged a coal-fired power plant that Gov. Rick Perry (R) had hailed as a symbol of the value of the state’s “flexible” permitting program. When federal regulators rejected the Texas permitting program on June 30, it raised the pitch of an already unusually noisy fight between state and federal regulators. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) sued EPA last month over the agency’s rejection of one air permitting program, and with the publication of the agency’s final decision (pdf) on the “flexible” permitting program in today’s Federal Register, the door is open for another legal challenge from the Lone Star State.
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Lawsuit Filed to Stop DOI Roundup of 2,000 Wild Horses in California. In Defense of Animals News Release, July 15, 2010
Today a lawsuit was filed to stop the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from rounding up and removing nearly 2,000 wild horses and burros from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area north of Susanville, California. The roundup, slated to begin in August, is the second largest capture and removal operation planned by the BLM for Fiscal Year 2010. The legal action was filed in the Eastern District of California on behalf of ecologist Chad Hanson, Ph.D., wild horse sanctuary founder Barbara Clarke, DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary, local resident and wild horse enthusiast Linda Hay, and the animal protection organization In Defense of Animals (IDA).
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BLM Hit with Another Law Suit to Stop Helicopter Death Stampedes. – R.T. Fitch, Straight from the Horse’s Heart, July 15, 2010
A lawsuit was filed to stop the Department of Interior‟s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from rounding up and removing nearly 2,000 wild horses and burros from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area north of Susanville, California. The roundup, slated to begin in August, is the second largest capture and removal operation planned by the BLM for Fiscal Year 2010. The legal action was filed in the Eastern District of California on behalf of ecologist Chad Hanson, Ph.D., wild horse sanctuary founder Barbara Clarke, DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary, local resident and wild horse enthusiast Linda Hay, and the animal protection organization In Defense of Animals (IDA).
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Massey seeks to dismiss water pollution suit. – Gabriel Nelson, The New York Times, July 15, 2010
Private citizens can sue to enforce the national Clean Water Act only when government regulators fail to enforce it, Massey Energy argues in federal court. Massey subsidiaries moved on July 6 to dismiss a suit the Sierra Club and other groups filed in April, seeking to halt water pollution from coal mines. “Citizen suits are meant to supplement rather than to supplant governmental action,” wrote Robert McLusky of the Jackson Kelly firm in Charleston. He wrote that the suit involves the same permits and pollutants as a consent decree that Massey and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency signed in 2008. The decree obligated Massey to pay $20 million in civil penalties. McLusky wrote that the decree “is clearly capable of requiring compliance with the Clean Water Act and is in good faith calculated to do so.”  He wrote, “Plaintiffs cannot seriously argue that the consent decree is incapable of requiring compliance with the Act.”  He urged District Judge John Copenhaver to rule that he lacks jurisdiction.
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

EPA: Sulfur dioxide too high in Yellowstone County. Great Falls Tribune, July 11, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency says Yellowstone County is violating federal stan-dards on sulfur dioxide pollution. The agency last month adopted a new national one-hour standard of 75 parts per billion for sulfur dioxide to protect health, particularly for people with asthma, children and seniors. The EPA says Yellowstone County has had an hourly concentration of 77 parts per billion based on informa-tion gathered from 2007-2009. Eric Merchant of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality says a final decision is two years away and will be based on more current monitoring. Merchant says sources generating sulfur dioxide will have to increase pollution controls if the federal agency designates the region as a “nonattainment” area. The region has two power plants, a sugar beet plant, a sulfur plant, and three oil refineries.
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EPA Proposes 2011 Renewable Fuel Standards. United States Environmental Protection Agency, July 12, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed the 2011 percentage standards for the four fuels categories under the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program, known as RFS2. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the annual renewable fuel volume targets, reaching an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner, importer and non-oxygenate blender of gasoline determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.
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EPA Proposes Cellulosic Ethanol Short of U.S. Goals. – Kim Chipman and Mario Parker, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 12, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed requiring less cellulosic ethanol to be blended into gasoline next year than sought under U.S. law because production of the alternative fuel hasn’t reached commercial scale. The decision is part of the EPA’s proposed standard for renewable fuels of about 14 billion gallons, or 7.95 percent of transportation fuels used in the U.S., the agency said today in a news release. The goal for cellulosic biofuels, based on an analysis of market availability, is 5 million to 17.1 million gallons, or as much as 0.015 percent, according to the agency. “While this may be prudent for EPA based on market conditions, it does send a chilling effect through the investment community with respect to cellulosic ethanol technologies,” Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, wrote on the industry group’s website.
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Chicago Air Quality Violates Federal Standards. The Huffington Post, July 12, 2010
Chicago’s air quality is below federal standards, according to a release  issued Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today issued a list of 76 counties that it plans to name as not meeting the new, health-based 24-hour outdoor air quality standard for fine particles (soot). Counties that do not meet national outdoor air quality standards are called nonattainment areas. Cook County is one of 14 Illinois counties on the EPA’s list that are in violation of the EPA’s new rules.
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State regulators seek input for local ozone boundaries. – Glenn Evans, Longview News-Journal, July 11, 2010
State air regulators will be in Longview on Thursday to gather public input they will use to fashion bad-air boundaries if ozone levels in the Longview area run afoul of the Clean Air Act. The 1 p.m. meeting at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center is ninth in a series of 10 being conducted across the state by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The state agency is holding the meetings for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the federal regulator revs up pollution enforcement in the state. The EPA says it will propose a standard somewhere between 60 and 70 parts per billion by Aug. 31.
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City of New Bedford gets $1 Million for Shore-side Power Electrification Project. United States Environmental Protection Agency, July 8, 2010
EPA is awarding $1 million to the City of New Bedford’s Harbor Development Commission to install 16 shore-side electric power pedestals on two fishing piers within New Bedford Harbor. In addition, the project will provide up to 100 rebates issued to commercial fisherman to partially offset the cost of purchasing and installing necessary transfer switches to adapt their vessels to receive shore-side power. “Reducing diesel emissions is an effective way to improve air quality. Fewer diesel emissions helps people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems to breath easier,” said Curt Spaulding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “This project will help bring cleaner air to New Bedford residents and visitors alike.”
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Commissioner Martin Wants EPA to Hasten Action on RRI Energy’s Power Plant Pollution Issue. The Alternative Press, July 12, 2010
Commissioner Bob Martin today called on the federal government to expedite action to reduce the amount of air pollutants spewing from a power plant in Pennsylvania, located just across the Delaware River from Knowlton Township in Warren County. The Commissioner made his request after expressing disappointment with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which today announced a six-month delay in responding to the DEP’s request to take prompt steps to reduce emissions coming from RRI Energy’s coal-fired power plant. “This is a longstanding air pollution issue affecting New Jersey residents that can be improved with strong federal action,’’ said Commissioner Martin, who is an avid proponent of improving the state’s poor air quality. “In view of the serious public health violation, the federal Environmental Protection Agency should be moving expeditiously to reduce pollution coming from this plant. Anything less is unacceptable.’’
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EPA, CARB to Discuss SCR in Joint Workshop. Trucking Info, July 13, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency said it will hold a public workshop to discuss the operation of heavy-duty engines with selective catalytic reduction technology on July 20 in El Monte, Calif. During the workshop, which will be held in conjunction with the California Air Resources Board, EPA will review its policies regarding the operation of SCR-equipped heavy-duty diesel engines without diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), with improper DEF, or when tampering (or some other defect in the SCR system) is detected.
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U.S. EPA delays improvements to Pa. power plant polluting Warren County. New Jersey Newsroom, July 12, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday announced a six-month delay in responding to a Christie administration request to take prompt steps to reduce pollution coming from RRI Energy’s coal-fired power plant on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River opposite Knowlton in Warren County. The delay has led state Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin to urge the EPA to reconsider its decision. “This is a longstanding air pollution issue affecting New Jersey residents that can be improved with strong federal action,” Martin said. “In view of the serious public health violation, the federal Environmental Protection Agency should be moving expeditiously to reduce pollution coming from this plant. Anything less is unacceptable.”
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EPA Sets Foundation For Unprecedented Dust Regulation. Cattle Network, July 13, 2010
In the latest step in its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the foundation for unprecedented regulation of dust. According to EPA’s Second Draft Policy Assessment for Particulate Matter (PM), issued late last week, EPA may consider regulating coarse PM at levels as low as 65-85 µg/m3, twice as stringent as the current standard. “It would be virtually impossible for many critical U.S. industries to comply with this standard, even with use of best-management practices to control dust,” said Tamara Thies, NCBA chief environmental counsel. “All of us certainly want healthy air for our communities, but this is nothing more than the everyday dust kicked up by a car driving down a dirt road, and it has long been found to be of no health concern at ambient levels.” Because of the high dust levels found in arid climates, many critical western industries have a difficult time meeting the current standard of 150 µg/m3. In some of these areas, “no-till” days have already been proposed for agriculture, severely hindering farmers’ ability to maintain productive operations.
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EPA: Manitowoc and Door Counties in Wisconsin Now Meet Smog Standards. United States Environmental Protection Agency, July 13, 2010
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has approved requests from the state of Wisconsin to redesignate Manitowoc and Door County as attainment areas for the national health-based eight-hour outdoor standard for ozone. Ground level ozone is commonly referred to as smog. “EPA congratulates Wisconsin on sound air quality planning and effective pollution control measures that helped Manitowoc and Door counties attain the health-based ozone standard. Thanks to the state’s efforts, the residents of these counties are breathing cleaner air,” said EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman. “Under my Administration, we have taken strong action to reduce air pollution in Wisconsin and protect public health and the environment,” Governor Doyle said. “Meeting these standards not only means cleaner air, but also ensures that local businesses will be able to grow and create jobs.”
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California Air Resources Board Approves Proventia Verification Extension for 2003 TRU Engines. – Steven M. Taber, Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Blog, July 16, 2010
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has extended the verification for the Proventia Group’s FTF and Bobtail FTF to cover model year (MY) 2003 transport refrigeration unit (TRU) engines. This action was taken in anticipation of ARB’s planned amendment to the TRU Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM), which will change the in-use performance standard for MY 2003 engines from the Ultra-Low Emission TRU in-use performance standard to the less stringent Low-Emission TRU (LETRU) in-use standard.  MY 2003 TRU engines are required to comply with this in-use standard by December 31, 2010.
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Water

