Posted by: Steven M. Taber | September 20, 2010

Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Newsletter, September 20, 2010, vol. 2, no. 27

September 20, 2010, Volume 2, Number 27

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.  For more information about the Taber Law Group, please visit our website at taberlaw.com.

SETTLEMENTS

U.S. EPA settlements require investigation of uranium Contamination on Southwestern tribal lands. – EPA News Release, September 13, 2010
This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency entered into two enforcement actions, both of which will contribute towards cleaning up uranium contamination at the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation. In one settlement, Rio Algom Mining LLC, a subsidiary of Canadian corporation BHP Billiton, has agreed to control releases of radium (a decay product of uranium) from the Quivira Mine Site, near Gallup, N.M. In addition, the company is to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the levels of contamination at the site. The total cost for this work is estimated to be approximately $1 million. Under the terms of a separate settlement, the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), will begin a comprehensive investigation of the levels of uranium and other contaminants in the waste, soils and groundwater at the Tuba City Dump Site in Arizona. They will also evaluate the feasibility of a range of cleanup actions.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Agreements to address uranium waste on tribal land. – The Associated Press, September 13, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says two settlements reached this week will help address uranium contamination on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. The agency says Rio Algom Mining LLC has agreed to investigate levels of contamination at 1 of its sites near Gallup N.M. The work is expected to cost $1 million. Under a separate agreement, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs will assess the 30-acre Tuba City dump to determine how best to clean up contaminated soil, groundwater and waste. The BIA expects to spend $1.5 million on the feasibility study. EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld in San Francisco says the actions are part of a coordinated effort to clean up waste from past uranium mining operations.
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Groups Settle with National Coal for Reports on Selenium Discharges. – Environmental Protection, September 14, 2010
Tennessee Clean Water Network, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, and the Sierra Club Tennessee Chapter have reached a settlement agreement with National Coal Corporation over a lawsuit the groups filed regarding the company’s discharges of selenium (pdf) from the company’s Zeb Mountain mountaintop removal mine without a permit. The suit claimed that National Coal’s permit under the Clean Water Act did not authorize selenium discharges. According to a press release from the groups, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) issued a new draft permit after the suit was filed that would, for the first time, authorize selenium discharges but impose stringent limits on the amount of those discharges. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, during the period prior to issuance of a final permit by TDEC, National Coal will be required to monitor its selenium pollution and report these results to TDEC and to the three organizations.
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DECISIONS

City of Ketchikan fined nearly $3,000 for improper disposal of PCBs. – EPA News Release, September 13, 2010
The City of Ketchikan, Alaska has reached a $2,900 settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve alleged federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) violations related to the improper disposal of polychlorinated bi-phenyl (PCB) waste. In August 2007, Ketchikan Public Utilities personnel removed approximately five gallons of oil containing PCBs from a transformer, and improperly incinerated this liquid at the City’s facility located at 1065 Fair Street, Ketchikan, Alaska. “Disposing of PCB waste improperly is illegal and can be harmful to human health and the environment,” said Scott Downey, Manager of the Pesticides and Toxics Program for EPA Region 10 in Seattle. “Local governments and businesses must ensure they are following the federal PCB rules which are intended to protect communities and our critical natural resources.”
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Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program; Petition for Objection to State Operating Permit for Alliant Energy—WPL Edgewater Generating Station. – Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Register, September 13, 2010
This document announces that the EPA Administrator has responded to a petition asking EPA to object to a Clean Air Act (Act) operating permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Specifically, the Administrator granted in part and denied in part the petition submitted by David Bender of McGillivray Westerberg and Bender, LLC, on behalf of the Sierra Club, to object to the operating permit for Alliant Energy—Wisconsin Power and Light Edgewater Generating Station. Pursuant to section 505(b)(2) of the Act, a petitioner may seek judicial review in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit of those portions of the petition which EPA denied. Any petition for review shall be filed within 60 days from the date this notice appears in the Federal Register, pursuant to section 307 of the Act.
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Court blocks release of farm compliance data. – Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun, September 14, 2010
An Eastern Shore judge blocked the state Tuesday from giving an environmental group information about farmers’ compliance with a state law meant to curb polluted farm runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.  Worcester County Circuit Judge Thomas C. Groton III granted a temporary restraining order against the release of the information at the request of the Maryland Farm Bureau, which had gone to court Monday contending that state agriculture officials were about to give data illegally to the University of Maryland environmental law clinic. The court case is the latest in a series of clashes between the farm group and the university’s law clinic, which is representing the Assateague Coastkeeper, a Shore environmental group long critical of the state’s enforcement of pollution laws on farms. The clinic was threatened earlier this year with loss of state funding for helping bring a lawsuit accusing a Worcester County farm couple and Salisbury-based Perdue, the nation’s fifth-largest poultry producer, of polluting a local waterway.
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Failure to report ammonia release costs Washington fruit processor close to $107,000 in EPA penalties and plant improvements. – EPA News Release, September 15, 2010
Tree Top, Inc. has agreed to pay a $21,000 EPA penalty and complete an $85,000 upgrade to its Selah, Washington plant for failing to immediately report a release of ammonia at its fruit processing plant. In addition to the penalty, Tree Top will update its computer hardware and an install an advanced ammonia detection system that will make future releases less likely.
On July 10, 2009, Tree Top had an estimated 1,000 lb. ammonia release at their fruit processing center, according to the EPA settlement. Tree Top, Inc. uses large quantities of anhydrous ammonia at the plant as a refrigerant. “When toxic gases like ammonia get released, every second counts,” said Edward Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle. “Immediate reporting protects workers, emergency responders and the community.” According to case documents, EPA alleges that Tree Top, Inc. failed to immediately notify emergency response authorities after the ammonia release occurred and also failed to submit the required reporting documents.
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EPA Judge Levies Nation’s Largest Pesticide Fine on ‘99¢ Only Stores’ / Largest Contested Penalty Ever Ordered for Sale of Illegal International Pesticidal Products. – EPA News Release, September 15, 2010
A federal judge has ordered ‘99¢ Only Stores’ to pay $409,490 in penalties for the sale of illegal unregistered and misbranded pesticides contained in household products. The case against ‘99¢ Only Stores’ concerned the sale of three cleaning and pest control products. Out of a total of 166 violations, 164 involved the sale of a household cleaner called “Bref Limpieza y Disinfección Total con Densicloro.” [Bref Complete Cleaning and Disinfection with Densicloro®], which was not registered with EPA, despite pesticidal claims on the label. The product was imported from Mexico and made statements in Spanish that it disinfects or sanitizes surfaces. The other two products involved were “Farmer’s Secret Berry & Produce Cleaner,” an unregistered pesticide, and “PiC BORIC ACID Roach Killer III,” which was misbranded because EPA-approved labels were upside-down or inside out, making them hard to read. The fine is the largest contested penalty ever ordered by an EPA administrative law judge against a product retailer under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. “All pesticide distributors—discounters and high-end retailers alike—must comply with the law. This company’s disregard for state and federal law in its business practices has led to a penalty that reflects the seriousness of the violations,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

