Posted by: Steven M. Taber | June 7, 2010

Environmental and Climate Change Law Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 15, June 7, 2010

Vol. 2, No. 15, June 5, 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 on our blog, The Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Blog.

SETTLEMENTS

Connecticut Based Landlord Pays Fine for Failing to Warn Tenants about Lead Paint.EPA News Release, June 2, 2010
A Connecticut landlord has agreed to pay a penalty of $2,140 and perform a lead abatement project valued at $20,360 for allegedly violating federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements. These violations potentially put tenants at risk of exposure to lead hazards. In a recent enforcement action, EPA alleged that Michael Perugini violated the federal Lead Disclosure Rule when he failed to disclose information about lead paint to seven tenants when leasing units at his Bristol apartment buildings. Specifically, Mr. Perugini failed to provide records or reports regarding lead hazards, failed to make sure that the lease included a Lead Warning Statement and a statement disclosing the known or unknown presence of lead- based paint, and failed to provide a copy of EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet to its lessees.

Click HereAlaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to Pay Nearly $1 Million for Alleged Clean Water Act Violations.Department of Justice Press Release, June 2, 2010
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT) has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act at numerous sites in Alaska, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Two of ADOT contractors also entered into settlement agreements with the federal government and have agreed to pay more than a quarter million dollars in civil penalties. Under a settlement agreement filed with the federal court in Anchorage, Alaska, ADOT has agreed to pay $850,000 for acquisition and permanent protection of riverbanks on the Kenai Peninsula. The money will transferred to the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust to protect water quality and salmon habitat in the watersheds where the alleged violations occurred. The ADOT will also pay a $140,000 civil penalty. The settlement also requires both ADOT and its contractors to implement a comprehensive storm water quality training program for its employees.
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Colorado Couple Pleads Guilty to Illegal Trapping and Sale of Bobcats.Department of Justice Press Release, June 2, 2010
A Colorado couple pleaded guilty in a Denver federal court to charges related to the illegal trapping and interstate sale of bobcats, the Justice Department announced today. Jeffrey M. Bodnar, 37, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one felony count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, and one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon. His wife, Veronica Anderson-Bodnar, 46, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of Lacey Act trafficking and one misdemeanor count of making false statements in violation of the Lacey Act. Both defendants reside in Hartsel, Colo.
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Former Beckley Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Environmental Violation.EPA News Release, June 3, 2010
A Beckley, West Virginia man pleaded guilty today for his role in illegally storing hazardous waste. Christopher Shawn Mills, 36, admitted he was involved with chrome plating at Mills Plating shop located on Robert C. Byrd Drive in Beckley from 2004 through 2006. According to court documents, Mills and his business partner, Rodney T. Hoffman, 43, also of Beckley, cleaned out plating tanks and stored the waste material on site without a permit. Both men admitted they were aware the waste material was hazardous when storing it in open containers and vats at the Robert C. Byrd Drive location from October 2006 to February 2007, when it was discovered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Subsequently, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency conducted a cleanup of the site. Mills faces up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine per day of violation when he is sentenced on September 22, 2010. Hoffman previously pleaded guilty in April 2010 for his role in the offense. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 18, 2010.
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Legal Settlement Will Protect Seven Penguin Species at Risk From Global Warming and Fisheries.Center for Biological Diversity, June 4, 2010
A federal judge yesterday approved a settlement that requires the federal government to finalize protections for seven penguin species under the Endangered Species Act. The court-ordered settlement results from a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) challenging the Obama administration’s failure to finalize its determination that these penguins warrant Endangered Species Act protection due to threats from climate change and commercial fisheries. “Penguins are poster children for the devastating effects of climate change,” said Catherine Kilduff, a Center attorney. “The Endangered Species Act provides a springboard for protecting penguins and our planet.”
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Kansas City Pesticide Manufacturer to Pay $6,000 Civil Penalty for Importing Misbranded Pesticide from Argentina.EPA News Release, June 4, 2010
PBI-Gordon Corporation, a Kansas City, Mo., pesticide manufacturer, has agreed to pay a $6,000 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations related to the importation of more than 147 tons of a misbranded pesticide from Argentina. According to a consent agreement and final order filed in Kansas City, Kan., PBI-Gordon Corporation violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by importing a 294,880-pound shipment of the misbranded pesticide 2,4-D Acid to Kansas City in June 2009. The shipment consisted of 152 bags of the pesticide, each containing 1,940 pounds of technical grade 2,4-D Acid, which the company uses to manufacture other pesticide products. Under FIFRA, the bags were considered to be misbranded because they did not have required labeling that must include directions for safe and proper use and handling.
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DECISIONS