ORSANCO Proposes Changes, Alliance Fears Mercury Pollution in River. Environmental Protection, July 12, 2010
The Kentucky Waterways Alliance recently reported that proposed changes to current pollution control standards (pdf) for the Ohio River could equal greater amounts of mercury entering a river that already receives more toxic pollution than any other in the nation. The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), a multi-state compact that recommends standards for the river’s water quality, has initiated an Accelerated Review of Pollution Control Standards to address emerging issues for the river. One of the proposed changes, the group says, would give polluters the right to dump increasing amounts of mercury and other toxins into the river using methods that are being phased out in the Great Lakes and across the country due to health concerns. Specifically, polluters would be allowed to apply for a waiver of the October 2013 moratorium on mixing zones for Bio-accumulative Chemicals of Concern (BCCs). A mixing zone is an area where toxic pollution is allowed to be dumped in quantities greater than health standards and diluted to meet the legal limits for water quality. BCCs, like mercury, are toxins that build up in big fish as they eat many smaller fish.
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No cleanup in huge TJ sewage spill. – Mike Lee, Sign On San Diego, July 11, 2010
A mechanical breakdown and construction work at some U.S. sewage facilities allowed more than 2.1 million gallons of wastewater from Mexico to flood the Tijuana River Valley in San Diego County in early June. Unlike most other spills of that size, it has prompted scant enforcement action by water-quality regulators and no cleanup. The incident ranks as one of the county’s largest sewage-related accidents in the past decade, and one that likely would prompt hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties if it was caused by a local agency.
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EPA Issues Notice About Performance Standards for Marine Sanitation Devices Revision.Navigating the Regulatory Seas, July 13, 2010
Environmental Protection Agency has issued a notice called: Clean Water Act Section 312(b): Notice Seeking Stakeholder Input on Petition and Other Request To Revise the Performance Standards for Marine Sanitation Devices. The notice, published in the Federal Register on July 12 by Denise Keehner, Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, states: “This action notifies the public that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or ”the Agency”) has received a petition for rulemaking from Friends of the Earth (FOE) and another separate request for rulemaking under section 312 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In general these rulemaking-related requests ask EPA to revise its regulations establishing performance standards for vessel sewage treatment devices under the CWA.
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Pesticide General Permit Proposed. Enviro.BLR.com, July 16, 2010
In response to a series of court rulings, EPA has proposed a general permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) governing the application of pesticides to, over, or near waters of the United States. By court order, the pesticide general permit (PGP) must arrive in final form no later than April 9, 2011. At that point, only those regions of the country for which EPA administers permitting under the national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) would be subject to the permit. However, the many state agencies with authority to implement the NPDES program will be following with their own general permits, which may add additional requirements to the baseline EPA provisions. Application of pesticides to U.S. waters has spurred legal debates about the intersection of the CWA and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
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Waste

EPA investigators arrive at E. Idaho property. Associated Press, July 11, 2010
Investigators with the Environmental Protection Agency are examining an eastern Idaho property that’s been designated a crime scene by local authorities who say they found hundreds of drums leaking chemicals. The Standard Journal reports that the federal officials arrived Saturday to examine the property that contains 1-gallon, 5-gallon and 55-gallon drums. Officials are concerned the chemicals could make it into well water or a nearby canal. Two wetlands are also nearby. Owner Max Spatig contends there is no spill and is disputing the crime scene designation that prevents him from living on the residence.
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EPA arrives, waiting on warrant to investigate. – Steven Pope, KIDK, July 9, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is in Madison County waiting on a warrant to test the paint chemicals found earlier this week at a home along Archer Highway Max Spatig’s yard has 32 vehicles, and according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, handfuls of those vehicles are filled with chemicals. There are so many chemicals that they say half a semi truck could be loaded. And while the Sheriff’s Office stresses there is no immediate threat to anybody’s health, they’ve taped off the crime scene, and are taking the matter very seriously.
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EPA considering stronger coal ash regulations. – Eartha Jane Melzer, The Michigan Messenger, July 12, 2010
New regulations being considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concerning coal ash could have a significant impact on those companies that produce electric power for Michigan residents, especially DTE Energy and CMS Energy, which owns Consumers Energy. Together DTE and CMS serve around 90 percent of state electricity customers and both companies get most of their power from coal-fired plants. In statements to investors this year both companies warned that if EPA decides to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste — one of the two options being considered — the cost of upgrading landfills or constructing new ones will be substantial. “Some of the [coal ash] regulatory actions currently being contemplated could have a material adverse impact on our operations and financial position and the rates we charge our customers.” DTE warned investors in its annual report, noting that agencies and legislatures have lobbied EPA against reclassifying coal ash waste.
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Fort Detrick finishes work capping Area B landfills. – Megan Eckstein, The Press Enterprise, July 16, 2010
Fort Detrick announced Thursday it had finished capping decades-old landfills on its sprawling Area B off Rosemont Avenue, a project started after some of the landfills contaminated groundwater in 1992. The project had been slated for completion last November, but bad weather significantly hindered the final stages of the capping project. Workers finished placing the impermeable layer by the end of January and had begun adding several layers of dirt, but the snow made it difficult to get the dirt in place and sloped at the required angles. Now that grass is growing on top of the landfill caps, the $6 million project is complete, Fort Detrick officials said. The impermeable layer in the middle of the landfill caps prevents rainwater from seeping through potentially contaminated waste and spreading more chemicals into the groundwater.
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Charlotte will be site of hearing on coal ash. – Bruce Henderson, Charlotte Observer, July 16, 2010
Charlotte will be one of five sites for hearings late this summer on disposal of coal ash from power plants. Last month the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules on coal ash, of which utilities generate millions of tons a year. Ash contains potentially toxic metals that can contaminate groundwater and lakes. A massive spill from a Tennessee Valley Authority ash pond in 2008 riveted public and regulators’ attention to the issue. The EPA proposed two options: One would place coal ash under federal rules that regulate hazardous waste, a move Charlotte’s Duke Energy opposes. The other option would regulate it under rules for nonhazardous waste such as garbage. U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., and 50 N.C. legislators asked the EPA to hold a hearing in North Carolina. They cited the 12 N.C. ash pond dams the EPA has listed as “high hazard” for potential damage if they failed.
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EPA OKs one cleanup at Kettleman, orders another. – Lewis Griswold, The Fresno Bee, July 15, 2010
Waste Management can keep accepting hazardous wastes at its Kettleman Hills landfill, now that an area where cancer-causing PCBs were found has been cleaned up, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has told the company. But Waste Management is not completely off the hook yet. An EPA official, in a letter that the company made public Wednesday, said the landfill must now find the source of other PCBs that the company found and clean them up. Waste Management told the federal agency last month about the new finds. A rash of birth defects have rocked Kettleman City and are being investigated by the state. In April, the EPA inspected the landfill, which is near the town. Some residents have blamed the landfill for the birth defects, although the company says there is no evidence linking them to the landfill. Exposure to PCBs can cause reproductive problems.
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EPA Seeking Public Input on Proposed Groundwater Cleanup Action at Camp Edwards Site. EPA News Release, July 16, 2010
A 30-day public comment period begins Monday July 19, 2010 for a Remedy Selection Plan that outlines the proposed alternative for addressing groundwater contamination at the J-1 Range on the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). The public comment period runs through August 17. This comment period provides an opportunity for public input on the Remedy Selection Plan for the J-1 Range. The plan outlines the alternatives presented in the J-1 Range Feasibility Study for addressing groundwater contamination at the site, along with the alternative recommended by the EPA and the reasons for its selection. The plan proposes remedies for the J-1 Range northern plume which contains RDX and perchlorate, and the J-1 Range southern plume which contains RDX.
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Climate Change

