Environmental and Climate Change Law Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 16, June 14, 2010

Vol. 2, No. 16, June 14, 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

EPA and Wyoming’s Frontier Refining Inc., resolve enforcement action.EPA News Release, June 8, 2010
In a Consent Agreement filed on May 27, 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Frontier Refining Inc., a petroleum facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming, resolved an enforcement action initiated in September 2009. Frontier will pay a $900,000 penalty and has agreed to disconnect inlet piping which allowed hazardous waste releases to Surface Impoundment 2. The company has agreed to remove and manage all waste in Pond 2 and clean the existing liner this fall. Additionally, Frontier will submit a closure plan with respect to the future use of Pond 2. Frontier estimates the cost of compliance at about $1 million.
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Frontier to pay $900,000 for refinery pond dumping. – Mead Gruver, Associated Press, June 9, 2010
Frontier Oil Corp. has agreed to pay a $900,000 penalty for allegedly dumping toxic waste into a stormwater retention pond at its refinery in Cheyenne. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the refinery collected sludge in the pond for years. Last fall, the EPA sought a $6.8 million penalty against the Houston-based company. Negotiations resulting in a settlement announced Tuesday will require Frontier to pay a smaller penalty while cleaning up the pond and rerouting the waste pipe. Frontier officials say they are committed to complying with environmental regulations and are spending $1 million to finish maintaining the pond. They say Frontier also has spent more than $14 million to improve the refinery’s wastewater treatment plant.
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Marco Island signs EPA settlement agreement over handling of asbestos. – Kelly Farrell, Naples Daily News, June 8, 2010
A four-year investigation of improperly disposed asbestos-laden pipe on Marco Island is near a close as City Council and its contractor agreed to a settlement proposal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday. The settlement is to be in lieu of formal enforcement actions against Marco and Quality Enterprises for six alleged violations of the Clean Air Act relating to improper asbestos handling when widening and adding sewer lines to Collier Boulevard beginning in 2005. Marco Island City Council signed the agreement in a meeting on Tuesday, called for the purpose of reviewing the proposal. The agreement requires neither party to take liability for the alleged violations and has Quality Enterprises agreeing to pay the fine of $81,772 within 30 days of it being signed by Kenneth Lapierre of the EPA.
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Battery Manufacturer in Corydon, Iowa, to Pay $53,547 Penalty for Failure to Monitor and Report Wastewater Discharges.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
East Penn LLC, which operates a lead acid battery manufacturing facility in Corydon, Iowa, has reached a settlement with EPA Region 7 over issues related to the company’s failure to properly monitor and report discharges of its industrial process wastewater into the City of Corydon’s public wastewater treatment system. East Penn LLC, located on Highway 2, Corydon, has agreed to pay a $53,547 civil penalty to the United States in settlement of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, according to an administrative consent agreement filed today in Kansas City, Kan. In July 2009, during a compliance inspection of the City of Corydon’s public wastewater treatment system, EPA staff discovered that East Penn LLC’s facility was discharging industrial process wastewater to the city’s system. At that time, the company had never applied for a water pretreatment permit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and the city confirmed that the company was not conducting proper monitoring or reporting of wastewater discharges to ensure that the battery plant was in compliance with the Clean Water Act.
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Iowa battery maker fined for pollution.Associated Press, June 9, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled a dispute with an Iowa battery maker that allegedly failed to properly monitor and report discharges of industrial wastewater. In the settlement, filed Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan., East Penn LLC of Corydon, Ia. agreed to pay a $53,547 fine for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. According to the EPA, agency inspectors determined in July that East Penn’s facility was discharging industrial process wastewater. The violation was discovered during an inspection of Corydon’s wastewater treatment system.
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Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., to Pay $150,000 Penalty for Hazardous Waste Issues at Kimball, Neb., Facility.EPA News Release, June 10, 2010
Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., an international provider of environmental, energy and industrial services, has agreed to pay a $150,000 civil penalty to the United States to settle a series of alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at its hazardous waste treatment and storage facility in Kimball, Neb. Clean Harbors’ Kimball facility operates under a permit issued by the State of Nebraska that allows it to process and incinerate up to 505,344 pounds of hazardous wastes per day. Inspections of the facility by EPA in September 2007 and by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality in April 2008 noted a series of alleged violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the storage, treatment and handling of hazardous wastes.
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Neb. firm pays $150,000 fine for waste problems.Bloomberg Businessweek, June 10, 2010
A company that runs a hazardous-waste incinerator in western Nebraska has agreed to pay a $150,000 fine and make several changes to address Environmental Protection Agency concerns. The EPA said Thursday that Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. had resolved a series of problems at its Kimball location. During visits in 2007 and 2008, federal and state inspectors found several possible violations, including several unlabeled, leaking waste containers, improper emissions controls on waste tanks and several different wastes stored close enough for chemical reactions to occur. The Norwell, Mass.-based company spent $152,000 on installing a better emissions control device, and it agreed to regularly inspect its storage area and report to the EPA.
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Manufacturer in Kansas City, Mo., to Pay $3,568 Civil Penalty for Failure to Properly Label and Advertise Pesticide Product.EPA News Release, June 10, 2010
A Kansas City, Mo., pesticide manufacturer has agreed to pay a $3,568 civil penalty to the United States for failing to properly label a restricted use pesticide, and failing to identify the product as a restricted use pesticide in advertising messages. Douglas Products and Packaging, 1550 East Old 210 Highway, in Kansas City, Mo., was cited for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), according to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed in Kansas City, Kan. As part of its settlement with EPA Region 7, the company has agreed to hire a third-party environmental compliance auditor, at a cost of $25,000, to perform periodic compliance audits on its products twice a year. The compliance audits are scheduled to begin in July 2010.
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Developer Acierno to pay $700,000 in Clean Water Act settlement.The News Journal, June 11, 2010
A New Castle County developer has agreed to give $700,000 to the Brandywine Conservancy atop $400,000 in earlier payments in one of the region’s largest Clean Water Act violation settlements, the Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday. Christiana Town Center developer Frank Acierno accepted the deal to end a prosecution that began after he was accused of filling in or diverting into a pipe several hundred feet of a stream near Christiana Mall in 2003. Acierno agreed in 2004 to pay a $25,000 civil penalty and donate $375,000 to the Nature Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pa. He also committed to the restoration of 83 feet of tributary if the Department of Transportation did not build a connector road between his development and Christiana Mall.
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DECISIONS

Center for Biological Diversity, Residents of Hinkley Win Legal Appeal
Further Environmental Review Needed for Proposed Open-air Compost Facility in Rural
Southern California Community.Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 7, 2010
The Center for Biological Diversity and a group of residents in Hinkley, the rural California town Erin Brockovich made famous in a landmark case against a utility for contaminating the local water supply, has prevailed in the legal appeal of its victory overturning the inadequate environmental review for a proposed open-air sewage sludge compost facility. The Center and HelpHinkley, the community group, were represented in the successful appeal by the Golden Gate University Environmental Law and Justice Clinic and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment.
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DP&L plant on Great Miami cited by U.S. EPA. – Steve Bennish, Dayton Daily News, June 9, 2010
Dayton Power & Light’s O.H. Hutchings Station power plant on the Great Miami River needs updates to bring it in compliance with the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a finding of violations. A review showed that the plant made major modifications to its large boilers without obtaining the required permits, the agency said. Ethan Chatfield, an environmental engineer for the EPA in Chicago, said the agency and DP&L are in discussions about the issue. “They have started that dialogue,” he said.
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Three Beef Feedlots in Iowa Face Civil Enforcement Actions as EPA Continues Emphasis on Compliance with Clean Water Act.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
EPA Region 7 has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against three beef feedlot operations in Iowa for violations of the Clean Water Act, as part of a continuing enforcement emphasis aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) into the region’s rivers and streams. “In some instances, we are finding harmful bacteria such as E.coli in wastewater discharged by feedlots at levels that are exponentially higher than the levels at which EPA permits municipal wastewater treatment systems to discharge their treated wastewater,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “This is just one measure of the harm that can come when feedlots fail to operate within the law.”
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EPA cites Sioux, Mills county feedlots for run-off.Sioux City Journal, June 9, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 office has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against three Iowa beef feedlot operations for environmental violations of the Clean Water Act. The actions are part of EPA operations aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, into the region’s rivers and streams. Two of the operations cited are in Sioux County and the other is in Mills County, near Council Bluffs: Groeneweg Farm, Rock Valley: must apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, or NPDES permit, and complete wastewater controls at its facilities by Oct 31, 2011 to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into an unnamed tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County.
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EPA cites pharma for contaminated wastewater. – George Miller, FiercePharma Manufacturing, June 9, 2010
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to address two pharma facilities and their associated public wastewater treatment plants fingered by the U.S. Geological Survey as the source of drugs in the environment. The New York environmental officials are taking steps with one of the drugmakers by starting discussions with corporate officials regarding pretreatment of pharmaceutical waste streams, according to an EPA spokesperson via email. The state agency asked the unnamed company for a commitment to work with USGS on pre-treating wastes prior to discharge to the sewer system. State officials have visited the site and plan to speak with company officials, the spokesperson says.
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EPA Orders Simplot Cattle Feeding Company to change stock watering practice at Grand View, ID, feedlot to protect the Snake River.EPA News Release, June 11, 2010
he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued the Simplot Cattle Feeding Company a legal order to halt discharges from its nearly 700-acre feedlot complex near Grand View, Idaho. Simplot confines between 30,000 and 65,000 cattle year round at this feedlot facility near the Snake River in southeastern Idaho. EPA’s order directs Simplot to immediately cease all discharge of pollutants to waters of the U.S.  This action is particularly important because the Snake River has been designated as “impaired” for both bacteria and nutrients. Today’s Order stems from Simplot’s use of a constant flow stock watering system. When not used for irrigation (usually from November to March), a portion of this water is diverted to pasture, irrigation ditches, or into the Ted Trueblood Wildlife Refuge, all of which ultimately flow into the Snake River.  Simplot water samples pulled from the facility’s discharge were shown to contain 1600 colonies of fecal bacteria per 100 ml of sample.
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

Editorial: As spill spreads, Congress weighs bill to boost consumption of oil. – Editorial, The Sacramento Bee, June 7, 2010
Even as Americans recoil in horror at images of oil-soaked birds and tarred marshes along the Gulf of Mexico, certain members of Congress are attempting to block measures that would improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce the pressure to expand offshore oil drilling. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on a resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would roll back the U.S. EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases and implement a version of California’s “clean cars” law. If implemented nationwide, the California law would dramatically improve fuel economy in cars and trucks and eliminate the need to import and pump millions of barrels of oil yearly.
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NM high court to hear arguments in emissions case.The Associated Press, June 7, 2010
The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday afternoon in a legal battle that has been brewing over an effort by an environmental group to establish a cap on greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico. The state Environmental Improvement Board and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center are asking the justices to order a district court judge in Lovington to reverse an earlier decision that halted the effort. The judge granted a preliminary injunction in April that prohibited the Environmental Improvement Board from continuing proceedings on New Energy Economy’s petition for the emissions cap. The regulatory panel argues the high court needs to hear the case because it raises questions about separation of powers and judicial interference in an administrative process.
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Hearing held in federal court on Alaska plan to kill wolves inside national refuge.The Associated Press, June 7, 2010
A federal judge took up the issue Monday of whether the state of Alaska can kill wolves inside a national wildlife refuge to prevent them from eating caribou calves from a herd that supports a Native village. U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland was expected to make a decision Monday afternoon following a hearing in federal court in Anchorage where he heard from both sides. The state argues that without emergency intervention, the Unimak Island caribou herd — the only island caribou herd in the United States — will continue to decline and die out if nothing is done. The state would like to begin the operation inside the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge immediately.
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Federal judge blocks Alaska‘s wolf-kill plan. – Mary Pemberton, Associated Press, June 7, 2010
A federal judge has denied the state of Alaska’s request for a preliminary injunction to kill wolves, a step it says was needed to protect a caribou herd that is a subsistence food source for a Native village. U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland ruled Monday on the state’s request to conduct predator control in a national wildlife refuge on Unimak Island. The state announced plans to kill wolves to protect this year’s calves. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the state would have to go through a review process for a special use permit or it would be considered trespassing.
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Environmental groups sue to stop PSE&G power line upgrade in Morris. – Colleen O’Dea, Daily Record, June 7, 2010
Four environmental groups that had tried to stop Public Service Electric and Gas Co.’s transmission line upgrade through Morris, Sussex and Warren counties are taking their fight to court. The Eastern Environmental Law Center last Friday filed an appeal of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ approval of the proposed Susquehanna-Roseland line expansion on behalf of the Sierra Club, Environment New Jersey, the Highlands Coalition and New Jersey Environmental Federation. Appeals of state regulatory decisions are heard in state appellate court.  “The Sierra Club is going to court to get the courts to do the job that the BPU should’ve done,” said Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club director.
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Attorney General Brown Files to Support Federal Clean Air Standards. – Green Liver, Imperial Valley News, June 8, 2010
Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that he has asked to intervene in a lawsuit in order to protect newly adopted motor vehicle emission standards that would save nearly two billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one billion tons. Brown filed a motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a suit brought by energy companies and other industries challenging the EPA’s authority to enforce the tough emission standards beginning in 2012.  “The thousands of barrels of oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico each day are a graphic reminder that we need to cut oil consumption in America,” said Brown. “These regulations would do that, as well as vastly reducing pollution from tailpipe emissions.”
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Automakers defend new fuel-economy rules. – Justin Hyde, The Detroit Free Press, June 8, 2010
Automakers jumped into court today to fight two legal challenges against new fuel economy rules, saying the standards setting a 34.1 miles-per-gallon target by 2016 were essential to their business. Last month, two different coalitions – one of which included 14 Republican House lawmakers – challenged the new fuel economy rules in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. While neither group has spelled out the grounds of its legal challenge, both generally oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of the Clean Air Act to control carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
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Feds sue Xcel Energy over plans for Minnesota plants. – Jim Hammerand, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business journal, June 8, 2010
Federal regulators say Xcel Energy Inc. has refused to provide information about two of its Minnesota power plants, according to a new lawsuit. Government attorneys said in a federal lawsuit filed in Minneapolis’s U.S. District Court Monday afternoon that the Minneapolis-based utility stonewalled Environmental Protection Agency requests for information on planned construction projects at the Sherburne County (Sherco) plant in Becker and the Black Dog plant in Burnsville. Both plants are owned and operated by Xcel (NYSE: XEL) subsidiary Northern States Power Co.
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EPA lawsuit demands Xcel Energy disclose changes to pollution control equipment. – Leslie Brooks Suzukamo, Pioneer Press Twin Cities, June 8, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is suing Xcel Energy for refusing to tell it about changes to pollution control equipment planned for its coal-fired power plants in Burnsville and Becker, Minn. The EPA asked a federal judge Tuesday for a preliminary injunction requiring Xcel to turn over the information immediately or face fines of up to $37,500 per day at each location, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The agency filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Monday and is awaiting a ruling on its request for a preliminary injunction.  The EPA has been pursuing the information for almost 11 months to determine if any planned changes would result in plant emissions that violate the federal Clean Air Act.
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Hornbeck Sues U.S. to Lift Deepwater Drilling Ban. – Laurel Brubaker Clakins and Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg.com, June 8, 2010
Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. sued the U.S. Interior Department to lift the six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico triggered by the deadly explosion of a drilling rig and subsequent oil spill. Hornbeck, whose supply boats serve almost all 33 drilling rigs that were operating in the deepwater gulf, said one customer has already said it will cancel a contract as a result of the moratorium. President Barack Obama announced the ban May 27, after receiving a report by government officials in charge of exploration on the nation’s outer continental shelf, or OCS. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig, operated by BP Plc, exploded April 20 off of Louisiana, killing 11 workers. Since then, oil has been gushing from the well into the Gulf of Mexico. Hornbeck, based in Covington, Louisiana, hasn’t been implicated in the explosion or spill.
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Judge moves water wars case to endangered species.The Associated Press, June 8, 2010
A federal judge tabled any decisions Tuesday regarding federal water rights to focus on the fate of endangered species in the Appalachola River. The hearing in Jacksonville was the latest development in a 30-year battle over water between Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The fighting has escalated since a judge ruled last year that Georgia had little legal right to draw drinking water from Lake Lanier, metro Atlanta’s main water source. Attorneys discussed Tuesday whether endangered mussels and sturgeons stood to be further compromised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan, which calls for minimum water flow from Lake Lanier.
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California EPA motion involves Oregon.Portland Business Journal, June 8, 2010
California Attorney General Jerry Brown has filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is facing a legal fight with energy companies and other industries challenging much-tougher emission standards starting in 2012. Brown filed the motion Monday on behalf of himself, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state Air Resources Board and 12 other states — Oregon, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Stricter federal vehicle emission standards would save almost 2 billion barrels of oil and curb greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 billion tons, according to the motion.
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Sierra Club sues Dairyland Power over pollution controls. – Kevin Murphy, Winona Daily News, June 10, 2010
Dairyland Power Coopera-tive is operating its coal-fired power plants in Alma and Genoa, Wis., in violation of the Clean Air Act, according to a lawsuit the Sierra Club recently filed in federal court. The 210-megawatt Alma unit and the 379-megawatt Genoa unit each have the potential to emit more than 100 tons of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter each year. Those pollutants contribute to climate change, acid rain, respiratory distress and other diseases, according to the suit. The Sierra Club claims plant changes Dairyland made over the years require it meet stricter state and federal regulations. By not installing “best available technology,” it isn’t operating the plants in compliance with the Clean Air Act.
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Massey denies Sierra Club lawsuit claims on water.The Associated Press, June 11, 2010
Five Massey Energy subsidiaries contend a 2008 settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency bars a lawsuit by the Sierra Club and three other environmental groups. The federal lawsuit filed in April alleges more than 3,000 violations of the Clean Water Act and surface mining laws. Among other things, the plaintiffs claim the companies have dumped toxic aluminum into waterways with runoff from up to 16 West Virginia coal mines. The companies also argue in the response filed Friday that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring the lawsuit at all. Massey also faces civil and criminal investigations of an April 5 explosion that killed 29 miners at its Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County.
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EPA Challenged Over Global Warming Pollution From Ships, Aircraft and Non-road Engines.Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 11, 2010
A day after the U.S. Senate voted to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, a coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging the agency’s failure to address such pollution from oceangoing ships, aircraft and non-road vehicles as well as engines used in industrial operations. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia by Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of Oceana, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety and the International Center for Technology Assessment. Together, aircraft, ship and non-road vehicles and engines are responsible for 24 percent of U.S. mobile-source greenhouse gas emissions and emit approximately 290,000 tons of soot every year. Pollution from these sources is projected to grow rapidly over coming decades.
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Industries head to court against EPA. – Peggy Fikac, Express-News, June 11, 2010
A pair of groups representing the manufacturing and petroleum industries announced a federal court challenge Friday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to block part of Texas’ air-quality permit program. The Texas Oil & Gas Association and Texas Association of Manufacturers announced they had filed a petition with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans challenging the EPA — the latest move in the state-federal battle over whether Texas is properly protecting air quality. The court challenge centers on the EPA’s decision to bar further use of a state rule known as the qualified facilities exemption. Under the exemption, companies have been allowed to make modifications to their plants without seeking federal approval if actual emissions are kept below permitted levels.
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