Opinion in Butte Environmental Council v. USACE, Case No. 09-15363.Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, June 2, 2010
The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the agencies and the City. It held that “the Corps was neither arbitrary nor capricious when rationally concluding the Stillwater site was the [least environmentally damaging practicable alternative],” and that the FWS’s biological opinion stated “a rational connection between the facts found and the conclusion reached.” (Internal quotation marks and brackets omitted.) The Council timely appealed.  Ninth Circuit affirms District Court’s decision.
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Pivotal Climate Change Test Case Dismissed — For Now. – Elana Schor, The Washington Independent, June 1, 2010
A test case for climate change litigation was dismissed by a federal appeals court on Friday in a little-noticed afternoon ruling, leaving the door open for a Supreme Court appeal by plaintiffs who aim to link major industrial emitters with the environmental consequences of the greenhouse gases they produce. The dismissal by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Comer v. Murphy Oil came after half of the court’s 16 judges recused themselves from hearing the appeal, effectively negating an October decision by a three-judge panel on the same court that allowed the case to proceed. The Comer class action suit was filed by Gulf Coast residents seeking financial damages from more than two dozen oil and coal companies for the local havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, which the plaintiffs argued was exacerbated by the effects of global warming.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Fifth Circuit Punts on Comer v. Murphy Oil Appeal – Dismisses Appeal on Procedural Grounds, Not Merits. – Steven M. Taber, Environmental & Climate Change Law News, June 2, 2010
On May 28, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a rather bizarre decision that left many attorneys scratching their heads.  The appeal by the plaintiffs in the Comer v. Murphy Oil case, in which the plaintiffs alleged that energy companies’ greenhouse gas emissions had caused greater damage from Hurricane Katrina, was dismissed, not on the merits of the case, but based on the arcane procedural rules of appellate law.  With this dismissal of the en banc review of the Fifth Circuit three judge panel decision, there may not be any U.S. Supreme Court review of the issue.
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US District Court Decision in US v. Iron Mountain Mines.U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, May 5, 2010
This case, which has been ongoing for nearly 20 years, involves the Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup of hazardous waste on land where Defendant Iron Mountain Mines is located. Iron Mountain Mines is owned and operated by Defendant T.W. Arman. Previously, Plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment on the issue of Defendants’ liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), 42 U.S.C. §9601 et seq. Judge Levi issued a 2002 order granting partial summary judgment in favor of the United States. (Doc. #1241). Defendants request that the Court reconsider the portion of Judge Levi’s order regarding the divisibility of harm defense.  Motion for Reconsiderations denied.
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Federal judge dismisses environmental groups’ suit over Raritan Bay pollution. – Aliyah Shaid, The Star-Ledger, June 1, 2010
A lawsuit filed by two environmental groups against eight public and private entities over pollution in and around Raritan Bay was dismissed in federal court last week. Judge Joel A. Pisano ruled on Thursday that the state Department of Environmental Protection is in a better position and has the “technical expertise” to handle the situation than federal court.  The two environmental non-profit organizations, the Edison Wetlands Association and the NY/NJ Baykeeper, will appeal, said Bruce Terris a lawyer representing the two groups.
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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in US v. Aerojet General Corp.U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, June 2, 2010
We consider a question that has split the federal courts: May a non-settling PRP intervene in [CERCLA]  litigation to oppose a consent decree incorporating a settlement that, if approved, would bar contribution from the settling PRP? We join the Eighth and Tenth Circuits in holding that the answer is “yes.”
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EPA Orders Manheim Farm to Cease Unpermitted Waste Discharges.EPA News Release, June 2, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has ordered a Manheim Pa. farm to stop discharging pollutants to a stream without a required Clean Water Act permit. On April 1, EPA inspected the farm of Melvin and Moses Petersheim of Manheim Pa. Melvin Petersheim owns and operates an egg-laying operation with approximately 36,000 hens. His brother Moses operates a dairy farm with about 80 dairy cows on the same property. The inspection determined that pollutants, including nitrogen and phosphorus from animal manure from both operations were discharged into an unnamed tributary of Chickies Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Feds hit farm for pollution EPA targets local operation in Chesapeake initiative. – Ad Crable, Lancaster Online, June 3, 2010
Invoking President Barack Obama’s executive order to get serious about cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a Manheim-area farm to stop sending pollutants into a local stream. EPA said it inspected the farm owned by Melvin and Moses Petersheim on April 1 and found it did not have a permit required under the Clean Water Act.
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EPA Orders Two Virginia Farms to Cease Unpermitted Waste Discharges to the Shenandoah River.EPA News Release, June 2, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has ordered two Virginia farms to cease discharging pollutants to a stream without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, as required by the Clean Water Act. On April 14, 2010, EPA conducted a Clean Water Act inspection of Turley Creek Farms in Linville Va., a chicken broiler grower which confines approximately 100,000 chickens. The inspection found that the farm was improperly storing large piles of uncovered chicken manure and evidence that pollutants, including nitrogen and phosphorus, were discharged into Turley Creek, a tributary of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.
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Judge throws out groups’ National Lead lawsuit. – Jennifer Booton, Suburban, June 2,, 2010
A federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups last year over the cleanup of the former National Lead site. The Edison Wetlands Association and NY/NJ Baykeeper filed the suit last August against several parties, including National Lead Industries, the Sayreville Economic and Redevelopment Agency (SERA), Sayreville Seaport Associates (SSA), Middlesex County and the state of New Jersey. The environmental groups accused the defendants of violating the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA), and contributing to the pollution of the Raritan River via the former National Lead site.
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Ninth Circuit Issues Opinion in Mexican Spotted Owl Case, Arizona Cattle Growers v. Salazar.U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, June 4, 2010
We find no fault with the FWS’s designation of habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl. The FWS did not impermissibly treat unoccupied areas as “occupied,” and we hold that it permissibly applied the baseline approach in analyzing the economic impact of the critical habitat designation. The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

EPA files complaint against Gardnerville man.The Associated Press, June 1, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed a complaint against a Gardnerville man for allegedly operating an illegal waste site. EPA officials in San Francisco say Reed Skenandore operates an auto dismantling business on 80 acres of tribal land southeast of Gardnerville and failed to follow environmental regulations for the proper disposal of materials.
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Farm Bureau sues DFG over water rights authority. – Dave Kranz, California Farm Bureau Federation, June 2, 2010
In a case aimed at determining the scope of a long-standing state environmental law, the California Farm Bureau Federation filed a lawsuit that charges the state Department of Fish and Game with exceeding its authority by seeking to regulate farmers’ rights to irrigate their crops. Farm Bureau filed the lawsuit in Siskiyou County Superior Court last week, and said the case has statewide ramifications. On three occasions this spring, the Department of Fish and Game sent letters to farmers and ranchers along the Scott and Shasta rivers in Northern California, warning them of possible civil and criminal penalties if they do not notify the department of their water use and potentially obtain a permit from the agency. That permit, known as a Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement, has never before been required for farmers who use water from the rivers to irrigate crops without actually altering the riverbed itself.
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Sierra Club considers suing EPA over Texas clean-air action. – Randy Lee Loftis, The Dallas Morning News, June 1, 2010
While the EPA goads Texas to reform its air pollution permits, the federal agency is neglecting its own duties under the Clean Air Act, Texas environmentalists say. The Sierra Club said it will file a formal notice today telling the Environmental Protection Agency that it intends to sue the EPA over its failure to act on three Texas clean-air concerns. The group said EPA officials have missed legal deadlines for action on limiting Texas pollution’s effects on neighboring states; reducing pollution from particulate matter, or soot; and regulating ozone, or smog.
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Sierra Club tells EPA to make Texas clean up air or face lawsuit. – Elizabeth Zavala, Star-Telegram, June 2, 2010
The Sierra Club gave the EPA official notice Wednesday that the federal agency has 60 days to make Texas comply with the Clean Air Act or it will be sued in federal court. The conservation group wants the Environmental Protection Agency to step in and enforce the Clean Air Act in Texas. The Sierra Club says Gov. Rick Perry’s administration has not protected Texans from dangerous air pollution and has allowed many of the state’s industries to emit contaminants. Diane Taheri, deputy director of the EPA’s office of external and government affairs, confirmed that the agency received the Sierra Club’s notification Wednesday and that it is under review.
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Manufacturing Sector Challenges EPA on Johnson Memo. – Erin Streeter, National Association of Manufacturers, June 2, 2010
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and 19 other business organizations have filed a petition in federal appeals court challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest interpretation of the so-called “Johnson Memo,” where the Agency stated for the first time that it will apply controls on greenhouse gas emissions on a wide range of manufacturing and other stationary sources in approximately seven months from today — January 2, 2011.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