U.S. Cap and Trade Market Crippled by New Environmental Rules, WSJ Reports. – Scott Peterson, Bloomberg, July 12, 2010
The U.S. cap and trade market, which curbed the emissions from mainly coal-fired power plants that caused so-called acid rain in the 1990s, has been crippled by new U.S. pollution laws, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing industry officials and analysts. The market, where power producers trade permits that allow them to emit sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, now finds that new Environmental Protection Agency rules put tougher limits on emissions but stress less reliance on the trading aspect. the newspaper said. The permits are now seen as being almost worthless; “It is tragic,” ICAP Energy LLC analyst Gary Hart told the Journal. “It is something that worked so well.”
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GAO Issues Report Concluding that Coal Plants Need Better Technology and DOE Needs Better Data to Reduce CO2 Emissions. – Steven M. Taber, Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Blog, July 16, 2010
On Friday, July 16, 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report entitled “Coal Plants:  Opportunities Exist for DOE to Provide Better Information on the Maturity of Key Technologies to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions.” The Report concluded that commercial deployment of the  carbon capture and storage technologies “is possible within 10 to 15 years while many efficiency technologies have been used and are available for use now. Use of both technologies is, however, contingent on overcoming a variety of economic, technical, and legal challenges.”  The challenges facing  CCS, GAO says, include the lack of a national carbon policy to reduce CO2 emissions or a legal framework to govern liability for the permanent storage of large amounts of CO2.
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US GAO says coal plants need better data, technology to cut CO2. – Jean Chemnbick, Platts, July 16, 2010
The US Government Accountability Office on Friday said in a report that carbon capture and storage technologies lag energy efficiency technologies for coal-fired power plants by 10 to 15 years. The government watchdog agency also said in its one-page analysis that the Department of Energy does not maintain useful data on the progress of these two sets of technologies that could aide Congress in crafting climate and energy legislation. GAO said that while many energy efficiency technologies are ready for use today, CCS for fossil fuel-based utilities may not be ready for over a decade.  “Use of both technologies is, however, contingent on overcoming a variety of economic, technical and legal challenges,” the agency found.
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Other