EPA fines 99 Cents Only Stores for selling unregistered or mislabeled pesticides. – Tiffany Hsu and Andrea Chang, The Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2010
Discount chain 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. has been fined $409,490 by the Environmental Protection Agency for selling illegal unregistered or mislabeled pesticides in three household products, the federal agency said Wednesday. The City of Commerce-based retailer continued to sell the items even after being notified of the violations, the agency said. The fine is the largest contested penalty ever handed down. “What you don’t know really can hurt you. You can’t take precautions and you can end up using products in very harmful ways,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the agency’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest “The cost of the product doesn’t relate to the magnitude of the problem or the dose of the toxicity of the ingredients.”
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

EPA’s Prosecution of Environmental Offenders Lacking, Environmental Group Says. – Shahrzad Noorbaloochi, Epoch Times, September 13, 2010
Environmental advocacy groups in the United States have voiced concerns that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worsened in its Criminal Investigation Division(CID) under the Obama administration, noting a decline in the number of criminal investigators and convictions since 1999. These allegations come at a sensitive time, with the wound of BP’s recent oil spill, which was allegedly caused by violations of environmental laws, fresh in the public’s mind. Many are concerned that though Obama promised to bolster the monitoring of corporations’ compliance with environmental laws in response to the BP oil spill, he has failed to deliver on that promise. “Contrary to promises to beef up prosecution of polluters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criminal enforcement program is withering under the Obama administration, according to records released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER),” read a press release from PEER, an organization of local, state, and federal scientists, law enforcement agents, land managers, and other public officials who monitor the implementation of environmental laws.
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Lawsuit Launched to Save Tuna Imperiled by Overfishing, Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill . – Center for Biological Diversity Press Release, September 14, 2010
The Center for Biological Diversity today formally notified the National Marine Fisheries Service it intends to sue the agency for failing to respond to a petition to protect Atlantic bluefin tuna. The tuna, which migrates across the Atlantic to spawn in the Gulf of Mexico, faces extinction due to severe fishing pressure and habitat degradation, including effects of the BP oil spill. The Center filed its Endangered Species Act petition in May; the agency has missed the 90-day legal response deadline. “The oil well is capped, but the effects of the spill on bluefin tuna will be seen for years to come,” said Catherine Kilduff, a Center oceans program attorney. “Tuna were already struggling in the Gulf; the spill made the problem worse. If the government doesn’t move quickly, the question won’t be when the tuna will recover, but if they’ll survive at all.”  Overfishing of Atlantic bluefin tuna has caused more than an 80 percent decline from what the population would be absent fishing pressure. The millions of gallons of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico and into tuna breeding grounds during spawning season threaten to further reduce the western Atlantic population. Scientists say any eggs or larvae encountering oil will die; oil may also have harmed adult tunas’ gills, and heavy use of dispersants killed fish and other marine life.
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Environmental group files complaint over Congaree bridge. – Associated Press, September 14, 2010
An environmental group wants a federal judge to halt work on a bridge so more study can be done on possible impacts on South Carolina’s only national park. A complaint filed Monday by The Friends of the Congaree Swamp asks U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour to halt the state Department of Transportation’s replacement of the U.S. 601 bridge over the Congaree River. The road runs just east of Congaree National Park. The group says DOT has violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to do enough research on potential effects on the swamp’s wetlands. A Transportation Department spokesman said the agency had not seen the complaint and would not comment. Construction began this summer and is projected to be finished in 2013.
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Justice may sue BP over oil spill in gulf. – UPI, September 14, 2010
The U.S. Justice Department said it expects to sue BP for damages from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, papers filed with a federal court indicate. In the filing made Monday with the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, federal attorneys said it may seek claims under the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act, CNN reported. The Oil Pollution Act was adopted in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the Clean Water Act gives the government the right to seek potentially massive penalties.  The crippled BP well spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude into the gulf between April 20 — when an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers before sinking two days later — and July 15, when the well was temporarily capped.
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Drilling Ban Defended by U.S., Foes Seek to Uphold Court Order. – Margaret Cronin Fisk and Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg, September 14, 2010
The U.S. defended its moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as offshore oil- services companies asked an appeals court to uphold a New Orleans judge’s decision blocking enforcement of the ban. The U.S. banned drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet in May after the BP Plc oil spill. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman barred enforcement of the government moratorium on June 22 after Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. and other companies sued, claiming that it would cause irreparable economic harm. The federal government issued a new ban on July 12. “The July 12 directive was based in part on new information documenting the significant environmental and safety risks associated with continued deep-water drilling under the circumstances,” lawyers for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in court papers yesterday.
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Ill. EPA asks attorney general’s office to take action against Enbridge. – Associated Press, September 14, 2010
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has asked the state attorney general’s office to pursue enforcement action against a Canadian company over a Chicago-area oil leak. The Illinois EPA says Enbridge Energy Partners polluted the soil, air and waters of the state when its pipeline sprung a leak in Romeoville. Robyn Ziegler is spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. She says the office is investigating the request and will decide what laws were violated. The enforcement action could eventually include the filing of a lawsuit against Enbridge. Enbridge spokeswoman Gina Jordan says the protection of the environment is one of the Canadian company’s primary goals. She says the cleanup is being conducted in compliance with all government standards.
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Louisiana Guiding and Outfitting Company Owner Charged for Illegally Hunting Alligators. – Department of Justice  News Release, September 15, 2010
The owner of a guiding and outfitting company was charged today in a three count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Baton Rouge, La., for illegally hunting a threatened species of alligator, the Justice Department announced. The indictment charges Gregory K. Dupont, 36, of  Plaquemine, La., with three violations of the Lacey Act, the federal wildlife statute that makes it illegal to transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase illegally taken wildlife. According to the indictment, Dupont, the owner of Louisiana Hunters Inc. and a licensed alligator hunter, took clients on sport alligator hunts.  The indictment alleges three instances in 2005 and 2006 that Dupont, while engaged in conduct involving the sale and purchase of wildlife, transported, sold, received and acquired American alligators, knowing that the wildlife was taken, possessed, transported and sold in violation of the laws and regulations of the United States.
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Environmental Protection Agency accuses Raritan Town Square of many violations. – Gabby Sanabria, Hunterdon County Democrat, September 15, 2010
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has accused Raritan Town Square, owner of the Route 31 complex including the Lowe’s and Walmart stores, of numerous violations of the Clean Water Act. It proposes a penalty of $55,000, based on the nature and extent of the violations. According to the complaint, Raritan Town Square, which was built on the old Flemington Fairgrounds, violated several sections of the Clean Water Act during a period of 1,135 days, by failing to conduct site inspections, failing to install and/or maintain stormwater best management practices, and failing to submit annual reports and certification.” Among the violations, it allegedly failed to prevent erosion from material storage piles, did not maintain filter fabric inside catch basins, did not coverage Dumpsters and did not properly manage concrete washout areas. Furthermore, according to the EPA, the company failed to conduct and document routine inspections and had “no documentation of routine inspections” for the period of January 2007 through Aug. 10, 2009.
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Sierra Club and Earthjustice Sue U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Uphold Clean Air in Texas. – Earthjustice Press Release, September 14, 2010
Earthjustice today filed suit on behalf of Sierra Club to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in and enforce the Clean Air Act in Texas. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is charged with implementing federal clean air requirements in Texas but Sierra Club contends it has failed to do so. The suit alleges that in the absence of adequate state action the EPA is legally required to intervene and implement federal air quality standards. Current and proposed power plant pollution in Texas—nearly one million tons annually, according to TCEQ’s 2008 Emissions Inventory and draft permits for new plants—is contributing to pollution problems in Texas and downwind states. Texas has 21 operating coal plants and 7 proposed coal plants—the largest number of any state in the nation—which will further threaten air quality for Texans and residents of other states. “We contend that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under Governor Perry’s direction has violated the Clean Air Act and allowed the state’s largest polluters to put Texans’ health at risk,” said Jen Powis, Senior Regional Representative for Sierra Club. “The EPA has taken two positive steps to uphold Clean Air law in Texas. Now EPA must act decisively, take the next step, and create plans that will protect public health and the environment in Texas and our neighbor states.”
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Texas AG files to block EPA limits. – Austin Business Journal, September 17, 2010
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sought for the third time Thursday to block smog limits saying the rules will harm the state’s economy. Abbott filed four more motions in the U.S. Court of Appeals to stop the guidelines on cars and other emitters, set by the Environmental Protection Agency. He charged the agency based the rules on flawed climate data and the result violates the Clean Air Act, according to a press release Thursday. The rules’ “scheduled implementation is unlawful and will cause the State of Texas immediate and irreparable harm, without countervailing benefit to third parties or to the public interest,” one of the suits said. The filing is the latest of charges he and other government officials have supported against federal environmental interventions since February. The finding and rules —Endangerment Finding, the Light-Duty Vehicle Rule, the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Interpretive Rule and the Tailoring Rule— are set to begin Jan. 2.
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

