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

Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Newsletter, September 7, 2010, vol. 2, no. 25

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

Wayne County, Neb., Landowner and Excavation Contractor to Pay $30,000 Civil Penalty for Building Unauthorized Dam. – EPA News Release, August 30, 2010
A Wayne County, Neb., landowner and a Madison, Neb., excavation contractor will pay a $30,000 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations that they used earth-moving equipment to construct a dam on a tributary of Spring Branch Creek without first obtaining a necessary permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Bill Willers, of Norfolk, Neb., and Shannon Kurpgeweit, doing business as Custom Excavation, allegedly violated the federal Clean Water Act by discharging dredged or fill material into an unnamed tributary of the creek that runs through Willers’ property, creating the earthen dam. The dam was documented by a Corps of Engineers inspection of the site in October 2009. Construction of the dam impacted more than a quarter-mile stretch of the creek, and at least 1.13 acres of adjacent wetland, according to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan.
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Judge OKs settlement over Hastings contamination. – The Associated Press, August 31, 2010
The city of Hastings will pay $1 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and provide $1.7 million in in-kind services toward contamination cleanup under a settlement approved Monday by a federal judge. The EPA filed a lawsuit, along with a notice of proposed settlement, last month in U.S. District Court seeking payment for federal costs from cleaning up the site of its old police station. The EPA spent $14.1 million to clean up the site, according to court documents. City documents outlining the settlement show Hastings will make five payments totaling $1 million by Jan. 10, 2014, and contribute $1.7 million in in-kind services toward cleanup efforts during the next 10 to 13 years. The services could include removing three buildings from the site, providing security at the site and attending planning meetings. The old Hastings police station, dubbed the Second Street Subsite, is one of at least six sources of contamination the EPA has identified in the city. The settlement applies only to cleanup at the Second Street Subsite.
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EPA, Simplot reach deal on phosphorus cleanup. – Todd Dvorak, Business Week, September 2, 2010
Federal environmental officials say efforts by the J.R. Simplot Co. to reduce the flow of phosphorus into the Portneuf River near Pocatello are paying off. Environmental Protection Agency researchers said their latest data shows phosphorus concentrations in the river have declined by 50 percent compared to peak levels recorded in 2006. While the decline is encouraging, EPA officials caution the new data is just a snapshot, and far from the long-term data needed to get an accurate assessment of efforts to clean up the river. “The reductions are much faster than what we expected to see,” said Kira Lynch, remedial project manager for the site. “We’re hopeful that we’re going to keep seeing dramatic reductions.” The agency and company filed a consent decree in federal court Wednesday that puts in legal language the company’s new multimillion dollar plans for reducing phosphorus discharges into the river.
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DECISIONS

Arkema, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency. – Opinion, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, August 27, 2010
Preparing for the intermediate reduction in HCFC production in 2010 (the “2010 stepdown”), the EPA initiated a new rulemaking in late 2008. See Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Adjustments to the Allowance System for Controlling HCFC Production, Import, and Export, 73 Fed. Reg. 78,680 (proposed Dec. 23, 2008) (Proposed Rule). The EPA outlined five possible approaches in the Proposed Rule, one of which was to continue the existing cap and trade system and reduce the caps pro rata. Id. at 78,687. In the Final Rule, however, the EPA chose to honor only intercompany transfers of baseline allowances and to disallow permanent baseline changes resulting from inter-pollutant trades. Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Adjustments to the Allowance System for Controlling HCFC Production, Import, and Export, 74 Fed. Reg. 66,412, 66,421-22 (Dec. 15, 2009) (Final Rule). Arkema Inc. (“Arkema”), Solvay Flourides, LLC, and Solvay Solexis, Inc. (“Solvay”) (collectively Petitioners) filed this consolidated action arguing the Final Rule is arbitrary and capricious and has an impermissibly retroactive effect as to their HCFC baseline allowances. We agree the Final Rule unacceptably alters transactions the EPA approved under the 2003 Rule, and we therefore vacate the Final Rule in part and remand it to the EPA.
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Kahoka, Mo., Landowners and Two Businesses Ordered to Halt Hazardous Waste Pollution at Chemical Processing Site. – EPA News Release, September 2, 2010
EPA Region 7 has ordered the owners of a Clark County, Mo., property, along with an Illinois minerals brokerage firm, and a Missouri company that processes materials at the location, to immediately halt the handling and processing of hazardous materials that have contaminated the property and an adjacent stream. TNT General Contracting, Inc., of Kahoka, Mo.; Webb Minerals, LLC, of Quincy, Ill.; and the Carl and Carol Trump Trust, of Kahoka, are the respondents of a unilateral administrative order issued today by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan. The order directs the respondents to take a series of actions in regard to the site, including the development of a plan to clean up the property and any surrounding areas that may be polluted. “This case was initiated by our partners at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, who performed an initial inspection for hazardous waste issues at the site, and then returned to collect soil and water samples that confirmed the need for additional action,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “EPA is well positioned to bring this enforcement action, as it involves parties outside the State of Missouri, and a potentially hazardous situation affecting water quality near the Mississippi River.”
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Orders Issued to Missouri Department of Transportation for Construction Stormwater Violations in Camden, Wayne Counties. – EPA News Release, September 2, 2010
EPA Region 7 has issued a pair of administrative orders to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), citing multiple violations of stormwater permits that were issued for state construction projects along U.S. Highway 54 Expressway in Camden County, and U.S. Highway 67 in Wayne County. EPA’s orders, filed today in Kansas City, Kan., direct MoDOT to comply immediately with the terms of the respective permits for the two highway construction projects, which were issued to MoDOT by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) under the authority of the federal Clean Water Act. “Stormwater runoff from construction sites can harm the environment in several ways,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “Sediment from construction runoff negatively impacts water quality. It results in greater cloudiness of water bodies, and decreases their oxygen content, which results in loss of habitat for fish and other aquatic life. It can also result in fish kills, and reduced growth of beneficial aquatic plant life.”
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Court Denies American Vanguard’s Motion to Lift Stop Sale Order. – Market Watch, September 3, 2010
American Vanguard Corporation /quotes/comstock/13*!avd/quotes/nls/avd (AVD 6.94, +0.07, +1.02%) today announced that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has denied the Company’s motion for emergency and injunctive relief from a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order that had been issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency relating to the Company’s USEPA-registered pentachloronitrobenzene (PCNB) product line. The Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Amvac Chemical Corporation, manufactures, distributes and sells PCNB as a fungicide for use primarily on turf with the bulk of sales occurring in September and October. The agency issued the stop sale order without warning on the ground that the company did not identify trace impurities in the product in a submission to the agency called a confidential statement of formula (“CSF”), despite the fact that the agency was otherwise made aware of these impurities nearly 20 years ago and that, in the Company’s view, the agency never determined that the impurity had to be listed on the CSF. In its motion for relief and in oral argument, the Company argued that the law does not permit the agency to stop sales of an approved product before giving the registrant due process. Although temporary relief was denied, the Company remains free to seek a preliminary injunction against USEPA.
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