EPA, pesticide maker at odds over study. – Justin Anderson, Legal Newsline, July 12, 2010
The federal Environmental Protection Agency says a new review of atrazine, a commonly used agricultural pesticide, is rooted in a statutory mandate and prompted by new evidence about the effects of the pesticide to humans and animals. But one of the makers of the pesticide, Syngenta, calls the review “redundant” and say studies that conclude the pesticide is harmful are “bogus.” The company says the new review is nothing more than “an unprecedented war on agriculture by anti-pesticide activists.” “EPA has stated that activist pressure and media reports prompted this unplanned evaluation of atrazine, which was re-registered in 2006 after a rigorous and transparent science review,” said Sherry Ford, spokeswoman for Syngenta.
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AGC Responds to EPA’s Plans to Expand Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule to Commercial Buildings. AGC News Release, July 16, 2010
AGC July 6 responded to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expand the Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) requirements to cover work performed in commercial and public buildings. EPA is actively reviewing the lead paint laws that are already on the books for residential renovation and remodeling work and considering whether and how to apply those requirements to public and commercial building renovation and remodeling, pursuant to a legal settlement agreement that the Agency made with several environmental and public health advocacy groups. For exterior renovations of public and commercial buildings, EPA must issue a proposed rule requiring lead-safe work practices by December 15, 2011, and must take final action by July 15, 2013.  For interior renovations, the EPA must consult with the EPA Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) by September 30, 2011, regarding a methodology for evaluating the risk posed by renovations in public and commercial buildings.  If EPA concludes that interior renovation activities do create lead-based paint hazards, then EPA must issue a proposed rule applying specified work practices to such activities within 18 months after receiving the SAB report and must take final action 18 months thereafter.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Interior head says new offshore drilling moratorium on its way. – Molly Peterson, KPCC, July 12, 2010
A federal appeals court recently threw out the moratorium federal officials proposed following the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Salazar said the moratorium was right when the administration suggested it, and it’s right now. “The president and I strongly believe that we ought not to be moving forward with deep water drilling till we can assure that it’s going to be safe,” Salazar said. “‘Til we can assure that there is a right containment strategy in place in case there’s another blowout and until we can assure that we have the right level of oil response capability.” Salazar predicted imminent progress on controlling the spill in the Gulf. He added that as long as BP and other companies are unable to control the gushing well, evidence grows that those companies should temporarily stop drilling in deep waters.
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Kerry Looking to Strike Deal With Utilities on Carbon Emissions Cap. – Robin Bravender and Josh Vorhees, Four Points, July 13, 2010
Senate Democrats are searching for a way to entice the utility sector to sign on to an industrywide emissions cap in a final bid to salvage President Obama’s goal of pricing carbon this year. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) told reporters yesterday that conversations between Democrats and utilities are ongoing and that he remained optimistic that they could strike a deal. Convincing the electric power industry to back a scaled-down carbon cap as part of a utility-only proposal is widely seen as the Senate’s best shot at directly limiting greenhouse gas emissions this year. “I think one could work out some formula that appeals to industry,” said Kerry, who is the co-author of a sweeping cap-and-trade bill that prices carbon emissions across multiple sectors of the economy, including utilities.
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Cap-and-Trade Will Be Part of Senate Climate Change Bill. – Patricia Murphy, The Capitolist, July 13, 2010
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Tuesday that the Senate will soon debate a bill to reduce pollution and that the legislation will include a scaled back version House-passed language to reduce carbon output by charging some polluters for emissions above a certain threshold. Reid said that the bill is still in “rough draft form,” but he gave an outline of what he plans to introduce in the Senate two weeks from now. Specifically, he said the bill will address four issues key to reforming the energy sector in the United States: responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; promoting clean energy and job creation; limiting consumer prices for energy; and reducing energy consumption.
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Climate change legislation could go before Senate in July.Power-Gen Worldwide, July 13, 2010
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he plans to bring energy legislation to the Senate floor as soon as the week of July 26 before the senators go on break in August, according to an article on TheHill.com. Reid also said the legislation will include four provisions limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power generation plants, addressing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, boosting jobs in the renewable energy sector and reducing energy consumption. Several Senate lawmakers are working on climate legislation that would limit emissions from electric power plants, rather than an economy-wide plan.
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Markey Asks FDA for Arsenic, Oil Monitoring Information.U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, July 13, 2010
Even as BP attempts to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf with a new containment strategy, concerns are growing that oil and other toxic compounds like arsenic could continue to flow through the marine and human food chain for months or longer. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today asked the Food and Drug Administration to answer questions on the effects the BP oil spill might have on the food chain, including new concerns that arsenic could be infiltrating the marine ecosystem and food chain in the Gulf of Mexico. Rep. Markey also asks whether FDA is tracking the possibility that highly mobile fish that have been contaminated are currently being caught outside areas closed to fishing. “I am concerned that the mixture of oil, dispersants, arsenic and other toxic compounds are having effects on seafood that may not be detectable for months,” writes Rep. Markey in the letter to FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg. Rep. Markey chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is leading the congressional investigation into the BP oil spill.
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NACWA supports bill requiring federal gov’t to pay stormwater fees.Water Technology Online, July 14, 2010
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has announced its support for legislation introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) to clarify the federal government’s responsibility to pay reasonable fees for stormwater management services provided by local utilities, according to a press release. The legislation introduced today is a companion bill for S. 3481 introduced by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) in June. Both bills seek to clarify that fees charged for the control and abatement of water pollution, including stormwater management fees, shall not be considered a tax and therefore are required to be paid by federal agencies pursuant to their obligations under Section 313 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the release stated.
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Congressional Testimony of Dennis Takahashi-Kelso. – Denny Takahashi-Kelso, The Santa Cruz News, July 14, 2010
Written testimony of Dr. Dennis Takahashi-Kelso, PhD., United States House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife. June 24, 2010. Good morning, and thank you for the invitation to participate in this hearing. My name is Dennis Takahashi-Kelso, and I am the Executive Vice President of Ocean Conservancy. My career includes diverse roles in natural resources management and environmental protection over several decades, much of it in Alaska. As Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, I was the governor’s cabinet officer responsible for enforcing the state’s oil spill clean-up standards. For two years, I worked on the spill and its aftermath, including policy reform, in both the Alaska Legislature and in Congress.
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Asian carp czar will fulfill lawmakers’ wish to monitor fish. – Paul Merrion, Crain’s Chicago Business, July 14, 2010
The Obama administration plans to name an Asian carp czar within a month to oversee state and federal efforts to keep the voracious fish from invading the Great Lakes ecosystem. U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., announced the plan Wednesday after meeting with Nancy Sutley, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The appointment of a coordinated response commander will signal that the effort to prevent the Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan and establishing itself in the Great Lakes is a national priority,” said the senator, who called for the move in a letter to President Barack Obama last month.
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ENVIRONMENT: Proposed House Measure Would Block BP from new Offshore Drilling.Center for Public Integrity, July 14, 2010
A U.S. House committee today approved a plan that would block BP from obtaining new federal offshore oil and natural gas drilling permits because of the company’s record of worker safety violations at its Texas refinery. A Center for Public Integrity investigation reported in May that BP accounted for 97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the U.S. refining industry by government safety inspectors during the past three years. Most of BP’s citations were classified as “egregious willful” violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and according to refinery inspection data obtained by the Center, reflected BP’s failure to correct problems after a deadly blast at its Texas City, Texas, refinery.
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Statement of Lisa P. Jackson Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / Legislative Hearing on Use of Dispersants in BP Oil Spill / Senate Committee on Appropriations: Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies .EPA News Release, July 15, 2010
Chairman Mikulski, Ranking Member Shelby and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the role of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill response. My testimony today will provide you with an overview of EPA’s role and activities in the affected Gulf Coast region following the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon mobile offshore drilling unit explosion and resulting oil spill as well as a summary of our primary environmental activities, including dispersant use, waste management, and beach cleanup. I also want to express my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and those injured in the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon.
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Utilities, Signaling Support for Carbon Caps, Want ‘Relief’ on Other Air Pollutants. – Evan Lehmann, The New York Times, July 15, 2010
Utilities are willing to accept Senate plans to reduce carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants, but the industry needs concessions on other air pollutants to avoid rate spikes, a chief negotiator with the industry’s leading trade group said yesterday. The assertion comes as the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is preparing to meet with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) today, its first high-level meeting in the Senate since the chamber narrowed its climate aspirations to regulate only the electricity sector. The positioning is fueling a fiery backlash from environmental groups, which have vowed not to concede sacred provisions in the Clean Air Act addressing pollutants that contribute to smog, haze and mercury poisoning. Many environmentalists see the current climate bill as a weak sibling of previous proposals that also sought to regulate factories and oil refineries.
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House panel OKs overhaul of oil drilling agency. – Frederick J. Frommer, The Washington Post, July 15, 2010
A House panel approved legislation Thursday that would overhaul the government agency responsible for regulating offshore drilling. The bill would divide the agency into three parts: one for leasing and permitting; another for inspections and investigations; and a third to collect revenue. It also seeks to clamp down on the revolving door between government and industry by adding a two-year ban on offshore drilling regulators taking jobs with certain companies. The House Natural Resources Committee passed the bill Thursday 27-21, with most Democrats supporting it and all Republicans opposed. Committee chairman Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat, said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill demonstrates that “there is very little room for error” when it comes to oil rig safety. Also Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation aimed at preventing another oil spill blowout. The legislation requires an oil company’s CEO to attest that the company will have a working blowout preventer, an appropriate and effective spill response plan, and the capacity to promptly drill a relief well, and will use a safe well design. Among other things, the bill also increases standards for things like testing, inspections and third-party certification of blowout preventers.
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Environmentalists stand firm against Air Act pre-emption, delay. – Darren Goode, The Hill, July 15, 2010
Environmental groups are sticking to their guns in opposing efforts to pre-empt or delay Clean Air Act standards in exchange for new carbon pollution controls. Thirty-one groups sent a letter to senators Wednesday to argue against pending proposals to do just that as part of a larger Senate effort to push through a first-time carbon-pricing program focused on electric utilities. “Such provisions are simply unacceptable,” the groups wrote. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have proposed creating a task force to look at giving Clean Air Act exemptions and delays to the utility sector for ozone, mercury, lead and other non-carbon pollutants. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has gone further, proposing to repeal Clean Air Act requirements, as well as water pollution controls, for power plants that enter into a carbon-reduction agreement.
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House bills punish BP, boost drilling safety. – Tom Doggett, REuters, July 15, 2010
Legislation that could bar BP from getting new offshore oil leases in the United States passed another hurdle in Congress on Thursday while a separate bill to boost safety requirements for offshore drilling advanced through another congressional panel. The legislation is among several dozen bills pending that would rewrite the regulatory rulebook and raise exploration costs for oil companies as lawmakers try to prevent another disaster like BP’s massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The bills have a long way to go if they are ever to make into law. The full House of Representatives and Senate would have to vote on the measures before they could be sent to the White House. Some analysts and government officials worry that if the U.S. Congress is too harsh on BP it could hamper the company’s ability to pay the huge bill for the spill’s cleanup.
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Utilities Quietly Try to Gut Clean Air Act as Climate Peacocks Squawk. – RL Miller, The Daily Kos, July 15, 2010
The big fight on the energy/climate bill is supposed to be whether the Senate can find 60 votes for, if not an economy-wide cap on carbon, then at least a utility-only (e.g., coal-fired electric power plants) cap on carbon.  Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the flashier climate peacocks, says even that scaled back climate bill can’t find 60 votes to pass the Senate this year. The real fight is not on the floor of the Senate, but at the Caucus Room restaurant in Washington, where electric utilities attempt to eviscerate the Clean Air Act: not just relating to greenhouse gases, but also well-known health hazards such as mercury and sulfur dioxide. Politico has the story, and it’s not pretty: “The power companies want relief from the air pollution rules as a price of entry into negotiations if they are going to accept a mandatory carbon limit that won’t apply to other industries. The environmentalists are saying no.”
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Majority Leader Harry Reid offers a realistic energy bill. – Editorial, The Washington Post, July 16, 2010
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) intends to bring an energy bill to the Senate floor the week of July 26. It will feature four key elements — a response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, promotion of energy efficiency, a boost for clean-energy production and a cap on carbon emissions from power plants. This is not ideal, but it would be a useful start. The carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels adds to the greenhouse effect that threatens to bring destructive changes to the planet. Decreasing those emissions demands innovation — the development of greener and cheaper sources of energy such as wind, solar and nuclear power — and the use of economic incentives to wean industries off cheap coal and oil. To provide such an incentive, we have has long favored putting a price on carbon, either (most simply) with a gradually rising tax or with a cap-and-trade system. By gradually increasing the cost to companies of the carbon dioxide they produce, the United States can generate revenue and marshal market forces to encourage businesses to invest in greener technology. To this end, even a limited cap — like the one on utilities emissions proposed in the Senate bill — is better than none. Once a structure is in place, a cap can be expanded to encompass more industries and adjusted to drive innovation in the right direction.
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Senators Demand Answers from EPA, NOAA Over Toxic Effects of Oil Dispersants. – Stacy Feldman, SolveClimate, July 16, 2010
The head of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency faced down hostile critics Thursday in a Senate hearing, denying accusations of reckless management of BP’s use of toxic dispersants to break down the oil spill in the Gulf. “We have not seen significant environmental impacts on the use of dispersants so far,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. The hearing came amid mounting criticism against the EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) by lawmakers and advocacy groups, who say the Obama administration is not being candid with clean-up workers and the public about lethal effects of dispersants. “I don’t want dispersants to be the Agent Orange of this oil spill,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the subcommittee chair, referring to the chemical agent used by the U.S. military in the Vietnam War and has been linked to cancers and other ailments. Mikulski demanded “straight talk and plain talk” from officials.
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Utilities Try to Weasel Out of Pollution Controls – By Supporting Climate Action? – Brian Merchant, Treehugger, July 16, 2010
With all of the jostling around the plans for energy reform, it can be hard to keep track of what exactly is going on: With the competing pieces of legislation, the Kerry-Lieberman bill on the wane, and mixed signals from the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, energy reform has been in flux so long that the details can seem like a wash. But that’s why we’ve got Dave Roberts — the always-astute green policy writer noticed that when the dust tentatively settled around a bill that would only target utilities for emissions reductions, those utilities weren’t as opposed as one might think. No, some were even open to negotiations on the subject — so as long as they got to weasel out of other, arguably more important, pollution controls.
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Sens. Rockefeller & Voinovich release their Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment Act. – George Peridas, NRDC Switchboard, July 16, 2010
Senators Rockefeller (D, WV) and Voinovich (R, OH) released their Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment Act this week. This is an ambitious proposal that would help the technology to be deployed at a wide scale. A good few of the provisions are similar to those that we have seen in the various climate bills to date. Context is important, however, and some provisions are new or noteworthy, so let’s take a closer look. Very briefly, the bill: Devotes up to $0.85 billion to research and development programs for CCS; Funds early CCS projects through a wires charge on fossil-based electricity generation, by collecting around $2 billion/yr for up to 10 years. This is along the lines of the Waxman-Markey provisions passed last year by the House, which survived in the Kerry-Boxer and Kerry-Lieberman proposals in the Senate.
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ENERGY