Perchlorate: Occurrence Is Widespread but at Varying Levels; Federal Agencies Have Taken Some Actions to Respond to and Lessen Releases. – Government Accountability Office, September 13, 2010
Perchlorate is both a man-made and naturally occurring chemical. It is used in rocket fuel, explosives, fireworks, and other products. Naturally occurring perchlorate is produced through atmospheric processes and then settles on surface water or land. Perchlorate can disrupt the uptake of iodide in the thyroid, potentially interfering with thyroid function and negatively affecting fetal and infant brain development and growth. As of June 2010, there is no federal regulatory standard for perchlorate in drinking water, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has the authority to regulate contaminants in public drinking water systems, had not determined whether to establish one. The Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Energy (DOE) are the primary federal users of perchlorate. GAO was asked to examine (1) what is known about the extent to which perchlorate occurs in the nation’s water and food supply and its likely sources; (2) what actions DOD, NASA, and DOE have taken to respond to or lessen perchlorate releases; and (3) what actions states, such as California and Massachusetts, have taken to regulate perchlorate. To address these questions, GAO analyzed data from EPA, DOD, NASA, and DOE, reviewed agency documents, and interviewed federal and state officials, researchers, and others.
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Official: EPA, Texas working on permit solution. – Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press, September 14, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency will soon help Texas petrochemical companies comply with the Clean Air Act after it rejected the state’s industrial permitting program, the agency’s regional director said Tuesday. The federal audit program, however, is only a first step toward resolving the environmental dispute that gained steam in June when the EPA determined Texas’ so-called flexible permits violated federal law. That move put in operational limbo more than 120 petrochemical plants, including some of the nation’s largest refineries. “We’re making progress,” EPA regional director Al Armendariz told The Associated Press. “But we aren’t there yet and we still have some substantive issues to resolve between the two agencies.” Armendariz said the EPA would make public the details of the audit program in the “coming days.” The program will allow companies to work directly with the federal agency to learn what fixes they need to make to meet Clean Air Act requirements while guaranteeing them forgiveness for any past pollution violations.
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Pace of EPA’s Clean Air Act Rulemakings Turns Heads, Draws Lawsuits. – Robin Bravender, The New York Times, September 14, 2010
The Obama administration is in the midst of a landmark series of Clean Air Act rulemakings. In 18 months, U.S. EPA has — among other things — stiffened standards for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide for the first time in decades, revamped the George W. Bush administration’s smog regulations and issued the first climate rules under the Clean Air Act. And that is just the beginning. EPA is expected to lay out additional plans for the Clean Air Act today as it marks the law’s 40th birthday in a gathering of former agency administrators, industry officials, environmentalists and lawmakers. The agency’s use of the law has drawn criticism from industry and praise from environmentalists. Conservatives say President Obama’s EPA is stretching the air pollution law to meet political objectives. Industry attorney Joe Stanko said EPA’s use of the Clean Air Act to regulate heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is a case of a “square peg in a round hole.”
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Deadline set on refiners to comply with air rules Firms holding flexible permits facing EPA heat. – Matthew Tresaugue, Houston Chronicle, September 15, 2010
Only a fraction of Texas refiners and chemical and plastics makers holding so-called flexible permits for air pollution are taking steps to bring them into compliance with federal requirements. The response — or lack of one – in the two months since the Environmental Protection Agency disapproved the way Texas regulates air pollution for 130 industrial plants has prompted the federal agency’s regional administrator to set a December deadline for the companies to begin resolving their permits. Al Armendariz, the EPA’s top official in Texas, said his goal is for everyone to have permits that meet federal standards. But if they don’t move to fix their permits, then the EPA’s enforcement wing will take action against the companies, starting with the largest polluters and those located near low-income and minority communities. “I don’t like to threaten anyone,” he said. “But this job is narrowly tailored to implement the law. They’ll be on a special list, and I’ll let them know that holding onto their flexible permits puts them at risk.”
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EPA Requests Information Related to BP Texas City Refinery Benzene Release. – EPA Press Release, September 16, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated an investigation of the British Petroleum (BP) plant in Texas City, Texas. By launching this effort under federal law, EPA brings another set of investigative procedures to help federal and state regulators review the incident. “By joining the investigation, EPA will help ensure disclosure of all information by BP,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “It is important the EPA, state officials and public know what happened at the plant, and that BP is held accountable to prevent incidents like these from happening in the future.”  As a first step in the process, EPA is requiring BP to disclose specific information regarding its operations during the incident. The Information Request, issued under the authority of the federal Clean Air Act, requests all information regarding the incident starting on April 6, 2010 and ending on May 16, 2010. The information will be used by EPA to determine whether the BP refinery in Texas City is in compliance with the Clean Air Act.
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Water