EPA To Hold Three Public Hearings on Rules Cutting Toxic Emissions from Boilers, Solid Waste Incinerators Agency also extends comment period.EPA News Release, June 7, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold three public hearings in June on proposals cutting mercury emissions in half and significantly reducing other toxic air pollutants from industrial and institutional boilers, process heaters and solid waste incinerators. These toxics are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health problems. The agency will also take comment at the hearings on a proposal to identify which non-hazardous secondary materials would be considered solid waste and which would be considered fuel. Secondary materials are those that are not the primary product of a manufacturing or commercial process and include consumer and industrial materials that are no longer used for their original purpose, such as scrap tires, used oil, wood, coal refuse, and construction and demolition debris.
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Battle over Texas air quality heating up. – R.G. Ratcliffe, The Houston Chronicle, June 6, 2010
The Texas air quality war — a conflict pitting environmentalists against industry — is now fully engaged because of a rare crosscurrent of political timing. The companies that produce gasoline for our cars, electricity for our lights, gas for our stoves and noxious fumes as a byproduct have held sway over Texas regulators for almost two decades. Now, environmentalists appear to have the upper hand:  The Obama administration named as regional Environmental Protection Agency administrator a longtime critic of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. That administrator, Al Armendariz, is threatening to take over aspects of Texas air quality permitting at the end of this month.
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Texas-EPA Feud Over Air Pollution Permits Gets Loud and Political. – Robin Bravender, Greenwire in The New York Times, June 7, 2010
A long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and Texas over the state’s air-pollution permitting program is boiling over, just in time for the gubernatorial race. Al Armendariz, the administrator of U.S. EPA’s Region 6 office in Dallas, warned last month that Washington would take over Texas air permitting unless the state starts complying with the Clean Air Act. This came on the heels of EPA revoking a state permit for a Corpus Christi power plant and threatening 39 other permits (Greenwire, May 27). “We have to get good air quality permits issued in Texas, and either the state of Texas does it, or I’ll have to,” Armendariz told The Houston Chronicle. “I’m hopeful that the state will correct the deficiencies and stay as the permitting authority in the state of Texas.”
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EPA Raises Questions About E. Ky. Power Plant. – Scott Sloan, Lexington Herald Leader, June 7, 2010
In a letter last month to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns over East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s proposed coal-fired power plant in Clark County. It’s the latest in mounting criticism that has plagued the long-discussed plant, which was effectively placed on hold earlier this year by the cooperative, though leaders say they still intend to go forward and build it after assessing the co-op’s finances. In the letter, which was obtained and released by a number of environmental groups that have long opposed the plant, the EPA objects to the cooperative’s proposed coal technology to power the plant and noted other more environmentally friendly options including natural gas.
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Biomass plants could be affected under proposed EPA ruling.PennEnergy, June 8, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards which would classify biomass boiler units, conventionally considered multi-fuel boilers, as incinerators and would be subject to new emission limits for mercury, hydrogen chloride, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and dioxin. The new proposed ruling is originally part of the Clean Air Act of 1990. The Biomass Power Association (BPA), a group of 80 plants in 20 states, voiced their concerns during a June 8 teleconference from Washington D.C. BPA President Bob Cleaves said that boilers used by industrial, commercial and institutional facilities use various fuels and the fuels are used to generate various forms of energy such as steam, heat and electricity to be used in manufacturing or the generation of power that is sent to the grid.
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Tougher EPA ozone standards may make it tough for DFW area to comply. – Bill Hanna, Star-Telegram, June 8, 2010
Tarrant County and the rest of the DFW area, which currently fails to meet federal ozone standards, will have to find a way to cut ozone emissions even further under tougher proposed EPA revisions. The proposed changes, revealed by the federal government in January, were discussed at a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality public hearing Tuesday that was held simultaneously via videoconference in Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and Beaumont. The EPA is proposing to reduce its 8-hour ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to a range somewhere between 60 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. An EPA rule is scheduled to be issued this summer and finalized by the end of the year.
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New EPA Sulfur Standard Should Impact Copper Industry; Power Plants. – Dick Kamp, Arizona Range News, June 3, 2010
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a new national standard on Thursday for sulfur dioxide (SO2) under the Clean Air Act (Act) that will almost certainly impact the operations of copper smelters and could require further emissions cutbacks from coal-fired power plants. The new one hour ambient (mouth level) standard of 75 parts per billion will replace 24 hour and annual health standards that have stood for nearly 40 years on the grounds that “short term peak” exposures to SO2 are the greatest health hazard to asthmatics, children, the elderly and chronic lung disease sufferers. EPA estimates that as many as 54,000 asthma attacks and 5900 deaths per year may be avoided through the new standard. Emissions from smelters, especially, and coal-fired power plants and pulp mills to a lesser extent, have been found to produce high short term SO2 peaks.
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Waste

EPA Withdraws Emission Comparable Fuels Rule.EPA News Release, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn the Emission Comparable Fuels (ECF) Rule, a rule that was finalized in December 2008. The rule sought to remove regulatory costs by reclassifying fuels that would otherwise be regulated as hazardous waste, but generate emissions similar to fuel oil when burned. EPA has now withdrawn the rule due to difficulty of ensuring that emissions from burning ECF are comparable to emissions from burning fuel oil.  The ECF rule was criticized for potentially allowing hazardous waste to evade the hazardous waste regulatory system, and for being difficult to administer. Industry members have also criticized it because of the detailed conditions for reclassification, which they believe will limit the rule’s use.
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EPA Abandons Rule Permitting Unregulated Hazardous Waste Burning.Climate of Our Future, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today withdrew a dangerous Bush-era exemption that allowed polluters to store, transport, and burn hazardous waste without meeting crucial public health and environmental protection requirements. EPA’s action means that more than 100,000 tons of hazardous waste will again be subject to federal hazardous waste protections. “This is a great victory for Americans and their lungs,” said Earthjustice attorney James Pew. “Communities across the country, particularly those already burdened by toxic air, faced increases of hazardous air pollutants as a result of this dangerous rule. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s withdrawal of this rule demonstrates a commitment to protecting public health that should have Americans breathing a little easier.”
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EPA Proposes New Rule for Coal Ash Storage. – Patrick Crow, Water World, June 10, 2010
After some delay, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule to ensure that coal-fired power plants dispose of coal ash safely. Power plants typically store the combustion byproduct in liquid form at large surface impoundments or in solid form at landfills. The rule was a reaction to a massive coal ash spill in East Tennessee 18 months ago. A dam failed at Tennessee Valley Authority facility and spilled more than a billion gallons of sludge into the Emory and Clinch rivers. The spill displaced residents, required hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs, and caused widespread environmental damage (see March-April column). EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said, “We’re proposing strong steps to address the serious risk of groundwater contamination and threats to drinking water and we’re also putting in place stronger safeguards against structural failures of coal ash impoundments.”
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Water

EPA Begins Review of Science for Florida’s Coastal Water Quality Standards: Action reiterates agency’s commitment to sound science and transparency.EPA News Release, June 7, 2010
In an effort to ensure the use of the best available science and robust public participation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced plans to send its underlying data and methodologies to support development of coastal water quality standards, also known as nutrients criteria, to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) for peer review. The process will also allow the public to comment on the science. By extending the deadline to allow for public and scientific review, EPA is reaffirming a longstanding commitment to sound science and transparency in developing standards to protect and restore waters that are a critical part of Florida’s history, culture and economic prosperity. Nutrient pollution can damage drinking water sources and exposure to nutrient pollution can cause rashes, dizziness, nausea and possibly even damage the central nervous system. These proposed water standards aim to protect people’s health, aquatic life and the long-term recreational uses of Florida’s waters.
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Battle over farm animal manure continues. – Leigh Au, D.C. Bureau, June 7, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month reached an out-of-court settlement with the Waterkeeper Alliance, National Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club regarding the regulation of pollution discharge from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, into water that is protected by the Clean Water Act. CAFOs are industrial operations that confine a large number of animals – for example, at least 1000 beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, or 30,000 chickens – in facilities where vegetation is not sustained.
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Evidence Mounts As We Wait For Meaningful Coal Ash Regulation. – Sam Gomberg, Clean Energy Footprints, June 7, 2010
EPA has finally taken initial action to regulate coal ash.  In a preliminary announcement on May 4, EPA proposed two distinctly different options for regulating the  toxic mess left behind from burning coal at power plants.  We anticipate that EPA’s formal draft rule announcement will be placed in the Federal Register in the next week to 10 days, opening the language up for public input.  One option would treat coal ash as a special toxic waste with all the associated environmental and public health safeguards.  The other option would treat the ash like mere household garbage.
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EPA Rejects Oregon‘s Water Quality Standards. – David Nogueras, OPB News, June 7, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected Oregon’s Water Quality Standards for protection of human health.  The agency ruled the standards did not reflect how much fish Oregon’s native tribes eat.  The Clean Water Act requires that any time a state revises its water quality standards, the federal government has to either approve or disapprove within 3 months.  But it took more than 6 years and a lawsuit by the environmental group, Northwest Environmental Advocates for the EPA to finally make their decision last week. Mary Lou Soscia is EPA’s Columbia River coordinator. She says the agency expects Oregon to come out with a new draft rule early next year that better reflects native fish consumption.  After that, she says the EPA could then act to approve the new standards.
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EPA’s unprecedented water permit policy threatens economic recovery, warn multiple industries.International Mining, June 9, 2010
A new policy proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) poses a threat to thousands of jobs and a sustainable economic recovery, warned a dozen industries in joint comments filed June 4 with the agency.  EPA wants to reverse gears on an existing Clean Water Act discharge permit – halting work not only at the coal mine that filed the permit, but also creating an unprecedented threat for other industries from agriculture to home building. Organizations representing these and other industries protested the far-reaching implications of the agency’s unprecedented plans to “withdraw or restrict” an existing permit.Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, one of the organizations responding to EPA’s proposal: “Pulling a valid permit out from under a company destroys not only the basis of that project and the jobs its supports, but also the trust businesses must have for future investments in everything from home building and road construction to farming and ranching – all of which require Clean Water Act permits,”. EPA announced on April 2 its plans to veto the Spruce No. 1 Surface Mine claiming authority under the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 404 provisions for regulating “waters of the United States.”
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Latest Summary of EPA Actions to Ensure Safe Drinking Water in Utah.Water World, June 9, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency issued the following news release: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 issued 3 administrative orders and 3 notices of violation in Utah from October 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010, under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Although the State of Utah is authorized to implement the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA can take federal action against public water systems in the state that violate the SDWA and its regulations. EPA issues an administrative order to Utah public water systems with multiple violations for which no State enforcement action was planned. An administrative order requires the public water system to comply with the drinking water regulations and includes action items for returning to compliance.
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Impending EPA Post-Construction Stormwater Regulations Highlight Importance of Stormwater and Infrastructure Maintenance. – Richard Celender, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., June 10, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will propose and take final action by November 2012 on a first-time national rule that would control stormwater discharges from newly developed, previously developed and redeveloped sites.  EPA plans to propose a regulation to strengthen the national stormwater permit program, including, at a minimum, new design or performance standards to control post-construction stormwater discharges from developed sites under the authority of section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act.  According to EPA, the Agency is gearing up to revise the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations to respond to a 2008 National Research Council (NRC) report that calls for “radical changes” to EPA’s stormwater control program.  The report, Urban Stormwater Management in the United States, concludes that the lack of requirement for post-construction stormwater controls in the construction industry’s general permit is a “glaring shortcoming.”
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Climate Change

TSCRA: EPA Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases Could Mean Costly Food For Americans.Cattle Network, June 11, 2010
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is disappointed after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a resolution that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG). Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) filed a disapproval resolution after the EPA released an endangerment finding giving themselves the authority to regulate GHGs. If the EPA regulates GHGs under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the cost would be overwhelming as millions of entities, including ranches, would be subject to burdensome CAA regulations. If ranchers don’t comply with the new regulations, they could be subject to fines. These costly regulations would be based on what the EPA itself claims is a weak and indirect link between GHGs and public health.
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Other

Proposed pesticide rules get scrutiny. – Susan Palmer, The Register-Guard, June 7, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published a draft of new rules regarding pesticide use, but the federal agency wants a lot more public input before setting them in stone. The proposed rules, which were released Friday and will be finalized by the end of the year, are designed to limit pesticides in or near water and are a reversal for the EPA, which in 2007 concluded that pesticides were exempt from the permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups disagreed and sued the EPA, and the courts ruled against the agency, saying it must regulate the pollutants. Under the Clean Water Act, discharging any pollutant — garbage, sewage, even dirt and heat — into waterways is illegal. But there are exceptions. Government agencies, water treatment plants and industries such as gravel companies and manufacturing facilities that first get permission in the form of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit can release pollution into the nation’s waterways.
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EPA to reduce pesticides discharged into US waters.Bandera County Courier, June 10, 2010
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a new permit requirement that would decrease the amount of pesticides discharged to the nation’s waters and protect human health and the environment. This action is in response to an April 9, 2009, court decision that ruled pesticide discharges to US waters were pollutants, thus requiring a permit. The proposed permit, released for public comment and developed in collaboration with states, would require all operators to reduce pesticide discharges by using the lowest effective amount of pesticide, prevent leaks and spills, calibrate equipment and monitor for and report adverse incidents.  Additional controls, such as integrated pest management practices, are built into the permit for operators who exceed an annual treatment area threshold.
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Environmental Protection Agency unveils new policy to discourage stonewalling on health and safety. – OMB Watch, First Amendment Coalition, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a significant step toward making more chemical health and safety information available to the public even as trade secrets claims continue to conceal such information elsewhere. A new EPA policy will reject most industry claims that chemical identities included in health and safety studies are trade secrets. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry continues to use trade secrets privileges to thwart attempts to disclose chemical information related to the BP oil spill and controversial natural gas drilling operations. On May 27, the EPA announced a new “general practice” where the agency will review all claims by manufacturers that a chemical’s identity should be treated as confidential business information (CBI) when the identity is part of a health and safety study or the study’s underlying data. The agency expects that unless the disclosure of the chemical identity explicitly reveals how the chemical is produced or processed, the secrecy claim will be rejected, allowing the public to link the chemical to its health and safety information.
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EPA Moves to Close Key Chemical Safety Loophole. – Andrew Schneider, AOL News, June 9, 2010
After years of allowing corporations to withhold vital safety information, the Environmental Protection Agency screamed “stop” on Thursday. In the Federal Register, the agency said it will no longer permit the obstruction of safety evaluations by allowing firms to hide behind age-old claims of business secrecy. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had told Congress earlier this year that the heavily lobbied for “confidential business information” protection was keeping the agency’s risk assessors from obtaining vital health and safety data on chemical substances awaiting approval. Thousands of chemicals were not properly evaluated because of the withheld information, she told lawmakers.
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EPA Moves to Terminate All Uses of Insecticide Endosulfan to Protect Health of Farmworkers and Wildlife.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to end all uses of the insecticide endosulfan in the United States. Endosulfan, which is used on vegetables, fruits, and cotton, can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment. New data generated in response to the agency’s 2002 decision have shown that risks faced by workers are greater than previously known. EPA also finds that there are risks above the agency’s level of concern to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to birds and mammals that consume aquatic prey which have ingested endosulfan. Farmworkers can be exposed to endosulfan through inhalation and contact with the skin. Endosulfan is used on a very small percentage of the U.S. food supply and does not present a risk to human health from dietary exposure.