Environmental groups file motion to intervene in lawsuit brought by Texas against EPA. – Caroline Calais, Dallas Examiner, August 30, 2010
The squabble over Texas’ flexible air permits goes on. Friday the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit brought by Attorney General Greg Abbott and the State of Texas against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Last month Texas sued the EPA over its rejection of the state’s flexible air permit program. “It’s shocking for the Obama Administration to target a 16-year-old air quality program that has achieved a 22 percent reduction in ozone and 53 percent reduction in NOx from regulated sources since 2000”, said Governor Rick Perry. “Texas’ air quality program has outperformed federal programs in virtually every category”. But according to the environmental groups EPA’s disapproval of the program was proper and an anticipated action as the agency put all affected industries on notice in 2007 and took public comment in 2009.
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Port of Tacoma ordered to restore wetlands destroyed by unauthorized work in Commencement Bay . – EPA News Release, September 2, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the Port of Tacoma to restore wetlands destroyed by unauthorized work at two locations in the Commencement Bay area. An EPA investigation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uncovered the destroyed wetlands on property the port planned to develop. The damage occurred on the Hylebos Peninsula at the former Hylebos Marsh Wildlife Restoration Project site. The work was done without a Clean Water Act permit in violation of federal law. The violations occurred in wetlands that provided wildlife habitat and prevented contaminants from entering Puget Sound. Hylebos Marsh contained mature forested wetlands prior to the damage.
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EPA orders Port of Tacoma to restore wetlands. – The Associated Press, September 2, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering the Port of Tacoma to restore wetlands it destroyed in the Commencement Bay area. The EPA said Thursday the port filled in over five acres of wetlands that provided wildlife habitat and prevented contaminants from entering Puget Sound. It says the port violated federal law by not getting a permit. The violations occurred at Hylebos Marsh in 2008 and at another site in 2006. The EPA says the port cleared and graded wetlands at Hylebos Marsh to eliminate an invasive snail infestation at the request of federal and state agencies. The EPA says the port was told to get a permit for work in wetlands areas and it didn’t do so. A call to the Port of Tacoma by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.
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EPA cites MoDOT for stormwater permit violations. – The Associated Press, September 3, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency has cited the Missouri Department of Transportation for violating stormwater permits at two construction projects. The EPA’s regional office in Kansas City, Kan., said it issued MoDOT administrative orders Thursday citing several violations of stormwater permits issued for construction projects in Camden and Wayne counties. A MoDot spokeswoman said the department takes the citations seriously and has taken steps to address the violations, which she said occurred after heavy rainfalls. The EPA said inspections at the Camden County site along U.S. 54 Expressway in May found that MoDOT’s violations resulted in sediment being discharged into the Lake of the Ozarks. Violations at the Wayne County site along U.S. Highway 67 resulted in sediment discharges into several area creeks.
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