AISI and Gerdau Ameristeel suing US EPA over Johnson Memo reconsideration.Steel Guru, June 3, 2010
It is reported that two steel industry groups are suing US EPA over its policy for beginning to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources. As per report, American Iron & Steel Institute and Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation this week filed separate lawsuits asking the US District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review EPA’s reconsideration of the so called Johnson Memo. EPA announced in March 2010 that it plans to begin regulating some large stationary facilities in January 2011, when automakers must begin to comply with the agency’s tailpipe standards for greenhouse gas emissions.
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Lawsuit Seeks Full Disclosure of Dispersant Impacts on Gulf’s Endangered Wildlife. – Center for Biological Diversity, Common Dreams, June 2, 2010
The Center for Biological Diversity today filed an official notice of its intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for authorizing the use of toxic dispersants without ensuring that these chemicals would not harm endangered species and their habitats. The letter requests that the agency, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, immediately study the effects of dispersants on species such as sea turtles, sperm whales, piping plovers, and corals and incorporate this knowledge into oil-spill response efforts.
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EU sues six nations to court for failure to adopt green laws. – AFP, Dalje.com, June 3, 2010
The European Commission announced Thursday it is taking six member states to court for failing to transpose EU environmental rules into national law. – EU environmental law is there to protect EU citizens and the environment. I urge those member states that have not done so to put the laws in question on to their national statute books as soon as possible – said the EU’s Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.
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Federal judge to hear state case for shooting wolves next week. – Jason Lamb, KTUU.com, June 3, 2010
A federal judge is planning to hear arguments in the legal battle over predator control on Unimak Island next week in a dispute between the federal and state wildlife agencies. It will take the judge at least until Monday to rule on whether he’ll allow the state Department of Fish and Game to kill wolves in an effort to boost the caribou population on Unimak Island. It’s the biggest island of the Aleutian chain — and also part of a national wildlife refuge.
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Federal-Ind. raid looks for environmental crimes.The Associated Press, June 3, 2010
State and federal environmental and law enforcement agents have raided the office of the Michigan City Sanitary District, confiscating documents and computers in their search for evidence of environmental crimes. Meanwhile, the Indiana Department of Labor has referred a whistleblower complaint against the district to the Indiana attorney general’s office for possible legal action.
The two developments appeared to be related: The Post-Tribune of Merrillville, citing unnamed sources, reported the raid was part of an investigation involving unreported sewer overflows including some into Trail Creek, a major local waterway, and the firing of a whistleblower.
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Calif. reefer unit appeal denied. – Jill Dunn, eTrucker, June 4, 2010
An appeals court has denied the American Trucking Associations’ request for rehearing on the California Air Resources Board’s authority to continue enforcing a measure regarding diesel-fueled Transport Refrigeration Units and TRU generator sets. On June 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied ATA’s petition for a rehearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authorization for CARB to enforce the TRU Airborne Toxic Control Measure.
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

Farmers oppose restrictions on outdoor wood boilers. – Jon Campbell, Star-Gazette, June 1, 2010
An agricultural lobbying group Tuesday spoke out against a state proposal that would restrict the use of outdoor wood boilers while phasing out older models that do not meet federal emissions standards.  The state Farm Bureau said the proposed regulations, which were presented for public comment in April by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, would have a dire economic effect on nearly 10,000 farmers and rural residents that rely on the boilers for heat. The proposal would require that any outdoor wood boilers that were purchased before Sept. 1, 2005, and do not meet federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements be disconnected by Aug. 31, 2015. Any boilers that do not meet the emissions standards purchased since then would be taken out of service by Aug. 31, 2020.
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DEC seeks public input on air toxics. – Julie Sherwood, Messenger Post, June 2, 2010
The state Department of Environmental Conservation will hold an informational meeting June 7, from 1 p.m to 3 p.m., at the DEC Region 8 office, 6274 Routes 5 and 20 in Avon, Livingston County, to discuss potential revisions to the state’s Air Toxics Program. The program aims to protect citizens and the environment from adverse effects of exposure to toxic air contaminants. The program uses computer modeling, air monitoring, and risk assessment methods. DEC wants to make changes to the current program to implement the state Clean Air Compliance Act and federal Clean Air Act, and to streamline the current state air toxics regulatory requirements and guidelines.
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EPA Sets Stronger National Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide First new SO2 standard in 40 years will improve air quality for millions.EPA News Release, June 3, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a final new health standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2). This one-hour health standard will protect millions of Americans from short-term exposure to SO2, which is primarily emitted from power plants and other industrial facilities. Exposure to SO2 can aggravate asthma and cause other respiratory difficulties. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the effects of SO2. “We’re taking on an old problem in a new way, one designed to give all American communities the clean air protections they deserve. Moving to a one-hour standard and monitoring in the areas with the highest SO2 levels is the most efficient and effective way to protect against sulfur dioxide pollution in the air we breathe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This is one of many pollutants we’ve been able to significantly reduce through the Clean Air Act, keeping people healthy, protecting our environment and growing our economy. This new standard — the first in almost 40 years — will ensure continued success in meeting these challenges.”
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

E.P.A. Tightens Sulfur Dioxide Limits. – John M. Broder, The New York Times, June 3, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a new health standard on Thursday for sulfur dioxide emissions, the first such revision in nearly 40 years. The agency said the new standard, adopted under the Clean Air Act, would prevent 2,300 to 5,900 premature deaths and 54,000 asthma attacks a year. The agency estimates the cost to industry of adopting the new rule at $1.5 billion over the next 10 years, and the value of the health benefits at $13 billion to $33 billion a year. Sulfur dioxide, or SO2, is a major element of the exhaust from coal-burning power plants and a component of acid rain. It has been linked to many health problems, including respiratory distress, asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.
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Center for Biological Diversity Statement on EPA Revisions to Sulfur Dioxide Pollution Limits.Center For Biological Diversity News Release, June 3, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency today finalized long-overdue revisions to national pollution standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2) under the federal Clean Air Act. SO2 is a dangerous pollutant commonly found in emissions from industrial sources like coal-fired power plants. Strong scientific evidence links SO2 exposure to respiratory illnesses and injury, especially among people suffering from asthma and other lung diseases. The new rule resulted from a successful lawsuit — brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Valley Watch, and concerned individuals — that required EPA to update the SO2 standard in accordance with current science and the Clean Air Act.
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Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson blasts Gov. Perry’s clean air boasts. – Tom Benning, The Dallas Morning News, June 3, 2010
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson isn’t apparently among those buying Gov. Rick Perry’s assertion that Texas is the “poster child” for clean air. “Texas has one of the worst air quality and ozone problems in the country, in part by refusing to follow the Clear Air Act in Texas,” the Dallas Democrat said in a statement aimed at pushing back against the governor’s recent clean air bragging. “We should not allow industrial polluters to emit high levels of dirty air pollution.”
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Water