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EPA banning pesticide that threatens farm workers.The Associated Press, June 10, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency says it is ending use of the pesticide endosulfan in the United States. The chemical is used on some fruits and vegetables as well as cotton. The federal agency said Wednesday that endosulfan can cause nerve damage in farm workers and is also a hazard to wildlife. Endosulfan is not approved for home use and is not considered a threat to consumers. The use of endosulfan was limited starting in 2002. The EPA says that further study indicates that it can still be a danger for agricultural workers. The agency is working with the manufacturer to phase out production. One of several groups that sued to get the chemical banned, Earthjustice, says it welcomes the action.
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Pesticide used on tomato crops determined dangerous by EPA. – Katy Bishop, Naples Daily News, June 10, 2010
A pesticide commonly used on Florida’s tomato crops is being banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Endosulfan “can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment,” according to an EPA release. The pesticide is bioaccumulative, which means it accumulates in the fatty tissue of organisms and concentrates higher in the food chain. Use has ranged from 43 percent of tomato fields in 2002 to 86 percent in 2008, according to the Farmworker Association of Florida. The farmworker advocacy group celebrated the planned ban, citing the pesticide’s widespread use on tomatoes, as well as cabbage, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash and eggplant.
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Endosulfan to Be Banned, Pesticide Poses “Unacceptable Risks,” EPA Says. – Maria Cone, Scientific American, June 10, 2010
Declaring that endosulfan is unsafe, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it is about to ban one of the last organochlorine pesticides still used in the United States. Endosulfan—used largely on vegetables, apples, melons and cotton—”poses unacceptable risks” to farm workers and wildlife, EPA officials said. In response, the agency is moving to cancel the pesticide’s registration. Endosulfan is a chlorinated insecticide that is chemically similar to DDT, which was banned nearly 40 years ago. Like DDT, endosulfan builds up in the environment and in the bodies of people and wildlife, and it is transported around the world via winds and currents. Nearly all other organochlorine pesticides already have been banned.
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Governor Freudenthal doubtful about “guidance” on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.Little Chicago Review, June 9, 2010
Governor Dave Freudenthal, in a letter to the White House Council of Environmental Quality, questioned the necessity and appropriateness of a “guidance document” on climate change that the Council is putting forward. The guidance document proposes to offer clear direction to federal agencies for how to incorporate climate change and greenhouse gas emissions into the National Environmental Policy Act. “These rules are clearly the insertion of non-procedural, substantive law based on Council’s frustration with Congress’ failure to act on climate change legislation,” Freudenthal wrote.  “Nonetheless, we offer comments in the hope of at least reducing the size of the train wreck you are about to create with this guidance document,” he wrote.
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Alaska Attorney General Asks Feds for New ANWR Notice.Stories in the News, June 9, 2010
Attorney General Dan Sullivan has called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a new “notice of intent” for its review of a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, questioning whether the current notice impermissibly excludes public comments on the prospect of oil and gas development on the ANWR coastal plain. Sullivan’s letter to ANWR Refuge Manager Richard Voss Monday followed up on concerns expressed May 11 by Governor Sean Parnell and came as the Alaska Department of Natural Resources also weighed in on defects in the proposed planning process.
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Senator seeks probe of Erie Coke. – Blake Morrison and Brad Heath, USA Today, June 10, 2010
A U.S. senator is urging federal regulators to investigate whether toxic emissions from a plant in Erie, Pa. — located just blocks from a handful of schools — may be responsible for serious health problems among residents. In letters sent this week to federal health and environment officials, Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., wrote that Erie residents have complained of myriad ailments, “from headaches to cancer.” Casey told the head of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that residents worry that emissions from the Erie Coke Corp. may be to blame.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Senate fight over EPA resolution to resume first week after recess. – J. Taylor Rushing, The Hill, June 6, 2010
The Senate this week will return to a pivotal, long-simmering debate over the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The debate will center in a Thursday vote on a disapproval resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would block the EPA from enforcing emissions rules under the Clean Air Act. Murkowski objects to the EPA’s authority and believes that Congress should set such standards instead of the executive branch.
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Senate might vote this week on climate measure. – Wendy Koch, USA Today, June 7, 2010
The Senate might vote on a climate change measure this week — but not the comprehensive overhaul that Democrats say is needed in light of the Gulf oil spill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, will push her measure, backed by a few Democrats, to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, reports The Hill. She argues that Congress should set such standards, not the executive branch. Murkowski has 41 co-sponsors, according to Roll Call, which says the final vote is expected Thursday evening. “Such regulation will ultimately endanger job creation, economic growth and America’s competitiveness,” Murkowski wrote last week in The Hill.
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Handcuff EPA? – Amy Harder, National Journal, June 7, 2010
Should Congress strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions? This week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is expected to call for a vote on a disapproval resolution that would strip the EPA of that authority. Other senators are proposing slightly different approaches. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., would delay the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations for two years. Meanwhile, Sens. Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa., and Thomas Carper, D-Del., would allow EPA to regulate only the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, such as power plants and oil refineries. They would exempt small businesses and farms. Should Congress endorse one of these options or applaud EPA for tackling a climate-change problem?
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EPA Administrator Pens Blog Against Murkowski’s ‘Dirty Air’ Amendment. – Daniel Kessler, Treehugger, June 7, 2010
The pundits are saying that the vote on Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s amendment to upend the EPA’s Endangerment Finding, which says the CO2 and other greenhouse gases are warming the planet, could be a harbinger of things to come on the Senate climate and energy bill. This is probably not the case, since the Murkowski language could never get through the House and the president wouldn’t sign it. Nonetheless, EPA chief Lisa jackson posted a blog today on the Huffington Post warning against Murkowski’s move.  Jackson, whose agency has strengthened vehicle efficiency standards, cracked down on mountaintop removal, and taken the first steps to regulating coal plants, is framing Murkowski’s attack as nothing short of an assault on a clean energy future.
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Administrator Jackson: Keep Moving America Forward Into Energy Independence/Addresses upcoming “resolution of disapproval” vote in remarks before small business owners.EPA News Release, June 8, 2010
In remarks today at EPA’s 2010 Small Business Environmental Conference, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson outlined the impact of a so-called “resolution of disapproval” of the EPA’s endangerment finding in the Senate. Administrator Jackson discussed how this resolution would undermine EPA’s common-sense approach to addressing climate change, move America a “big step backward in the race for clean energy” and “double down on the energy and environmental policies that feed our oil addiction.”
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The Three Biggest Honkers from Senator Murkowski and Her Supporters. – David Doniger, NRDC Switchboard, June 9, 2010
They say truth is the first casualty in war.  Senator Murkowski is leading a war to destroy the Clean Air Act as a tool to combat climate change.  Her resolution to veto the Environmental Protection Agency’s science-based “endangerment” finding comes to a vote on Thursday.  And truth is suffering. Here are the three biggest honkers we’ve heard from Senator Murkowski and her supporters in the run-up to Thursday’s debate.
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GOP bid to stop EPA ruling faces White House veto. – Jim Abrams, The Associated Press, June 8, 2010
The White House has issued a veto threat against a Republican-led effort to block Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the levels of greenhouse gases that power plants and factories can release into the air. The veto threat comes two days before the Senate votes on a measure that would overturn the EPA’s ruling requiring reductions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The White House says a vote for the Senate measure would increase the nation’s dependence on oil and add to pollution-related health risks.
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White House Threatens Veto of Move to Thwart E.P.A. – John M .Broder, The new york Times, June 8, 2010
The White House made clear on Tuesday what had been assumed for months – that it does not like a resolution sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, that would thwart the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. The White House says that if the resolution, scheduled for debate and a vote on Thursday, reaches President Obama’s desk, his advisers will recommend that he veto it. That’s what is known as a veto threat and in this case it is not a bluff. The White House position, in a one-page document known as a Statement of Administration Policy, makes several arguments against the Murkowski resolution. It says that the measure would undermine the Clean Air Act and prevent the E.P.A. from complying with a 2007 Supreme Court decision requiring it to decide whether carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases are a threat to human health and the environment.
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Will the Senate Tackle Climate Change Via Amendments? – Chris Good, The Atlantic, June 7, 2010
It looks as if the Senate will address climate change in a roundabout way, rather than bringing an all-in-one energy reform and climate change bill to the floor, CongressDaily’s Darren Goode and Amy Harder report. Senate Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Charles Schumer of New York told MSNBC that the likely strategy is to try to attach a carbon pricing and energy production strategy from Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., to an energy plan approved with bipartisan support last year by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Kerry has a proposal that has pretty broad support,” Schumer said. “He’s going … to get a chance to offer it in the form of an amendment.”
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CBD responds: David Roberts is right and wrong on the Clean Air Act and the Senate climate bill. – Kevin Bundy, Grist, June 8, 2010
When your house is burning down, you don’t debate whether grabbing a fire extinguisher is better than calling 911 or vice versa. You do both, and if you can, you drag out the garden hose too. Our global house is on fire. Congress and the president have answered the alarm by proposing a package of incentives that they hope will spur construction of a fire engine that will hold only a fraction of the water necessary to put the fire out. In exchange for these incentives, some in Congress want to shut down most of the existing fire department. And we in the environmental community — the house we all love going up in flames around us — are expected to act as if this is a good thing.
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US Senate Update on Climate, Energy Bills.Sustainable Business.com, June 8, 2010
On Thursday the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a bill to repeal the EPA’s endangerment finding concerning carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. According to a Reuters story, the bill–introduced by Alaskan Republican Lisa Murkowski–has 40 co-sponsors and is likely to fall short of the 51 votes needed for passage.  The bill is primarily a political move. Even if it passed the Senate, it would likely be defeated in the House or vetoed by President Obama.  It’s somewhat surprising that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would even bring the bill forward for a floor vote. But Reid is trying to determine what combination of energy and climate measures have enough support to pass next month–and this vote will be a good indicator concerning the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory authority.
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Wyoming regulators approve rules requiring oil, gas drillers to disclose ‘fracking’ chemicals. – Mead Gruver, The Associated Press, June 8, 2010
state agency that oversees oil and gas development voted Tuesday to require energy companies to disclose what chemicals they’re pumping underground to improve the flow of oil and gas into well bores. The state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously approved the new rules, which cover a variety of drilling practices including hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called “fracking,” the process involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to crack open fissures in rock.
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Wyoming approves ‘fracking’ disclosure rules. – Dustin Bleizeffer, Star Tribune, June 9, 2010
Despite industry opposition, state regulators unanimously approved new rules Tuesday requiring oil and gas companies to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Fracking is a technique used to crack gas-bearing rock formations deep underground to stimulate natural gas production. Environmental and public health advocates hailed the passage of the new reporting rules as a victory of public safety over corporate secrecy. Advocates for more stringent public disclosure of fracking fluids pointed out that not only can the chemicals leak into current and future drinking water sources underground, but the chemicals could spill during handling on the surface.
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Brown, Voinovich Request Full Funding for Piketon Clean-Up.PoliticalNews.me, June 8, 2010
U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and George V. Voinovich wrote to Senate Leadership requesting full funding for decommissioning and decontamination (D&D) activities for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) in the Fiscal Year 2011 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The letter was sent to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Bob Bennett (R-WY), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, respectively. “Full funding will accelerate work that is long overdue while driving critical economic development in the Scioto Valley,” said Brown. “Piketon and the surrounding region have been neglected too long. These funds will go a long way toward ensuring clean water, clean air, and clean land while also creating jobs.”
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An ordinance worth supporting: Air pollution must be addressed at local level. – Luke Hopkins, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, June 8, 2010
In the words of former Congressman Tip O’Neill, “all politics is local.” This is true except when it isn’t — as when the federal government imposes its will on us without input from the local community and without consideration of the unique aspects of our environment or our economy. Fairbanks is in a unique position to tailor new federal PM2.5 air quality mandates to our needs and conditions. Or we can choose to have a federal agency do the planning and enforcement for us. We can decide or we can let others do it for us. The choice is ours.
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Lindsey Graham and the failure of the ‘lone Republican’ theory. – Ezra Klein, The Washington Post, June 9, 2010
With Lindsey Graham bolting a bill he helped draft, efforts to address climate change in this Congress look likely to fail. And because the next Congress is likely to have more Republicans, and because the House’s approval of Waxman-Markey will expire after the election and mean the House would have to write and pass a whole new bill, the situation looks grim going forward, too. This is, understandably, causing many enviros to wonder whether Graham was ever committed to the effort. Brad Plumer, who’s as fair-minded and unexcitable on these questions as they come, calls Graham’s stated objections “ridiculous” and says “this whole episode really makes you wonder if Graham was ever serious about energy and climate policy in the first place.”
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Graham Backs U.S. Energy Bill Without Carbon Cap He Once Sought. – Jim Snyder, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 9, 2010
Senator Lindsey Graham, who worked for months on legislation to cap carbon emissions, backed an alternative aimed at curbing greenhouse-gas emissions through incentives for energy conservation. The new bill, offered today by Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, would require new homes, businesses and appliances to use less energy, encourage states and utilities to adopt more renewable power and provide incentives for building nuclear reactors and retiring coal-fired power plants.
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NRDC: Best Elements of Lugar Bill Belong in Comprehensive Energy and Climate Legislation.NRDC News Release, June 9, 2010
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) introduced a set of energy and climate proposals today. Below is a statement from Dan Lashof, Director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Senator Lugar’s proposal contains some good ideas that should be included in an effective and comprehensive bill that cuts oil dependence, creates jobs, and puts limits on carbon pollution. But this proposal is no substitute for the comprehensive clean energy and climate bill we need to hold polluters accountable, break our dangerous addiction to oil and curb climate change.
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Leahy Unveils Legislation To Strengthen Penalties For Environmental Crimes.RTT News, June 9, 2010
Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Ver., unveiled legislation Wednesday to strengthen penalties against oil companies and other companies for environmental crimes. The Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act would increase sentences for environmental crimes in an attempt to deter companies from practices that cause harm to the environment. The bill is also intended to protect victims of environmental crimes by mandating restitution for criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. Under current law, restitution for such violations, including those that result in loss of human life, is discretionary.
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Will Oil Spill Companies Be on Hook for Clean Water Crimes? – David Ingram, Law.com, June 10, 2010
In a new turn for the congressional response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, legislation introduced Wednesday would mandate restitution for victims of some environmental crimes. The bill, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is separate from other efforts to increase civil liability for spills. It would amend the section of the U.S. Code relating to when judges must impose restitution during sentencing. And it would direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend the sentencing guidelines for crimes under the Clean Water Act. In a statement, Leahy said, “They are important steps toward deterring criminal conduct that can cause environmental and economic disaster and toward helping those who have suffered so much from the wrongdoing of Big Oil and other large corporations.” The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Two fellow Democrats, Sens. Dick Durbin, Ill., and Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I., have signed on as co-sponsors.
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House Democrats fear fossil fuels harming oceans. – Peter Urban, The Salinas Claifornian, June 10, 2010
Citing rising ocean acidity that they say poses a grave threat to marine life, House Democrats backed a resolution Wednesday calling for a national policy to address the problem. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., who sponsored the resolution, said the long-term threat of “ocean acidification” is perhaps greater than the immediate crisis posed by the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. More than a quarter of the carbon dioxide released during the burning of oil and coal ends up in the oceans, raising acid levels to the point where it can dissolve shells, as scientists have found it is already doing in some waters off California, he said.
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New York State Passes Electronics Recycling Law.Recycling Today Media Group, June 10, 2010
New York State has passed legislation that addresses the recycling of obsolete electronics. The legislation, signed into law by New York Governor David Patterson in late May, stipulates that all manufacturers selling electronic equipment in the state must provide a free, convenient collection service by April 1, 2011.  The law also makes it illegal for individuals to dispose of electronic scrap in landfills by Jan. 1, 2015.  The law requires each manufacturer to recycle or reuse its market share of the electronic scrap by weight, based on its three-year average of annual sales in the state. Manufacturers also will be required to submit annual reports to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation documenting the steps they have taken to meet their collection and recycling goals.
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Oil Disaster Shows Need for Endangered Species Act Overhaul. – Brandon Keim, Wired Science, June 10, 2010 Of the many regulatory problems that helped make the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster possible, the Endangered Species Act’s shortcomings have received little attention — but fixing its flaws and loopholes could help prevent future catastrophes. Oil companies never considered the impacts of a massive spill on the Gulf’s sperm whales or five sea turtle species. They didn’t have to, because the law doesn’t require it. “We need to include disaster planning in the Endangered Species Act consultation process,” said environmental lawyer Keith Rizzardi. “We can learn from experience.” So far, critics have focused on the Minerals Management Service’s evasion of National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to evaluate environmental impacts when making decisions. The MMS essentially operated in collusion with the oil industry in what one federal investigator called “a culture of ethical failure,” allowing drilling to proceed without NEPA review. Those approvals have continued, with at least 19 environmental waivers granted since the April 20 explosion.
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Senate Rejects Republican Effort to Thwart Carbon Limits. – Carl Hulse, The New York Times, June 10, 2010
The Senate on Thursday defeated a Republican-led effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from curbing greenhouse gases as lawmakers road-tested arguments for a future fight over climate change legislation. The Senate voted 53-47 to reject an attempt by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, to block the E.P.A. from imposing new limits on carbon emissions based on its 2009 finding that such gases from industry, vehicles and other sources represent a threat to human health and the environment. Ms. Murkowski and others, including six Democrats, contended that the E.P.A. was engaging in a bureaucratic power grab and usurping Congressional authority with regulations that would stifle the economy and kill jobs.
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Senate EPA vote breathes life into climate change legislation. – Bill Lambrecht, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 10, 2010
When the votes were tallied a short time ago after a daylong debate, the Senate voted 53-47 to kill an effort to strip away the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases from utilities and industrial smokestacks.It was the biggest environmental debate in Congress in a year, and often it sounded like the the vote on climate change legislation itself rather than a decision on what the EPA can and can’t do when it comes to planet-warming pollution.
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Resolution on greenhouse gases fails, could boost energy bill. – Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2010
Democrats and environmentalists took satisfaction in the defeat in the US Senate Thursday of a resolution that would have stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The defeat – 47 votes to 53 – was a boost for supporters of comprehensive energy-climate legislation. Sens. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut have floated such legislation, but it won’t be considered until next month. “The Senate made the right decision today but the big question is what comes now,” Senators Kerry and Lieberman said in a joint statement. “Many supporters of the Murkowski resolution argued passionately that climate change is real but that addressing it is a job for Congress not the EPA. We hope they will now engage with us ….”
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Senate turns back plan to block EPA rules. – Ben Geman, The Hill, June 10, 2010
The Senate on Thursday turned back a largely Republican plan to block Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas rules, voting 47-53 to stave off what would have been a major blow to the White House and the Democratic climate agenda. Fifty-one votes would have been needed in favor of the plan to advance it toward a final vote. Six Democrats voted with Republicans for Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) unsuccessful plan: Evan Bayh (Ind.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.). No Republicans opposed it.
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Oil spill boosts, but alters, potential climate change law. – Kent Hoover, Birmingham Business Journal, June 11, 2010
The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has given new momentum to climate change legislation, but capping carbon emissions still faces a difficult road ahead in the Senate. President Barack Obama pointed to the “inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth” as a reason to “aggressively accelerate” the nation’s transition “to a clean energy economy.” The only way to do this, he said, is “putting a price on carbon pollution” so that “capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed.”
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ENERGY

Oil

Gulf Oil Spill Response Should Include Carbon Price, Kerry Says.Bloomberg News, June 6, 2010
The U.S. should respond to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by approving legislation that makes companies pay for the carbon dioxide produced by burning oil, coal and natural gas, Senator John Kerry said today.  Legislation that helps the U.S. “wean ourselves from our addiction to oil” should take precedence over “throwing the blame around” for the spill, triggered by an April 20 explosion on a Transocean Ltd. rig leased by BP Plc, Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week” program.
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D.C. lawyers handling oil spill-related litigation. – Amanda Becker, The Washington Post, June 7, 2010
The controversy over the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and sent oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is spilling into Washington as BP and others enlist help from the city’s lawyers and lobbyists to deal with a growing list of civil suits, government inquiries and federal investigations. Here’s a look at some of the key players on the legal front.  BP Jamie S. Gorelick, WilmerHale
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Looking for Liability in BP’s Gulf Oil Spill. – Peter J. Henning, The New York Times, June 7, 2010
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made a commitment during a visit to the Gulf Coast last week that the Justice Department would be looking at both civil and criminal charges to ensure accountability for anyone responsible for the oil spill at BP’s oil rig. In his statement, the attorney general said that “if we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response.” The likelihood of civil enforcement proceedings for violations of various environmental laws is almost guaranteed for BP and Transocean, the operator and owner, respectively, of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded back in April. Halliburton was working as a contractor for Transocean in cementing the well, so it also may be named. Mr. Holder’s emphasis on using criminal provisions makes it clear that the companies, and perhaps even some individuals at them, will be the targets for prosecution. Here is a preliminary assessment of the various types of litigation the environmental disaster is likely to spawn.
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After oil spill cleanup, will we tighten the laws? – Stuart Fox, The Christian Science Monitor, June 7, 2010
Earlier this week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) responded to the continuing Gulf oil leak by proposing new legislative action that would raise the liability BP could face for the disaster. Sen. Schumer’s action is merely the latest move in Washington’s month-long reaction to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and if history is any guide, it won’t be the last. Throughout the last century, environmental and industrial catastrophes have often provoked an outraged citizenry to demand action from their elected officials, resulting in new regulations aimed at preventing future catastrophes. Experts point out, however, that many of those regulations failed to stop subsequent calamities, leading some to question whether the responses to the Gulf oil leak will have a lasting effect.  “Basically, you have a pattern of crisis, response, and retrenchment,” said Thomas McGarity, a professor of administrative law at the University of Texas at Austin Law School. “Ultimately, the response to the crisis doesn’t produce as much change as would have been expected during the crisis. This has happened since the Progressive Era [1890s to 1920s].”
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Oil Spill Liability a Complicated Legal Web. – Quinn Bowman, PBS Newshour, June 7, 2010
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and several members of the Senate, including New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez and Louisiana Republican David Vitter, have proposed changing or eliminating a $75 million liability cap in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. This limit applies to damages a company that spills oil must pay to make up for lost economic activity, lost tax revenue and damage to natural resources as a result of an oil spill. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the issue Wednesday. Although Congress continues to debate the issue, other laws may apply that could affect the amount of damages ultimately sought against BP and others. The NewsHour spoke with several environmental and maritime law experts to get a sense for the larger legal framework that will ultimately guide who pays how much to clean up the Gulf oil spill and compensate those affected by the damage.
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Obama and Congress Question Cozy Relationship With Oil Companies. – Kent Garber, U.S. News & World Report, June 7, 2010
“Cozy relationship” is one of those phrases Washington loves. During the financial crisis, there were allegations of cozy relationships between bankers and the government regulators who were supposed to be policing them in the public interest. It’s a similar story with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “For too long, for a decade or more,” President Obama said recently, “there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill.” Obama was referring specifically to the Minerals Management Service, which is part of the Interior Department. It has long been a problem child. In 2008, an inspector general’s report found that MMS workers weren’t just cozy with the industry but were, in fact, holding sex and drug parties with industry representatives. And that was just the most visible problem for an agency with the conflicting roles of oil-revenue producer and safety enforcer.
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EPA Officials Weigh Sanctions Against BP’s U.S. Operations. – Abraham Lustgarten, OneEarth, June 7, 2010
Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are considering whether to bar BP from receiving government contracts, a move that would ultimately cost the company billions in revenue and could end its drilling in federally controlled oil fields. Over the past 10 years, BP has paid tens of millions of dollars in fines and been implicated in four separate instances of criminal misconduct that could have prompted this far more serious action. Until now, the company’s executives and their lawyers have fended off such a penalty by promising that BP would change its ways. That strategy may no longer work. Days ago, in an unannounced move, the EPA suspended negotiations with the petroleum giant over whether it would be barred from federal contracts because of the environmental crimes it committed before the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Plumes of Oil Below Surface Raise New Concerns. – Justin Gillis, The New York Times, June 8, 2010
The government and university researchers confirmed Tuesday that plumes of dispersed oil were spreading far below the ocean surface from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, raising fresh concern about the potential impact of the spill on sea life. The tests, the first detailed chemical analyses of water from the deep sea, show that some of the most toxic components of the oil are not necessarily rising to the surface where they can evaporate, as would be expected in a shallow oil leak. Instead, they are drifting through deep water in plumes or layers that stretch as far as 50 miles from the leaking well.
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U.S. releases stricter rules on offshore drilling. – Steve Gelsi, Market Watch, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Minerals Management Service on Tuesday released new guidelines for offshore drilling in a move that will free up the permitting process for new wells in shallow waters. A drilling ban in waters deeper than 500 feet continues. The new rules include additional equipment for blowout preventers, which provide the last layer of defense against leaking wells. The Department of the Interior will be also be issuing expanded requirements for exploration plans and development plans on the outer continental shelf, said Bob Abbey, the director of the Bureau of Land Management who has also been tapped to serve as director of the Minerals Management Service. “We are following an orderly, responsible process for implementing stronger safety and environmental requirements of offshore drilling,” said Abbey. “We need to make sure that drilling is done right, that it is done safely, and that oil and gas operators are following the law.”
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Environmental Lawyers Weigh BP’s Liability in Leak.PBS Newshour, June 8, 2010
JIM LEHRER: On this day 50 of the Gulf disaster, officials still don’t know how much oil is escaping from the damaged well or where it’s headed. A mile deep, a containment cap over the blown-out well head is now pumping even more of the leaky crude to the surface. At a news conference in Washington, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said the device captured more than 600,000 gallons yesterday, up from 460,000 on Sunday. But the government’s point man said he wasn’t optimistic. ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, U.S. Coast Guard commandant: I have never said this is going well. But we’re throwing everything we have got at it. This is the largest oil spill response in the history of the country. I have said time and time again nothing good happens when oil is on the water. And we’re making no illusions that this is anything other than a catastrophe. And we’re addressing it as such, and we will continue to do that.
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Extent Of BP’s Liability Still Murky. – Scott Neuman, National Public Radio, June 9, 2010
The White House said this week that it supports Democratic legislation to raise the $75 million cap on economic damages under the Oil Pollution Act to $10 billion. That would cover claims ranging from payments to individual shrimpers for lost wages to money for states to rebuild their tourism industries — and is separate from the expense of cleaning up the massive Gulf of Mexico slick. Estimates of the total cost of the disaster vary widely, reaching as high as $40 billion. Because BP is self-insured, it would bear the full cost. Senate panels were holding liability hearings this week, but some legal experts say the very issue of a cap may be moot.
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Obama Administration Could Use Clean Water Act to Collect Billions from BP. – Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov.com, June 9, 2010
If President Barack Obama really does want to kick some ass over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as he told NBC’s Today show, the Clean Water Act might be just the shoe to use. Legal experts believe the Clean Water Act could be a powerful weapon to punish those involved in the accident and collect at least $4.7 billion in civil fines for the oil that’s been spilled so far. The federal legislation was bolstered following the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 to impose harsh civil and criminal penalties for oil spills. Tracy Hester, director of the University of Houston’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center, told McClatchy Newspapers that there are “tons of lawyers” looking at using the Clean Water Act to build cases against the companies involved, such as BP. Among the cases being developed are those under the watch of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is preparing to pursue civil and criminal sanctions against those responsible for the spill.
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Justice Department Probes Spill; Charges Expected.National Public Radio, June 9, 2010
BP is capturing more oil from its blown-out well but plenty of oil is still leaking into the Gulf. David Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan, talks to Steve Inskeep about corporate criminal liability in environmental cases. Uhlmann is a former chief of the environmental crimes section of the Justice Department.
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Q+A: How would penalties apply to the Gulf oil spill.Reuters, June 11, 2010
With the U.S. government doubling its estimate of oil coming out of the broken well on the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico, companies linked to the spill, including BP Plc, face an increasing liability and potential penalties. Following are some questions and answers for how it could play out. Q: WHO COULD BE SUBJECT TO PENALTIES?  A: The U.S. Justice Department has launched both a criminal and civil investigation into the oil spill but officials have not identified the targets. However, the likely companies that will be the focus of the investigation include BP, Transocean Ltd, which operated the drill rig, Cameron International, which provided the blowout preventer, and Halliburton Co, which was in charge of the cement for the oil well.
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Lawsuits Over Gulf Spill Likely to Be Bloody, Long. – Marc Pickard, WXIA, June 11, 2010
The images of oil soaked birds and dead sea turtles confirm the poisonous effect of the gulf oil spill. But there are other images too, of frightened and angry gulf residents whose livelihoods and lives depend on a healthy eco-system. Their survival may rest on legal claims filed against BP. The battles over those claims are likely to be bloody and long. It is often impossible to see where the Gulf of Mexico ends and the lives of these people begin. Over generations they have grown together. And now that one is so deeply wounded, so is the other. If these people are to survive, they may not be able to wait on nature to heal the Gulf. They may have to rely on the law.
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BP Mess Is a Mileage Argument: Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang. – Dan Becker And James Gerstenzang, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 8, 2010
What do we do after BP Plc fixes the gusher in the Gulf of Mexico — days, weeks or months from now? We tell them what to do with the rest of their oil: Keep it in the ground. The Gulf spill is an environmental disaster that will happen again until we cut our addiction to oil. How do we wean ourselves? We toughen our fuel-economy and emissions standards so that automakers move beyond cars that depend on oil. President Barack Obama was right to suspend new drilling. He should make that a permanent ban. He is also right that we won’t get off oil in 10 years. But we never will if we don’t try much harder. The long-term answer to this catastrophe can’t be limited to a halt in dangerous deepwater drilling.
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New rules approved, others urged, in response to oil spill. – Richard Simon and Christopher Goffard, The Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2010
His voice breaking as he spoke of a brother lost in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, Christopher K. Jones pleaded with lawmakers Tuesday to change a 90-year-old law that limits corporate liability for the 11 lives claimed in the April oil rig disaster. Jones, a Baton Rouge attorney, displayed photos of his 28-year-old brother, Gordon, including one of an unfinished backyard fort his sibling had been building with his 2-year-old son. Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jones referred to BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward’s remark that he “would like [his] life back” and said, “Well, Mr. Hayward, I want my brother’s life back.” The hearing came on a day of mounting governmental responses to the continued leak from a BP well created by the rig explosion, including the Interior Department’s announcement that it would impose new rules on shallow-water offshore drilling but allow it to resume.
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Huge Swing: Florida Opposes Offshore Drilling. – Michael McAuliff, New York Daily News, June 9, 2010
Perhaps it’s the difficulty in imagining oil washing up on your beaches and tourists vanishing versus the reality of it, but Florida voters have done a remarkable 180 in their views on offshore drilling, going from strongly in favor to opposed in a huge 48-point swing in today’s Quinnipiac poll. On April 19, a day before the Deepwater Horizon blowout, Florida voters supported drilling, 66% to 27%. Today, it’s 51% to 42% opposed. “Clearly, the Gulf oil spill has changed the way Floridians view offshore drilling and almost certainly is responsible for the drop in President Obama’s approval rating,” said Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown, referring to the President’s approval flipping from a positive 50—45 to a stark negative 40—54. “Voters disapprove 54 – 37% of the way Obama is handling the spill.”
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GOP Attacks White House for Politicizing Oil Spill. – Evan Lehmann, Climatewire in The New york Times, June 9, 2010
Republicans lashed out at the Obama administration yesterday for using the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for political purposes, signaling sharpening partisanship during a crucial period in which Democrats hope to build support for climate legislation. That effort was clouded yesterday as the White House threatened to veto Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) resolution blocking U.S. EPA from regulating thousands of businesses that release carbon dioxide. Critics charge that the EPA rules will shock companies with new costs.
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Gas