Local air quality determination delayed. – Rob Pavey, The Augusta Chronicle, August 30, 2010
Residents of Richmond, Aiken and Columbia counties will have to wait a little longer to learn whether those areas will comply with stricter air quality standards imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The new rules, which will place tighter limits on smog-related ozone, were due to be released today or Tuesday, but have been delayed until the end of October, said Augusta-Richmond County Planning Director Paul DeCamp, who is also a member so the CSRA Air Quality Alliance. “We got word late last week that they are still not through,” he said. “They are still getting their proposal in a final form.”
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Aiken may not meet new EPA air quality standards. – Haley Hughes, The Aiken Standard, August 30, 2010
Aiken County does not yet know whether it meets air quality standards set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was expected to propose a stricter benchmark for ground-level ozone this week, but has delayed setting the new rules until the end of October because it is still in the process of compiling its final report, according to S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control Air Quality Chief Myra Reece. The new standard will further limit ground-level ozone, a main component in smog, and will be the mechanism by which communities measure whether they adhere to federal health-based standards for outdoor pollution detailed in the U.S. Clean Air Act.
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EPA Disapproves Components of TCEQ’s Air Permitting Program. – EPA News Release, August 31, 2010
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disapproved aspects of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) clean-air permitting program that do not meet federal Clean Air Act requirements. EPA sought public comment on its proposed disapproval of “NSR Reform” components of the New Source Review (NSR) program which was published in the Federal Register in September 2009 and considered comments in reaching its final decision. EPA has been working with the state and interested parties to better align TCEQ’s air permitting program with federal requirements and existing state programs, so that air permitting in the state will better protect air quality for all Texans. TCEQ continues to have the authority to issue permits under prior EPA approval of its 1992 NSR program.
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EPA rejects pollution permit system. – Randy Lee Loftis, The Dallas Morning News, September 1, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency rejected the latest in a series of Texas air-pollution permit systems on Tuesday, this one dealing with new or expanded industrial plants. The EPA said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s new source review program did not meet Clean Air Act requirements. The program is one of several in Texas that the EPA has rejected over the past year. Texas officials say their programs are legal and have resulted in lower emissions. Tensions between the EPA and Texas have led to lawsuits by the state and outcries from Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who have called the EPA actions an illegal and politically motivated power grab. EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz says the moves are necessary to protect public health and to ensure the state’s compliance with federal law.
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EMA Chairman Urges for Continuity of Trading at EPA Public Hearing. – PRLog, September 1, 2010
Today the Chairman of the Environmental Markets Association (EMA), Thad Huetteman, urged for regulatory certainty at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Public Hearing Proposed Rule: Implementation Plans to Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone. As the leading US-based trade association focused on promoting market-based solutions such as emissions trading to meet environmental challenges, EMA has two primary objectives: 1) to assist in the formation of sound public policy in flexible environmental regulation; and 2) to encourage the spread of trading industry best practices through effective education, training, and member networking.  In the aftermath of the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision in North Carolina vs. EPA crippling uncertainty has undermined confidence in the continued viability of emissions trading.  EMA recognizes EPA’s efforts in the proposed Transport Rule to preserve a critical role for emissions trading in environmental regulation, while working within the bounds of the Court decision to guarantee that interstate transport of pollutants does not interfere with attainment in downwind states.
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EPA requires stronger air quality plan for Phoenix / EPA proposes to disapprove inadequate plan. – EPA News Release, September 3, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to disapprove Maricopa County’s air quality plan because it does not adequately control emissions of coarse particulate matter. Phoenix has an air quality problem that EPA is committed to solving. Too many residents in our nation’s 5th largest city suffer from asthma, chronic lung disease and other breathing disorders resulting from particulate air pollution,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The State’s plan does not achieve the emission reductions needed for Maricopa County. While it does take some steps to control pollution, more aggressive measures are needed to achieve air quality standards.” The Maricopa area is considered in “nonattainment” for coarse particulate matter (PM-10) — meaning the air quality fails to meet national standards for this pollutant. The State of Arizona submitted a plan in 2007 intended to ensure that coarse particulate matter was reduced by five percent each year until the standard was attained. The State did not correctly inventory the sources of PM-10, resulting in a plan that does not satisfy the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act. Additionally, the State contends that many of the days with poor air quality, when particulates exceed the standards, are due to “exceptional events” such as dust storms. But EPA has determined that a legally significant number of these exceedances were not caused by “exceptional events.”
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EPA: County’s air plan falls short. – Shannon McKinnon, The Arizona Republic, September 4, 2010
Maricopa County got the bad news it feared Friday when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would reject the major components of the region’s dust-control plan. The EPA’s ruling, if made final in January, could delay or derail billions of dollars in transportation projects over the next decade and leave the county vulnerable to other penalties if it can’t satisfy terms of the Clean Air Act. Valley motorists could feel the effects of the decision long before any sanctions are imposed. In its 80-page decision, the EPA said the county’s attempts to control coarse dust particles rely too much on construction-site dust and not enough on other pollution sources, such as vehicle traffic.
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New-car fuel-economy stickers promise abundant information and connectivity. – Eric Evarts, Consumer Reports Cars blog, September 2, 2010
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put two basic proposals out to consumers for a vote. These car window stickers provide much more detailed information than today’s Monroney stickers, giving consumers details on energy consumption and environmental impact. Behind those proposed fuel-economy grade labels are a lot of numbers, including:  City and highway fuel economy ratings Long-term fuel costs Comparative ratings against all other cars Greenhouse gas emissions in grams per mile, as well as a comparison against all other cars A bar comparing air pollution that is not included in the overall letter grade One proposal includes all this information, along with a letter grade that attempts to sum it all up into one ranking. The other one contains less information, boiling it all down to overall energy cost for five years.
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The EPA’s new gas-mileage labels are good but not perfect. – The Washington Post, September 3, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is asking for comments on its proposed new gas mileage stickers for automobiles — so here’s ours. On the whole, both of the agency’s two suggested alternative stickers represent much-needed improvement over current fuel-economy labeling. They more clearly and brightly inform consumers of exactly how much fuel the various models can be expected to consume, how much greenhouse gases they can be expected to emit and how they perform in comparison to similar models. We especially like the part where the EPA estimates how much gas money the labeled car would save the consumer over an average vehicle. But we have reservations about the version that awards vehicles letter grades ranging from “A” to “D” based on their fuel economy and emissions. This seems to cross an important line between informing the public — an appropriate role for government — and salesmanship — a dubious mission. A related problem is that the EPA’s proposed letter grades apply to all vehicles regardless of their fuel source. Thus, they would compare apples (electric vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids) to oranges (gas-powered cars and trucks). Nissan’s all-electric Leaf due out later this year, would earn an “A-plus” from the EPA, because it directly emits no carbon dioxide and consumes no gasoline. But the highest grade even the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car could earn is a “B.” And the high grades for electrics may be misleading. Their power would ultimately derive from a utility somewhere, which might be low-carbon nuclear or high-carbon coal. In practice, it’s very hard to sort out this complexity to everyone’s satisfaction.
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Water