EPA to hold 18 public meetings on Chesapeake. – Standard Speaker, September 13, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold 18 public meetings this fall to discuss the draft Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) – a strict “pollution diet” to restore local waters and the bay. One of the meetings will be held Oct. 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bentley’s, Route 309, Ashley. “We encourage the public to continue to provide input as EPA moves forward in finalizing and implementing this blueprint for restoration,” EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said in a press release. “Restoring the Chesapeake Bay and the waterways that connect to it will not be easy, and every citizen in the bay watershed has a stake and a role in this process.” The TMDL will set binding limits on nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution throughout the 64,000-square-mile watershed to meet clean water standards for the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries and help restore local rivers and streams, EPA said.  At the public meetings, EPA officials will outline the draft TMDL and highlight key provisions designed to ensure that all practices necessary to fully restore the bay are in place by 2025, with 60 percent of the actions taken by 2017. EPA will also receive comments and answer questions from the public at the meetings, which are part of an official 45-day public comment period on the draft TMDL that ends Nov. 8. Complete information on the public meetings, including venues, directions and webinar registration links, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl. Instructions for submitting formal written comments to EPA also can be found on the website and will be contained in an upcoming Federal Register notice. A final bay TMDL will be established by Dec. 31.
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Ohio EPA gives Camden officials Oct. 30 deadline for safe water. – Paladium Item, September 15, 2010
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has declared a drinking water supply emergency here and ordered village officials to find a safe water source that can supply water by Oct. 30. Camden residents began complaining in late July about a salty taste in tap water, according to an EPA press release. Tests showed execessive chloride levels in all three wells, and water from two wells was unpalatable for human consumption, EPA Director Chris Korleski said. Large salt piles adjacent the village’s wells are thought to be the source of the contamination. The road salt is owned by Cargill Inc. and Central Salt, according to Ohio EPA.
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Waste