Emergency crews contain Pa. gas well leak. – Amy Worden, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 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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Dept Of Environmental Protection To Investigate Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Well Blowout in Pennsylvania. – Zero Hedge, Signs of the Times News, June 6, 2010
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said today that his agency intends to investigate aggressively the circumstances surrounding a blowout at a Marcellus Shale natural gas well in Lawrence Township, Clearfield County, and take the appropriate enforcement action.  At approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 3, the operators of the well, which is owned by EOG Resources , Inc., lost control of it while preparing to extract gas after hydrofracturing the shale. As a result, the well released natural gas and flowback frack fluid onto the ground and 75 feet into the air. The well was eventually capped around noon on June 4.  “The event at the well site could have been a catastrophic incident that endangered life and property,” said Hanger. “This was not a minor accident, but a serious incident that will be fully investigated by this agency with the appropriate and necessary actions taken quickly.
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Pa. regulators halt gas drilling by company whose well went dangerously haywire last week. – Marc Levy, Associated Press, June 7, 2010
Pennsylvania regulators halted work Monday at dozens of unfinished natural gas wells being drilled by the company whose out-of-control well spewed out explosive gas and polluted water for 16 hours last week. The order against Houston-based EOG Resources Inc. will remain in place until the Department of Environmental Protection can finish its investigation and until after the company makes whatever changes may be needed, Gov. Ed Rendell said. The order stops EOG from drilling and hydraulically fracturing wells. It affects about 70 unfinished EOG wells into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.
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Sestak Calls on EPA to Step Up Oversight of Marcellus Drilling. – Gant Daily, Gant Daily, June 7, 2010
Following a blowout at a Pennsylvania natural gas well, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Congressman Joe Sestak called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today to increase its oversight of Marcellus Shale development. The blowout at the natural gas well in Clearfield County last week, apparently caused by a failed blowout preventer, spewed polluted drilling water and natural gas 75 feet in the air and on the ground before being capped 16 hours later. The drilling liquid from the well’s hydraulic fracturing activities, whereby the liquids are shot underground at high pressure to break up shale and release its natural gas, flowed off the site and toward tributaries to Little Laurel Run. While the situation was eventually contained, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said the accident could have resulted in a “catastrophic incident that endangered life and property.”
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Worker killed when natural gas pipeline explodes in fireball. – Jim Douglas, WFAA, June 7, 2010
A large natural gas line near Cleburne erupted Monday afternoon when utility workers accidentally hit the line, sending a column of fire into the air and leaving one worker missing hours after the blast, officials said. The worker’s body was recovered Monday evening; his name was not released. Eight others among the 13 at the site were injured. One patient was taken to Texas Health Hospital Fort Worth. Spokeswoman Whitney Jodry did not have that person’s condition.
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Accidents bring calls to suspend shale drilling. – Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 8, 2010
Serious accidents at Marcellus shale natural gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the past five days have prompted sanctions against one Texas-based drilling company, support for tighter federal regulations and even calls for a moratorium on drilling. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger on Monday ordered EOG Resources Inc., formerly Enron Oil & Gas Co., to suspend all new drilling operations in the state until an independent investigation of a massive well “blowout” Thursday night near Penfield, Clearfield County, is completed.
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Our Next Disaster? 3 Natural Gas Accidents in 1 Week. – Tara Lohan, Change.org, June 8, 2010
With all eyes on the Gulf oil catastrophe, you may have missed news reports this past week about several accidents involving the natural gas industry. These incidents in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas add to the growing list of reasons why drilling — for oil or gas, on land or offshore — is unnecessarily hazardous to people and the environment. The human toll of these latest explosions, two at gas wells and one at a pipeline, is one dead and almost a dozen injured. Last week Change.org’s Jess Leber wrote about threats to the Upper Delaware River, thanks to gas drillers who are rushing to tap deposits in the expansive Marcellus Shale, which runs under the Allegheny Plateau and includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
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Biofuels

ADM asks EPA to allow 12 pct ethanol in U.S. fuel.Reuters, June 7, 2010
U.S. ethanol producer Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N: Quote) on Monday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to allow U.S. fuel blends with up to 12 percent ethanol while the EPA continues its review an earlier request to raise the U.S. ethanol blend rate to 15 percent. Worries that higher blends could damage engines of older vehicles are among the top concerns delaying an EPA ruling on a March 2009 request by ethanol supporters to raise the blend rate as high as 15 percent, up from 10 percent currently. ADM said that the EPA could allow the marketing of fuel blends with up to 12 percent ethanol, known as E12, to all vehicles because it is “substantially similar” to the current E10 fuel blends.
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Nuclear

NRC Paper Examines Blending Of Low-Level Radioactive Waste. – R.W. Borchardt, Nuclear Power Industry News, June 10, 2010
To provide the Commission with the results of the staff’s analysis of issues associated with the blending of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW), as directed in Chairman Jaczko’s October 8, 2009, memorandum to the staff. The closure of the Barnwell waste disposal facility to most U.S. generators of Class B and C LLRW has caused industry to examine methods for reducing the amount of these wastes, including the blending of some types of Class B and C waste with similar Class A wastes to produce a Class A mixture that can be disposed of at a currently licensed facility. This paper identifies policy, safety, and regulatory issues associated with LLRW blending, provides options for a U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) blending position, and makes a recommendation for a future blending policy. This paper does not address any new commitments.
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Wind

Cape Wind opponents draw environmental and political parallels to Gulf oil disaster. – Gale Courey Toensing, Indian Country Today, June 10, 2010
As opponents of a massive wind energy factory in Nantucket Sound watch the impact of energy giant BP’s oil blowout on the ocean and delicate ecosystems of the Louisiana coast, they are drawing parallels between the energy projects and warning that another environmental disaster is likely to happen in the waters off Cape Cod. Opponents say that the Cape Wind project, the first offshore wind energy plant in the country, will destroy marine and avian life of the Sound, as well as cultural and historic treasures, create a hazard to public safety and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Air

BYU professor C. Arden Pope says pollution improved, still a health problem as Clean Air Act turns 40. – Sara Israelsen-Hartley, The Deseret News, June 6, 2010
The enemy isn’t acid rain anymore. It’s the tiny particles of pollution that find their way from tail pipes to windpipes and end up inflaming lungs and damaging hearts. “The science has developed far enough … that as a matter of public policy, we need to deal with the air pollution issue,” said BYU professor C. Arden Pope, who spoke recently at an EPA seminar in Washington, D.C., for the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. “We need to address it, take it seriously and not overstate its impact or understate it, just understand it in a clear scientific way such that we can effectively deal with the problem and improve human health,” he said.
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Second Round of Sampling Reveals No Indoor Air Health Concerns at Buildings 50 and 52 at the Bannister Federal Complex.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
Results of a second round of air monitoring in and around a child care facility and an adjacent building at the Bannister Federal Complex in Kansas City, Mo., do not reveal health concerns with indoor air at the facilities related to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), EPA Region 7 officials announced today. EPA Region 7 and its contractors performed a series of sampling activities March 26-28 at the two buildings, which are part of the General Services Administration’s managed portion of the complex. Building 50 houses GSA’s Kansas City South Field Office, and Building 52 houses the Bannister Complex Child Development Center, a child care facility.
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A Clash in Texas Over Air Pollution. – James C. McKinley, Jr., The New York Times, June 9, 2010
For 16 years, a showdown has been brewing between Texas and federal environmental officials over the state’s unique way of regulating industrial air pollution, which many critics complain is lax and has led to some of the dirtiest air in the country. Now, President Obama’s new regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency in Dallas has forced the issue. The new environmental sheriff is Al Armendariz, a 40-year-old chemical engineer from El Paso, and two weeks ago, he took the unprecedented step of barring Texas from issuing an operating permit to a refinery in Corpus Christi.
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EPA offers option to firms worried over compliance Companies could agree to outside audit in exchange for civil protection. – Peggy Fikac, Houston Chronicle, June 10, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday offered an option for companies worried about their pollution permits as the state and federal government battle over regulation of Texas’ air quality. Under the EPA’s proposal, companies that hold controversy-stirring flexible permits could voluntarily undergo a third-party audit to see if they’re complying with the Clean Air Act and make corrections as needed, said Al Armendariz, the agency’s regional administrator. If problems are found — such as a facility modification that should have gone through the permitting process — companies undergoing the audit would be given protection from civil prosecution by the agency, he said. If excessive emissions are identified, companies could be required to take steps, such as investing in new pollution control equipment.
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EPA offers Texas companies clean air audits.Dallas Business Journal, June 11, 2010
Texas lawmakers and federal regulators continue to clash when it comes to the issue of how to regulate emissions from businesses in the state. As Texas legislators push back against intervening federal pollution regulation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled Thursday a Clean Air Act audit for Texas businesses. EPA said last month it would replace Texas air permitting policies with a new federal version, sparking contention among state officials, who said the agency was overreaching and violating the 10th Amendment.
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Waste

Superfund Dredging Resumes for Seventh Season in New Bedford Harbor.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
Through the first two weeks of June, work crews will be mobilizing equipment and personnel for the startup of EPA’s seventh season of Superfund dredging in New Bedford Harbor. Dredging is officially set to begin on June 14, 2010. This is the same cleanup process that has been used since the start of full scale dredging in 2004. In total, approximately 193,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment have been removed as required by the 1998 cleanup plan; including cleanups prior to 2004 and the 2005 underwater cap project. Approximately 700,000 cubic yards of sediment remain to be addressed. EPA has worked within a “worst first” approach and much of the remaining sediment is lower in PCB levels than that removed to date.
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Water

World Oceans Day: Marine Advocates Speak on Major Threats. – Ben Murray, Take Part, June 7, 2010
It’s the original “too big to fail”: the ocean. As World Oceans Day arrives this week, threats to the world’s biggest and most crucial ecosystem are seen in sharp relief: oil in the gulf, climate change, overfishing, acidification and more. To raise awareness of some of the most pressing threats to our global ocean, TakePart asked a series of ocean experts, advocates and conservationists two simple questions: What is the most pressing issue facing oceans today? And how can people get involved? Five ocean advocates responded—here are their answers.
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National Ocean Policy and Marine Spatial Planning Will Improve Planning, Disaster Prevention, and Ocean Protection. – Leila Monroe, Switchboard, June 8, 2010
Tomorrow is the United Nations’ annual World Oceans Day. With or without the current Gulf disaster, the fact is that – worldwide – our oceans are experiencing a silent collapse as a result of pollution, habitat destruction , increased strain on fish populations, and  impacts from excess carbon emissions, such as warming water temperatures, shifts in currents and ocean acidification. The oceans already host shipping, fishing, defense, aquaculture, energy production and many types of recreational activities.  Add to those pressures periodic crises like the BP offshore drilling disaster, and the result is that our oceans and coasts – and the people who depend on their health for their livelihoods – need all the help they can get.
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Our Say: Acidification effects huge.The Cairns Post, June 10, 2010
There have been plenty of doom and gloom predictions about the effects climate change may have upon the Great Barrier Reef, to the point where the topic of global warming has become a political football. While we wait for the Federal Government to make up its mind on whether to act to lower our carbon emissions before it is too late, the very real threat of ocean acidification has slowly been making its presence felt. More than 12 months ago scientists warned that growth of the biggest and most robust corals on the Great Barrier Reef had slowed by more than 14 per cent since 1990.
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Climate Change

Shift in Earth’s Vegetation.KCBS, June 6, 2010
New research out of UC Berkeley suggests that climate change is driving a shift in global vegetation. Climate change is moving major vegetation zones up mountain slopes and towards polar areas where it’s cooler and towards the pole,” said Patrick Gonzalez, a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. Gonzalez is the lead author of a new study on the effects of climate change on vegetation and said this vegetation movement could reduce habitat for wildlife, as well as reduce the amount of wood humans can use for shelter and cooking.
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Investor Survey Shows Asset Owners Seek Climate-Change Data. – Alex Morales, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 7, 2010
Twice as many investors are asking stock and bond managers about their global-warming policies as two years earlier, a survey by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change showed. Sixty percent of asset owners asked prospective managers of their funds about climate-change policy in 2009 compared with 30 percent in 2007, the group said today in a statement. Institutions surveyed include units of Aviva Plc, BNP Paribas, F&C Asset Management Plc and the pension fund for BT Group Plc. “The fact that asset owners now question their asset managers about their climate-change policies prior to making a selection is a clear signal of increased awareness on climate change in the investment community,” Ole Beier Sorensen, chairman of the investors group, said in the e-mailed statement.
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Virginia AG and Tea Party Favorite Sues Scientist for Studying Climate Change.Not SO Humble, June 7, 2010
Ever the strident right-wing apologist and bootlicker of corporate and energy interests, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli hauled off and sued a scientist for doing his job – just because he doesn’t like what his job is. Lacking evidence of any kind, Ciccinelli is ready to bring a nearly entirely fabricated story to trial in order to squash real scientific debate and study into global climate change as a knee-jerk reaction to some perceived fraud on his part, in the most flimsy, clearly “I’m doing this to quiet you” kind of way. Here’s the full scoop:
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Use USDA programs to study climate change. – Dr. Paul E. Fixen, Argus Leader, June 8, 2010
With Congress intensely focused on climate-change policy, it is unclear if it will be able to pass comprehensive legislation. But there is one action that Congress easily can take that will a make big difference: increase funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research, education and outreach programs. These programs are critical because they help us to better understand the impact of climate variation on the environment and agricultural production. There are three reasons why the USDA’s programs offer opportunities for practical responses to the challenges of climate variation. First, climate variability affects agriculture. Second, agriculture can affect the climate. And third, the USDA is conducting proven programs through land-grant universities and the Agriculture Research Service, programs that are research-based, non-ideological, already under way and showing success but that could benefit from dramatic increases in funding.
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Study: Shrinking glaciers to spark food shortages. – Michael Casey, The Associated Press, June 11, 2010
Nearly 60 million people living around the Himalayas will suffer food shortages in the coming decades as glaciers shrink and the water sources for crops dry up, a study said Thursday. But Dutch scientists writing in the journal Science concluded the impact would be much less than previously estimated a few years ago by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The U.N. report in 2007 warned that hundred of millions of people were at risk from disappearing glaciers. The reason for the discrepancy, scientists said, is that some basins surrounding the Himalayas depend more on rainfall than melting glaciers for their water sources.
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Polls reveal solid public support for climate change action.Business Green.com, June 11, 2010
Public support for action to tackle climate change remains robust on both sides of the Atlantic, according to two major new polls that suggest the impact of the so-called “climategate” scandal has been less pronounced than first thought. The first report from the University of Cardiff and polling firm Ipsos Mori surveyed 1,822 people and found that while belief in climate change has slipped slightly since the last major poll five years ago, there has not been the collapse in confidence some observers predicted following the climategate email leaks.The survey revealed that 78 per cent of respondents believe the climate is changing, down from 91 per cent in 2005. In a development that could prove significant for policy makers, 68 per cent said they would support spending taxpayers’ money on British projects to tackle climate change.
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Other

Biodiversity: The E.U.’s Next Challenge. – James Kanter, The New York Times, June 6, 2010
Even as nations struggle to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, the European Union is taking on a potentially more complicated environmental challenge: preserving the world’s biodiversity. Last week, the European Commission put biodiversity at the center of its annual Green Week conference in Brussels after E.U. environment ministers warned in March against “going beyond the limits of nature,” and after heads of state and government endorsed the ministers’ pledge to halt biodiversity loss in the Union by 2020 and step up efforts to avert such losses globally.
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Law center will tackle energy and environmental policies. – Karen Sloan, The National Law Journal, June 8, 2010
The West Virginia University College of Law is seeking to bridge the gap between environmental law and energy law. The school is launching a new Energy and Sustainability Law Program and Center — one of the first of its kind at a law school.  “You’ve had law schools such as Tulane and Oregon that have really good programs focused exclusively on environmental issues, and on the other side you have schools with very good traditional oil- and gas-focused programs, such as the University of Texas, the University of Houston and the University of Oklahoma,” said West Virginia law dean Joyce McConnell. “What you didn’t have until recently is the deep connection between energy, the environment and sustainability. We’re looking at how you keep the energy flowing in a way that is sustainable.”
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New EPA report finds no health concerns from shipyard dust. – John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, June 9, 2010
Dust rising from construction work now going on at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard redevelopment project poses no special danger to either workers or neighbors, according to a report released today by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. While critics of the project have long complained that the dust contains asbestos and other toxics that were damaging the health of people living near the project, the new report found that “best practices for dust monitoring and mitigation are in place … to protect the community.” The report differs little from a draft version made public in January. The EPA did the study at the request of local groups concerned that the city and Lennar, the project’s developer, were ignoring community concerns about the dust.
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EU Law Says the EU Countries Must Vote to Protect Whales and Uphold the IWC Ban on Commercial Whaling.IT News, June 10, 2010
On Friday the 11th June, Environmental Ministers of EU-Member States meet to discuss whether they can finally reach a common position over a highly controversial proposal by the Chair of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which will be discussed and decided upon at the annual IWC Meeting that takes place between the 21st and 25th of June in Agadir, Morocco. The IWC Chairman’s proposal could have the effect of legitimising commercial whaling for a ten-year period as well as allowing whaling in the Antarctic whale sanctuary. WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, and ClientEarth, an expert organisation of activist lawyers, today remind Member States of the European Union that EU law requires them to reject all attempts to see a resumption of commercial whaling. The two groups make this call in response to the ongoing attempts by Denmark and Sweden to force the EU to either support the proposal or abstain on any vote as an EU block at the forthcoming IWC meeting.
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Group Finds Lead In Kids’ Drinks. – Sarah Varney, National Public Radio, June 11, 2010
A California environmental group found levels of lead in children’s juice products that far exceed state law — and in some cases also exceed federal levels for young children. The group purchased apple juice, grape juice, canned peaches and pears, and fruit cocktails — all marketed for kids — and sent them to an EPA-certified lab for testing.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Study: Overwhelming Number Of Kids’ Drinks & Snacks Contain Lead. – Chris Moran, The Consumerist, June 11, 2010
In a newly released report from the Environmental Law Foundation, nearly 150 varieties of beverages and fruit snacks marketed to children were tested for lead levels — and the results were not exactly good. According to the ELF, 125 out of 146 items contained enough lead in a single serving to warrant a warning label under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The study looked at everything from bottled juices to baby food to canned fruits, and no category was able to pass muster on the lead test. Additionally, it’s not just the larger producers like Welch’s, Gerber, Minute Maid, Dole and Del Monte that are singled out. Several smaller brands — and many store brands (Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Safeway among them) — made the list of foods and beverages that the ELF has flagged and sent notice of violation to various law enforcement and regulatory agencies about. When contacted for a story by NPR, the Food and Drug Administration did not comment directly on the ELF’s report. However:
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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