EPA releases results of Wyoming water well testing. – Sarah Hoye, CNN, August 31, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigating drinking water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming, found benzene and methane in wells and in groundwater, agency officials said. At a community meeting with well owners, EPA officials revealed Tuesday they found low levels of petroleum compounds in 17 of 19 drinking water wells sampled, and that nearby shallow groundwater was contaminated with high levels of petroleum compounds such as benzene, according to the report. The affected well owners were advised not to drink the water at the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and told to use alternate sources of water for drinking and cooking, agency officials said. Meanwhile, the EPA is working with various government partners and EnCana, a natural gas company, to provide affected residents with water and to address potential sources of the contamination, agency officials said.
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EPA & USDA Working Together On Bay Cleanup Funding. – The Associated Press, September 1, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency says it is coordinating funding with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Chesapeake Bay restoration. Officials from the two agencies plan to visit an Eastern Shore farm on Wednesday to talk about how projects totaling $5.5 million will help meet goals under a strategy mandated by President Barack Obama’s executive order. EPA spokesman Travis Loop says the projects represent unprecedented coordination as a result of the order. The six bay states also face a Wednesday deadline for plans to meet the strategy’s goals. Agriculture is a key sources of bay pollution and farmers have achieved some of the greatest pollution cuts. However, some have questioned whether those gains are being accurately tracked.
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Virginia to miss bay restoration strategy deadline. – Alex Dominguez, The Associated Press, September 1, 2010
Virginia will miss a deadline for filing its Chesapeake Bay restoration plan with the EPA and has asked for more time to make sure the governor fully supports the plan, an official said Wednesday. Wednesday was the deadline for the six states to deliver their bay watershed implementation plans to the federal Environmental Protection Agency to meet goals under a strategy ordered by President Barack Obama. However, EPA official Jon Capacasa said during a conference call that Virginia had asked for a couple of days and that the plan was expected Friday. Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, issued a statement confirming that the EPA approved an extension. “We needed a slight extension to ensure that the governor was fully briefed on Virginia’s response,” Martin’s statement said. It was also necessary to make sure the report was complete, he said.
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Delaware Releases Draft Plan for Local Efforts for Cleaner Chesapeake Bay. – Delmarva Town Crier, September 1, 2010
Delaware’s draft long-range plan for reducing pollutants from entering local waterways that lie within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed– was posted today on the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) website and made available for public review. Delaware’s draft Watershed Implementation Plan (Phase I) was also submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meeting the EPA’s deadline of September 1. Delaware is among six Chesapeake Bay Watershed states – Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York – and the District of Columbia committed to a federal-state initiative to develop a pollution “diet” that will help restore the water quality of the Bay and its tidal waters by 2025, with 60 percent of the work to be completed by 2017. The public is invited to attend an EPA workshop to be held in early October to learn more and ask questions of the EPA and Delaware. In addition, DNREC is offering to meet with interested organizations before Oct. 30 to explain and review the draft. Written public comments will also be accepted through Oct. 30.
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Plan to clean up Chesapeake Bay released Farms, sewage plants and stormwater systems will be targeted. – Ad Crable, Lancaster Online.com, September 2, 2010
Pennsylvania says it will make required dramatic reductions in the amount of nutrients and soil washing into the Chesapeake Bay by putting caps on sewage plants, improving stormwater control in urban areas and pressing farmers to ramp up anti-pollution efforts. The “road map of changes” is contained in a 170-page draft plan that Pennsylvania and five other states and the District of Columbia had to submit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday. Virginia asked for a two-day extension of the deadline. The federal government, acting on marching orders from President Barack Obama to pull out the stops in saving the bay, has told Pennsylvania it needs to reduce the amount of polluting nutrients and sediment reaching the bay and local streams by about one-third by 2025. “Pennsylvania is committed to protecting and enhancing our streams and watersheds,” says the report, submitted by Gov. Ed Rendell and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
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New Report Warns of Expanding Threat of Hypoxia in U. S. Coastal Waters/Declining oxygen levels in nation’s waters forming dead zones, destroying habitats. – EPA News Release, September 3, 2010
A report issued today by key environmental and scientific federal agencies assesses the increasing prevalence of low-oxygen “dead zones” in U.S. coastal waters and outlines a series of research and policy steps that could help reverse the decades-long trend. The interagency report notes that incidents of hypoxia—a condition in which oxygen levels drop so low that fish and other animals are stressed or killed––have increased nearly 30-fold since 1960. Incidents of hypoxia were documented in nearly 50 percent of the 647 waterways assessed for the new report, including the Gulf of Mexico, home to one of the largest such zones in the world. The impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico was not considered in this report because the spill had not yet occurred at the time the report was completed. Only additional research will reveal how the presence of oil in the gulf is affecting the large dead zone that forms every summer to the west of the Mississippi delta (see fact sheet), the more than 100 other independent sites along the Gulf of Mexico coast that experience low-oxygen problems, and areas of naturally-occurring deepwater oxygen depletion.
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EPA Complies with Court Decision and Directs Florida to Restore Water Quality in the Everglades. – EPA News Release, September 3, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) directed the state of Florida to take specific measures to restore water quality to levels that protect the Everglades. This action, known as an “Amended Determination,” complies with a decision by Judge Alan Gold of the U.S. District Court – Southern District of Florida following lawsuits by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians and the Friends of the Everglades. The District Court’s April 14 decision directed EPA to give clear and comprehensive instructions to Florida by September 3, 2010. “With this action, EPA is complying with the law and acknowledging that we must do more together to restore clean water to the Everglades,” said Stan Meiburg, Acting Regional Administrator for EPA’s southeastern region. “The State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District have done much good work already and we hope to build on that by meeting both the substance and the spirit of Judge Gold’s decision with this plan, and to achieve clean water standards as soon as possible.”
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Millions in grants go to Puget Sound science. – Rob Carson, The News Tribune, September 4, 2010
Efforts to restore the health of Puget Sound have gotten another big boost from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with the announcement of nearly $13 million in grants – specifically to bolster Puget Sound science. Recipients of all the grants have not yet been made public. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, will join EPA officials Wednesday in University Place for the formal announcement. Insiders said about $4 million of the money will go to the collaborative research institute formed by the University of Washington Tacoma and the Puget Sound Partnership, located at Tacoma’s Center for Urban Waters. The state Department of Health also is among the apparent winners, with a grant for studies in Cormorant Passage in South Puget Sound. According to the EPA, the grant will pay for a shellfish survey and a pollution evaluation designed to identify beaches that potentially could be opened for shellfish harvest. Cormorant Passage is between the mainland and Ketron Island, southwest of Steilacoom. The latest round of federal grant awards follows the July 6 announcement of $30 million in EPA grants for Puget Sound. That grant money is helping to pay for 36 Puget Sound restoration and protection projects, from Bellingham to Olympia.
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Many Oklahoma water providers told to clean up their supply. – Vallery Brown, The Oklahoman, September 5, 2010
Nearly 140 public water supplies are operating in consistent violation of state and federal drinking water codes, pumping water containing chemicals linked to cancer, infant illness, and damage to the liver and nervous system.  In central Oklahoma, nine public water sites serving about 16,000 customers have orders to resolve environmental compliance issues, records from the state Department of Environmental Quality show. The department regulates 1,582 public water systems in the state. “The public has a right to know about the quality of their drinking water,” said department spokeswoman Skylar McElheny. “Some of these things might not hurt them for several decades, but they have the right to know.” Consent orders are legal agreements between the state and the water system to resolve violations. If the terms of the order aren’t followed, the water system can be fined up to $10,000 per day depending on the violation.
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Waste