Oil

BP Oil Spill Spurs More Action for Gulf Environmental Justice. – Gia Grier McGinnis, Suite101, July 11, 2010
Environmental justice calls for equal protection from environmental health hazards, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status. The April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill placed many of these vulnerable communities at further risk of environmental health hazards and economic losses. Many agencies that originally formed around Hurricane Katrina are now responding to the recent Gulf Coast tragedy. The Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health formed in response to the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, Ike, and Rita. Comprised of a network of over 150 coastal organizations in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana, the fund focuses on supporting organizations working towards environmental justice and coastal conservation. They promote activities that focus on community organizing and movement building.
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New Ban Hits Oil Drillers. – Siobhan Hughes and Stephen Power, The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2010
The Obama administration on Monday issued a new order banning most new deepwater-drilling activities until Nov. 30, setting up a fresh round of conflict with the oil industry over when it will be safe to drill again offshore. The latest round in the clash over the ban on new drilling got under way as BP installed a new cap on its blown-out undersea well that company and government officials hope will capture all the spewing oil. BP officials have said they are also aiming to finish drilling a relief well that will allow them to permanently stanch the flow. Even after the well is sealed, BP and the Gulf Coast face a lengthy process of cleaning up the huge slick that has fouled beaches and wetlands from Texas to Florida.
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National Oil Spill Commission visits N.O. to hear first-hand accounts of impact. – Scott Satchfield, WWLTV, July 11, 2010
As the monumental fight against the oil spill in the Gulf continues, members of the national commission appointed to investigate the disaster are in New Orleans for two days of public meetings. Commission co-chair William Reilly said one of the group’s primary goals during the visit is to listen. “We really wanna get a sense for the major stakeholders and how they’ve been impacted, and also get their views on how is the response going,” he said. Saturday, Reilly met with fishermen and business leaders in Mississippi, who shared firsthand accounts. Reilly said their concerns are similar to those expressed after the Exxon Valdez spill, a disaster he responded to as the Environmental Protection Agency’s top official. “One of the most significant ones is a strong sense that the country is not sufficiently understanding or sympathetic to the locals,” Reilly said. “That was very much a concern of Senator Stevens and the people in Alaska, the governor, and others — and it is here, and I understand that.”
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Dispute on Oil Spill Panel Flares Before First Meeting. – Stephen Power, The Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2010
The independent commission appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will hold its first formal meeting Monday, but it is already at the center of several battles raging in Washington. Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have questioned panel members’ competence and ideological leanings. They note that none of the commissioners has any experience in petroleum engineering, and that several have spoken out strongly against offshore drilling. The spill commission also is part of the contentious debate over the Obama administration’s moratorium on deep-water offshore drilling. Mr. Obama, under pressure from Gulf Coast politicians to allow drilling to resume, has urged the commission to not “cut corners” but also to not “hold the results of your review for six months” if it can more quickly produce recommendations to allow drilling to resume.
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Devon Energy pays $31 million to end Gulf rig lease. – Jay F. Marks, NewsOK, July 10, 2010
After months of selling its assets to focus on its onshore holdings, Devon Energy Corp. had to buy its way out of its last remaining obligation in the Gulf of Mexico. Devon paid $31 million to get out of the last year of its lease on an offshore drilling rig owned by Houston-based Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. The rig, which rents for about $290,000 a day, is bound for Egypt, Diamond announced Friday. Devon spokeswoman Alesha Leemaster said the company paid an early termination fee on the Ocean Endeavor rig to cut costs. “Now we’re completely free from our obligations in the Gulf,” she said.
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Gulf oil spill: New moratorium explained. Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2010
The Department of Interior released its decision memorandum to pause deep-water drilling, saying it will provide time to implement recent safety reforms and for: 1. The submission of evidence by operators demonstrating that they have the ability to respond effectively to a potential oil spill in the gulf, given the unprecedented commitment of available oil spill response resources that are now being dedicated to the BP oil spill;  2. The assessment of wild well intervention and blowout containment resources to determine the strategies and methods by which they can be made more readily available should another blowout occur; and 3. The collection and analysis of key evidence regarding the potential causes of the April 20 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, including information collected by the presidential commission and other investigations.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Feds issue revised deep-water drilling ban. – Rick Jervis, USA Today, July 13, 2010
The federal government on Monday issued a revised moratorium on deep-sea offshore drilling, imposed on the heels of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the previous moratorium, which was struck down in federal court, the new one isn’t based on water depth and applies to any deep-water floating facility with drilling activities. It will last through Nov. 30. “I am basing my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry’s inability in the deep-water to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill, and to operate safely,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.
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Hornbeck Offshore Reviewing Latest Offshore-Drilling Ban. The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2010
Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. (HOS) is reviewing the latest U.S. moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and the tiny supply-boat operator for the oil industry said it had “substantial concerns” about its consistency with a June court order overturning a …
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Offshore Drilling: To Pause or Not to Pause. – John M. Broder, The New York Times, July 13, 2010
Three weeks ago, William K. Reilly, the newly named co-chairman of the presidential commission appointed to investigate the BP oil spill, said he thought the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was necessary – and maybe even too short. He said in an interview with The Times that the commission was unlikely to recommend that the ban be lifted before the panel completes its work in January. He said that government and industry must first adopt profound changes in how they operate before he would be willing to advocate lifting the moratorium. “Those things would have to happen faster than past history would suggest is possible,” he said. But on Tuesday, after two days of touring the gulf region and a day and a half of hearing testimony from a variety of aggrieved local officials, business interests and oil executives, Mr. Reilly changed his tune. The moratorium is spreading economic pain across the region, he said, and for many is worse than the effects of the spill itself.
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2 scientists tell presidential oil spill commission fear of dispersants is mostly unfounded. – David Hammer, The Times Picayune, July 13, 2010
Two scientists who testified before the presidential oil spill commission Tuesday said that much of the fear about chemical dispersants used to break up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico is unfounded. Christopher Reddy, an associate scientist of marine chemistry and geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said the use of surface dispersants is extremely typical and well understood to be safe. Ed Overton, professor emeritus of the Louisiana State University Department of Environmental Sciences, said all six elements found in Corexit, the dispersant used by BP, have been deemed safe for use in food and food packaging. He said the one element that used to be part of Corexit and was found to have had carcinogenic qualities has since been removed.
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Texas Remains Stoic as Spill Hits Its Shores. – Melena Ryzik, The New York Times, July 15, 2010
The crayons and paper were out, but not too many children made it to family day at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. Granted, the exhibits of pipelines and seismic vessels may have been over the heads of many grade-schoolers. And despite a few cheerful displays about marine life around rigs and all the bounty that oil helps provide — including Barbie dolls and cellphones — the message of the museum is that offshore drilling is complicated and potentially risky, a big business overseen by grave-looking men whose mostly unsmiling faces line the Hall of Fame.  This island city, a tourist destination surrounded by drill operations and refineries, is being reminded anew about those risks, now that oil and other mysterious substances have been washing up on the shores — the first time the impact of the oil spill has touched Texas.
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Coal