EPA and Wyoming’s Frontier Refining Inc., resolve enforcement action.EPA News Release, June 8, 2010
In a Consent Agreement filed on May 27, 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Frontier Refining Inc., a petroleum facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming, resolved an enforcement action initiated in September 2009. Frontier will pay a $900,000 penalty and has agreed to disconnect inlet piping which allowed hazardous waste releases to Surface Impoundment 2. The company has agreed to remove and manage all waste in Pond 2 and clean the existing liner this fall. Additionally, Frontier will submit a closure plan with respect to the future use of Pond 2. Frontier estimates the cost of compliance at about $1 million.
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Frontier to pay $900,000 for refinery pond dumping. – Mead Gruver, Associated PRess, June 9, 2010
Frontier Oil Corp. has agreed to pay a $900,000 penalty for allegedly dumping toxic waste into a stormwater retention pond at its refinery in Cheyenne. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the refinery collected sludge in the pond for years. Last fall, the EPA sought a $6.8 million penalty against the Houston-based company. Negotiations resulting in a settlement announced Tuesday will require Frontier to pay a smaller penalty while cleaning up the pond and rerouting the waste pipe. Frontier officials say they are committed to complying with environmental regulations and are spending $1 million to finish maintaining the pond. They say Frontier also has spent more than $14 million to improve the refinery’s wastewater treatment plant.
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Marco Island signs EPA settlement agreement over handling of asbestos. – Kelly Farrell, Naples Daily News, June 8, 2010
A four-year investigation of improperly disposed asbestos-laden pipe on Marco Island is near a close as City Council and its contractor agreed to a settlement proposal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday. The settlement is to be in lieu of formal enforcement actions against Marco and Quality Enterprises for six alleged violations of the Clean Air Act relating to improper asbestos handling when widening and adding sewer lines to Collier Boulevard beginning in 2005. Marco Island City Council signed the agreement in a meeting on Tuesday, called for the purpose of reviewing the proposal. The agreement requires neither party to take liability for the alleged violations and has Quality Enterprises agreeing to pay the fine of $81,772 within 30 days of it being signed by Kenneth Lapierre of the EPA.
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Battery Manufacturer in Corydon, Iowa, to Pay $53,547 Penalty for Failure to Monitor and Report Wastewater Discharges.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
East Penn LLC, which operates a lead acid battery manufacturing facility in Corydon, Iowa, has reached a settlement with EPA Region 7 over issues related to the company’s failure to properly monitor and report discharges of its industrial process wastewater into the City of Corydon’s public wastewater treatment system. East Penn LLC, located on Highway 2, Corydon, has agreed to pay a $53,547 civil penalty to the United States in settlement of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, according to an administrative consent agreement filed today in Kansas City, Kan. In July 2009, during a compliance inspection of the City of Corydon’s public wastewater treatment system, EPA staff discovered that East Penn LLC’s facility was discharging industrial process wastewater to the city’s system. At that time, the company had never applied for a water pretreatment permit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and the city confirmed that the company was not conducting proper monitoring or reporting of wastewater discharges to ensure that the battery plant was in compliance with the Clean Water Act.
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Iowa battery maker fined for pollution.Associated Press, June 9, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled a dispute with an Iowa battery maker that allegedly failed to properly monitor and report discharges of industrial wastewater. In the settlement, filed Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan., East Penn LLC of Corydon, Ia. agreed to pay a $53,547 fine for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. According to the EPA, agency inspectors determined in July that East Penn’s facility was discharging industrial process wastewater. The violation was discovered during an inspection of Corydon’s wastewater treatment system.
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Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., to Pay $150,000 Penalty for Hazardous Waste Issues at Kimball, Neb., Facility.EPA News Release, June 10, 2010
Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., an international provider of environmental, energy and industrial services, has agreed to pay a $150,000 civil penalty to the United States to settle a series of alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at its hazardous waste treatment and storage facility in Kimball, Neb. Clean Harbors’ Kimball facility operates under a permit issued by the State of Nebraska that allows it to process and incinerate up to 505,344 pounds of hazardous wastes per day. Inspections of the facility by EPA in September 2007 and by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality in April 2008 noted a series of alleged violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the storage, treatment and handling of hazardous wastes.
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Neb. firm pays $150,000 fine for waste problems.Bloomberg Businessweek, June 10, 2010
A company that runs a hazardous-waste incinerator in western Nebraska has agreed to pay a $150,000 fine and make several changes to address Environmental Protection Agency concerns. The EPA said Thursday that Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. had resolved a series of problems at its Kimball location. During visits in 2007 and 2008, federal and state inspectors found several possible violations, including several unlabeled, leaking waste containers, improper emissions controls on waste tanks and several different wastes stored close enough for chemical reactions to occur. The Norwell, Mass.-based company spent $152,000 on installing a better emissions control device, and it agreed to regularly inspect its storage area and report to the EPA.
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Manufacturer in Kansas City, Mo., to Pay $3,568 Civil Penalty for Failure to Properly Label and Advertise Pesticide Product.EPA News Release, June 10, 2010
A Kansas City, Mo., pesticide manufacturer has agreed to pay a $3,568 civil penalty to the United States for failing to properly label a restricted use pesticide, and failing to identify the product as a restricted use pesticide in advertising messages. Douglas Products and Packaging, 1550 East Old 210 Highway, in Kansas City, Mo., was cited for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), according to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed in Kansas City, Kan. As part of its settlement with EPA Region 7, the company has agreed to hire a third-party environmental compliance auditor, at a cost of $25,000, to perform periodic compliance audits on its products twice a year. The compliance audits are scheduled to begin in July 2010.
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Developer Acierno to pay $700,000 in Clean Water Act settlement.The News Journal, June 11, 2010
A New Castle County developer has agreed to give $700,000 to the Brandywine Conservancy atop $400,000 in earlier payments in one of the region’s largest Clean Water Act violation settlements, the Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday. Christiana Town Center developer Frank Acierno accepted the deal to end a prosecution that began after he was accused of filling in or diverting into a pipe several hundred feet of a stream near Christiana Mall in 2003. Acierno agreed in 2004 to pay a $25,000 civil penalty and donate $375,000 to the Nature Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pa. He also committed to the restoration of 83 feet of tributary if the Department of Transportation did not build a connector road between his development and Christiana Mall.
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DECISIONS

Center for Biological Diversity, Residents of Hinkley Win Legal Appeal
Further Environmental Review Needed for Proposed Open-air Compost Facility in Rural
Southern California Community.Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 7, 2010
The Center for Biological Diversity and a group of residents in Hinkley, the rural California town Erin Brockovich made famous in a landmark case against a utility for contaminating the local water supply, has prevailed in the legal appeal of its victory overturning the inadequate environmental review for a proposed open-air sewage sludge compost facility. The Center and HelpHinkley, the community group, were represented in the successful appeal by the Golden Gate University Environmental Law and Justice Clinic and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment.
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DP&L plant on Great Miami cited by U.S. EPA. – Steve Bennish, Dayton Daily News, June 9, 2010
Dayton Power & Light’s O.H. Hutchings Station power plant on the Great Miami River needs updates to bring it in compliance with the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a finding of violations. A review showed that the plant made major modifications to its large boilers without obtaining the required permits, the agency said. Ethan Chatfield, an environmental engineer for the EPA in Chicago, said the agency and DP&L are in discussions about the issue. “They have started that dialogue,” he said.
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Three Beef Feedlots in Iowa Face Civil Enforcement Actions as EPA Continues Emphasis on Compliance with Clean Water Act.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
EPA Region 7 has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against three beef feedlot operations in Iowa for violations of the Clean Water Act, as part of a continuing enforcement emphasis aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) into the region’s rivers and streams. “In some instances, we are finding harmful bacteria such as E.coli in wastewater discharged by feedlots at levels that are exponentially higher than the levels at which EPA permits municipal wastewater treatment systems to discharge their treated wastewater,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “This is just one measure of the harm that can come when feedlots fail to operate within the law.”
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EPA cites Sioux, Mills county feedlots for run-off.Sioux City Journal, June 9, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 office has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against three Iowa beef feedlot operations for environmental violations of the Clean Water Act. The actions are part of EPA operations aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, into the region’s rivers and streams. Two of the operations cited are in Sioux County and the other is in Mills County, near Council Bluffs: Groeneweg Farm, Rock Valley: must apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, or NPDES permit, and complete wastewater controls at its facilities by Oct 31, 2011 to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into an unnamed tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County.
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EPA cites pharma for contaminated wastewater. – George Miller, FiercePharma Manufacturing, June 9, 2010
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to address two pharma facilities and their associated public wastewater treatment plants fingered by the U.S. Geological Survey as the source of drugs in the environment. The New York environmental officials are taking steps with one of the drugmakers by starting discussions with corporate officials regarding pretreatment of pharmaceutical waste streams, according to an EPA spokesperson via email. The state agency asked the unnamed company for a commitment to work with USGS on pre-treating wastes prior to discharge to the sewer system. State officials have visited the site and plan to speak with company officials, the spokesperson says.
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EPA Orders Simplot Cattle Feeding Company to change stock watering practice at Grand View, ID, feedlot to protect the Snake River.EPA News Release, June 11, 2010
he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued the Simplot Cattle Feeding Company a legal order to halt discharges from its nearly 700-acre feedlot complex near Grand View, Idaho. Simplot confines between 30,000 and 65,000 cattle year round at this feedlot facility near the Snake River in southeastern Idaho. EPA’s order directs Simplot to immediately cease all discharge of pollutants to waters of the U.S.  This action is particularly important because the Snake River has been designated as “impaired” for both bacteria and nutrients. Today’s Order stems from Simplot’s use of a constant flow stock watering system. When not used for irrigation (usually from November to March), a portion of this water is diverted to pasture, irrigation ditches, or into the Ted Trueblood Wildlife Refuge, all of which ultimately flow into the Snake River.  Simplot water samples pulled from the facility’s discharge were shown to contain 1600 colonies of fecal bacteria per 100 ml of sample.
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

Editorial: As spill spreads, Congress weighs bill to boost consumption of oil. – Editorial, The Sacramento Bee, June 7, 2010
Even as Americans recoil in horror at images of oil-soaked birds and tarred marshes along the Gulf of Mexico, certain members of Congress are attempting to block measures that would improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce the pressure to expand offshore oil drilling. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on a resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would roll back the U.S. EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases and implement a version of California’s “clean cars” law. If implemented nationwide, the California law would dramatically improve fuel economy in cars and trucks and eliminate the need to import and pump millions of barrels of oil yearly.
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NM high court to hear arguments in emissions case.The Associated Press, June 7, 2010
The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday afternoon in a legal battle that has been brewing over an effort by an environmental group to establish a cap on greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico. The state Environmental Improvement Board and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center are asking the justices to order a district court judge in Lovington to reverse an earlier decision that halted the effort. The judge granted a preliminary injunction in April that prohibited the Environmental Improvement Board from continuing proceedings on New Energy Economy’s petition for the emissions cap. The regulatory panel argues the high court needs to hear the case because it raises questions about separation of powers and judicial interference in an administrative process.
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Hearing held in federal court on Alaska plan to kill wolves inside national refuge.The Associated Press, June 7, 2010
A federal judge took up the issue Monday of whether the state of Alaska can kill wolves inside a national wildlife refuge to prevent them from eating caribou calves from a herd that supports a Native village. U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland was expected to make a decision Monday afternoon following a hearing in federal court in Anchorage where he heard from both sides. The state argues that without emergency intervention, the Unimak Island caribou herd — the only island caribou herd in the United States — will continue to decline and die out if nothing is done. The state would like to begin the operation inside the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge immediately.
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Federal judge blocks Alaska‘s wolf-kill plan. – Mary Pemberton, Associated Press, June 7, 2010
A federal judge has denied the state of Alaska’s request for a preliminary injunction to kill wolves, a step it says was needed to protect a caribou herd that is a subsistence food source for a Native village. U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland ruled Monday on the state’s request to conduct predator control in a national wildlife refuge on Unimak Island. The state announced plans to kill wolves to protect this year’s calves. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the state would have to go through a review process for a special use permit or it would be considered trespassing.
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Environmental groups sue to stop PSE&G power line upgrade in Morris. – Colleen O’Dea, Daily Record, June 7, 2010
Four environmental groups that had tried to stop Public Service Electric and Gas Co.’s transmission line upgrade through Morris, Sussex and Warren counties are taking their fight to court. The Eastern Environmental Law Center last Friday filed an appeal of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ approval of the proposed Susquehanna-Roseland line expansion on behalf of the Sierra Club, Environment New Jersey, the Highlands Coalition and New Jersey Environmental Federation. Appeals of state regulatory decisions are heard in state appellate court.  “The Sierra Club is going to court to get the courts to do the job that the BPU should’ve done,” said Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club director.
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Attorney General Brown Files to Support Federal Clean Air Standards. – Green Liver, Imperial Valley News, June 8, 2010
Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that he has asked to intervene in a lawsuit in order to protect newly adopted motor vehicle emission standards that would save nearly two billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one billion tons. Brown filed a motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a suit brought by energy companies and other industries challenging the EPA’s authority to enforce the tough emission standards beginning in 2012.  “The thousands of barrels of oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico each day are a graphic reminder that we need to cut oil consumption in America,” said Brown. “These regulations would do that, as well as vastly reducing pollution from tailpipe emissions.”
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Automakers defend new fuel-economy rules. – Justin Hyde, The Detroit Free Press, June 8, 2010
Automakers jumped into court today to fight two legal challenges against new fuel economy rules, saying the standards setting a 34.1 miles-per-gallon target by 2016 were essential to their business. Last month, two different coalitions – one of which included 14 Republican House lawmakers – challenged the new fuel economy rules in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. While neither group has spelled out the grounds of its legal challenge, both generally oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of the Clean Air Act to control carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
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Feds sue Xcel Energy over plans for Minnesota plants. – Jim Hammerand, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business journal, June 8, 2010
Federal regulators say Xcel Energy Inc. has refused to provide information about two of its Minnesota power plants, according to a new lawsuit. Government attorneys said in a federal lawsuit filed in Minneapolis’s U.S. District Court Monday afternoon that the Minneapolis-based utility stonewalled Environmental Protection Agency requests for information on planned construction projects at the Sherburne County (Sherco) plant in Becker and the Black Dog plant in Burnsville. Both plants are owned and operated by Xcel (NYSE: XEL) subsidiary Northern States Power Co.
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EPA lawsuit demands Xcel Energy disclose changes to pollution control equipment. – Leslie Brooks Suzukamo, Pioneer Press Twin Cities, June 8, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is suing Xcel Energy for refusing to tell it about changes to pollution control equipment planned for its coal-fired power plants in Burnsville and Becker, Minn. The EPA asked a federal judge Tuesday for a preliminary injunction requiring Xcel to turn over the information immediately or face fines of up to $37,500 per day at each location, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The agency filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Monday and is awaiting a ruling on its request for a preliminary injunction.  The EPA has been pursuing the information for almost 11 months to determine if any planned changes would result in plant emissions that violate the federal Clean Air Act.
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Hornbeck Sues U.S. to Lift Deepwater Drilling Ban. – Laurel Brubaker Clakins and Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg.com, June 8, 2010
Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. sued the U.S. Interior Department to lift the six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico triggered by the deadly explosion of a drilling rig and subsequent oil spill. Hornbeck, whose supply boats serve almost all 33 drilling rigs that were operating in the deepwater gulf, said one customer has already said it will cancel a contract as a result of the moratorium. President Barack Obama announced the ban May 27, after receiving a report by government officials in charge of exploration on the nation’s outer continental shelf, or OCS. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig, operated by BP Plc, exploded April 20 off of Louisiana, killing 11 workers. Since then, oil has been gushing from the well into the Gulf of Mexico. Hornbeck, based in Covington, Louisiana, hasn’t been implicated in the explosion or spill.
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Judge moves water wars case to endangered species.The Associated Press, June 8, 2010
A federal judge tabled any decisions Tuesday regarding federal water rights to focus on the fate of endangered species in the Appalachola River. The hearing in Jacksonville was the latest development in a 30-year battle over water between Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The fighting has escalated since a judge ruled last year that Georgia had little legal right to draw drinking water from Lake Lanier, metro Atlanta’s main water source. Attorneys discussed Tuesday whether endangered mussels and sturgeons stood to be further compromised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan, which calls for minimum water flow from Lake Lanier.
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California EPA motion involves Oregon.Portland Business Journal, June 8, 2010
California Attorney General Jerry Brown has filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is facing a legal fight with energy companies and other industries challenging much-tougher emission standards starting in 2012. Brown filed the motion Monday on behalf of himself, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state Air Resources Board and 12 other states — Oregon, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Stricter federal vehicle emission standards would save almost 2 billion barrels of oil and curb greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 billion tons, according to the motion.
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Sierra Club sues Dairyland Power over pollution controls. – Kevin Murphy, Winona Daily News, June 10, 2010
Dairyland Power Coopera-tive is operating its coal-fired power plants in Alma and Genoa, Wis., in violation of the Clean Air Act, according to a lawsuit the Sierra Club recently filed in federal court. The 210-megawatt Alma unit and the 379-megawatt Genoa unit each have the potential to emit more than 100 tons of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter each year. Those pollutants contribute to climate change, acid rain, respiratory distress and other diseases, according to the suit. The Sierra Club claims plant changes Dairyland made over the years require it meet stricter state and federal regulations. By not installing “best available technology,” it isn’t operating the plants in compliance with the Clean Air Act.
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Massey denies Sierra Club lawsuit claims on water.The Associated Press, June 11, 2010
Five Massey Energy subsidiaries contend a 2008 settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency bars a lawsuit by the Sierra Club and three other environmental groups. The federal lawsuit filed in April alleges more than 3,000 violations of the Clean Water Act and surface mining laws. Among other things, the plaintiffs claim the companies have dumped toxic aluminum into waterways with runoff from up to 16 West Virginia coal mines. The companies also argue in the response filed Friday that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring the lawsuit at all. Massey also faces civil and criminal investigations of an April 5 explosion that killed 29 miners at its Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County.
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EPA Challenged Over Global Warming Pollution From Ships, Aircraft and Non-road Engines.Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 11, 2010
A day after the U.S. Senate voted to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, a coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging the agency’s failure to address such pollution from oceangoing ships, aircraft and non-road vehicles as well as engines used in industrial operations. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia by Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of Oceana, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety and the International Center for Technology Assessment. Together, aircraft, ship and non-road vehicles and engines are responsible for 24 percent of U.S. mobile-source greenhouse gas emissions and emit approximately 290,000 tons of soot every year. Pollution from these sources is projected to grow rapidly over coming decades.
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Industries head to court against EPA. – Peggy Fikac, Express-News, June 11, 2010
A pair of groups representing the manufacturing and petroleum industries announced a federal court challenge Friday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to block part of Texas’ air-quality permit program. The Texas Oil & Gas Association and Texas Association of Manufacturers announced they had filed a petition with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans challenging the EPA — the latest move in the state-federal battle over whether Texas is properly protecting air quality. The court challenge centers on the EPA’s decision to bar further use of a state rule known as the qualified facilities exemption. Under the exemption, companies have been allowed to make modifications to their plants without seeking federal approval if actual emissions are kept below permitted levels.
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