EPA Removes Long Island Toxic Site From Superfund National Priorities List. – EPA News Release, September 13, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has successfully completed cleanup work at the SMS Instruments Superfund site located in Deer Park, NY and has deleted the site from the Superfund National Priorities List of the most hazardous waste sites. After completing all the cleanup work needed to address contaminated soil and ground water, and assessing recent monitoring data, EPA has determined that the cleanup was successful and that the site no longer poses a significant threat to public health or the environment. The primary contaminants of concern at the site were volatile organic compounds including benzene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes, which can pose significant risks to people’s health. “The cleanup of this site is a success and we can now remove this once hazardous property from the Superfund list,” said EPA Administrator Judith Enck. “Our assessment shows that the work we have done will fully protect people’s health and the environment.”
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Margate mercury cleanup may cost $250,000. – Juan Ortega. Sun Sentinel, September 13, 2010
Cleaning up a teacup’s worth of mercury from a suburban neighborhood may wind up costing $250,000, a federal environmental official said Monday. And now federal officials are investigating who should get that bill, said Dawn Harris Young, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA seeks reimbursement if it can identify a “potentially responsible party to send a bill to,” Harris Young said. The EPA, the lead agency in the cleanup, is still trying to determine who that might be. The cost for the Margate cleanup, requiring a bulldozer and other heavy equipment and lasting more than a week, are on a par with previous mercury cleanups, Harris Young said. A driveway, several homes and outdoor areas in the 7800 block of Northwest Third Place had to be thoroughly decontaminated after the spill. The cleanup ended Friday. On Aug. 28, Third Place resident Hubert Jean found 6 ounces of mercury in his garage, poured some of the liquid metal on his driveway and gave some to neighborhood kids, Margate police said.
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GE asks EPA to let it continue dredge tests in ’11. – Michael Hill, Associated Press, September 13, 2010
General Electric told federal environmental officials Monday that it should be allowed to finish the test phase of Hudson River dredging next year to collect more data, instead of starting the far larger, second phase of the massive Superfund cleanup. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said it wanted to start the second phase of the PCB cleanup next year. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, GE argued that an independent review panel’s findings show that it makes more sense to instead complete the unfinished Phase 1 next year. The Fairfield, Conn.-based company said data collected from dredging next year could then be used to set standards for Phase 2, which represents 90 percent of the cleanup. “This approach would provide both EPA and GE with the basis to make informed decisions on Phase 2,” Ann Klee, GE’s vice president for corporate environmental programs wrote in her letter to Jackson.
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Dairy-farm runoff may have caused fish kill, state agency says. – Tim Mitchell, The News Gazette, September 13, 2010
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency investigators believe a rural Bellflower dairy farm is the likely source of runoff that killed an estimated 40,000 fish and an undetermined number of other creatures in central Illinois. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Maggie Carson said agency investigators believe runoff from livestock waste from the Stone Ridge Dairy in rural Bellflower was the likely source of the fish kill, which was first reported to state authorities on Labor Day. “We believe the Stone Ridge Dairy is the likely source due to its size and location, but we haven’t ruled out other possible sources,” Carson said on Monday afternoon. “We are looking at all the possibilities.” No enforcement action has been taken against any entity in connection with the fish kill. According to Stone Ridge’s website, the dairy covers 1,500 acres and has 3,100 cows.
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NRDC petitions EPA to apply hazardous waste rules to toxic oil and gas waste. – Amy Mall, NRDC Switchboard, September 14, 2010
NRDC has petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the toxic wastes associated with the exploration, development and production of oil and gas under the hazardous waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA is our principal federal law intended to ensure the safe management of waste throughout its entire life cycle, from cradle to grave, in order to best protect human health and the environment. RCRA has separate provisions for hazardous waste. Congress gave EPA the authority to determine whether oil and gas wastes should be subject to these hazardous waste provisions. In 1988, EPA ruled that oil and gas wastes are exempt from these hazardous waste provisions–even if the waste is toxic. EPA made this 1988 decision despite the fact that the agency’s own analysis found oil and gas waste contained very high levels of toxic substances and had endangered human health (details can be found in NRDC’s report, Drilling Down). An EPA staff member said this decision was made “for solely political reasons.”
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EPA urged to adopt federally-enforceable regulations for coal ash. – International Business Times, September 15, 2010
Investment groups managing over $240 billion in assets under management urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt “Subtitle C” regulations governing coal ash disposal to prevent environmental and health risks. Potential environmental concerns from coal ash refer to pollution from impoundment and landfills leaching into ground water and structural failures of impoundments, like that which occurred at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) plant in Kingston, Tennessee. TVA faces over $1 billion in costs along with dozens of lawsuits after one billion gallons of toxic coal ash burst through a dam near the power plant in December 2008. Coal ash, also referred as coal combustion residuals (CCRs), is a byproduct of the combustion of coal at power plants and is disposed of in liquid form at large surface impoundments and in solid form at landfills. The toxins in coal ash have been linked to cancer, organ failure, and other serious health problems.
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Hazardous or not? The EPA should develop a hybrid model that doesn’t penalize those states – like Wisconsin – that take proper care of coal ash. – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, September 15, 2010
The federal Environmental Protection Agency is considering two options that each would increase federal standards and scrutiny of the disposal of waste from coal-fired power plants. One option (Subtitle C in EPA parlance) would classify the waste – generally known as coal ash or fly ash – as hazardous and provide strict federal permitting and oversight of its disposal. The other (Subtitle D) would not label the byproduct as hazardous and would allow states to generally oversee coal ash, while still providing federal intervention in certain situations. The best option, however, would be a hybrid that provides federal intervention and enforcement in states that don’t do enough to protect the environment while allowing states that do a good job – such as Wisconsin – to continue what they’re doing. We believe the state will make that point in testimony at a hearing on the proposed rules Thursday in Chicago. The feds should pay close attention to what Wisconsin tells them.
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Cleanup of mining waste on 1,000 acres in southwest Missouri nearly complete. – The Associated Press, September 16, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency says cleanup of mining waste on about 1,000 acres in southwest Missouri is nearly complete. Project manager Mark Doolan says the cleanup on land just north of Highway 171 between Webb City and Carterville is expected to be done within a month or two. Once the work is complete, the land will be available for property owners to develop. The Springfield News-Leader reports that Webb City hopes to build a retail and industrial park on part of the land. But Carterville Mayor Dale Davenport has suggested a sports complex for the area. Cleanup efforts will continue in Jasper County for several years. Furture cleanup sites include land north of Webb City and south of Highway 171 near Duenweg.
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Climate Change

EPA Issuing U.S. Carbon-Limits Guidance Soon, Agency Administrator Says. – Kim Chipman and Simon Lomax, Bloomberg, September 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will issue guidance soon that states and polluters may use to implement the agency’s new greenhouse-gas regulations, Administrator Lisa Jackson said. The guidelines will ensure that complying with the rules “is practical and is manageable,” Jackson said today at a conference in Washington celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. The EPA is using the 1970 law to establish national limits on carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases implicated in climate change. The first phase is set to start Jan. 2. Lawmakers led by Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, want to postpone EPA action, saying the rules will hurt businesses and consumers grappling with a sluggish economy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said today that he would schedule a vote on Rockefeller’s bill “before we leave here.”  Rockefeller is “aggressively pursuing” a two-year delay of the greenhouse-gas regulations for industrial sources such as power plants because “the unelected EPA” shouldn’t get ahead of Congress, Jamie Smith, the senator’s communications director, said in an e-mail.
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EPA Begins Phase Out of Climate Leaders Program. – Environmental Leader, September 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to shut down the voluntary Climate Leaders program, which has been helping organizations reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2002. The federal agency says it will phase down services it offers under its program over the next year and encourages participating companies to transition to state or non-governmental programs. The announcement was made in a letter (PDF) to participating companies. EPA says it considered many factors when making its decision, including the new developments in regulatory and voluntary programs that address GHG emissions, such as the first mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule that took effect on January 1, 2010. The agency also took into consideration the climate programs offered by several states and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which it says are robust enough to serve companies in the Climate Leaders program.
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Other