Project’s Fate May Predict the Future of Mining. – Erik Eckholm, The New York Times, July 14, 2010
Federal officials are considering whether to veto mountaintop mining above a little Appalachian valley called Pigeonroost Hollow, a step that could be a turning point for one of the country’s most contentious environmental disputes. The Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit in 2007 to blast 400 feet off the hilltops here to expose the rich coal seams, disposing of the debris in the upper reaches of six valleys, including Pigeonroost Hollow. But the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration, in a break with President George W. Bush’s more coal-friendly approach, has threatened to halt or sharply scale back the project known as Spruce 1. The agency asserts that the project would irrevocably damage streams and wildlife and violate the Clean Water Act.
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Coal Project Is Bellweather for Obama Mining Policy. The Atlantic, July 15, 2010
A West Virginia project may show how serious the Obama administration is about rolling back the environmental policies of its predecessor. The Spruce 1 mountaintop-removal mining project has been hotly disputed for years, and now there are signs that Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency may tilt the scales against the approval of the project. “The Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit in 2007 to blast 400 feet off the hilltops here to expose the rich coal seams, disposing of the debris in the upper reaches of six valleys, including Pigeonroost Hollow,” reports Erik Eckholm in The New York Times. “But the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration, in a break with President George W. Bush’s more coal-friendly approach, has threatened to halt or sharply scale back the project known as Spruce 1. The agency asserts that the project would irrevocably damage streams and wildlife and violate the Clean Water Act.” If Spruce 1 is stopped, it would come as a welcome move for environmentalists, who have been waiting for Obama to push back on former President Bush’s policies.
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New EPA report: Appalachian states need to beef up water quality reviews for coal-mining permits. – Ken Ward Jr., The Charleston Gazette, July 15, 2010
A new report out this week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends major improvements in the way state regulators across Appalachia review water-pollution permit applications from the coal industry. The report, available here, documents EPA’s findings in a review of Appalachian state agency handling of Clean Water Act permits for surface coal-mining operations. While EPA officials concluded that state agencies “do an effective job” at implementing effluent limits, the agency also found some serious problems: – EPA could find little evidence that state regulators conduct “meaningful water quality impact assessments” when they issue water pollution authorizations through general permits. (Kentucky and Ohio use general permits). – Incredibly, state regulators generally do not assess whether actual or proposed discharges from surface mining operations have a “reasonable potential” to cause or contribute to excursions of water quality standards.
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Natural Gas

Dash for Gas Raises Environmental Worries. – Kate Galbraith The New York Times, July 12, 2010
American politicians often extol natural gas as abundant, cleaner-burning than other fossil fuels, and domestically produced, unlike Middle Eastern oil. But the process of extracting it is raising concerns among people with wells in their backyards. Anger and fear were on display last week at a public meeting convened by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Fort Worth, a gas-drilling hub. Dozens of local residents took turns at the microphone to voice concerns about potential contamination of drinking water. A film called “Gasland,” released last month on the cable channel HBO, showed people in drilling areas lighting their tap water on fire, as gas found its way into their water supply.
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Hundreds Voice Concerns to EPA About Natural Gas Wells. – Sarah Lutz, NBC, July 9, 2010
Some local residents feel the natural gas wells popping up in the area threaten the safety of air and water, but opponents say there has been no contamination and that stopping gas wells could effect the local economy. About 600 people from the two sides met until late into the evening Thursday night to voice their anger and fear — or their lack of concerns — over the issue of hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a process used in the natural gas drilling, when workers break apart the earth with millions of gallons of a mixture of water, sand, and other chemicals. The first of four meetings across the country organized by the Environmental Protection Agency was full of cheers and jeers as about 100 people spoke for exactly two minutes each.
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EPA public meeting in Denver focuses on fracking. – Catherine Tsai, The Associated Press, July 13, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday was holding the second of four public meetings to gather comments about an upcoming study of how drinking water might be affected by a method of extracting natural gas. The decades-old process — called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — pumps water and chemicals underground at high pressure to help extract trapped oil and natural gas. The fluids break open fractures in shale formations, and sand or another substance is pumped in to keep the fractures open. The fluids then returns to the surface, and natural gas flows from the fractures into a well. Fracking has been around for decades, but amid a natural gas drilling boom, members of Congress have questioned whether it could taint drinking water or harm human health. Critics said a 2004 EPA study that found no evidence of threats to drinking water was flawed.
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Natural-Gas Driller to Disclose Chemical Use. – Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2010
Range Resources Corp. says it plans to disclose the chemicals used to hydraulically fracture natural-gas wells in Pennsylvania, confronting rising pressure from environmental groups worried that drilling could contaminate drinking water. The decision, which Range said was voluntary, reflects the mounting distrust that energy companies face, especially in the wake of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Even before the offshore spill, the industry was facing increasing scrutiny as gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale spreads across Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
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Investigation Confirms Pennsylvania Fracking Well Blowout Was Easily Preventable, Potentially Catastrophic. –  Mike Ludwig, Truthout, July 14, 2010
Pennsylvanians are wondering if their state could become the next environmental ground zero after officials confirmed Tuesday that irresponsible drilling practices and a failed “blowout preventer” caused the June 3 blowout of a gas well in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Well operator EOG Resources uses controversial “fracking” techniques to harvest gas from the massive Marcellus Shale reserve, where the state has permitted thousands of wells. No one was injured, but the busted well spewed highly-combustible natural gas and an estimated 35,000 gallons of wastewater that contaminated a nearby spring and stream, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
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Biofuels