EPA To Hold Three Public Hearings on Rules Cutting Toxic Emissions from Boilers, Solid Waste Incinerators Agency also extends comment period.EPA News Release, June 7, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold three public hearings in June on proposals cutting mercury emissions in half and significantly reducing other toxic air pollutants from industrial and institutional boilers, process heaters and solid waste incinerators. These toxics are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health problems. The agency will also take comment at the hearings on a proposal to identify which non-hazardous secondary materials would be considered solid waste and which would be considered fuel. Secondary materials are those that are not the primary product of a manufacturing or commercial process and include consumer and industrial materials that are no longer used for their original purpose, such as scrap tires, used oil, wood, coal refuse, and construction and demolition debris.
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Battle over Texas air quality heating up. – R.G. Ratcliffe, The Houston Chronicle, June 6, 2010
The Texas air quality war — a conflict pitting environmentalists against industry — is now fully engaged because of a rare crosscurrent of political timing. The companies that produce gasoline for our cars, electricity for our lights, gas for our stoves and noxious fumes as a byproduct have held sway over Texas regulators for almost two decades. Now, environmentalists appear to have the upper hand:  The Obama administration named as regional Environmental Protection Agency administrator a longtime critic of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. That administrator, Al Armendariz, is threatening to take over aspects of Texas air quality permitting at the end of this month.
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Texas-EPA Feud Over Air Pollution Permits Gets Loud and Political. – Robin Bravender, Greenwire in The New York Times, June 7, 2010
A long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and Texas over the state’s air-pollution permitting program is boiling over, just in time for the gubernatorial race. Al Armendariz, the administrator of U.S. EPA’s Region 6 office in Dallas, warned last month that Washington would take over Texas air permitting unless the state starts complying with the Clean Air Act. This came on the heels of EPA revoking a state permit for a Corpus Christi power plant and threatening 39 other permits (Greenwire, May 27). “We have to get good air quality permits issued in Texas, and either the state of Texas does it, or I’ll have to,” Armendariz told The Houston Chronicle. “I’m hopeful that the state will correct the deficiencies and stay as the permitting authority in the state of Texas.”
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EPA Raises Questions About E. Ky. Power Plant. – Scott Sloan, Lexington Herald Leader, June 7, 2010
In a letter last month to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns over East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s proposed coal-fired power plant in Clark County. It’s the latest in mounting criticism that has plagued the long-discussed plant, which was effectively placed on hold earlier this year by the cooperative, though leaders say they still intend to go forward and build it after assessing the co-op’s finances. In the letter, which was obtained and released by a number of environmental groups that have long opposed the plant, the EPA objects to the cooperative’s proposed coal technology to power the plant and noted other more environmentally friendly options including natural gas.
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Biomass plants could be affected under proposed EPA ruling.PennEnergy, June 8, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards which would classify biomass boiler units, conventionally considered multi-fuel boilers, as incinerators and would be subject to new emission limits for mercury, hydrogen chloride, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and dioxin. The new proposed ruling is originally part of the Clean Air Act of 1990. The Biomass Power Association (BPA), a group of 80 plants in 20 states, voiced their concerns during a June 8 teleconference from Washington D.C. BPA President Bob Cleaves said that boilers used by industrial, commercial and institutional facilities use various fuels and the fuels are used to generate various forms of energy such as steam, heat and electricity to be used in manufacturing or the generation of power that is sent to the grid.
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Tougher EPA ozone standards may make it tough for DFW area to comply. – Bill Hanna, Star-Telegram, June 8, 2010
Tarrant County and the rest of the DFW area, which currently fails to meet federal ozone standards, will have to find a way to cut ozone emissions even further under tougher proposed EPA revisions. The proposed changes, revealed by the federal government in January, were discussed at a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality public hearing Tuesday that was held simultaneously via videoconference in Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and Beaumont. The EPA is proposing to reduce its 8-hour ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to a range somewhere between 60 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. An EPA rule is scheduled to be issued this summer and finalized by the end of the year.
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New EPA Sulfur Standard Should Impact Copper Industry; Power Plants. – Dick Kamp, Arizona Range News, June 3, 2010
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a new national standard on Thursday for sulfur dioxide (SO2) under the Clean Air Act (Act) that will almost certainly impact the operations of copper smelters and could require further emissions cutbacks from coal-fired power plants. The new one hour ambient (mouth level) standard of 75 parts per billion will replace 24 hour and annual health standards that have stood for nearly 40 years on the grounds that “short term peak” exposures to SO2 are the greatest health hazard to asthmatics, children, the elderly and chronic lung disease sufferers. EPA estimates that as many as 54,000 asthma attacks and 5900 deaths per year may be avoided through the new standard. Emissions from smelters, especially, and coal-fired power plants and pulp mills to a lesser extent, have been found to produce high short term SO2 peaks.
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Waste

EPA Withdraws Emission Comparable Fuels Rule.EPA News Release, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn the Emission Comparable Fuels (ECF) Rule, a rule that was finalized in December 2008. The rule sought to remove regulatory costs by reclassifying fuels that would otherwise be regulated as hazardous waste, but generate emissions similar to fuel oil when burned. EPA has now withdrawn the rule due to difficulty of ensuring that emissions from burning ECF are comparable to emissions from burning fuel oil.  The ECF rule was criticized for potentially allowing hazardous waste to evade the hazardous waste regulatory system, and for being difficult to administer. Industry members have also criticized it because of the detailed conditions for reclassification, which they believe will limit the rule’s use.
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EPA Abandons Rule Permitting Unregulated Hazardous Waste Burning.Climate of Our Future, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today withdrew a dangerous Bush-era exemption that allowed polluters to store, transport, and burn hazardous waste without meeting crucial public health and environmental protection requirements. EPA’s action means that more than 100,000 tons of hazardous waste will again be subject to federal hazardous waste protections. “This is a great victory for Americans and their lungs,” said Earthjustice attorney James Pew. “Communities across the country, particularly those already burdened by toxic air, faced increases of hazardous air pollutants as a result of this dangerous rule. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s withdrawal of this rule demonstrates a commitment to protecting public health that should have Americans breathing a little easier.”
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EPA Proposes New Rule for Coal Ash Storage. – Patrick Crow, Water World, June 10, 2010
After some delay, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule to ensure that coal-fired power plants dispose of coal ash safely. Power plants typically store the combustion byproduct in liquid form at large surface impoundments or in solid form at landfills. The rule was a reaction to a massive coal ash spill in East Tennessee 18 months ago. A dam failed at Tennessee Valley Authority facility and spilled more than a billion gallons of sludge into the Emory and Clinch rivers. The spill displaced residents, required hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs, and caused widespread environmental damage (see March-April column). EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said, “We’re proposing strong steps to address the serious risk of groundwater contamination and threats to drinking water and we’re also putting in place stronger safeguards against structural failures of coal ash impoundments.”
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Water

EPA Begins Review of Science for Florida’s Coastal Water Quality Standards: Action reiterates agency’s commitment to sound science and transparency.EPA News Release, June 7, 2010
In an effort to ensure the use of the best available science and robust public participation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced plans to send its underlying data and methodologies to support development of coastal water quality standards, also known as nutrients criteria, to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) for peer review. The process will also allow the public to comment on the science. By extending the deadline to allow for public and scientific review, EPA is reaffirming a longstanding commitment to sound science and transparency in developing standards to protect and restore waters that are a critical part of Florida’s history, culture and economic prosperity. Nutrient pollution can damage drinking water sources and exposure to nutrient pollution can cause rashes, dizziness, nausea and possibly even damage the central nervous system. These proposed water standards aim to protect people’s health, aquatic life and the long-term recreational uses of Florida’s waters.
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Battle over farm animal manure continues. – Leigh Au, D.C. Bureau, June 7, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month reached an out-of-court settlement with the Waterkeeper Alliance, National Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club regarding the regulation of pollution discharge from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, into water that is protected by the Clean Water Act. CAFOs are industrial operations that confine a large number of animals – for example, at least 1000 beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, or 30,000 chickens – in facilities where vegetation is not sustained.
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Evidence Mounts As We Wait For Meaningful Coal Ash Regulation. – Sam Gomberg, Clean Energy Footprints, June 7, 2010
EPA has finally taken initial action to regulate coal ash.  In a preliminary announcement on May 4, EPA proposed two distinctly different options for regulating the  toxic mess left behind from burning coal at power plants.  We anticipate that EPA’s formal draft rule announcement will be placed in the Federal Register in the next week to 10 days, opening the language up for public input.  One option would treat coal ash as a special toxic waste with all the associated environmental and public health safeguards.  The other option would treat the ash like mere household garbage.
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EPA Rejects Oregon‘s Water Quality Standards. – David Nogueras, OPB News, June 7, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected Oregon’s Water Quality Standards for protection of human health.  The agency ruled the standards did not reflect how much fish Oregon’s native tribes eat.  The Clean Water Act requires that any time a state revises its water quality standards, the federal government has to either approve or disapprove within 3 months.  But it took more than 6 years and a lawsuit by the environmental group, Northwest Environmental Advocates for the EPA to finally make their decision last week. Mary Lou Soscia is EPA’s Columbia River coordinator. She says the agency expects Oregon to come out with a new draft rule early next year that better reflects native fish consumption.  After that, she says the EPA could then act to approve the new standards.
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EPA’s unprecedented water permit policy threatens economic recovery, warn multiple industries.International Mining, June 9, 2010
A new policy proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) poses a threat to thousands of jobs and a sustainable economic recovery, warned a dozen industries in joint comments filed June 4 with the agency.  EPA wants to reverse gears on an existing Clean Water Act discharge permit – halting work not only at the coal mine that filed the permit, but also creating an unprecedented threat for other industries from agriculture to home building. Organizations representing these and other industries protested the far-reaching implications of the agency’s unprecedented plans to “withdraw or restrict” an existing permit.Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, one of the organizations responding to EPA’s proposal: “Pulling a valid permit out from under a company destroys not only the basis of that project and the jobs its supports, but also the trust businesses must have for future investments in everything from home building and road construction to farming and ranching – all of which require Clean Water Act permits,”. EPA announced on April 2 its plans to veto the Spruce No. 1 Surface Mine claiming authority under the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 404 provisions for regulating “waters of the United States.”
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Latest Summary of EPA Actions to Ensure Safe Drinking Water in Utah.Water World, June 9, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency issued the following news release: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 issued 3 administrative orders and 3 notices of violation in Utah from October 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010, under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Although the State of Utah is authorized to implement the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA can take federal action against public water systems in the state that violate the SDWA and its regulations. EPA issues an administrative order to Utah public water systems with multiple violations for which no State enforcement action was planned. An administrative order requires the public water system to comply with the drinking water regulations and includes action items for returning to compliance.
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Impending EPA Post-Construction Stormwater Regulations Highlight Importance of Stormwater and Infrastructure Maintenance. – Richard Celender, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., June 10, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will propose and take final action by November 2012 on a first-time national rule that would control stormwater discharges from newly developed, previously developed and redeveloped sites.  EPA plans to propose a regulation to strengthen the national stormwater permit program, including, at a minimum, new design or performance standards to control post-construction stormwater discharges from developed sites under the authority of section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act.  According to EPA, the Agency is gearing up to revise the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations to respond to a 2008 National Research Council (NRC) report that calls for “radical changes” to EPA’s stormwater control program.  The report, Urban Stormwater Management in the United States, concludes that the lack of requirement for post-construction stormwater controls in the construction industry’s general permit is a “glaring shortcoming.”
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Climate Change

TSCRA: EPA Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases Could Mean Costly Food For Americans.Cattle Network, June 11, 2010
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is disappointed after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a resolution that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG). Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) filed a disapproval resolution after the EPA released an endangerment finding giving themselves the authority to regulate GHGs. If the EPA regulates GHGs under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the cost would be overwhelming as millions of entities, including ranches, would be subject to burdensome CAA regulations. If ranchers don’t comply with the new regulations, they could be subject to fines. These costly regulations would be based on what the EPA itself claims is a weak and indirect link between GHGs and public health.
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Other

Proposed pesticide rules get scrutiny. – Susan Palmer, The Register-Guard, June 7, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published a draft of new rules regarding pesticide use, but the federal agency wants a lot more public input before setting them in stone. The proposed rules, which were released Friday and will be finalized by the end of the year, are designed to limit pesticides in or near water and are a reversal for the EPA, which in 2007 concluded that pesticides were exempt from the permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups disagreed and sued the EPA, and the courts ruled against the agency, saying it must regulate the pollutants. Under the Clean Water Act, discharging any pollutant — garbage, sewage, even dirt and heat — into waterways is illegal. But there are exceptions. Government agencies, water treatment plants and industries such as gravel companies and manufacturing facilities that first get permission in the form of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit can release pollution into the nation’s waterways.
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EPA to reduce pesticides discharged into US waters.Bandera County Courier, June 10, 2010
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a new permit requirement that would decrease the amount of pesticides discharged to the nation’s waters and protect human health and the environment. This action is in response to an April 9, 2009, court decision that ruled pesticide discharges to US waters were pollutants, thus requiring a permit. The proposed permit, released for public comment and developed in collaboration with states, would require all operators to reduce pesticide discharges by using the lowest effective amount of pesticide, prevent leaks and spills, calibrate equipment and monitor for and report adverse incidents.  Additional controls, such as integrated pest management practices, are built into the permit for operators who exceed an annual treatment area threshold.
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Environmental Protection Agency unveils new policy to discourage stonewalling on health and safety. – OMB Watch, First Amendment Coalition, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a significant step toward making more chemical health and safety information available to the public even as trade secrets claims continue to conceal such information elsewhere. A new EPA policy will reject most industry claims that chemical identities included in health and safety studies are trade secrets. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry continues to use trade secrets privileges to thwart attempts to disclose chemical information related to the BP oil spill and controversial natural gas drilling operations. On May 27, the EPA announced a new “general practice” where the agency will review all claims by manufacturers that a chemical’s identity should be treated as confidential business information (CBI) when the identity is part of a health and safety study or the study’s underlying data. The agency expects that unless the disclosure of the chemical identity explicitly reveals how the chemical is produced or processed, the secrecy claim will be rejected, allowing the public to link the chemical to its health and safety information.
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EPA Moves to Close Key Chemical Safety Loophole. – Andrew Schneider, AOL News, June 9, 2010
After years of allowing corporations to withhold vital safety information, the Environmental Protection Agency screamed “stop” on Thursday. In the Federal Register, the agency said it will no longer permit the obstruction of safety evaluations by allowing firms to hide behind age-old claims of business secrecy. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had told Congress earlier this year that the heavily lobbied for “confidential business information” protection was keeping the agency’s risk assessors from obtaining vital health and safety data on chemical substances awaiting approval. Thousands of chemicals were not properly evaluated because of the withheld information, she told lawmakers.
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EPA Moves to Terminate All Uses of Insecticide Endosulfan to Protect Health of Farmworkers and Wildlife.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to end all uses of the insecticide endosulfan in the United States. Endosulfan, which is used on vegetables, fruits, and cotton, can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment. New data generated in response to the agency’s 2002 decision have shown that risks faced by workers are greater than previously known. EPA also finds that there are risks above the agency’s level of concern to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to birds and mammals that consume aquatic prey which have ingested endosulfan. Farmworkers can be exposed to endosulfan through inhalation and contact with the skin. Endosulfan is used on a very small percentage of the U.S. food supply and does not present a risk to human health from dietary exposure.
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EPA banning pesticide that threatens farm workers.The Associated Press, June 10, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency says it is ending use of the pesticide endosulfan in the United States. The chemical is used on some fruits and vegetables as well as cotton. The federal agency said Wednesday that endosulfan can cause nerve damage in farm workers and is also a hazard to wildlife. Endosulfan is not approved for home use and is not considered a threat to consumers. The use of endosulfan was limited starting in 2002. The EPA says that further study indicates that it can still be a danger for agricultural workers. The agency is working with the manufacturer to phase out production. One of several groups that sued to get the chemical banned, Earthjustice, says it welcomes the action.
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Pesticide used on tomato crops determined dangerous by EPA. – Katy Bishop, Naples Daily News, June 10, 2010
A pesticide commonly used on Florida’s tomato crops is being banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Endosulfan “can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment,” according to an EPA release. The pesticide is bioaccumulative, which means it accumulates in the fatty tissue of organisms and concentrates higher in the food chain. Use has ranged from 43 percent of tomato fields in 2002 to 86 percent in 2008, according to the Farmworker Association of Florida. The farmworker advocacy group celebrated the planned ban, citing the pesticide’s widespread use on tomatoes, as well as cabbage, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash and eggplant.
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Endosulfan to Be Banned, Pesticide Poses “Unacceptable Risks,” EPA Says. – Maria Cone, Scientific American, June 10, 2010
Declaring that endosulfan is unsafe, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it is about to ban one of the last organochlorine pesticides still used in the United States. Endosulfan—used largely on vegetables, apples, melons and cotton—”poses unacceptable risks” to farm workers and wildlife, EPA officials said. In response, the agency is moving to cancel the pesticide’s registration. Endosulfan is a chlorinated insecticide that is chemically similar to DDT, which was banned nearly 40 years ago. Like DDT, endosulfan builds up in the environment and in the bodies of people and wildlife, and it is transported around the world via winds and currents. Nearly all other organochlorine pesticides already have been banned.
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Governor Freudenthal doubtful about “guidance” on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.Little Chicago Review, June 9, 2010
Governor Dave Freudenthal, in a letter to the White House Council of Environmental Quality, questioned the necessity and appropriateness of a “guidance document” on climate change that the Council is putting forward. The guidance document proposes to offer clear direction to federal agencies for how to incorporate climate change and greenhouse gas emissions into the National Environmental Policy Act. “These rules are clearly the insertion of non-procedural, substantive law based on Council’s frustration with Congress’ failure to act on climate change legislation,” Freudenthal wrote.  “Nonetheless, we offer comments in the hope of at least reducing the size of the train wreck you are about to create with this guidance document,” he wrote.
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Alaska Attorney General Asks Feds for New ANWR Notice.Stories in the News, June 9, 2010
Attorney General Dan Sullivan has called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a new “notice of intent” for its review of a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, questioning whether the current notice impermissibly excludes public comments on the prospect of oil and gas development on the ANWR coastal plain. Sullivan’s letter to ANWR Refuge Manager Richard Voss Monday followed up on concerns expressed May 11 by Governor Sean Parnell and came as the Alaska Department of Natural Resources also weighed in on defects in the proposed planning process.
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Senator seeks probe of Erie Coke. – Blake Morrison and Brad Heath, USA Today, June 10, 2010
A U.S. senator is urging federal regulators to investigate whether toxic emissions from a plant in Erie, Pa. — located just blocks from a handful of schools — may be responsible for serious health problems among residents. In letters sent this week to federal health and environment officials, Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., wrote that Erie residents have complained of myriad ailments, “from headaches to cancer.” Casey told the head of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that residents worry that emissions from the Erie Coke Corp. may be to blame.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Senate fight over EPA resolution to resume first week after recess. – J. Taylor Rushing, The Hill, June 6, 2010
The Senate this week will return to a pivotal, long-simmering debate over the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The debate will center in a Thursday vote on a disapproval resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would block the EPA from enforcing emissions rules under the Clean Air Act. Murkowski objects to the EPA’s authority and believes that Congress should set such standards instead of the executive branch.
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Senate might vote this week on climate measure. – Wendy Koch, USA Today, June 7, 2010
The Senate might vote on a climate change measure this week — but not the comprehensive overhaul that Democrats say is needed in light of the Gulf oil spill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, will push her measure, backed by a few Democrats, to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, reports The Hill. She argues that Congress should set such standards, not the executive branch. Murkowski has 41 co-sponsors, according to Roll Call, which says the final vote is expected Thursday evening. “Such regulation will ultimately endanger job creation, economic growth and America’s competitiveness,” Murkowski wrote last week in The Hill.
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Handcuff EPA? – Amy Harder, National Journal, June 7, 2010
Should Congress strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions? This week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is expected to call for a vote on a disapproval resolution that would strip the EPA of that authority. Other senators are proposing slightly different approaches. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., would delay the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations for two years. Meanwhile, Sens. Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa., and Thomas Carper, D-Del., would allow EPA to regulate only the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, such as power plants and oil refineries. They would exempt small businesses and farms. Should Congress endorse one of these options or applaud EPA for tackling a climate-change problem?
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EPA Administrator Pens Blog Against Murkowski’s ‘Dirty Air’ Amendment. – Daniel Kessler, Treehugger, June 7, 2010
The pundits are saying that the vote on Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s amendment to upend the EPA’s Endangerment Finding, which says the CO2 and other greenhouse gases are warming the planet, could be a harbinger of things to come on the Senate climate and energy bill. This is probably not the case, since the Murkowski language could never get through the House and the president wouldn’t sign it. Nonetheless, EPA chief Lisa jackson posted a blog today on the Huffington Post warning against Murkowski’s move.  Jackson, whose agency has strengthened vehicle efficiency standards, cracked down on mountaintop removal, and taken the first steps to regulating coal plants, is framing Murkowski’s attack as nothing short of an assault on a clean energy future.
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Administrator Jackson: Keep Moving America Forward Into Energy Independence/Addresses upcoming “resolution of disapproval” vote in remarks before small business owners.EPA News Release, June 8, 2010
In remarks today at EPA’s 2010 Small Business Environmental Conference, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson outlined the impact of a so-called “resolution of disapproval” of the EPA’s endangerment finding in the Senate. Administrator Jackson discussed how this resolution would undermine EPA’s common-sense approach to addressing climate change, move America a “big step backward in the race for clean energy” and “double down on the energy and environmental policies that feed our oil addiction.”
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The Three Biggest Honkers from Senator Murkowski and Her Supporters. – David Doniger, NRDC Switchboard, June 9, 2010
They say truth is the first casualty in war.  Senator Murkowski is leading a war to destroy the Clean Air Act as a tool to combat climate change.  Her resolution to veto the Environmental Protection Agency’s science-based “endangerment” finding comes to a vote on Thursday.  And truth is suffering. Here are the three biggest honkers we’ve heard from Senator Murkowski and her supporters in the run-up to Thursday’s debate.
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GOP bid to stop EPA ruling faces White House veto. – Jim Abrams, The Associated Press, June 8, 2010
The White House has issued a veto threat against a Republican-led effort to block Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the levels of greenhouse gases that power plants and factories can release into the air. The veto threat comes two days before the Senate votes on a measure that would overturn the EPA’s ruling requiring reductions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The White House says a vote for the Senate measure would increase the nation’s dependence on oil and add to pollution-related health risks.
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White House Threatens Veto of Move to Thwart E.P.A. – John M .Broder, The new york Times, June 8, 2010
The White House made clear on Tuesday what had been assumed for months – that it does not like a resolution sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, that would thwart the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. The White House says that if the resolution, scheduled for debate and a vote on Thursday, reaches President Obama’s desk, his advisers will recommend that he veto it. That’s what is known as a veto threat and in this case it is not a bluff. The White House position, in a one-page document known as a Statement of Administration Policy, makes several arguments against the Murkowski resolution. It says that the measure would undermine the Clean Air Act and prevent the E.P.A. from complying with a 2007 Supreme Court decision requiring it to decide whether carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases are a threat to human health and the environment.
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Will the Senate Tackle Climate Change Via Amendments? – Chris Good, The Atlantic, June 7, 2010
It looks as if the Senate will address climate change in a roundabout way, rather than bringing an all-in-one energy reform and climate change bill to the floor, CongressDaily’s Darren Goode and Amy Harder report. Senate Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Charles Schumer of New York told MSNBC that the likely strategy is to try to attach a carbon pricing and energy production strategy from Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., to an energy plan approved with bipartisan support last year by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Kerry has a proposal that has pretty broad support,” Schumer said. “He’s going … to get a chance to offer it in the form of an amendment.”
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CBD responds: David Roberts is right and wrong on the Clean Air Act and the Senate climate bill. – Kevin Bundy, Grist, June 8, 2010
When your house is burning down, you don’t debate whether grabbing a fire extinguisher is better than calling 911 or vice versa. You do both, and if you can, you drag out the garden hose too. Our global house is on fire. Congress and the president have answered the alarm by proposing a package of incentives that they hope will spur construction of a fire engine that will hold only a fraction of the water necessary to put the fire out. In exchange for these incentives, some in Congress want to shut down most of the existing fire department. And we in the environmental community — the house we all love going up in flames around us — are expected to act as if this is a good thing.
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US Senate Update on Climate, Energy Bills.Sustainable Business.com, June 8, 2010
On Thursday the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a bill to repeal the EPA’s endangerment finding concerning carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. According to a Reuters story, the bill–introduced by Alaskan Republican Lisa Murkowski–has 40 co-sponsors and is likely to fall short of the 51 votes needed for passage.  The bill is primarily a political move. Even if it passed the Senate, it would likely be defeated in the House or vetoed by President Obama.  It’s somewhat surprising that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would even bring the bill forward for a floor vote. But Reid is trying to determine what combination of energy and climate measures have enough support to pass next month–and this vote will be a good indicator concerning the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory authority.
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Wyoming regulators approve rules requiring oil, gas drillers to disclose ‘fracking’ chemicals. – Mead Gruver, The Associated Press, June 8, 2010
state agency that oversees oil and gas development voted Tuesday to require energy companies to disclose what chemicals they’re pumping underground to improve the flow of oil and gas into well bores. The state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously approved the new rules, which cover a variety of drilling practices including hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called “fracking,” the process involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to crack open fissures in rock.
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Wyoming approves ‘fracking’ disclosure rules. – Dustin Bleizeffer, Star Tribune, June 9, 2010
Despite industry opposition, state regulators unanimously approved new rules Tuesday requiring oil and gas companies to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Fracking is a technique used to crack gas-bearing rock formations deep underground to stimulate natural gas production. Environmental and public health advocates hailed the passage of the new reporting rules as a victory of public safety over corporate secrecy. Advocates for more stringent public disclosure of fracking fluids pointed out that not only can the chemicals leak into current and future drinking water sources underground, but the chemicals could spill during handling on the surface.
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Brown, Voinovich Request Full Funding for Piketon Clean-Up.PoliticalNews.me, June 8, 2010
U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and George V. Voinovich wrote to Senate Leadership requesting full funding for decommissioning and decontamination (D&D) activities for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) in the Fiscal Year 2011 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The letter was sent to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Bob Bennett (R-WY), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, respectively. “Full funding will accelerate work that is long overdue while driving critical economic development in the Scioto Valley,” said Brown. “Piketon and the surrounding region have been neglected too long. These funds will go a long way toward ensuring clean water, clean air, and clean land while also creating jobs.”
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An ordinance worth supporting: Air pollution must be addressed at local level. – Luke Hopkins, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, June 8, 2010
In the words of former Congressman Tip O’Neill, “all politics is local.” This is true except when it isn’t — as when the federal government imposes its will on us without input from the local community and without consideration of the unique aspects of our environment or our economy. Fairbanks is in a unique position to tailor new federal PM2.5 air quality mandates to our needs and conditions. Or we can choose to have a federal agency do the planning and enforcement for us. We can decide or we can let others do it for us. The choice is ours.
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Lindsey Graham and the failure of the ‘lone Republican’ theory. – Ezra Klein, The Washington Post, June 9, 2010
With Lindsey Graham bolting a bill he helped draft, efforts to address climate change in this Congress look likely to fail. And because the next Congress is likely to have more Republicans, and because the House’s approval of Waxman-Markey will expire after the election and mean the House would have to write and pass a whole new bill, the situation looks grim going forward, too. This is, understandably, causing many enviros to wonder whether Graham was ever committed to the effort. Brad Plumer, who’s as fair-minded and unexcitable on these questions as they come, calls Graham’s stated objections “ridiculous” and says “this whole episode really makes you wonder if Graham was ever serious about energy and climate policy in the first place.”
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Graham Backs U.S. Energy Bill Without Carbon Cap He Once Sought. – Jim Snyder, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 9, 2010
Senator Lindsey Graham, who worked for months on legislation to cap carbon emissions, backed an alternative aimed at curbing greenhouse-gas emissions through incentives for energy conservation. The new bill, offered today by Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, would require new homes, businesses and appliances to use less energy, encourage states and utilities to adopt more renewable power and provide incentives for building nuclear reactors and retiring coal-fired power plants.
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NRDC: Best Elements of Lugar Bill Belong in Comprehensive Energy and Climate Legislation.NRDC News Release, June 9, 2010
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) introduced a set of energy and climate proposals today. Below is a statement from Dan Lashof, Director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Senator Lugar’s proposal contains some good ideas that should be included in an effective and comprehensive bill that cuts oil dependence, creates jobs, and puts limits on carbon pollution. But this proposal is no substitute for the comprehensive clean energy and climate bill we need to hold polluters accountable, break our dangerous addiction to oil and curb climate change.
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Leahy Unveils Legislation To Strengthen Penalties For Environmental Crimes.RTT News, June 9, 2010
Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Ver., unveiled legislation Wednesday to strengthen penalties against oil companies and other companies for environmental crimes. The Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act would increase sentences for environmental crimes in an attempt to deter companies from practices that cause harm to the environment. The bill is also intended to protect victims of environmental crimes by mandating restitution for criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. Under current law, restitution for such violations, including those that result in loss of human life, is discretionary.
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Will Oil Spill Companies Be on Hook for Clean Water Crimes? – David Ingram, Law.com, June 10, 2010
In a new turn for the congressional response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, legislation introduced Wednesday would mandate restitution for victims of some environmental crimes. The bill, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is separate from other efforts to increase civil liability for spills. It would amend the section of the U.S. Code relating to when judges must impose restitution during sentencing. And it would direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend the sentencing guidelines for crimes under the Clean Water Act. In a statement, Leahy said, “They are important steps toward deterring criminal conduct that can cause environmental and economic disaster and toward helping those who have suffered so much from the wrongdoing of Big Oil and other large corporations.” The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Two fellow Democrats, Sens. Dick Durbin, Ill., and Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I., have signed on as co-sponsors.
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House Democrats fear fossil fuels harming oceans. – Peter Urban, The Salinas Claifornian, June 10, 2010
Citing rising ocean acidity that they say poses a grave threat to marine life, House Democrats backed a resolution Wednesday calling for a national policy to address the problem. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., who sponsored the resolution, said the long-term threat of “ocean acidification” is perhaps greater than the immediate crisis posed by the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. More than a quarter of the carbon dioxide released during the burning of oil and coal ends up in the oceans, raising acid levels to the point where it can dissolve shells, as scientists have found it is already doing in some waters off California, he said.
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New York State Passes Electronics Recycling Law.Recycling Today Media Group, June 10, 2010
New York State has passed legislation that addresses the recycling of obsolete electronics. The legislation, signed into law by New York Governor David Patterson in late May, stipulates that all manufacturers selling electronic equipment in the state must provide a free, convenient collection service by April 1, 2011.  The law also makes it illegal for individuals to dispose of electronic scrap in landfills by Jan. 1, 2015.  The law requires each manufacturer to recycle or reuse its market share of the electronic scrap by weight, based on its three-year average of annual sales in the state. Manufacturers also will be required to submit annual reports to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation documenting the steps they have taken to meet their collection and recycling goals.
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Oil Disaster Shows Need for Endangered Species Act Overhaul. – Brandon Keim, Wired Science, June 10, 2010 Of the many regulatory problems that helped make the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster possible, the Endangered Species Act’s shortcomings have received little attention — but fixing its flaws and loopholes could help prevent future catastrophes. Oil companies never considered the impacts of a massive spill on the Gulf’s sperm whales or five sea turtle species. They didn’t have to, because the law doesn’t require it. “We need to include disaster planning in the Endangered Species Act consultation process,” said environmental lawyer Keith Rizzardi. “We can learn from experience.” So far, critics have focused on the Minerals Management Service’s evasion of National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to evaluate environmental impacts when making decisions. The MMS essentially operated in collusion with the oil industry in what one federal investigator called “a culture of ethical failure,” allowing drilling to proceed without NEPA review. Those approvals have continued, with at least 19 environmental waivers granted since the April 20 explosion.
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Senate Rejects Republican Effort to Thwart Carbon Limits. – Carl Hulse, The New York Times, June 10, 2010
The Senate on Thursday defeated a Republican-led effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from curbing greenhouse gases as lawmakers road-tested arguments for a future fight over climate change legislation. The Senate voted 53-47 to reject an attempt by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, to block the E.P.A. from imposing new limits on carbon emissions based on its 2009 finding that such gases from industry, vehicles and other sources represent a threat to human health and the environment. Ms. Murkowski and others, including six Democrats, contended that the E.P.A. was engaging in a bureaucratic power grab and usurping Congressional authority with regulations that would stifle the economy and kill jobs.
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Senate EPA vote breathes life into climate change legislation. – Bill Lambrecht, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 10, 2010
When the votes were tallied a short time ago after a daylong debate, the Senate voted 53-47 to kill an effort to strip away the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases from utilities and industrial smokestacks.It was the biggest environmental debate in Congress in a year, and often it sounded like the the vote on climate change legislation itself rather than a decision on what the EPA can and can’t do when it comes to planet-warming pollution.
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Resolution on greenhouse gases fails, could boost energy bill. – Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2010
Democrats and environmentalists took satisfaction in the defeat in the US Senate Thursday of a resolution that would have stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The defeat – 47 votes to 53 – was a boost for supporters of comprehensive energy-climate legislation. Sens. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut have floated such legislation, but it won’t be considered until next month. “The Senate made the right decision today but the big question is what comes now,” Senators Kerry and Lieberman said in a joint statement. “Many supporters of the Murkowski resolution argued passionately that climate change is real but that addressing it is a job for Congress not the EPA. We hope they will now engage with us ….”
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Senate turns back plan to block EPA rules. – Ben Geman, The Hill, June 10, 2010
The Senate on Thursday turned back a largely Republican plan to block Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas rules, voting 47-53 to stave off what would have been a major blow to the White House and the Democratic climate agenda. Fifty-one votes would have been needed in favor of the plan to advance it toward a final vote. Six Democrats voted with Republicans for Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) unsuccessful plan: Evan Bayh (Ind.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.). No Republicans opposed it.
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Oil spill boosts, but alters, potential climate change law. – Kent Hoover, Birmingham Business Journal, June 11, 2010
The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has given new momentum to climate change legislation, but capping carbon emissions still faces a difficult road ahead in the Senate. President Barack Obama pointed to the “inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth” as a reason to “aggressively accelerate” the nation’s transition “to a clean energy economy.” The only way to do this, he said, is “putting a price on carbon pollution” so that “capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed.”
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ENERGY