EPA Pesticide General Permit for Discharges from the Application of Pesticides.EPA News Release, June 2, 2010
On June 2, 2010, EPA announced the public availability of a draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for point source discharges from the application of pesticides to waters of the United States. This permit is also known as the Pesticides General Permit (PGP). The PGP was developed in response to a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA). The court vacated EPA’s 2006 rule that said NPDES permits were not required for applications of pesticides to U.S. waters. As a result of the Court’s decision, discharges to waters of the U.S. from the application of pesticides will require NPDES permits when the court’s mandate takes effect, on April 9, 2011. Any use patterns not covered by this proposed draft permit would need to obtain coverage under an individual permit or alternative general permit if they involve pesticide application that result in point source discharges to waters of the United States. This general permit will provide coverage for discharges where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority. For discharges in NPDES authorized states, state NPDES authorities will be issuing their permit. EPA estimates that the Sixth Circuit’s ruling will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators nationwide that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually.
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Obama, U.S. EPA push for cleaner Chicago River. – Michael Hawthorne, The Chicago Tribune, June 1, 2010
Walled and fenced off from most of the city, the Chicago River for decades was widely seen as a putrid eyesore where fish and wildlife weren’t welcome, let alone people. But in a significant policy shift, the Obama administration is calling for a once-unfathomable idea: The Chicago River, an erstwhile prairie stream engineered into a sewage canal that flows backward from Lake Michigan, should be safe enough for swimming.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Cleaning up the Chicago River. – Steve Chapman, The Chicago Tribune, June 2, 2010
It seems like a simple choice: Would we rather have a Chicago River that is clean enough for fish to flourish and people to swim? Or would we prefer to let polluters go on dumping filth into the city’s chief waterway? I suspect most Chicagoans would prefer the former. But Mayor Daley, upon learning that the federal government wants to achieve the 1972 Clean Water Act’s mandate of making the river safe for “recreation in and on the water,” told the feds to go jump in a lake — or, to quote him precisely, “go swim in the Potomac.”
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Water officials: A cleaner river would be more dangerous. – Michael Hawthorne, The Chicago Tribune, June 3, 2010
Children could drown and taxpayer dollars would be misspent if the Obama administration moves forward with a proposal to make the Chicago River safe enough for swimming, officials who oversee the waterway said today. Responding to a Tribune story that first reported the administration’s position, top officials at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago said the onetime prairie river has been altered so dramatically that new efforts to improve water quality would not be worth the costs. The district is a taxpayer-funded agency that operates sewage treatment plants for Chicago and the Cook County suburbs. It pumps partially treated wastewater into the river, which was reversed away from Lake Michigan a century ago to separate the area’s waste from its source of drinking water.
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Animal Waste on Factory Farms Comes Under Closer EPA Scrutiny.Environmental News Service, June 1, 2010
In a legal settlement that could affect the entire U.S. meat industry, the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to identify and investigate thousands of factory farms that have been avoiding government regulation for water pollution with animal waste. The settlement requires the agency to propose a rule on greater information gathering on factory farms within the next 12 months. It will require the approximately 20,000 domestic factory farms to report such information as how they dispose of manure and other animal waste.
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Policing the Pesticide Applicators. – Leslie Kaufman, The New York Times, June 3, 2010
The government has proposed a new water cleanup strategy — one that does not involve the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico. In response to a court decision last year that pesticide discharges are pollutants to be regulated under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposal on Wednesday that large pesticide applicators be required to file for permits.
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Waste

Missouri taking steps for better dioxin clean up. – Gabrielle Biondo, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 2, 2010
he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is re-evaluating the two key components to dioxin clean up. It’s a process that could bring crews back to Times Beach and other dioxin dumping sites, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS). Jonathan Garoutte, an Environmental Specialist with the DHSS, said the EPA is reviewing the following: The toxicity of dioxin and its health effects; The starting point for clean up at dioxin sites. Garoutte said the re-evaluation of these two components is driven by science and public health. He explained that the EPA was accepting suggestions nationwide as it began the process and DHSS and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources made some.
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Comment Period On Proposed Crow Wing County Injection Well Permit Extended.EPA News Release, June 3, 2010
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has invited Crow Wing County, Minn., and surrounding area residents to comment on a proposed permit for an underground injection well. EPA is extending the comment period on the proposed Crow Wing County injection well permit a week because a Web address in the newspaper ad was printed incorrectly. The comment period will be extended through July 2.
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Climate Change

Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule. – Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Register, June 3, 2010
EPA is tailoring the applicability criteria that determine which stationary sources and modification projects become subject to permitting requirements for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and title V programs of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act). This rulemaking is necessary because without it PSD and title V requirements would apply, as of January 2, 2011, at the 100 or 250 tons per year (tpy) levels provided under the CAA, greatly increasing the number of required permits, imposing undue costs on small sources,  overwhelming the resources of permitting authorities, and severely impairing the functioning of the programs. EPA is relieving these resource burdens by phasing in the applicability of these programs to GHG sources, starting with the largest GHG emitters. This rule establishes two initial steps of the phase-in. The rule also commits the agency to take certain actions on future steps addressing smaller sources, but excludes certain smaller sources from PSD and title V permitting for GHG emissions until at least April 30, 2016.
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Rockefeller speaks against EPA rules. – Morgan McCormick, The Daily Athenaeum, June 2, 2010
Tea Party activists rallied in front of Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) Charleston office May 25. The group urged the senator to support a measure preventing the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Rockefeller obliged the activists by issuing legislation meant to suspend EPA regulations on GHG’s in West Virginia. He believes such regulations should be handed down by congress rather than the EPA. The U.S. Supreme court has ruled in favor of the EPA and CAA multiple times, most recently in 2007, arguing EPA regulations do not represent an unconstitutional use of executive power. This represents a departure from Bush administration policies in which the EPA had little or nothing to with the regulation of GHG’s.
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Other