Editorial: EPA must reverse decision on biomass emissions. – Editorial, The News Review, July 13, 2010
An Environmental Protection Agency decision that threatens plans to convert wood waste to fuel is the wrong decision, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. We support legislative efforts to have that decision reversed. Biomass projects have sprung up in several areas of the country as a partial solution to the nation’s energy requirements. Just last year the Umpqua National Forest was home to the test of a technique called fast pyrolysis, which converts wood chips into bio-oil and a very beneficial soil amendment called bio-char. County Commissioner Joe Laurance has called Douglas County the Saudi Arabia of biomass as he promotes conversion of the enormous stores of wood debris and wood waste in the county to energy.
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Biofuels Producers – Ethanol and Biodiesel – Must Comply with Clean Water Act and Monitor Oil/Grease Discharge Levels.Earthtimes, July 14, 2010
Both Ethanol and Biodiesel producers have been attracting the attention of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as other government regulatory agencies, and coming under closer scrutiny to ensure their wastewater discharges comply with the Clean Water Act (CWA). Both Ethanol and Biodiesel plants have been fined for wastewater discharges exceeding established permit levels for oil/grease levels and polluting nearby streams and waterways. While Ethanol and Biodiesel plants are relatively new to the industrial community, they need to comply with operating permits and be able to respond to potential violations. This requires Biofuels Producers to monitor their waste byproducts more closely prior to discharging and measure oil/grease concentration levels to ensure compliance.
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Path Forward for Biofuels Incentives. – Sen. Paul Bingamon, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, July 14, 2010
As chairman of Senate Finance’s Subcommittee on Energy, Sen. Bingaman asked the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to compare various tax incentives for biofuels.  Today, CBO released its report. CBO assessed the cost of various biofuels tax credits against their energy security and environmental benefits, to assist Congress in determining whether to continue these incentives.  The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) is by far the largest renewable energy tax expenditure and will cost $7.6 billion this year.  It expires Dec. 31.  Advocates would like to see VEETC extended at 45¢/gal. for five years.  Based on CBO’s study, Bingaman believes that Congress should look seriously at this expenditure rather than just reflexively extending it.
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Aviation Biofuel Advancements To Be Showcased At International Air Show. – Daniel Baxter, AvStop.com, July 14, 2010
The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) will host an exhibit, the United Alternative Aviation Fuels (UAAF) display at the Farnborough International Air Show, England (FIAS) 2010, featuring recent advances in aviation biofuel development and deployment. Aviation’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions is poised to grow, as air travel increases and ground vehicles use more alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. There are estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent. The CAAFI FIAS display and personnel representing the initiative will be on hand throughout the show to discuss the great strides that companies and agencies are making in developing and designing critically needed alternative aviation fuels.
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New Energy Economics: Feds Lower Cellulosic Production Targets. The Cattle Network, July 16, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just announced its RFS2 (renewable fuel standards) blending mandates for 2012. While the EPA kept the overall target of blending 1.35 billion gallons of advanced biofuels in place, it slashed expected production levels of cellulosic biofuel from 250 million gallons to less than 25 million. The EPA had no choice in lowering the target because the development of cellulosic biofuel has been slower than initially expected. Several root causes have been the lack of financial capital for investment and commercialization of cellulosic biofuel production, gaps in U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee programs supporting industry growth and increased availability of sugarcane ethanol that competes as an advanced biofuel. Two years ago in this column, I wrote that imported sugar-based biofuel would be the “filler” if federal renewable mandates could not be achieved or were too costly. It appears that this will be true at least in 2011 because the mandate has not been renewed as of yet.
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Nuclear

Tritium detected at Pilgrim N-plant. – Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Boston Globe, July 14, 2010
A monitoring well located on the ocean side of the Pilgrim Nuclear Station in Plymouth has registered elevated levels of the radioactive isotope tritium. The tritium detected was still well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum allowable level in drinking water and does not pose a risk to health or safety, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. David Tarantino, Pilgrim spokesman, said that a team of environmental engineers, chemists, maintenance, and operations specialists, and others are now trying to pinpoint the source of the tritium.
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Wind Power

Wind study hits a snag. – Jamie Munks, Watertown Daily Times, July 10, 2010
Gaining approval to erect a meteorological tower to assess wind conditions has been tougher than Indian River Central School District officials expected. And the delays in the wind study stem from a lack of communication between the Federal Aviation Administration and Fort Drum about how erecting the tower could affect low-flying aircraft. “We thought with FAA approval, we could just go ahead with the study,” Superintendent James Kettrick said. FAA officials didn’t consult Fort Drum officials directly when they approved a 164-foot-tall meteorological tower to assess wind on district property, and Fort Drum officials have an issue with the tower because its chosen site is close to the flight path of aircraft approaching Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
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Pilots warn wind farms may blow in trouble. – Duncan Adams, The Roanoke Times, July 13, 2010
A pilots club in Southwest Virginia warned Monday that towering windmills proposed for a ridgeline in Roanoke County would create hazards for pilots and passengers and lead to increased delays or diversions during bad weather of flights trying to land at Roanoke Regional Airport. “This is a very big deal,” said Matthew Broughton, a pilot who is an aviation lawyer for a Roanoke-based firm and president of the IFR Pilots Club. In mid-May, Chicago-based Invenergy applied to the Federal Aviation Administration for a “hazard determination” related to the company’s quest to erect 18 windmills atop Poor Mountain, which already hosts telecommunications towers and related infrastructure. The company hopes to generate power and sell it to a utility.
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Canadian company proposes wind farm project along Walker Ridge. – Elizabeth Larson, Lake County News, July 13, 2010
In the midst of the push for increased use of renewable energy sources, a Canadian company is proposing to build a wind farm along Walker Ridge in Lake and Colusa counties. AltaGas Income Trust, based in Calgary, Alberta, submitted a proposal to the Bureau of Land Management on Jan. 22 for the farm, which be located within a 8,157-acre area leased by the BLM to the company, according to Rich Burns of the Ukiah BLM field office. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to receive a report on the project at 11 a.m. during its Tuesday meeting. AltaGas applied for an area that covers all of Walker Ridge, from Bartlett Springs to the north, to Highway 20 in the south, with the western side stretching halfway down to the Indian Valley Reservoir and Bear Valley bordering the eastern side, Burns said. The project area follows the county line between Lake and Colusa. Burns said a notice of intent on the project is expected to be published in the Federal Register within the next few weeks.
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Company Offers Solution To Wind Turbine Lights. CBS4 Denver, July 15, 2010
A Norwegian company tells officials in southwest Wyoming it has a way to cut down on light pollution from wind turbines. Sweetwater County commissioners and others heard a presentation on the idea Tuesday. Right now, the red lights on most wind turbines blink continuously to warn away aircraft. But officials with Obstacle Collision Avoidance Systems, based in Oslo, Norway, say they have a better system approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Company spokesman Greg Erdmann says their system keeps the lights off until an aircraft is detected heading toward the wind turbines. The lights come on and remain on until the aircraft no longer poses a threat. Up to 500 wind turbines could go up in Sweetwater County over the next decade.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Air