Oil

Gulf Oil Spill Response Should Include Carbon Price, Kerry Says.Bloomberg News, June 6, 2010
The U.S. should respond to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by approving legislation that makes companies pay for the carbon dioxide produced by burning oil, coal and natural gas, Senator John Kerry said today.  Legislation that helps the U.S. “wean ourselves from our addiction to oil” should take precedence over “throwing the blame around” for the spill, triggered by an April 20 explosion on a Transocean Ltd. rig leased by BP Plc, Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week” program.
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D.C. lawyers handling oil spill-related litigation. – Amanda Becker, The Washington Post, June 7, 2010
The controversy over the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and sent oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is spilling into Washington as BP and others enlist help from the city’s lawyers and lobbyists to deal with a growing list of civil suits, government inquiries and federal investigations. Here’s a look at some of the key players on the legal front.  BP Jamie S. Gorelick, WilmerHale
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Looking for Liability in BP’s Gulf Oil Spill. – Peter J. Henning, The New York Times, June 7, 2010
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made a commitment during a visit to the Gulf Coast last week that the Justice Department would be looking at both civil and criminal charges to ensure accountability for anyone responsible for the oil spill at BP’s oil rig. In his statement, the attorney general said that “if we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response.” The likelihood of civil enforcement proceedings for violations of various environmental laws is almost guaranteed for BP and Transocean, the operator and owner, respectively, of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded back in April. Halliburton was working as a contractor for Transocean in cementing the well, so it also may be named. Mr. Holder’s emphasis on using criminal provisions makes it clear that the companies, and perhaps even some individuals at them, will be the targets for prosecution. Here is a preliminary assessment of the various types of litigation the environmental disaster is likely to spawn.
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After oil spill cleanup, will we tighten the laws? – Stuart Fox, The Christian Science Monitor, June 7, 2010
Earlier this week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) responded to the continuing Gulf oil leak by proposing new legislative action that would raise the liability BP could face for the disaster. Sen. Schumer’s action is merely the latest move in Washington’s month-long reaction to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and if history is any guide, it won’t be the last. Throughout the last century, environmental and industrial catastrophes have often provoked an outraged citizenry to demand action from their elected officials, resulting in new regulations aimed at preventing future catastrophes. Experts point out, however, that many of those regulations failed to stop subsequent calamities, leading some to question whether the responses to the Gulf oil leak will have a lasting effect.  “Basically, you have a pattern of crisis, response, and retrenchment,” said Thomas McGarity, a professor of administrative law at the University of Texas at Austin Law School. “Ultimately, the response to the crisis doesn’t produce as much change as would have been expected during the crisis. This has happened since the Progressive Era [1890s to 1920s].”
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Oil Spill Liability a Complicated Legal Web. – Quinn Bowman, PBS Newshour, June 7, 2010
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and several members of the Senate, including New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez and Louisiana Republican David Vitter, have proposed changing or eliminating a $75 million liability cap in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. This limit applies to damages a company that spills oil must pay to make up for lost economic activity, lost tax revenue and damage to natural resources as a result of an oil spill. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the issue Wednesday. Although Congress continues to debate the issue, other laws may apply that could affect the amount of damages ultimately sought against BP and others. The NewsHour spoke with several environmental and maritime law experts to get a sense for the larger legal framework that will ultimately guide who pays how much to clean up the Gulf oil spill and compensate those affected by the damage.
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Obama and Congress Question Cozy Relationship With Oil Companies. – Kent Garber, U.S. News & World Report, June 7, 2010
“Cozy relationship” is one of those phrases Washington loves. During the financial crisis, there were allegations of cozy relationships between bankers and the government regulators who were supposed to be policing them in the public interest. It’s a similar story with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “For too long, for a decade or more,” President Obama said recently, “there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill.” Obama was referring specifically to the Minerals Management Service, which is part of the Interior Department. It has long been a problem child. In 2008, an inspector general’s report found that MMS workers weren’t just cozy with the industry but were, in fact, holding sex and drug parties with industry representatives. And that was just the most visible problem for an agency with the conflicting roles of oil-revenue producer and safety enforcer.
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EPA Officials Weigh Sanctions Against BP’s U.S. Operations. – Abraham Lustgarten, OneEarth, June 7, 2010
Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are considering whether to bar BP from receiving government contracts, a move that would ultimately cost the company billions in revenue and could end its drilling in federally controlled oil fields. Over the past 10 years, BP has paid tens of millions of dollars in fines and been implicated in four separate instances of criminal misconduct that could have prompted this far more serious action. Until now, the company’s executives and their lawyers have fended off such a penalty by promising that BP would change its ways. That strategy may no longer work. Days ago, in an unannounced move, the EPA suspended negotiations with the petroleum giant over whether it would be barred from federal contracts because of the environmental crimes it committed before the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Plumes of Oil Below Surface Raise New Concerns. – Justin Gillis, The New York Times, June 8, 2010
The government and university researchers confirmed Tuesday that plumes of dispersed oil were spreading far below the ocean surface from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, raising fresh concern about the potential impact of the spill on sea life. The tests, the first detailed chemical analyses of water from the deep sea, show that some of the most toxic components of the oil are not necessarily rising to the surface where they can evaporate, as would be expected in a shallow oil leak. Instead, they are drifting through deep water in plumes or layers that stretch as far as 50 miles from the leaking well.
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U.S. releases stricter rules on offshore drilling. – Steve Gelsi, Market Watch, June 8, 2010
The U.S. Minerals Management Service on Tuesday released new guidelines for offshore drilling in a move that will free up the permitting process for new wells in shallow waters. A drilling ban in waters deeper than 500 feet continues. The new rules include additional equipment for blowout preventers, which provide the last layer of defense against leaking wells. The Department of the Interior will be also be issuing expanded requirements for exploration plans and development plans on the outer continental shelf, said Bob Abbey, the director of the Bureau of Land Management who has also been tapped to serve as director of the Minerals Management Service. “We are following an orderly, responsible process for implementing stronger safety and environmental requirements of offshore drilling,” said Abbey. “We need to make sure that drilling is done right, that it is done safely, and that oil and gas operators are following the law.”
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Environmental Lawyers Weigh BP’s Liability in Leak.PBS Newshour, June 8, 2010
JIM LEHRER: On this day 50 of the Gulf disaster, officials still don’t know how much oil is escaping from the damaged well or where it’s headed. A mile deep, a containment cap over the blown-out well head is now pumping even more of the leaky crude to the surface. At a news conference in Washington, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said the device captured more than 600,000 gallons yesterday, up from 460,000 on Sunday. But the government’s point man said he wasn’t optimistic. ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, U.S. Coast Guard commandant: I have never said this is going well. But we’re throwing everything we have got at it. This is the largest oil spill response in the history of the country. I have said time and time again nothing good happens when oil is on the water. And we’re making no illusions that this is anything other than a catastrophe. And we’re addressing it as such, and we will continue to do that.
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Extent Of BP’s Liability Still Murky. – Scott Neuman, National Public Radio, June 9, 2010
The White House said this week that it supports Democratic legislation to raise the $75 million cap on economic damages under the Oil Pollution Act to $10 billion. That would cover claims ranging from payments to individual shrimpers for lost wages to money for states to rebuild their tourism industries — and is separate from the expense of cleaning up the massive Gulf of Mexico slick. Estimates of the total cost of the disaster vary widely, reaching as high as $40 billion. Because BP is self-insured, it would bear the full cost. Senate panels were holding liability hearings this week, but some legal experts say the very issue of a cap may be moot.
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Obama Administration Could Use Clean Water Act to Collect Billions from BP. – Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov.com, June 9, 2010
If President Barack Obama really does want to kick some ass over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as he told NBC’s Today show, the Clean Water Act might be just the shoe to use. Legal experts believe the Clean Water Act could be a powerful weapon to punish those involved in the accident and collect at least $4.7 billion in civil fines for the oil that’s been spilled so far. The federal legislation was bolstered following the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 to impose harsh civil and criminal penalties for oil spills. Tracy Hester, director of the University of Houston’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center, told McClatchy Newspapers that there are “tons of lawyers” looking at using the Clean Water Act to build cases against the companies involved, such as BP. Among the cases being developed are those under the watch of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is preparing to pursue civil and criminal sanctions against those responsible for the spill.
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Justice Department Probes Spill; Charges Expected.National Public Radio, June 9, 2010
BP is capturing more oil from its blown-out well but plenty of oil is still leaking into the Gulf. David Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan, talks to Steve Inskeep about corporate criminal liability in environmental cases. Uhlmann is a former chief of the environmental crimes section of the Justice Department.
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Q+A: How would penalties apply to the Gulf oil spill.Reuters, June 11, 2010
With the U.S. government doubling its estimate of oil coming out of the broken well on the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico, companies linked to the spill, including BP Plc, face an increasing liability and potential penalties. Following are some questions and answers for how it could play out. Q: WHO COULD BE SUBJECT TO PENALTIES?  A: The U.S. Justice Department has launched both a criminal and civil investigation into the oil spill but officials have not identified the targets. However, the likely companies that will be the focus of the investigation include BP, Transocean Ltd, which operated the drill rig, Cameron International, which provided the blowout preventer, and Halliburton Co, which was in charge of the cement for the oil well.
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Lawsuits Over Gulf Spill Likely to Be Bloody, Long. – Marc Pickard, WXIA, June 11, 2010
The images of oil soaked birds and dead sea turtles confirm the poisonous effect of the gulf oil spill. But there are other images too, of frightened and angry gulf residents whose livelihoods and lives depend on a healthy eco-system. Their survival may rest on legal claims filed against BP. The battles over those claims are likely to be bloody and long. It is often impossible to see where the Gulf of Mexico ends and the lives of these people begin. Over generations they have grown together. And now that one is so deeply wounded, so is the other. If these people are to survive, they may not be able to wait on nature to heal the Gulf. They may have to rely on the law.
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BP Mess Is a Mileage Argument: Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang. – Dan Becker And James Gerstenzang, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 8, 2010
What do we do after BP Plc fixes the gusher in the Gulf of Mexico — days, weeks or months from now? We tell them what to do with the rest of their oil: Keep it in the ground. The Gulf spill is an environmental disaster that will happen again until we cut our addiction to oil. How do we wean ourselves? We toughen our fuel-economy and emissions standards so that automakers move beyond cars that depend on oil. President Barack Obama was right to suspend new drilling. He should make that a permanent ban. He is also right that we won’t get off oil in 10 years. But we never will if we don’t try much harder. The long-term answer to this catastrophe can’t be limited to a halt in dangerous deepwater drilling.
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New rules approved, others urged, in response to oil spill. – Richard Simon and Christopher Goffard, The Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2010
His voice breaking as he spoke of a brother lost in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, Christopher K. Jones pleaded with lawmakers Tuesday to change a 90-year-old law that limits corporate liability for the 11 lives claimed in the April oil rig disaster. Jones, a Baton Rouge attorney, displayed photos of his 28-year-old brother, Gordon, including one of an unfinished backyard fort his sibling had been building with his 2-year-old son. Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jones referred to BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward’s remark that he “would like [his] life back” and said, “Well, Mr. Hayward, I want my brother’s life back.” The hearing came on a day of mounting governmental responses to the continued leak from a BP well created by the rig explosion, including the Interior Department’s announcement that it would impose new rules on shallow-water offshore drilling but allow it to resume.
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Huge Swing: Florida Opposes Offshore Drilling. – Michael McAuliff, New York Daily News, June 9, 2010
Perhaps it’s the difficulty in imagining oil washing up on your beaches and tourists vanishing versus the reality of it, but Florida voters have done a remarkable 180 in their views on offshore drilling, going from strongly in favor to opposed in a huge 48-point swing in today’s Quinnipiac poll. On April 19, a day before the Deepwater Horizon blowout, Florida voters supported drilling, 66% to 27%. Today, it’s 51% to 42% opposed. “Clearly, the Gulf oil spill has changed the way Floridians view offshore drilling and almost certainly is responsible for the drop in President Obama’s approval rating,” said Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown, referring to the President’s approval flipping from a positive 50—45 to a stark negative 40—54. “Voters disapprove 54 – 37% of the way Obama is handling the spill.”
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GOP Attacks White House for Politicizing Oil Spill. – Evan Lehmann, Climatewire in The New york Times, June 9, 2010
Republicans lashed out at the Obama administration yesterday for using the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for political purposes, signaling sharpening partisanship during a crucial period in which Democrats hope to build support for climate legislation. That effort was clouded yesterday as the White House threatened to veto Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) resolution blocking U.S. EPA from regulating thousands of businesses that release carbon dioxide. Critics charge that the EPA rules will shock companies with new costs.
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Gas