EPA Releases Draft Formaldehyde Assessment Report for Peer Review and Public Comment.EPA News Release, June 1, 2010
On June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will release for independent peer review and public comment a draft human health assessment for formaldehyde that focuses on evaluating the potential toxicity of inhalation exposures to this chemical. Formaldehyde is widely used and can be found in many consumer products. This assessment will help EPA and others to determine the level of risk it poses to Americans’ health. EPA undertook this assessment because there have been a number of potentially significant new studies published since EPA’s last review of formaldehyde toxicity.
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EPA Releases Draft Formaldehyde Assessment Report.Environmental Protection, June 3, 2010
On June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released for independent peer review and public comment a draft human health assessment for formaldehyde that focuses on evaluating the potential toxicity of inhalation exposures to this chemical. Formaldehyde is widely used and can be found in many consumer products such as some plywood adhesives, abrasive materials, insulation, insecticides and embalming fluids. The major sources of anthropogenic emissions of formaldehyde are motor vehicle exhaust, power plants, manufacturing plants that produce or use formaldehyde or substances that contain it (glues), petroleum refineries, coking operations, incinerating, wood burning and tobacco smoke.
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EPA faults Kettleman Hills landfill lab. – Michael Grossi, The Fresno Bee, June 2, 2010
A hazardous-waste landfill suspected by Kettleman City residents of causing birth defects has been inaccurately testing treated contaminants for five years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says. Officials at the Waste Management site in Kettleman Hills said they immediately began using an independent testing laboratory last week when the EPA notified them of the problem with their own laboratory. But company officials disagree that their laboratory was producing flawed results.
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BLM seeks public comments on Water Transmission Project. – Bob Conrad, This is Reno, June 2, 2010
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mount Lewis Field Office is seeking public input on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Battle Mountain Water Transmission Project. The EA analyzes the impacts from construction of a six-mile long underground water line and associated water storage tanks, wells, a power line and a service road.  Of the entire project, only 1.5 miles will cross public land in two locations, requiring a right-of-way which would be authorized under the authority of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended.  The remainder of the project will be located on private land.
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Schirm USA, Inc. Eliminating Priority Chemical from Manufacturing Process.EPA News Release, June 4, 2010
Schirm USA, Inc. has pledged to strengthen their commitment to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) by eliminating their use of the priority chemical, trifluralin, from their agricultural chemical processing at their Ennis, Texas, facility.  Already a member of the NPEP program since 2007 for their reduction efforts with mercury, Schirm USA has been working with customers to identify a suitable reformulation of products that would allow for the reduction of trifluralin. This new goal will allow for the complete elimination of trifluralin from their manufacturing processes, one of 31 priority chemicals identified by the NPEP program as being a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemical.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Does the Senate climate bill “gut” the Clean Air Act? – David Roberts, The Grist, June 2, 2010
Does the Senate climate bill tie the EPA’s hands? You increasingly hear from progressives that the American Power Act — the energy and climate bill introduced by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) — “guts” the Clean Air Act. Some groups have put this critique at the center of a campaign to improve the bill. If blog comments and email chatter are any indication, lots of grassroots greens have adopted it as a red line — reason to oppose the bill entirely. So what would the bill do to the Clean Air Act, and how bad would it be? Let’s explore!
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Obama vows to fight for passage of climate-change bill in Senate. – Christi Parsons, The Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2010
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill should inspire the U.S. to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, President Obama said Wednesday, issuing his strongest promise yet to fight for Senate passage of a climate bill. The only way the country will ever transition to clean energy is if the private sector has to pay a price for carbon pollution, Obama told an audience of students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. The House has already passed a bill designed to do that, and a similar plan is pending before the Senate, but passage is imperiled by a flood of issues competing for attention this election year.
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Moulton: Murkowski Resolution Would Leave the Greenhouse Gas Gusher Uncapped. – David Moulton, Roll Call, June 3, 2010
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has announced that as soon as the Senate returns from the Memorial Day break she will force a vote on a resolution to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from capping global warming pollution. That’s odd. As the public is waiting to see how the government will respond to the most massive oil spill in our history, an oozing killer that is turning Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican, into the black pelican, it appears that Murkowski is asking for more of the same. The disaster in the Gulf has reminded everyone of the folly of deregulating as the risks of catastrophe rise. But Murkowski — and her 41 colleagues who have co-sponsored her proposal — want to make the first vote on climate in the Senate this year to be one that allows more pollution.
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Power Companies Lie Back as Push Begins for Senate Bill. – Darren Samuelsohn, Greenwire in The New York Times, June 3, 2010
Some of the country’s largest electric utilities were among the most enthusiastic supporters last month when Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) rolled out their climate and energy bill. “This is a historic achievement,” proclaimed Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Standing nearby were the heads of three major power companies: FPL Group, Duke Energy Corp. and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. But several weeks later, utility industry officials have largely stayed clear of the spotlight on lobbying for the plan that would place mandatory limits on their greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute about a third of the nation’s annual total.
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Following BP CEO Admission of Unpreparedness, Chairman Will Push for 21st Century Safety and Response Technologies in “Oil SOS” Fund.U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, June 3, 2010
Following BP CEO Tony Hayward’s admission that his company did not have a “tool-kit” for a sizeable spill from a deep-water well, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) announced that he would introduce a bill creating an oil company-funded research and development program to create 21st century oil safety and spill response technologies. “From junk shots to top hats, this spill shows that BP and the oil industry paid more attention to drilling ultra-deep instead of creating ultra-safe technologies to prevent and respond to a crisis. The oil companies have not developed new solutions to contain their own pollution,” said Rep. Markey, chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “The oil companies have been more focused on paying shareholder dividends than creating safety devices, and it’s now time to force them into creating 21st century safety and response solutions.”
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A closer look at the Clean Air Act provisions preempted by the Senate climate bill. – David Roberts, Grist, June 4, 2010
I’ve argued that the Senate climate bill takes away some EPA powers under the Clean Air Act but overall gives the agency more power, and specifically that the bill preserves EPA authority to regulate both new and old coal plants, which is the power it most needs. Now let’s take a closer look at the parts of the Clean Air Act that are getting preempted. This could get nerdy, so hang onto your hats! The part of the Clean Air Act designed to address vehicles and other mobile sources (Title II) is untouched by the American Power Act. With the deal Obama is pulling together among the feds, California, and the auto companies — working on auto efficiency standards for 2017 forward — it seems unlikely any attempt to preempt California’s tailpipe standards will succeed on the floor either. There is at least temporary piece in the land on the vehicle front.
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New Draft of Tester Bill Put Together by Senate Committee. – Matthew Koehler, New West, June 4, 2010
Yesterday, members of the Last Best Place Wildlands Campaign called on Senator Tester to make public a new “Discussion Draft” version of the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (FJRA) that was put together by the US Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee and given to Senator Tester last month. Since the Committee’s draft includes significant new language, we believe it’s in the best interest of all Montanans and Americans for Senator Tester to make a copy of the Committee’s draft available for public review and input. This step will ensure transparency and give all members of the public an equal opportunity to review the new draft language.
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ENERGY