Environmental Assessment for Indiana Land Exchange Available for Public Comment. – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News Release, September 14, 2010
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS), in coordination with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Military Department of Indiana (MDI), are seeking comments from the public on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for an exchange that would transfer 1,250 acres at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife area from the IDNR to the MDI. To compensate the IDNR as required by the Pittman-Robertson Act and other Federal laws, the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) would transfer 1,990 acres near Putnamville to IDNR as replacement. The FWS and NPS have determined that the Putnamville land has equal or better recreational, wildlife and appraised value; therefore the exchange could be approved after all compliance documents have been received and the public has had an opportunity to review the EA. The draft EA evaluates the proposed action and a “no action” alternative as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
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Calif. pesticide opponents deploy Florida report. – Jacob Adelman, Associated Press, September 14, 2010
Tests found dangerous levels of the compound iodide in groundwater near where an agricultural pesticide had been applied that is pending approval in California, according to a report completed in Florida, where the pesticide is already in use. The report, which was circulated by environmental and farmworker advocacy groups seeking to stop the pesticide methyl iodide from being registered for use in California, also found high concentrations of the fumigant in the air near its application. Methyl iodide is included on California’s list of cancer-causing chemicals. The findings “should be wake-up call that methyl iodide should not be registered here and that registration should be canceled in Florida and nationwide,” said Anne Katten, pesticide and workplace safety specialist for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. Methyl iodide’s Tokyo-based manufacturer, Arysta LifeScience Corp., funded the pesticide safety study as a condition of the chemical’s approval for use on Florida farms.
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Amendments to Enforceable Consent Agreement Procedural Rules. – Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Register, September 16, 2010
EPA is revising the procedures for developing Enforceable Consent Agreements (ECAs) to generate test data under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The main features of the ECA process that EPA is changing include when and how to initiate negotiations and inserting a firm deadline at which negotiations will terminate. EPA is also deleting, modifying, or consolidating several sections of 40 CFR part 790 to place the ECA provisions in one section and the Interagency Testing Committee (ITC) provisions in a separate section, to make it clearer that there is one ECA negotiation procedure applicable to all circumstances when an ECA would be appropriate, and to make conforming changes in other sections that reference the ECA procedures.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Clean Air Act: Defend Or Dismantle? – Amy Harder, National Journal, September 13, 2010
Absent climate legislation, what role should the Clean Air Act play in regulating carbon dioxide and other dangerous greenhouse gases? The landmark environmental law passed 40 years ago this week and was significantly amended 20 years ago. Now EPA is rolling out a number of new Clean Air Act regulations, including ones cutting carbon emissions from automobiles and power plants, reducing air pollution across state lines, and setting technology-based standards for certain industrial polluters. But Republicans and moderate Democrats are seeking to either strip or suspend EPA’s power to regulate emissions. And some lawmakers and officials in the business and utility sectors are worried about all the regulations the agency has coming down the pike, not just those targeting carbon emissions. Environmentalists, meanwhile, are defending the EPA’s regulatory authority, especially in the absence of a comprehensive climate bill. What effect will the forthcoming regulations have on the electric and transportation sectors? What are the major challenges these industries face in attempting to meet the new requirements? Should Congress rein EPA in? Is the agency’s power elevated with Congress unable to pass a climate bill?
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EPA’s Clean Air Act Turns 40 / Agency achieved significant health and environmental benefits. – EPA News Release, September 13, 2010
As part of the activities commemorating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 40th anniversary, the agency is highlighting progress made under the 40 years of the Clean Air Act (CAA) at a conference in Washington, D.C. Among the attendees are those who have helped to shape the CAA over the years, including members of Congress, state and local government officials, and leaders in public health, business and technology, environmental justice, and advocacy. “For 40 years the Clean Air Act has protected our health and our environment, saving lives and sparking new innovations to make our economy cleaner and stronger. The common sense application of the act has made it one of the most cost-effective things the American people have done for themselves in the last half century,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Since 1970 we have seen a steady trajectory of less pollution in our communities and greater economic opportunity throughout our nation. We will continue those trends as we face the clean air challenges of the next 40 years, including working to cut greenhouse gases and grow the American clean energy economy. The Clean Air Act proves the naysayers wrong – we can protect our health and environment at the same time we grow our economy.”
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U.S. Senate Delay On Bill May Show Unease Over Greenhouse Rules. – Tennile Tracy, Dow Jones Newswires, September 14, 2010
The U.S. Senate’s powerful budget committee has postponed work on a bill to fund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and parts of the U.S. Interior Department, prompting speculation that committee leaders are avoiding a vote on controversial greenhouse gas regulations. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee said Tuesday it would postpone a mark-up of those agencies’ budgets, originally scheduled for Thursday, and that it had not yet rescheduled that action. The senator who chairs the subcommittee overseeing the budgets said Democratic leaders decided to postpone the mark-up because they wanted to review the Obama administration’s recent request for an additional $100 million for the Interior Department. “I have respectfully asked Chairman Inouye for a delay in marking up the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill while we evaluate the administration’s proposal,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) in a statement.
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Senate Approps Dems Prepare To Kill EPA Climate Rules. – The Wonk Room, September 14, 2010
This Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee may vote to block the Obama administration from moving forward with global warming pollution rules. While the Senate dithered and let Republicans kill climate legislation passed last year by the House of Representatives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun rolling out rules to limit greenhouse gas pollution in the coming years. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) attempt to kill the finding that greenhouse gases are pollution died by a narrow vote of 47-53, but Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is promoting a two-year moratorium on EPA climate action. Speaking to E&E News, climate peacocks Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) have announced they would potentially support killing EPA rules in the agency’s appropriations bill, to be marked up on Thursday:
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Oil, Gas Companies Backing Effort to Block U.S. EPA. – Jim Snyder, Bloomberg, September 14, 2010
The head of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest U.S. oil and gas industry trade group, is pushing a proposal in Congress to block the Environmental Protection Agency from capping carbon dioxide emissions. “Washington bureaucrats should not decide the energy policy of the United States,” Jack Gerard, chief executive officer of the Washington-based group, said today on a conference call with reporters. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has said he doesn’t expect to bring up legislation that would cut greenhouse-gas emissions such as carbon dioxide before Congress adjourns this year. That may leave a proposal by Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, to block the EPA from curbing emissions for two years as the biggest energy fight before lawmakers depart to campaign for the November elections. “We support strongly the efforts by Congress to step in and limit EPA’s ability to essentially reorder the American economy,” Gerard said. API was among 24 business groups that today urged lawmakers to block EPA carbon regulation when they act on the agency’s annual appropriation. The EPA rule would “impose a significant burden across the U.S. economy,” according to a letter from groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council and American Farm Bureau Federation. Joe Mendelson, director of global warming policy at the National Wildlife Federation, said business groups such as API were promoting “doomsday scenarios” that exaggerate the threat to industries.
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ENERGY