Cap and No More Trade. – Mark Peters, The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2010
The acid-rain market has been in a state of disarray for the past two years as utilities, states and investors waited for the Environmental Protection Agency to issue new rules. Now those rules are out, and they set strict new limits on emissions. But they also reduce utilities’ ability to trade allowances to meet those tighter standards. As a result, the value of the allowances already on the market are expected to fall to zero, causing a complete collapse of trading. Hopes are few that the market will recover. And that holds a warning for policy makers hoping to establish a similar market-based approach to curb emissions of carbon, which scientists have linked to global warming. Though they’ve worked well for years, market-based approaches to reducing air pollution are extremely vulnerable to government actions. And just like in markets in general, investors—and utilities in this case—hate uncertainty.
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Trip Van Noppen: Reducing Toxic Air Behind Schedule at EPA, Americans at Risk. – Trip Van Noppen, Hot Politicians.com, July 15, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fallen far behind in one of its most important responsibilities: to protect the American public from toxic air pollutants. The New York Times recently reported on a new study from the agency’s Inspector General which found that the EPA is currently violating federal law by failing to put these protections in place. Because of the EPA’s failures to set vital clean air standards, millions of Americans still face appallingly high risks of cancer, birth defects and other devastating illness–all because of exposure to toxic air pollution that can and should be controlled. This grim news does not result from an oversight or an accident. As the EPA recognized in its response to the report, the Bush administration intentionally cut the agency’s budget for controlling toxic air emissions by 70 percent. Time was spent instead on reducing protections: a federal court observed in 2006 that the EPA under Bush was “devot[ing] substantial resources to discretionary rulemakings, many of which make existing regulations more congenial to industry, and several of which since have been found unlawful.”
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Water

Scientists Find Rising Carbon Dioxide and ‘Acidified’ Waters in Puget Sound. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July 12, 2010
Scientists have discovered that the water chemistry in the Hood Canal and the Puget Sound main basin is becoming more “acidified,” or corrosive, as the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These changes could have considerable impacts on the region’s shellfish industry over the next several decades. The study, co-sponsored by NOAA, the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory and School of Oceanography (UW), the Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was conducted in the winter and summer of 2008 to determine the combined effects of ocean acidification and other natural and human-contributed processes on Puget Sound waters. Annual survey support is typically provided by UW’s Puget Sound Regional Synthesis Model Program (PRISM), while EPA provided the ocean survey vessel Bold for the summer survey. “We observed unusually low pH values in the deep waters of southern Hood Canal,” said Richard Feely, Ph.D., director of the Ocean Acidification Program at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. “Our calculations suggest that ocean acidification can account for a significant part of the pH decrease in this region.”
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Northwest Ocean Waters Becoming More Acidic. – Tom Banse, OPB News, July 12, 2010
In Seattle Monday, scientists announced that the ocean waters off the West Coast and in Puget Sound are becoming more acidic.  The newly published findings coincide with the deployment of new monitoring instruments offshore.  Correspondent Tom Banse reports. Oceanographers with the federal government and the University of Washington surmise seawater is absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That makes the waters more acidic or corrosive.  That’s bad news for shellfish survival and food that salmon eat. Imagine your skeleton dissolving while you’re alive. Dick Feeley is the lead study author from the federal Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.
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Alternatives and the Future of the Delta. – Barry Nelson, NRDC Switchboard, July 14, 2010
A century and a half ago, European immigrants in California often became lost in the vast labyrinth of channels in the Delta at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.   That’s not surpising, as they didn’t yet have a useful map of this complex, thousand square mile estuary.  Today, some agencies are at a similar risk of getting lost in the effort to find workable solutions to the Delta’s many problems.  One thing we know – the old maps won’t work.  If ever an ecosystem was in need of a new approach, it’s the Bay-Delta.  Beset by rising seas, rising water diversions, poor water quality, invasive species, collapsing fisheries, vulnerable levees (and residents) and subsided land, the Delta we see today is the result of 150 years of California water policies.  Fortunately, there’s a broad recognition that a new direction is needed.  The Delta Vision Task Force called for a new direction.  So did the State legislature, when it passed the water reform package last year.  Delta Vision and the legislature called for a new integrated Delta Plan.  Both called for a careful evaluation of alternative approaches to secure a healthier and more stable Delta, and more reliable water supplies.
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Climate Change

A New Approach to Biofuel in Africa: Biochar. The New York Times, July 12, 2010
The biofuel concept: If you just burn plant materials, you put out a lot of bad pollutants. But if you heat the materials in a container without oxygen (“pyrolysis”), you leave most of the carbon as “biochar,” which makes an excellent soil additive (in fact Amazon Indians built up rich soils over hundreds of years using biochar). The gas that is given off by pyrolysis can be processed into clean-burning fuel. All of which sounds great, but skeptics  point out that Africa is a prime target for biofuel land grabs, which destroy small farms and forest preserves. Hence the importance of using agricultural residues like corn cobs, and researching the impact. If you send a known gas mixture into the biofuel apparatus, you get some characteristic flame “profile” –shape, color and temperature. Now send through an unknown gas at the same rate—produced by pyrolysis of corn cobs for example—and you can find the nearest profile, giving a rough assessment for the biofuel potential, which is all we need for our mission here. In December we will bring KNUST students back to RPI, where they will carry out more precise testing of the chemical composition.
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Hawaii is already seeing effects of global warming, experts say. – Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press, July 11, 2010
Global warming is already leading to rising temperatures in the mountains and declining rainfall in Hawaii, climate change experts said at a meeting Friday. Temperatures at Hawaii’s higher elevations are rising faster than the global average, said Deanna Spooner, coordinator of the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative. “It’s getting hotter here faster than anywhere else in the world up in the upper elevations,” Spooner said at the Honolulu meeting of the federal Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. Rainfall levels, meanwhile, are falling. “Our freshwater resources are shrinking,” she said.
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Ads Backed by Fossil-Fuel Interests Argue ‘CO2 Is Green.’ – Anne Mulkern, The New York Times, July 14, 2010
A group with ties to the fossil fuel industry launched a new ad campaign today pushing the idea that carbon dioxide isn’t an environmental pollutant. The organization “C02 is Green” funded a half-page advertisement in The Washington Post urging people to call their senators and seek a vote against “the president’s cap-and-trade bill that will increase your cost of living and not change the climate. “The bill is based on the false premise that man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change,” the ad says. “Real, empirical evidence indicates it is not.”
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Sea-Level Rise Will Be Worse for Some, We Just Don’t Know Who. – Jess McNally, Wired Science, July 16, 2010
The Seychelles could see up to 10 percent more sea-level rise than the global average. Or the sea level around the islands could drop. It depends on who you ask. The fact that oceans will rise in a warming world is well established, but depending on how wind patterns change, climate change could mean quick inundation or more beach space for different coastlines. Wind patterns maintain height differences between different regions of the ocean, and if altered or intensified, they would push water from one part of the ocean to another. The resulting sea-level changes could be up to 30 percent more, or less, than the global average in some regions, says oceanographer Axel Timmermann. The problem is that scientists are just beginning to understand what will happen to climate at scales smaller than entire continents or ocean basins. The 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, slated for 2011, will have an entire chapter devoted to the subject of regional differences in climate change and sea level. But so far, the estimates of regional sea level rise are preliminary at best, and in some cases completely contradict.
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Other

Adults ingest more than 1,000 times “safe” levels of dioxin. – Cameron Scott, San Francisco Chronicle, July 14, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is holding public hearings today to review a proposed safe exposure limit for dioxin, a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor produced as a common industrial byproduct. It’s all but impossible to avoid exposure to dioxin. Research done by the Environmental Working Group has shown that adults are exposed to 1,200 times more dioxin than the EPA is calling safe — mostly through eating meat, dairy and shellfish — and mothers pass it on to babies in the womb and in breast milk. A nursing infant ingests an amount 77 times higher than what the EPA has proposed as safe exposure. (Formula is also widely contaminated with the stuff.)
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  1. [...] the original post: Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Newsletter, July 19, 2010 … Share and [...]


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