Oil

Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP announced as legal scrutiny mounts. – Ben Geman, The Hill, June 1, 2010
A trio of environmental groups has formally notified BP that they are preparing to sue the oil giant for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. Their planned lawsuit is another sign that scrutiny of the oil gusher under environmental law is increasing even as efforts to contain the ongoing spill are in progress. Attorney General Eric Holder is in the Gulf Coast Tuesday to meet with state attorneys general and U.S. attorneys from the region.  The environmental groups — Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Environment America — sent BP a May 28 letter that alleges several violations of BP’s permit under the water protection law.
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U.S launches criminal investigation into oil spill. – Michael O’Brien, The Hill, June 1, 2010
The U.S. government has launched a formal criminal and civil investigation into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday. Holder said during a trip to New Orleans that the government was reviewing whether BP and federal regulators had violated federal laws in the lead-up to the explosion of a BP-leased rig in April, which triggered the massive, ongoing oil spill.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic

Boxer Statement on Opening of Federal Criminal Investigation of BP Oil Spill.U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works News Release, June 1, 2010
“In preparation for the Environment Committee’s hearings on the oil spill, it became clear that BP’s assurances that they could respond effectively to a serious spill at this site were totally at odds with reality. What is happening in the Gulf — eleven people dead, and an entire ecosystem and the jobs that depend on it at risk — justifies a thorough criminal investigation. The Justice Department is doing the right thing for the people of this country and for the people of the Gulf Coast.”
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BP Gulf Spill Prompts Criminal, Civil Investigations by U.S. – Justin Blum and Aaron Kuriloff, Bloomberg Business Week, June 2, 2010
The U.S. Justice Department opened criminal and civil investigations into the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst in U.S. history. “We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who has violated the law,” Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday. “This disaster is nothing less than a tragedy.” Holder announced the probe at a news conference in New Orleans after President Barack Obama earlier in the day called the spill “the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history.” The president said, “My solemn pledge is that we will bring those responsible to justice.”
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Oil spill jail time for BP officials? It could happen. – Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor, June 2, 2010
The US Department of Justice has launched civil and criminal investigations into the events surrounding the BP oil spill. Does that mean people who helped cause the spill will be going to jail? Yes, they might be. Violations of some of the applicable environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act, can result in severe repercussions.  “Clearly, that’s on the table,” says William Snape, a professor at the American University school of law. “I’d say the odds are greater than 50-50 that someone will get jail time or a probationary sentence.”
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Firms operating offshore will have to give information about risks, precautions, MMS says. – Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post, June 2, 2010
The federal agency overseeing offshore energy exploration announced Wednesday that it would require companies operating offshore to provide additional information about the potential risks and safety precautions in their drilling plans. Regulators have failed to demand such disclosures even in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, according to evidence obtained by The Washington Post. The Minerals Management Service exempted more than half a dozen drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico from a detailed environmental review — including the site of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and seven projects in the accident’s wake — after subjecting them to a pro-forma checklist, according to documents released by the Interior Department.
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Company Claims Underwater Clouds of Oil Do Not Exist; Chairman Asks for Evidence.Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, June 1, 2010
Following media reports where BP CEO Tony Hayward claimed that BP had found “no evidence” of underwater oil plumes, even though they have been discovered and documented by scientists, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today sent a letter of inquiry to Hayward asking for documentation to substantiate his claims. “BP in this instance means ‘Blind to Plumes,'” said Rep. Markey, chair of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is leading an investigation into the BP oil spill.
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Factbox: Laws that could be used in oil spill prosecution. – Jeremy Pelofsky, , Reuters, June 1, 2010
Following are federal laws that could be used to prosecute the companies involved in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, including BP Plc, Transocean Ltd, Halliburton Co and Cameron International Corp, among others. Clean Water Act – This is the primary law aimed at keeping U.S. waters clean by making it illegal to discharge any pollutants, unless a permit was obtained. It has been used to prosecute offenders who leak pollution into major bodies of water including the Gulf of Mexico as well as lakes, streams and rivers. Civil penalties can include $1,100 per barrel or up to $4,300 per barrel if negligence is found. There are also criminal misdemeanor or felony charges that could be pursued.
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BP execs probably won’t see slammer. – Jon Gerstein, Politico, June 1, 2010
Tough talk out of the White House on Tuesday about a criminal probe of the oil spill in the Gulf likely conjured up for many Americans the image of high-ranking corporate executives being led off in handcuffs. Not likely, say former prosecutors and other experts on environmental law. Instead, if Attorney General Eric Holder and his team of prosecutors find criminal wrongdoing in the BP oil spill, it likely will result in a much different outcome — a fine.
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Oil Companies Weigh Strategies to Fend Off Tougher Regulation . – Eric Lichtblau and Jad Mouawad, The New York Times, June 2, 2010
When the Obama administration imposed new restrictions last week on offshore drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, officials carved out an exemption that received little public attention: Companies working in shallow waters, unlike deep-sea operators like BP, could again begin drilling for oil and gas. The decision, which followed a furious appeal from lawmakers allied with the oil industry, represented a surprising victory for the shallow-water drillers in the midst of what could prove the biggest environmental disaster in United States history. And it reflected the intense lobbying efforts at work from all sides, as Congress and the administration consider ways to prevent another drilling disaster off the nation’s coasts.
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Feds give BP an incentive to come clean: Stephanie Grace. – Stephanie Grace, The Times Picayune, June 3, 2010
The buck may stop in the Oval Office, as President Barack Obama said last week. But as we’ve all repeatedly heard, legal and practical demands have forced the feds to cede lead repair and cleanup duties in the Gulf of Mexico to BP, the very same company that made the giant mess. At the same time, the U.S. Justice Department is talking tough. The agency announced this week that it’s pursuing not just civil but criminal redress for devastation that Attorney General Eric Holder described after a recent tour of the scene as “heartbreaking.” At a news conference in New Orleans this week, Holder was asked whether the federal government’s two roles, as partner and enforcer, might conflict.
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Shallow-Water Drilling Permits Rescinded. – Stephen Power and Ben Casselman, The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2010
Federal regulators on Thursday rescinded drilling permits issued a day earlier to companies for new oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, prompting market confusion and a spike in oil prices. An administration spokeswoman said the government had told companies seeking permits to drill in shallow water to wait “a day or two” until regulators issued guidelines for new permit requirements for shallow-water drilling projects. Offshore drilling in water less than 500 feet deep wasn’t being banned, the spokeswoman said. The government had earlier issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.
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BP Could Be On The Hook For Billions For Violating Clean Water Act. – Phil Villarreal, The Consumerist, June 3, 2010
On Thursday BP checked its mail and got a love letter from its not-so-secret admirer, the Center for Biological Diversity, notifying the spill-a-riffic British oil giant that it would be sued under the Clean Water Act.  The U.S. government launched a criminal probe into BP’s responsibility for the environment-ruining spill earlier in the week, but the CBD is jumping in to put the heat on BP.
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U.S. EPA hands tied on tough BP sanctions. – Timothy Gardner, Reuters, June 4, 2010
BP (BP.L) Plc’s role as the top supplier of jet fuel to the U.S. military may delay U.S. environmental regulators from barring the company’s lucrative government contracts even if BP is eventually found to have broken laws in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. As a result of the spill, the Environmental Protection Agency will consider its options in limiting future BP government contracts, worth billions of dollars, in a process known as debarment. Before doing so, the EPA needs information from the federal investigation announced this week into the disaster that killed 11 workers and led to the worst oil spill in the country’s history, said a source at the agency who did not want to be named.
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BP could face massive fines under Clean Water Act. – Les Blumenthal, McClatchy News Service, June 4, 2010
If the Obama administration is serious about holding BP and others responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it can start with the federal Clean Water Act, which could allow the federal government to collect as much as $4.7 billion in civil fines just for the oil that’s spilled so far.  Even if the courts allow the fines, however, there are no guarantees that the money would go to the cleanup and economic recovery of the Gulf Coast, according to legal experts. Though other laws could come into play, the Clean Water Act may provide the best avenue for legal action. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, the law was beefed up to include harsh civil and criminal penalties for oil spills.
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Gas