Emergency crews contain Pa. gas well leak. – Amy Worden, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 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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Dept Of Environmental Protection To Investigate Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Well Blowout in Pennsylvania. – Zero Hedge, Signs of the Times News, June 6, 2010
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said today that his agency intends to investigate aggressively the circumstances surrounding a blowout at a Marcellus Shale natural gas well in Lawrence Township, Clearfield County, and take the appropriate enforcement action.  At approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 3, the operators of the well, which is owned by EOG Resources , Inc., lost control of it while preparing to extract gas after hydrofracturing the shale. As a result, the well released natural gas and flowback frack fluid onto the ground and 75 feet into the air. The well was eventually capped around noon on June 4.  “The event at the well site could have been a catastrophic incident that endangered life and property,” said Hanger. “This was not a minor accident, but a serious incident that will be fully investigated by this agency with the appropriate and necessary actions taken quickly.
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Pa. regulators halt gas drilling by company whose well went dangerously haywire last week. – Marc Levy, Associated Press, June 7, 2010
Pennsylvania regulators halted work Monday at dozens of unfinished natural gas wells being drilled by the company whose out-of-control well spewed out explosive gas and polluted water for 16 hours last week. The order against Houston-based EOG Resources Inc. will remain in place until the Department of Environmental Protection can finish its investigation and until after the company makes whatever changes may be needed, Gov. Ed Rendell said. The order stops EOG from drilling and hydraulically fracturing wells. It affects about 70 unfinished EOG wells into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.
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Sestak Calls on EPA to Step Up Oversight of Marcellus Drilling. – Gant Daily, Gant Daily, June 7, 2010
Following a blowout at a Pennsylvania natural gas well, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Congressman Joe Sestak called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today to increase its oversight of Marcellus Shale development. The blowout at the natural gas well in Clearfield County last week, apparently caused by a failed blowout preventer, spewed polluted drilling water and natural gas 75 feet in the air and on the ground before being capped 16 hours later. The drilling liquid from the well’s hydraulic fracturing activities, whereby the liquids are shot underground at high pressure to break up shale and release its natural gas, flowed off the site and toward tributaries to Little Laurel Run. While the situation was eventually contained, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said the accident could have resulted in a “catastrophic incident that endangered life and property.”
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Worker killed when natural gas pipeline explodes in fireball. – Jim Douglas, WFAA, June 7, 2010
A large natural gas line near Cleburne erupted Monday afternoon when utility workers accidentally hit the line, sending a column of fire into the air and leaving one worker missing hours after the blast, officials said. The worker’s body was recovered Monday evening; his name was not released. Eight others among the 13 at the site were injured. One patient was taken to Texas Health Hospital Fort Worth. Spokeswoman Whitney Jodry did not have that person’s condition.
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Accidents bring calls to suspend shale drilling. – Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 8, 2010
Serious accidents at Marcellus shale natural gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the past five days have prompted sanctions against one Texas-based drilling company, support for tighter federal regulations and even calls for a moratorium on drilling. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger on Monday ordered EOG Resources Inc., formerly Enron Oil & Gas Co., to suspend all new drilling operations in the state until an independent investigation of a massive well “blowout” Thursday night near Penfield, Clearfield County, is completed.
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Our Next Disaster? 3 Natural Gas Accidents in 1 Week. – Tara Lohan, Change.org, June 8, 2010
With all eyes on the Gulf oil catastrophe, you may have missed news reports this past week about several accidents involving the natural gas industry. These incidents in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas add to the growing list of reasons why drilling — for oil or gas, on land or offshore — is unnecessarily hazardous to people and the environment. The human toll of these latest explosions, two at gas wells and one at a pipeline, is one dead and almost a dozen injured. Last week Change.org’s Jess Leber wrote about threats to the Upper Delaware River, thanks to gas drillers who are rushing to tap deposits in the expansive Marcellus Shale, which runs under the Allegheny Plateau and includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
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Biofuels

ADM asks EPA to allow 12 pct ethanol in U.S. fuel.Reuters, June 7, 2010
U.S. ethanol producer Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N: Quote) on Monday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to allow U.S. fuel blends with up to 12 percent ethanol while the EPA continues its review an earlier request to raise the U.S. ethanol blend rate to 15 percent. Worries that higher blends could damage engines of older vehicles are among the top concerns delaying an EPA ruling on a March 2009 request by ethanol supporters to raise the blend rate as high as 15 percent, up from 10 percent currently. ADM said that the EPA could allow the marketing of fuel blends with up to 12 percent ethanol, known as E12, to all vehicles because it is “substantially similar” to the current E10 fuel blends.
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Nuclear

NRC Paper Examines Blending Of Low-Level Radioactive Waste. – R.W. Borchardt, Nuclear Power Industry News, June 10, 2010
To provide the Commission with the results of the staff’s analysis of issues associated with the blending of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW), as directed in Chairman Jaczko’s October 8, 2009, memorandum to the staff. The closure of the Barnwell waste disposal facility to most U.S. generators of Class B and C LLRW has caused industry to examine methods for reducing the amount of these wastes, including the blending of some types of Class B and C waste with similar Class A wastes to produce a Class A mixture that can be disposed of at a currently licensed facility. This paper identifies policy, safety, and regulatory issues associated with LLRW blending, provides options for a U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) blending position, and makes a recommendation for a future blending policy. This paper does not address any new commitments.
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Wind

Cape Wind opponents draw environmental and political parallels to Gulf oil disaster. – Gale Courey Toensing, Indian Country Today, June 10, 2010
As opponents of a massive wind energy factory in Nantucket Sound watch the impact of energy giant BP’s oil blowout on the ocean and delicate ecosystems of the Louisiana coast, they are drawing parallels between the energy projects and warning that another environmental disaster is likely to happen in the waters off Cape Cod. Opponents say that the Cape Wind project, the first offshore wind energy plant in the country, will destroy marine and avian life of the Sound, as well as cultural and historic treasures, create a hazard to public safety and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Air

BYU professor C. Arden Pope says pollution improved, still a health problem as Clean Air Act turns 40. – Sara Israelsen-Hartley, The Deseret News, June 6, 2010
The enemy isn’t acid rain anymore. It’s the tiny particles of pollution that find their way from tail pipes to windpipes and end up inflaming lungs and damaging hearts. “The science has developed far enough … that as a matter of public policy, we need to deal with the air pollution issue,” said BYU professor C. Arden Pope, who spoke recently at an EPA seminar in Washington, D.C., for the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. “We need to address it, take it seriously and not overstate its impact or understate it, just understand it in a clear scientific way such that we can effectively deal with the problem and improve human health,” he said.
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Second Round of Sampling Reveals No Indoor Air Health Concerns at Buildings 50 and 52 at the Bannister Federal Complex.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
Results of a second round of air monitoring in and around a child care facility and an adjacent building at the Bannister Federal Complex in Kansas City, Mo., do not reveal health concerns with indoor air at the facilities related to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), EPA Region 7 officials announced today. EPA Region 7 and its contractors performed a series of sampling activities March 26-28 at the two buildings, which are part of the General Services Administration’s managed portion of the complex. Building 50 houses GSA’s Kansas City South Field Office, and Building 52 houses the Bannister Complex Child Development Center, a child care facility.
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A Clash in Texas Over Air Pollution. – James C. McKinley, Jr., The New York Times, June 9, 2010
For 16 years, a showdown has been brewing between Texas and federal environmental officials over the state’s unique way of regulating industrial air pollution, which many critics complain is lax and has led to some of the dirtiest air in the country. Now, President Obama’s new regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency in Dallas has forced the issue. The new environmental sheriff is Al Armendariz, a 40-year-old chemical engineer from El Paso, and two weeks ago, he took the unprecedented step of barring Texas from issuing an operating permit to a refinery in Corpus Christi.
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EPA offers option to firms worried over compliance Companies could agree to outside audit in exchange for civil protection. – Peggy Fikac, Houston Chronicle, June 10, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday offered an option for companies worried about their pollution permits as the state and federal government battle over regulation of Texas’ air quality. Under the EPA’s proposal, companies that hold controversy-stirring flexible permits could voluntarily undergo a third-party audit to see if they’re complying with the Clean Air Act and make corrections as needed, said Al Armendariz, the agency’s regional administrator. If problems are found — such as a facility modification that should have gone through the permitting process — companies undergoing the audit would be given protection from civil prosecution by the agency, he said. If excessive emissions are identified, companies could be required to take steps, such as investing in new pollution control equipment.
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EPA offers Texas companies clean air audits.Dallas Business Journal, June 11, 2010
Texas lawmakers and federal regulators continue to clash when it comes to the issue of how to regulate emissions from businesses in the state. As Texas legislators push back against intervening federal pollution regulation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled Thursday a Clean Air Act audit for Texas businesses. EPA said last month it would replace Texas air permitting policies with a new federal version, sparking contention among state officials, who said the agency was overreaching and violating the 10th Amendment.
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Waste

Superfund Dredging Resumes for Seventh Season in New Bedford Harbor.EPA News Release, June 9, 2010
Through the first two weeks of June, work crews will be mobilizing equipment and personnel for the startup of EPA’s seventh season of Superfund dredging in New Bedford Harbor. Dredging is officially set to begin on June 14, 2010. This is the same cleanup process that has been used since the start of full scale dredging in 2004. In total, approximately 193,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment have been removed as required by the 1998 cleanup plan; including cleanups prior to 2004 and the 2005 underwater cap project. Approximately 700,000 cubic yards of sediment remain to be addressed. EPA has worked within a “worst first” approach and much of the remaining sediment is lower in PCB levels than that removed to date.
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Water

World Oceans Day: Marine Advocates Speak on Major Threats. – Ben Murray, Take Part, June 7, 2010
It’s the original “too big to fail”: the ocean. As World Oceans Day arrives this week, threats to the world’s biggest and most crucial ecosystem are seen in sharp relief: oil in the gulf, climate change, overfishing, acidification and more. To raise awareness of some of the most pressing threats to our global ocean, TakePart asked a series of ocean experts, advocates and conservationists two simple questions: What is the most pressing issue facing oceans today? And how can people get involved? Five ocean advocates responded—here are their answers.
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National Ocean Policy and Marine Spatial Planning Will Improve Planning, Disaster Prevention, and Ocean Protection. – Leila Monroe, Switchboard, June 8, 2010
Tomorrow is the United Nations’ annual World Oceans Day. With or without the current Gulf disaster, the fact is that – worldwide – our oceans are experiencing a silent collapse as a result of pollution, habitat destruction , increased strain on fish populations, and  impacts from excess carbon emissions, such as warming water temperatures, shifts in currents and ocean acidification. The oceans already host shipping, fishing, defense, aquaculture, energy production and many types of recreational activities.  Add to those pressures periodic crises like the BP offshore drilling disaster, and the result is that our oceans and coasts – and the people who depend on their health for their livelihoods – need all the help they can get.
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Our Say: Acidification effects huge.The Cairns Post, June 10, 2010
There have been plenty of doom and gloom predictions about the effects climate change may have upon the Great Barrier Reef, to the point where the topic of global warming has become a political football. While we wait for the Federal Government to make up its mind on whether to act to lower our carbon emissions before it is too late, the very real threat of ocean acidification has slowly been making its presence felt. More than 12 months ago scientists warned that growth of the biggest and most robust corals on the Great Barrier Reef had slowed by more than 14 per cent since 1990.
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Climate Change

Shift in Earth’s Vegetation.KCBS, June 6, 2010
New research out of UC Berkeley suggests that climate change is driving a shift in global vegetation. Climate change is moving major vegetation zones up mountain slopes and towards polar areas where it’s cooler and towards the pole,” said Patrick Gonzalez, a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. Gonzalez is the lead author of a new study on the effects of climate change on vegetation and said this vegetation movement could reduce habitat for wildlife, as well as reduce the amount of wood humans can use for shelter and cooking.
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Investor Survey Shows Asset Owners Seek Climate-Change Data. – Alex Morales, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 7, 2010
Twice as many investors are asking stock and bond managers about their global-warming policies as two years earlier, a survey by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change showed. Sixty percent of asset owners asked prospective managers of their funds about climate-change policy in 2009 compared with 30 percent in 2007, the group said today in a statement. Institutions surveyed include units of Aviva Plc, BNP Paribas, F&C Asset Management Plc and the pension fund for BT Group Plc. “The fact that asset owners now question their asset managers about their climate-change policies prior to making a selection is a clear signal of increased awareness on climate change in the investment community,” Ole Beier Sorensen, chairman of the investors group, said in the e-mailed statement.
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Virginia AG and Tea Party Favorite Sues Scientist for Studying Climate Change.Not SO Humble, June 7, 2010
Ever the strident right-wing apologist and bootlicker of corporate and energy interests, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli hauled off and sued a scientist for doing his job – just because he doesn’t like what his job is. Lacking evidence of any kind, Ciccinelli is ready to bring a nearly entirely fabricated story to trial in order to squash real scientific debate and study into global climate change as a knee-jerk reaction to some perceived fraud on his part, in the most flimsy, clearly “I’m doing this to quiet you” kind of way. Here’s the full scoop:
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Use USDA programs to study climate change. – Dr. Paul E. Fixen, Argus Leader, June 8, 2010
With Congress intensely focused on climate-change policy, it is unclear if it will be able to pass comprehensive legislation. But there is one action that Congress easily can take that will a make big difference: increase funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research, education and outreach programs. These programs are critical because they help us to better understand the impact of climate variation on the environment and agricultural production. There are three reasons why the USDA’s programs offer opportunities for practical responses to the challenges of climate variation. First, climate variability affects agriculture. Second, agriculture can affect the climate. And third, the USDA is conducting proven programs through land-grant universities and the Agriculture Research Service, programs that are research-based, non-ideological, already under way and showing success but that could benefit from dramatic increases in funding.
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Study: Shrinking glaciers to spark food shortages. – Michael Casey, The Associated Press, June 11, 2010
Nearly 60 million people living around the Himalayas will suffer food shortages in the coming decades as glaciers shrink and the water sources for crops dry up, a study said Thursday. But Dutch scientists writing in the journal Science concluded the impact would be much less than previously estimated a few years ago by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The U.N. report in 2007 warned that hundred of millions of people were at risk from disappearing glaciers. The reason for the discrepancy, scientists said, is that some basins surrounding the Himalayas depend more on rainfall than melting glaciers for their water sources.
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Polls reveal solid public support for climate change action.Business Green.com, June 11, 2010
Public support for action to tackle climate change remains robust on both sides of the Atlantic, according to two major new polls that suggest the impact of the so-called “climategate” scandal has been less pronounced than first thought. The first report from the University of Cardiff and polling firm Ipsos Mori surveyed 1,822 people and found that while belief in climate change has slipped slightly since the last major poll five years ago, there has not been the collapse in confidence some observers predicted following the climategate email leaks.The survey revealed that 78 per cent of respondents believe the climate is changing, down from 91 per cent in 2005. In a development that could prove significant for policy makers, 68 per cent said they would support spending taxpayers’ money on British projects to tackle climate change.
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Other

Biodiversity: The E.U.’s Next Challenge. – James Kanter, The New York Times, June 6, 2010
Even as nations struggle to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, the European Union is taking on a potentially more complicated environmental challenge: preserving the world’s biodiversity. Last week, the European Commission put biodiversity at the center of its annual Green Week conference in Brussels after E.U. environment ministers warned in March against “going beyond the limits of nature,” and after heads of state and government endorsed the ministers’ pledge to halt biodiversity loss in the Union by 2020 and step up efforts to avert such losses globally.
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Law center will tackle energy and environmental policies. – Karen Sloan, The National Law Journal, June 8, 2010
The West Virginia University College of Law is seeking to bridge the gap between environmental law and energy law. The school is launching a new Energy and Sustainability Law Program and Center — one of the first of its kind at a law school.  “You’ve had law schools such as Tulane and Oregon that have really good programs focused exclusively on environmental issues, and on the other side you have schools with very good traditional oil- and gas-focused programs, such as the University of Texas, the University of Houston and the University of Oklahoma,” said West Virginia law dean Joyce McConnell. “What you didn’t have until recently is the deep connection between energy, the environment and sustainability. We’re looking at how you keep the energy flowing in a way that is sustainable.”
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New EPA report finds no health concerns from shipyard dust. – John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, June 9, 2010
Dust rising from construction work now going on at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard redevelopment project poses no special danger to either workers or neighbors, according to a report released today by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. While critics of the project have long complained that the dust contains asbestos and other toxics that were damaging the health of people living near the project, the new report found that “best practices for dust monitoring and mitigation are in place … to protect the community.” The report differs little from a draft version made public in January. The EPA did the study at the request of local groups concerned that the city and Lennar, the project’s developer, were ignoring community concerns about the dust.
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EU Law Says the EU Countries Must Vote to Protect Whales and Uphold the IWC Ban on Commercial Whaling.IT News, June 10, 2010
On Friday the 11th June, Environmental Ministers of EU-Member States meet to discuss whether they can finally reach a common position over a highly controversial proposal by the Chair of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which will be discussed and decided upon at the annual IWC Meeting that takes place between the 21st and 25th of June in Agadir, Morocco. The IWC Chairman’s proposal could have the effect of legitimising commercial whaling for a ten-year period as well as allowing whaling in the Antarctic whale sanctuary. WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, and ClientEarth, an expert organisation of activist lawyers, today remind Member States of the European Union that EU law requires them to reject all attempts to see a resumption of commercial whaling. The two groups make this call in response to the ongoing attempts by Denmark and Sweden to force the EU to either support the proposal or abstain on any vote as an EU block at the forthcoming IWC meeting.
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Group Finds Lead In Kids’ Drinks. – Sarah Varney, National Public Radio, June 11, 2010
A California environmental group found levels of lead in children’s juice products that far exceed state law — and in some cases also exceed federal levels for young children. The group purchased apple juice, grape juice, canned peaches and pears, and fruit cocktails — all marketed for kids — and sent them to an EPA-certified lab for testing.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Study: Overwhelming Number Of Kids’ Drinks & Snacks Contain Lead. – Chris Moran, The Consumerist, June 11, 2010
In a newly released report from the Environmental Law Foundation, nearly 150 varieties of beverages and fruit snacks marketed to children were tested for lead levels — and the results were not exactly good. According to the ELF, 125 out of 146 items contained enough lead in a single serving to warrant a warning label under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The study looked at everything from bottled juices to baby food to canned fruits, and no category was able to pass muster on the lead test. Additionally, it’s not just the larger producers like Welch’s, Gerber, Minute Maid, Dole and Del Monte that are singled out. Several smaller brands — and many store brands (Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Safeway among them) — made the list of foods and beverages that the ELF has flagged and sent notice of violation to various law enforcement and regulatory agencies about. When contacted for a story by NPR, the Food and Drug Administration did not comment directly on the ELF’s report. However:
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