Oil

The Oil Spill’s Money Squeeze. – Shaila Dewan, The New York Times, September 12, 2010
In May, Harriet M. Perry, the director of the fisheries program at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, was asked to examine some mysterious droplets found on blue crab larvae by scientists at Tulane University. An early test indicated that the droplets were oil, and she has continued to find similar droplets on fresh larvae samples taken all along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Despite the potential significance of the discovery, Dr. Perry does not have research money to cover further tests. And like other scientists across the Gulf Coast who are racing to sketch out the contours of the BP oil spill’s effects, she has few places to turn for help.
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Romeoville Oil Leak Contained. – Jenel Nels, NBC Chicago, September 13, 2010
Oil has stopped flowing from a site in  Romeoville, Illinois after leaking for more than four days. Crews from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said they had the leak under control and that its impact has been minimized. “So far environmental impact has been minimal,” said Sam Borries, on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “We’ve been able to contain the oil within the retention pond and it has not entered the Des Plaines River.” Borries said his team “secured” a 1 1/2 inch hole at the bottom of the pipeline around 7 p.m. on Sunday. The EPA said 12,000 gallons of a combined water/oil mixture was recovered from the leak; 6,000 gallons of it was the oil product itself. Borries commended the pipeline owner Enbridge Energy Partners for having an “effective and appropriate response” to the oil leak. Clean up continues around the clock. Approximately 400 workers will help with recover and repair operations of the pipeline Monday.
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Coal

EPA Lags in Curbing Coal Plant Emissions, Study Says. – Jessica Roberts, Fair Warning, September 14, 2010
New pollution-fighting equipment installed on coal-fired power plants is saving thousands of lives every year, but the Environmental Protection Agency could prevent even more deaths with stepped up regulation, according to a new study conducted for the Clean Air Task Force. The non-profit research and advocacy group said that plant “scrubbers” — devices that remove pollutants from coal plant emissions — installed at about 130 sites since 2004 already have improved air quality dramatically. In all, the organization said, the devices will prevent an estimated 11,000 premature deaths this year. Still, many more plants need to be pushed to adopt the technology, the group said. The study said several hundred U.S. coal-fired power plants operate without the scrubbers, and air pollution from the facilities this year is expected to cost about 13,200 lives. As the online publication njtoday.net reported, the American Lung Association agreed that coal plant pollution still poses a major hazard. “From asthma attacks to premature deaths, air pollution from power plants still causes far too much harm to public health. This report makes clear that we must have strong rules to reduce air pollution, ” said Janice Nolen, a policy official with the association.
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Fighting for coal — Lawmakers turn up the heat on EPA. – Bluefield Daily Telegraph, September 17, 2010
While they have been admittedly slow to respond to the region’s outcry, area lawmakers are finally stepping up to challenge harmful regulations on Appalachian mining permits by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. A bipartisan measured introduced Wednesday by several southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia lawmakers would prohibit federal funding from being used by the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Office of Surfacing Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to carry out, implement, administer or enforce any policies and procedures set forth in the June 11, 2009 Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army memorandum on “Enhanced Surface Coal Mining Pending Permit Coordination Procedures,” or the April 1, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency report on “Improving EPA Review of Appalachian Surface Coal Mining Operations under the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act and the Environmental Justice Executive Order” until the agencies go through the formal rule-making process, thus allowing for appropriate comment and disclosures, according to joint press releases issued Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va.
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Natural Gas

Drilling Firms Told to Fork Over Fracking Formulas. – Jill Replogle, Fair Warining, September 13, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency has asked nine drilling companies to provide detailed information about the chemicals they use in a controversial process for extracting natural gas. The technique, known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, involves breaking up underground rock formations to release gas, and is being investigated by the EPA following concerns raised by Congress and the public about its potential effects on public health and drinking water. The EPA asked the companies to reveal the chemical composition of fluids that are mixed with water and sand, then injected at high pressure underground. Drillers say the process is safe, but up to now have declined to disclose the chemical formulas, claiming they are trade secrets. The agency also asked the companies–including Halliburton, Schlumberger and Superior Well Services–to provide data on the impact of fracking fluids on health and the environment.
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EPA begins investigation into hydraulic fracturing. – Danny Bradbury, Business Green, September 13, 2010
The US Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the hydraulic fracturing techniques used by mining companies to determine the controversial practice’s effect on human health and the environment. The EPA has sent letters to nine companies known to employ the process, asking them to disclose the chemical composition of fluids used. The agency has also asked for information about the impacts of the chemicals on human health and the environment, along with data on standard operating procedures at hydraulic fracturing sites, and a list of sites where the companies have carried out the process. Hydraulic fracturing is an increasingly popular way of accessing natural gas deposits in shale rock. Mining operations inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressures to open up seams in the rock and recover natural gas. Although the technique can be productive in accessing natural gas deposits underground, there have been concerns about the effect of the practice on local wells, which some have complained tend to be poisoned by methane as a side-effect of the fracturing technique. There are also some worries about groundwater contamination.
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Green