Environmental Protection Agency Gives Green Light to Cleaning up E-Waste. – PRWeb, August 30, 2010
In an address to the 17th regular session of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced cleaning up e-waste as one of the EPA’s six international priorities. As technology advances, so does the output of electronic waste. While some electronic waste is disposed of in ways that are not damaging to the environment, many, according to the EPA, “end up discarded in developing countries where improper disposal can threaten local people and the environment.” A barrier to proper e-waste disposal is information. Though people may know that items such as batteries, cell phones and computers are not supposed to be thrown in with the regular garbage, finding how and where to dispose e-waste products is not always easy. However, going green has become a part of popular culture and events. At San Francisco’s recent Outside Lands Music Festival, August 14-15, in addition to performers such as The Strokes, Kings of Leon and Phoenix, concert-goers also enjoyed an area devoted to ecological causes. The “EcoLands” section featured many forms of environmentally-friendly services, including the Panhandle solar-powered stage, a refillable water program, and an e-waste recycling program for cell phones.
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Federal Environmental Protection Agency Estimates Next Phase Of Hudson River Dredging Expected To Be Seven Years. – Michael Hill, The Republic, August 30, 2010
The next phase of Hudson River dredging could take seven years or more, longer than past estimates of as little as five years, the federal Environmental Protection Agency said Friday. The agency made the statement in a response to a draft report from an independent panel reviewing last year’s PCB dredging along the upper river. The peer review panel said this month that it could take more than five years to perform the job well. The EPA said it agrees that so-called Phase 2 dredging, which represents about 90 percent of the cleanup, would likely require more time than had been estimated earlier. The timeframe depends on the amount of contaminants found on the river bottom and how quickly they can be removed, said Walter Mugdan, the EPA’s regional Superfund director. He said the agency was “cautiously optimistic” crews could keep a good pace.
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Cleanup funds may spur development. – Danielle Dreilinger, The Boston Globe, August 30, 2010
There is land to build on in densely populated Somerville -if you’re willing to take care of the old buildings, contaminated soil, and other artifacts of the city’s industrial past. But local developers are in luck: The US Environmental Protection Agency announced that Somerville had received $400,000 to invest in cleaning up contaminated sites. EPA awarded a total of $16 million nationally, $3 million in New England. The funds supplement an existing fund. Somerville has 446 sites reported to the Department of Environmental Protection as having hazardous material or dirty soil, said Steven Azar, senior planner and brown field program manager for the city. (That includes small spills like a rupture in a basement oil tank.) “Just about any site that’s up for redevelopment” in the city is likely to qualify as a brown field, Azar said.
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National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Deletion of the Powersville Site Sup. – Trading Markets, August 30, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 is issuing a Notice of Intent to Delete the Powersville Site Superfund Site (Site) located in Peach County, Georgia, from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comments on this proposed action. The NPL, promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, is an appendix of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The EPA and the State of Georgia, through the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, have determined that all appropriate response actions under CERCLA, other than operation, maintenance, and five-year reviews, have been completed. However, this deletion does not preclude future actions under Superfund.
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EPA to Consider the CTS Site for Proposal to Superfund’s National Priorities List. – EPA News Release, August 31, 2010
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is moving forward with the process to propose the CTS of Asheville, Inc./Mills Gap Road Groundwater Contamination site to the National Priorities List (NPL) list of hazardous waste sites. This decision is based on a series of groundwater studies conducted over the past three years. A formal decision to propose the site may be made as early as March 2011, the date when a number of other sites across the nation are expected to be proposed to the NPL as part of the federal rulemaking process. Consideration to propose the site to the NPL does not guarantee that the site will be proposed, or, that the site will be listed on the final NPL. A community meeting will soon be announced to discuss the NPL listing process. EPA continues to conduct private well monitoring within a 1-mile radius of the CTS site. The results for the June 2010 sampling event show that there were no new trichloroethene (TCE) detections in private wells. Results are being mailed out to local residents this week. The next sampling event is scheduled for the week of September 20, 2010. A website for the CTS site is expected to be launched by September 30, 2010. Site-related documents will be posted to the website.
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EPA considers first-time rules for coal ash. – Catherine Tsai, Blooomberg Business Week, September 1, 2010
A proposal to federally regulate, for the first time, the disposal of the residue that comes from burning coal at power plants is getting a public hearing in Denver. It’s an issue that gained urgency after the Tennessee Valley Authority plant spill in 2008, when 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash got into and around the Emory River. The hearing Thursday in Denver is the second of seven the Environmental Protection Agency is holding around the country on disposing of coal ash, which contains such substances as arsenic, cadmium and mercury. Nationwide, annual coal ash generation has grown from 118 million tons in 2001 to 136 million tons in 2008, according to the EPA. Regulations in the 45 states where it is generated aren’t uniform, and the EPA is concerned that potential leaching from unlined and clay-lined landfills and ponds could harm groundwater or public health.
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S.C. power company coal ash sites face closure under federal environmental plan. – Sammy Fretwell, McClatchy Newspapers, September 4, 2010
About 20 power company dump sites, some of which have leaked poisonous coal residue into groundwater, face closure in South Carolina under a federal plan to protect the environment from electric utility waste. South Carolina’s coal ash ponds include a pair in lower Richland County that are the source of increasing community complaints. Arsenic has seeped from the SCE&G ponds into groundwater and trickled into the nearby Wateree River just upstream from Congaree National Park. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan, to be discussed at a hearing Sept. 14 in Charlotte, N.C., faces vigorous opposition from power companies worried about the cost of closing coal waste ponds and its impact on their recycling efforts. The ponds collect coal waste left over from the generation of electricity. But plan supporters say stronger federal rules would protect well water and rivers threatened by arsenic and other toxic materials contained in coal ash. Short-term exposure to arsenic can cause nausea, vomiting and skin disorders, while long-term exposure to some forms of arsenic has been tied to cancer.
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Climate Change