What’s the Impact of the Marcellus Shale on our Environment? – Debra Diamond Smit, Pop City, June 2, 2010
Pittsburgh is at the center of another energy revolution. The drilling of the Marcellus Shale promises jobs in areas hard hit by unemployment, lucrative leases for landowners and a new energy economy. The potential is staggering. As one industry executive put it, Pennsylvania is to natural gas what Saudi Arabia is to oil. The Marcellus will be bigger to PA than the blast furnace, says another. Companies are coming in from all over the world. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection has handed out drilling permits for more than 3,000 wells to date. This is only the beginning of a job boom that many say will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and generate tremendous wealth.
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National conservation group says Delaware River most at risk from fracking. – Victor Whitman, Times Herald-Record, June 3, 2010
With drilling supporters heckling in the crowd, environmentalists announced on Wednesday that the Delaware River had been named by an influential national conservation group as America’s most endangered river of 2010. American Rivers, a Washington, D.C.- based advocacy group, says the prospect of widespread hydraulic fracturing in the watershed poses a great threat as long as energy companies hope to tap into vast reserves of natural gas in the Marcellus shale. Since 1986, American Rivers has chosen 10 rivers that face major threats.
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Emergency crews contain Pa. gas well leak. – Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 5, 2010
Natural gas and polluted drilling water shot out of a rural Pennsylvania well after an accident late Thursday night caused by unexpectedly high gas pressure. Department of Environmental Protection officials say no drilling water has spilled into a waterway, although the accident occurred in an environmentally sensitive area in the SB Elliott State Park in Clearfield County. Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency officials said that the accident had been contained as of 12:15 p.m.
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Coal

Ohio Coal Plant Linked to $30m in Annual Economic Damage. – Bruce Nilles, Sierra Club Compass, June 2, 2010
We regularly dispute Big Coal when they say coal is not bad for the environment – now we have another example of how this dirty, outdated power source is costing jobs and damaging the economy in one state. The Sierra Club just co-released a report showing that the Bay Shore coal-fired power plant in Oregon, Ohio, causes nearly $30 million in damages to the state’s economy every year. The report, produced by Genter Consulting and co-released by the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association, Ohio Citizen Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Ohio Environmental Council, the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, and the Ohio Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, shows that this massive economic damage is caused by the plant’s antiquated cooling system.
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Biofuels

The Economics of Ethanol Tariffs. – Robert Rapier, Energy Digital, June 1, 2010
The ethanol industry is lobbying hard to extend two pieces of legislation that expire at the end of 2010—one is the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC). The VEETC is collected by the fuel blender, generally oil refiners, for meeting their legal obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). But the VEETC does not require that the ethanol be domestically produced. A gasoline blender buying ethanol from Brazil receives the same VEETC as ethanol purchased from a producer in Iowa. Therefore, imported ethanol is subjected to a 2.5 percent ad valorem tax and an additional 54 cents a gallon surcharge. The ethanol import tariff is the second major piece of ethanol legislation set to expire at the end of 2010.
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New Report Reveals Major Threats to Forests and Communities from Bioenergy. – Global Justice Ecology Project, Common Dreams, June 2, 2010
Global Justice Ecology Project, Global Forest Coalition and Biofuelwatch [1] released Wood-based Bioenergy: The Green Lie, [2] at the UN climate talks today in Bonn, Germany.  The report shows that increased support for the burning of wood to produce energy (bioenergy) is triggering increased logging and expansion of industrial tree plantations in the U.S., Ghana, the Congo, Brazil and West Papua.  U.S. plans for large-scale expansion of bioenergy and the U.S. Climate Bill promotion of biochar [3], combined with the recent USDA approval of a large-scale release of GE trees in the U.S. South, threaten to devastate forests and communities. The demand for trees for so-called “renewable energy” from wood in the form of wood-fired power stations as well as the co-firing of wood with coal is massively increasing.  It will further escalate with an entirely new market for biochar through subsidies and carbon offsets.  It coincides with a USDA decision to allow the planting of over a quarter of a million GE eucalyptus trees across seven states in the U.S. South.
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Ethanol Risk Reduction: Part II, Public Safety. – Evan K. Nyer and Ashly Insco, ARCADIS, June 3, 2010
Public Safety should be an integral part of the facility design and operation process-which includes public safety in the distribution of the product.  Transportation safety will be covered in the last of the series.  The focus of this article is public safety as it relates to the plant operation. The Clean Air Act 112(r) program (Risk Management Plan aka RMP) is both a statutory and regulatory program.  It states owners and operators of stationary sources producing, processing and storing extremely hazardous substances have a general duty to identify hazards associated with an accidental release, design and maintain a safe facility, and minimize consequences of accidental releases that occur. The RMP includes an executive summary, registration information, off-site consequence analysis, five-year accident history, prevention program and emergency response program. If your facility produces and or stores these hazardous substances in a quantity that removes your facility from regulation you should still establish a robust RMP.
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Solar