Lilbourn biodiesel plant reopens. – Michelle Felter, Standard Democrat, September 13, 2010
After sitting empty for almost three years, the biodiesel plant in Lilbourn is up and running under the new name of ME Bio Energy LLC. New owners Mike Ellis and Ruby Mladenobic signed contracts at the Bank of New Madrid on the $7 million plant in mid-May. The plant opened shortly after, working to produce its first batch of biodiesel. After producing the first batch, the plant shut down to send a sample to the Environmental Protection Agency for inspection before opening for full production. Since reopening, about 14,000 gallons of fuel goes through the processing line daily, said Jerry McDowell, plant manager. Biodiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification in which glycerin is separated from fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind two products — methyl esters, which is the chemical name for biodiesel, and glycerin, a byproduct usually sold for use in soaps and other products. Production at ME Bio Energy went into full swing in early July, McDowell said.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Concerns surface about underground pipelines: Leaks, explosion highlight dangers nationwide. – Chris Killian, MLive.com, September 13, 2010
Crews worked Monday to replace pipe at the site of an oil leak outside Chicago that led to a spike in gasoline prices across the Midwest, two days before a congressional hearing on another leak in the same company’s pipeline that spilled an estimated 1 million gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River. Meanwhile, an ominous theme has emerged from the deadly explosion of a natural gas pipeline in California: There are thousands of pipes just like it nationwide and, though utilities have been under pressure for years to better inspect and replace aging gas pipes, the effort has fallen short. Critics say the regulatory system is ripe for problems because the government largely leaves it up to the companies to do inspections, and utilities are reluctant to spend the money necessary to properly fix and replace decrepit pipelines.
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Water

Private lab finds toxic chemicals in Dimock water. – Laura Legere, The Times Tribune, September 16, 2010
Water testing by a private environmental engineering firm has found widespread contamination of drinking water with toxic chemicals in an area of Dimock Twp. already affected by methane contamination from natural gas drilling. Reports of the positive test results first came Monday when Dimock resident Victoria Switzer testified at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing on hydraulic fracturing in Binghamton, N.Y., that the firm Farnham and Associates Inc. had confirmed ethylene glycol, propylene glycol and toluene were present in her water. The firm’s president, Daniel Farnham, said this week that the incidence of contamination is not isolated. Instead, he has found hydrocarbon solvents – including ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene – in the well water of “almost everybody” on and around Carter Road in Dimock where methane traced to deep rock formations has also been found. The chemicals he found in the water in Dimock generally have industrial uses, including in antifreeze, gasoline and paint – except propylene glycol, which is also used in food products.
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Waste

Analysis: Helplessness fuels Kansas anger over EPA. – John Hanna, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, September 13, 2010
Kansas legislators opposed to regulating greenhouse gases are doubly upset because the federal government is forcing the state into limiting emissions, and they don’t yet see a good strategy for preventing it. Some members of a legislative committee reviewing new rules from the federal Environmental Protection Agency argued last week that regulating greenhouse gases will hurt the economy. The committee had a hearing to allow regional EPA officials to explain the changes but used the meeting to vent their frustrations. EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks described states as vital partners in protecting air quality, promised that the EPA is open to comments and welcomed a vigorous debate. But Brooks and Mark Smith, the regional chief of air permitting and compliance, also made it clear that Kansas will be regulating the manmade greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, whether legislators like the idea or not.
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State accused of greenwashing over environmental award for Lake Erie coal plant. – Eartha Jane Melzer, The Michigan Messenger, September 17, 2010
Environmental groups say that a state award given routinely to some of the most highly polluting companies in Michigan is an example of “greenwashing” — defined as “the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly.”  A recent study by the nonprofit Clean Air Task Force found that air pollution from CMS Energy’s 57 year old J.R. Whiting coal plant in Monroe causes 40 deaths a year as well as 61 heart attacks, over 600 asthma attacks, and about 35 emergency room visits for asthma. In a press release and public ceremony this week, however, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment — the agency in charge of enforcing air quality standards — recognized the plant as a Neighborhood Environmental Partner. DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries praised the coal-burning facility for working with the Monroe Lotus Garden Club to propagate, transplant and protect the endangered American Lotus at the plant site and for collaborating with local scouting groups to remove more than 6 cubic yards of trash from a 2 mile long stretch of Lake Erie.
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Climate Change

Arctic Warms, Sea Ice Shrinks, Extinction Risk Grows. – Environmental News Service, September 14, 2010
From foxes to whales to walruses to plankton, Arctic species are being pushed toward extinction by rapid climate change, finds a new report by two conservation groups. In a report released Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity and Care for the Wild International document the situations of 17 Arctic animals trying to survive the effects of climate change and ocean acidification. “The polar bear is the best-known victim of rapid melting in the Arctic, but if we don’t slash greenhouse pollution, many more creatures will follow it down the path to extinction,” said Shaye Wolf, the Center’s climate science director and lead author of the report, “Extinction: It’s Not Just for Polar Bears.”
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Thirty-six Governments to Meet in Mexico on Greenhouse Gas Reductions, Clean Energy / Administrator Jackson, Ministers to advance cooperation on methane reductions. – EPA News Release, September 15, 2010
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will join ministers from the Methane to Markets Partnership countries in Mexico City on Oct. 1. At the meeting, the United States will work with partner nations to encourage global action to reduce methane emission sources and identify possible additional resources to achieve this goal. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in warming the atmosphere. “With methane and other harmful pollutants hurting our world’s atmosphere, addressing climate change and improving air quality are domestic and international priorities that require every country’s help and ideas,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The Methane to Markets Partnership has made tremendous strides in this effort. I’m looking forward to our meeting in October and our continued work together to cut methane emissions worldwide.”
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