Greenhouse-Gas Regulation Backed by a Majority in Defense Council’s Poll. – Jim Estathiou, Jr., Bloomberg, August 30, 2010
A majority of U.S. voters say the government should regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming and that the Environmental Protection Agency is up to the job, a poll for the Natural Resources Defense Council found. Regulating global-warming gases from power plants and refineries is supported by 60 percent of likely voters and opposed by 34 percent, according to the survey commissioned by the environmental group, which backs such curbs. A smaller majority, 54 percent, say they are confident in the EPA’s ability to control greenhouse gases.  President Barack Obama’s administration has asserted the EPA’s authority to impose limits on carbon emissions after legislation to do so stalled in Congress. Senators such as Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, say EPA rules for greenhouse gases may hurt the economy. Rockefeller has proposed a two-year suspension of EPA action. The EPA has said it will put off at least until January a requirement that industrial polluters obtain permits for emissions.
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US Environmental Protection Agency may issue more greenhouse gas rules. – NewNet, September 3, 2010
The lack of immediacy in climate change legislation from the US congress may be combated by further greenhouse gas rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to reports. The EPA will issue more regulations on greenhouse gases and other pollutants but any actions taken will not be as far reaching as an umbrella national climate change legislation, according to Reuters. Any chance of passing bills to tackle greenhouse emissions looks unlikely to be passed before the end of the year and the recent focus on energy legislation has turned towards the regulation of offshore drilling in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Last month, the EPA in conjunction with the Department of Transportation have jointly proposed an overhaul of fuel economy labels on new vehicles to adequately account for electric and hybrid vehicles as well as gasoline-powered vehicles. When speaking to Reuters, the official would not commit to the EPA achieving Obama’s goal of about 17 per cent reductions in greenhouse gases by 2020 from 2005 levels.
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Other

EPA, DOT Propose New Fuel Economy Labels/Agencies seek public comment on the most dramatic overhaul in the label’s 30-year history. – EPA News Release, August 30, 2010
As a new generation of cars and light trucks start appearing on the market, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are jointly proposing changes to the fuel economy labels consumers see on the window of every new vehicle in dealer showrooms. The proposed rule seeks public comment on label design options and related issues. The public can view the proposed rule and labels at: http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/ and submit comments as part of the rulemaking process via email to: newlabels@epa.gov. They can also review the proposed rule at http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy. “We are asking the American people to tell us what they need to make the best economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “New fuel economy labels will keep pace with the new generation of fuel efficient cars and trucks rolling off the line, and provide simple, straightforward updates to inform consumers about their choices in a rapidly changing market. We want to help buyers find vehicles that meet their needs, keep the air clean and save them money at the pump.”
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