$45 million solar plant in the works for Boise. – Bethann Stewart, The Idaho Statesman, June 3, 2010
It seems like a no-brainer for a desert city: harness the sun to power our computers and air conditioners. But a lot has to be worked out before that can happen.  In addition to a lease agreement with the city, an interconnection with Idaho Power Co. has to be negotiated, and the plan needs Federal Aviation Administration approval due to its proximity to the airport, said Mark van Gulik, president of Sunergy World, which hopes to build a 10-megawatt solar power generating plant by the end of next year.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Water

Three Steps to Cure Our Ailing Ocean. – Dr. Greg Stone, TreeHugger, June 2, 2010
Twenty years ago when I had the opportunity to dive to 18,000 feet in the Japanese research submersible, Shinkai 6500 in the Sea of Japan I fantasized about the amazing animals our team might see deep on the ocean floor: rat-tails, deep sea sharks, and octopi. But when we reached the sea bottom, it was littered with trash that included food bags, soda cans, empty boxes, and even a broken toy doll. I shudder to imagine what that same sea bottom looks like today. But, despite the problems the ocean faces thanks to humans, there is a prescription to cure it.
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Climate Change

World Is at Warmest on Record, NASA’s Hansen Says. – Alex Morales, Bloomberg Business Week, June 2, 2010
The global temperature this year reached its warmest on record based on a 12-month-rolling average, James Hansen, the top climate change scientist at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said today.  The mean surface temperature in the year through April was about 0.65 of a degree Celsius (1.17 degree Fahrenheit) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to a graph in a 37-page draft paper on the website of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. That makes it a fraction warmer than the previous peak in 2005. Absolute temperatures weren’t published in the paper.
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NYC Plans to Adapt to Climate Change.Environmental Leader, June 2, 2010
New York City published its plans to adapt itself to a changing climate last week. The report outlines recommendations by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) for the city government in order to prepare the city for changing climatic conditions. The report cites climate change as a key factor in several emergency situations already facing the city, including the extreme weather that disrupted public transportation in August 2007. Rising sea levels and temperatures, both of which the report says is already happening, will continue to strain city-wide infrastructure, and will interact with other stresses such as pollution and population growth. Increasing heat and heat waves, storm surge, and inland flooding are all like to occur with greater frequency, hampering operations and damaging buildings and infrastructure.
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2009-10 set global warming record, NASA report says. – Bloomberg News, The Dallas Morning News, June 3, 2010
The global temperature this year reached its warmest on record based on a 12-month rolling average, James Hansen , the top climate change scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said Wednesday. The mean surface temperature in the year through April was about 1.17 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to a draft paper on the website of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. That makes it a fraction warmer than the previous peak, in 2005.
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Study: Coral atolls hold on despite sea-level rise. – Ray Lilley, The Associated Press, June 3, 2010
Some South Pacific coral atolls have held their own or even grown in size over the past 60 years despite rising sea levels, research showed Thursday. Some scientists worry that many of the tiny, low-lying islands throughout the South Pacific will eventually disappear under rising sea levels. But two researchers who measured 27 islands where local sea levels have risen 4.8 inches (120 millimeters) — an average of 0.08 inch (2 millimeters) a year — over the past 60 years, found just four had diminished in size.
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Climate change: Winners and losers within sectors start to emerge. – Mike Scott, Financial Times, June 3, 2010
The response to climate change has been uneven across sectors. Some have taken the opportunity to make widespread changes, while others have moved less quickly. Two types of companies have been most affected by climate change. First, fossil- fuel-intensive ones, such as energy producers, miners, steelmakers and cement groups, and, second, businesses with a strong consumer focus. The Carbon Disclosure Project found that utilities and energy companies stood out when it came to identifying risks and opportunities of climate change, but financial services companies – which are very consumer-focused – also did well.
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Report: climate change could affect ocean species off Marin’s shores. – Mark  Prado, Marin Independent Journal, June 3, 2010
Plants and animals that thrive in and near the waters off Marin’s coast could begin to migrate as climate change takes hold, according to a report released Thursday. The report – by advisory councils from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National marine sanctuaries – examines how global warming could affect habitats, plants and animals in the region’s ocean and coastal zones. “We want to know what will happen when air and sea temperatures begin to warm and the water becomes more acidic – are these birds and pinnipeds going to leave?” said Robert Douros, regional manager for the office of marine sanctuaries. “Are they going further north? If they do, what will be here in their place? These are problems and issues that we are just beginning to address.”
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Will the Midwest Turn Its Back on Addressing Climate Change? – Christa Marshall, ClimateWire in The New York Times, June 4, 2010
In 2008, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm proclaimed her state was ready to be the Silicon Valley of clean energy. The two-term Democrat later issued an order making the permitting process more difficult for coal plants, a move that was followed by almost all of Michigan’s proposed coal generators being canceled by companies or denied by the state. At the same time, she pressed for now-in-place wind and solar tax credits and the implementation of a planned regional accord to control greenhouse gases. Now, those energy initiatives are up in the air.
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Other

Prosecuting Crimes Against the Earth. – David M. Uhlmann, The New York Times, June 3, 2010
“IF our laws were broken … we will bring those responsible to justice,” President Obama pledged on Tuesday, in announcing an investigation of the events leading to the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. His words may have been, in part, political damage control; efforts to contain the spill remain dire. But federal prosecutors have been working behind the scenes for weeks to determine whether BP, Transocean (the owner of the rig) and Halliburton (the company that did the cementing job on the deep-ocean well) should be charged with crimes. Now, it’s up to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to ensure that the legal response to the calamitous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is better than the emergency response.
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Asbestos Still a Concern.World Simple, June 3, 2010
With all of the information about asbestos that has been circulating within the past few decades, many people have been led to believe that this substance has been banned outright by the United States government. Unfortunately, even though it has been proven to lead directly to deadly diseases, such as the rare and aggressive cancer called mesothelioma, asbestos is still found in a wide range of products in the United States and around the world, and the Environmental Protection Agency has never issued a general ban on the use of asbestos.
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