U.S. Wants Report Card for Cars. – Josh Mitchell, The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2010
The government proposed labeling each new passenger vehicle with a letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions, part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to promote electric cars and other advanced-technology vehicles. The proposed new rules, released jointly Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would be the most substantial change in 30 years to the familiar price-and-mileage labels affixed to the windows of new cars at dealerships. Currently, the labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel cost. Under the proposed changes, a new label design would carry a large letter grade assigned by regulators. Under the system, the only cars that would receive an A-plus, A or A-minus would be electrics and plug-in hybrids, the government said.
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Political Economy. – Peter Whoriskey, The New York Times, August 31, 2010
The Obama administration is proposing to give automobiles letter grades ranging from A to D based on their fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal comes as regulators are preparing to revamp the familiar fuel economy stickers to accommodate new hybrid and electric vehicles. Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency are soliciting public reaction to the letter-grade labels as well as another label that resembles the current one. The label with the letter grade features it with a large font and bold colors. “The first label is a bit different than the current label. The first thing you’ll notice – and it’s going to jump out at you – is that it has a letter grade,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator at the EPA.
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Automakers May Get U.S. Grades in Fuel-Economy Revamp. – John Hughes, Bloomberg, August 30, 2010
Automakers may get letter grades from the U.S. government for fuel efficiency in the first overhaul of new-car rating stickers in 30 years. Electric vehicles that get 117 miles per gallon or more would rate the highest “A+” under the proposal, while Ferrari SpA’s 612 Scaglietti getting 12 mpg would earn the lowest, a “D.” The grades would replace information on vehicle stickers that focus on models’ miles per gallon. “This update is long overdue,” David Strickland, who leads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said today on a conference call. “These old petroleum-centric labels just aren’t good enough anymore.” Automakers selling cars in the U.S. faulted the concept of issuing vehicle grades. U.S. auto regulators, after boosting fuel-economy standards 30 percent in April, are examining whether a grading system would better communicate those targets to consumers. The government, in seeking public comment, may instead keep the traditional label that for almost three decades has focused on a model’s miles per gallon.
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US grapples with bedbugs, misuse of pesticides. – Matt Leingang, The Associated Press, August 31, 2010
A resurgence of bedbugs across the U.S. has homeowners and apartment dwellers taking desperate measures to eradicate the tenacious bloodsuckers, with some relying on dangerous outdoor pesticides and fly-by-night exterminators. The problem has gotten so bad that the Environmental Protection Agency warned this month against the indoor use of chemicals meant for the outside. The agency also warned of an increase in pest control companies and others making “unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost.” Bedbugs, infesting U.S. households on a scale unseen in more than a half-century, have become largely resistant to common pesticides. As a result, some homeowners and exterminators are turning to more hazardous chemicals that can harm the central nervous system, irritate the skin and eyes or even cause cancer.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Lawmakers pass bill to quiet motorcycles. – Robin Hindery, The Associated Press, August 31, 2010
California lawmakers want to put a plug in the earsplitting roar from modified motorcycles. The state Senate today voted 21-16 to pass SB435. The bill makes it a crime to operate a motorcycle manufactured after Jan. 1, 2013, that fails to meet federal noise-emission control standards. Motorcyclists whose vehicles lack the proper U.S. Environmental Protection Agency label would be subject to a fine. Supporters say many motorcycle owners modify their bikes to make them much louder, which in turn creates a public nuisance. Those modifications also allow the motorcycle to produce more harmful emissions. Opponents of the bill say many aftermarket exhaust systems meet emission standards but aren’t labeled, meaning law-abiding riders could be unfairly ticketed. The bill now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who owns multiple motorcycles.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Exhaustive debate: Bill seeks to muffle motorcycles. – Damon Arthur, the Record Searchlight, September 3, 2010
A bill aimed at quieting motorcycle exhaust awaits Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature. The proposed law would require all exhaust pipes to carry an Environmental Protection Agency sticker showing that the pipes meet federal and state air quality and sound standards. “The noise caused by illegally modified motorcycle exhaust systems is a major quality-of-life issue across the state,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica. Under the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act, a rider without the sticker could be cited. A first infraction would generate a fine of $50 to $100, and a second ticket could cost up to $250, said Deborah Hoffman, a spokeswoman for Pavley. But officers couldn’t stop a cyclist just to enforce the sticker law, Hoffman said. If an officer stopped a rider for a traffic violation and noticed a missing sticker, he could issue a citation, Hoffman said.
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ENERGY

Coal

Pennsylvania coal plants face big changes under planned EPA pollution-control rules. – Sandy Bauers, The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 30, 2010
Outside, demonstrators wore breathing masks. Inside, a two-time cancer survivor, age 30, pleaded for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to approve a plan that would reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants in the eastern United States. “This rule will make the air I breathe less harmful to my already at-risk health,” Martin Hage of Philadelphia said. Or, as he put it, “in the great coal state of Pennsylvania.” Indeed. Pennsylvania, a coal powerhouse, stands at the vortex of the issue. Its residents have much to gain from the rule’s health benefits. But its fleet of geriatric coal plants has much to lose. Moreover, this and other regulations in the chute put the industry at a crossroads. Although some plants have already been upgraded, older ones may close, analysts say. The proposed rule, debated at a hearing in Philadelphia on Thursday, is all about better breathing, fewer health problems, and lower health costs for millions of Americans, the EPA says.
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Alexander asks EPA for coal-ash hearing in Roane County. – Michael Collins, Knoxville News Sentinel, September 1, 2010
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to hold a hearing in Roane County on proposed federal regulations for the disposal of toxic coal ash. The Maryville Republican sent a letter Tuesday to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson arguing that a hearing should be held in East Tennessee in light of the catastrophic coal-ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil Plant in December 2008. “That spill displaced residents, caused significant environmental damage, and may require up to $1.2 billion in clean-up costs,” the letter said. “Given this tragic event, the people of Tennessee have a unique perspective on this issue that would be beneficial to EPA while you are writing a final rule.” The EPA has scheduled seven public hearings on the coal ash regulations across the country, but none in Tennessee. The first was held Monday just outside of Washington. A local hearing for East Tennesseans to comment has been set for Thursday at Roane State Community College in Harriman. Comments from that hearing are to be presented to EPA during a scheduled Sept. 14 hearing in Charlotte.
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Mining industry attacks EPA research about environmental risks of mountaintop mining. – Jonathan Strong, the Daily Caller, September 3, 2010
Mining industry representatives are attacking research by the EPA underpinning the movement to ban the practice of “mountaintop mining,” in which heavy explosives are used to access coal seams in the Appalachian region. A new study commissioned by the National Mining Association released Thursday represents a more forceful, full-fledged assault by the industry on a key EPA study cited by the agency in recent moves to strictly regulate the practice. At issue is the extent to which rainwater runoff hits debris leftover by mountaintop mining and then pollutes nearby rivers and streams. Environmentalists and local activists in Appalachia have long sought to ban the practice, focusing on the blight of whole mountaintops removed in the pursuit of coal. But the legal issues before EPA bureaucrats primarily involve water pollution issues related to the practice, which is permitted under federal mining law.
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Natural Gas

EPA reschedules cancelled hearing on hydraulic fracturing to 2 days in Sept. in upstate NY. – The Associated Press, September 1, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled the last of its public meetings on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells for Sept. 13 and 15 at the Broome County Forum Theater in Binghamton. The hearing was originally scheduled for Aug. 12 at Binghamton University, but the EPA moved it to Syracuse at the last minute when university officials dramatically raised the price for hosting it, citing concerns about crowds. Syracuse officials then balked, saying there wasn’t time to prepare for expected demonstrations. Opponents fear hydraulic fracturing, which releases gas in deep shale, will endanger water supplies, including the reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains that supply 9 million New York City residents. The EPA is studying its safety. Previous meetings were held in Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania.
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Green

Connecticut leading way in ‘green’ power use. – Lee Howard, The Day, August 31, 2010
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state will be purchasing 17 percent of its power this year from so-called “green” sources, such as wind, solar and water systems. Connecticut is one of only three states on the EPA’s top 50 list of national Green Power Partners, recognizing its purchase of more than 107 million kilowatt-hours of green power. “We are well on track to achieve the goal of obta+ining 20 percent of the electricity used by the state of Connecticut from renewable sources by 2020,” Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in a statement.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Waste

New Orleans Landfills, Prone to Flooding, Remain Controversial – and Possibly Dangerous – for City Residents. – Andrew Restuccia, Washington Independent, August 30, 2010
In the late summer of 1965 — almost 40 years to the day before Hurricane Katrina — Betsy, a Category Four hurricane, devastated New Orleans. City officials reopened a shuttered dump in the Upper Ninth Ward to collect debris and waste left by the massive flooding. The dump, which became known as the Agriculture Street Landfill, closed in 1966. Ten years later, the city covered it with dirt and repurposed it as a residential community, and mostly lower-income black families moved in. None of the residents knew they were living on a former dump. Then people started getting sick, the cancer rate significantly higher than in nearby neighborhoods. For more than 30 years, environmental activists, New Orleans residents and federal and state officials have struggled with the Agriculture Street site and its periodic flooding in the hurricanes that batter the city. Since Hurricane Katrina, activists have raised broader questions about the safety of local landfills given New Orleans’ propensity to flood. Activists have also raised questions about the impact of local trash-disposal sites on low-income communities and communities of color. Five years after Katrina, in the midst of the Gulf oil spill disaster, those questions and struggles remain.
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Climate Change

Universal Benchmarking Is Essential in the Fight Against Global Warming. – Ron Dembo, The Huffington Post, August 31, 2010
Benchmarking is the process of comparing your performance metrics to industry best practice and/or best practices of other industries. The primary goal is to make improvements that lead to doing things better, faster and cheaper. Benchmarking involves identifying the best performers and comparing your results to theirs in order to learn how well the best in class perform and, more importantly, how they do it. Almost every commercial firm routinely uses benchmarking to guide its practice. Most governments today agree that global warming is a huge challenge, with a potential for disastrous consequences if we don’t act. They also agree that our use of water and energy needs to be more efficient and needs to have less of an environmental impact. Our homes and city buildings are a big part of the problem — they are responsible for over 70% of some cities’ environmental footprints — and yet we don’t know how they compare individually with one another. There are no benchmarks.
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Developed Nations Arrange $10 Billion Financing in 2010 for Climate Fight. – Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, September 2, 2010
Developed nations have identified sources for $10 billion in “fast track” climate financing for poorer nations this year and almost $30 billion through 2012, the UN’s chief climate negotiator said. Richer nations, which pledged $30 billion in climate aid over three years at 2009’s climate summit in Copenhagen, have a “growing sense of urgency” about this year’s climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, the UN’s Christiana Figueres said today at a meeting in Geneva. They need to arrange about $100 billion a year through 2020 to combat global warming, she said. “What we have now is a constructive atmosphere to work,” Figueres said. The financial crisis is only a “temporary” constraint, she said. The U.S. is unlikely to have climate legislation in place before the summit in Cancun, which begins Nov. 29, Figueres said. The country can still regulate emissions through its Environmental Protection Agency, she said.
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U.S. reiterates commitment to 2020 climate goal. – Reuters, September 3, 2010
The United States reiterated on Friday that it was committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 even though the Senate has failed to pass legislation. “I am in no sense writing off legislation over time. And I’m quite sure the president isn’t,” U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern told a news conference during two days of talks in Geneva among about 45 nations reviewing climate finance. He said Washington would rely on a combination of regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and future legislation to meet President Barack Obama’s goal of a 17 percent cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020. “The EPA will be a piece, an important piece, of the total equation,” he said. “There will be legislative progress I can’t say when.” “It’s a combination of EPA and other legislative efforts,” he said. Stern told Reuters last month the United States was committed to the 2020 goal, which works out as a cut in emissions of about 3 percent from 1990 levels. Of the possibility of Senate legislation before November elections, he said: “You can never say never but I would not say it’s likely at the moment.”
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