Environmental and Climate Change Law Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 17, June 21, 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

Three Parties to Pay Nearly $2 Million for Clean-up at N. Dighton, Mass. Site.EPA News Release, June 14, 2010
Three parties EPA has found responsible for cleaning up contaminated land known as the Winthrop Street Drums Site in North Dighton, have agreed to perform a removal action estimated at almost $2 million dollars. The settlement, effective June 1, requires the three parties – Zeneca Inc., Waste Management Disposal Services of Massachusetts, Inc., and the Barbara Gustafson Trust – to complete a removal action that includes:
·     determining the extent of buried drums and contamination at the site;
·     identifying hazardous substances at the site;
·     removing hazardous substances in drums, other waste containers and contaminated soils to a licensed off-site disposal facility.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic

Settlement reached in Dighton cleanup.The Sun Chronicle, June 15, 2010
Three parties the federal Environmental Protection Agency had found responsible for contamination of land known as the Winthrop Street Drums Site in North Dighton have agreed to a $1.8 million cleanup plan. The site consists of about 90 acres of mostly woodlands that once was used for farming and as a pasture. The settlement involves Zeneca Inc., Waste Management Disposal Services of Massachusetts and the Barbara Gustafson Trust. The companies are required to determine the extent of buried drums and contamination at the site, identify hazardous substances, and remove hazardous substances in drums, other waste containers and contaminated soil and send them to a licensed disposal facility. The agreement also requires the businesses to reimburse the EPA for more than $93,000 it had spent for the site.
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Sunoco pays $81,000 penalty for environmental reporting violation.EPA News Release, June 15, 2010
Sunoco, Inc. will pay $81,000 in penalties for failing to notify federal and state environmental agencies immediately about an accidental release of benzene into the air in January 2007 from its oil refinery facility in Philadelphia, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. According to EPA, on Jan. 28, 2007 Sunoco experienced a non-permitted release of 1,608 pounds of benzene from its facility at 3144 Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia and did not immediately notify the National Response Center, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency or local emergency officials as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. According to EPA, Sunoco also allegedly failed to provide accurate emergency and hazardous chemical inventory forms to the local emergency groups for hazardous chemicals stored at the facility. As part of the settlement, Sunoco neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations.
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E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company Ordered to Pay $59,000 Penalty for Mercury Discharges at Kinston, N.C., Facility.EPA News Release, June 15, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently settled with E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) for the discharge of pollutants in violation of the Clean Water Act at its polymer fiber manufacturing facility in Kinston, N.C. Under the terms of the Consent Agreement and Final Order, DuPont paid a civil penalty of $59,000. The company discharged levels of mercury in excess of the total mercury limitation established in its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the state of North Carolina during 8 months between September 2008 and March 2009.
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Consent decree sought for Mobil Oil. – Mindy Aguon, KUAM News, June 16, 2010
The federal government has asked the District Court to approve and enter a consent decree in a federal complaint it filed under the Clean Air Act against Mobil Oil Guam and Mobil Oil Mariana Islands.  The two subsidiaries of Exxon Mobil Corporation agreed to pay $2.4 million for air pollution violations. The feds allege the two companies illegally discharged hundreds of tons of volatile organic compounds into the air each year from their bulk gasoline terminals on Cabras Island and in Saipan. A 30-day comment period for the proposed decree expired on May 21. U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Robert Mullaney has asked the court to enter the consent decree as they believe it is fair, reasonable, consistent with the Clean Air Act, and serves the public interest.
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EPA imposes $140,000 fine Northern Mariana utility.The Associated Press, June 15, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has imposed a $140,000 fine on the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. of the Northern Mariana Islands. The EPA says the utility failed to submit a required plan for reorganizing itself to bring its wastewater plants, collection systems and public drinking water systems into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. The utility was required to submit a plan and schedule by September 2009 to improve the efficiency of its operations and to make required organizational changes. The utility’s assistant executive director, Abe Malae, says it’s working on the reorganization plan, but the effort is hampered by lack of available staff.
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Montco beef plant to pay $2 million fine. – Matt Birkbeck, The Morning Call, June 16, 2010
A Montgomery County beef processing plant has agreed to pay $2 million for failing to comply with the federal Clean Water Act, federal officials announced Wednesday. JBS Souderton, Inc., formerly known as Smithfield Beef Group, had spilled pollutants into neighboring waterways since 2003, according to a federal complaint filed in December 2008. The plant, located in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, discharged pollutants into the Skippack Creek, which is a tributary of the Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River. The violations resulted in fish kills in the Skippack Creek in August 2007 (16,461 fish), December 2007 (1,754 fish) and June 2008 (6,500 fish), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Meat plant fined $8m for waste water violations. – Tony Di Domizio, The Reporter, June 16, 2010
JBS Souderton Inc., which was known as Smithfield Beef Group prior to Oct. 23, 2008, must pay at least $8 million in civil penalties and for upgrades to its Franconia plant operation and maintenance. That is part of a settlement announced Wednesday with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Pennsylvania. U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger and EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin announced the settlement. JBS entered into a consent decree after failing to comply with the Clean Water Act during plant operations, which resulted in fish kills on Aug. 10, 2007; Dec. 5, 2007; and June 10, 2008.
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Pontotoc Union Lee Alliance Ordered to Pay $70,000 in Penalties for Stormwater Violations in Blue Springs, Miss.EPA News Release, June 17, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently settled with Pontotoc Union Lee Alliance (PULA) for stormwater-related violations of the Clean Water Act at two of its construction sites in Blue Springs, Miss. Under the terms of two separate Consent Agreements and Final Orders, PULA has agreed to come into compliance and paid penalties totaling $70,000. Polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies which do not meet water quality standards. Over land or via storm sewer systems, polluted runoff is discharged, often untreated, directly into local water bodies.
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EPA Settles Lawsuit Challenging Rules Allowing Pesticide Tests on People Agency to propose new standards that bar unethical and unscientific research.NRDC News Release, June 16, 2010
Pesticide experiments using people as test subjects will have stricter federal rules to follow under a new agreement reached today between the Environmental Protection Agency and public health groups, farm worker advocates and environmental organizations. “People should never have been used as lab rats for testing pesticides,” said NRDC senior attorney Michael Wall. “Under today’s settlement, EPA will propose far stronger safeguards to prevent unethical and unscientific pesticide research on humans.” In 2006, a coalition of health and environmental advocates and farmworker protection groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit against EPA, claiming EPA’s recent rule violated a law Congress passed in 2005 requiring strict ethical and scientific protections for pesticide testing on humans. EPA’s 2006 rule lifted a ban on human testing put in place by Congress.
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Lakewood, Washington coatings manufacturer fined $14,500 for chemical reporting violations.EPA News Release, June 17, 2010
Specialty Products, Inc. has agreed to pay a $14,500 penalty for violations of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act at its Lakewood, Washington facility. The company has settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failure to report its use of toxic diisocyanates to the Toxics Release Inventory. Specialty Products, Inc. manufactures protective coatings for a variety of surfaces including metals, concrete, wood, glass, and polyurethane foam. The company failed to promptly submit Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reports to EPA and the State of Washington for its use of diisocyanates in 2006, 2007, and 2008. After EPA notified the company of the missing reports, it filed the outstanding reports with both EPA and Washington State. The Toxics Release Inventory provides the public with valuable information about toxic chemicals being used and released in their communities.
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DECISIONS

EPA: FMC Must Expand Phosphine Gas Extraction, Treatment and Monitoring at Former SE Idaho Plant Site.EPA News Release, June 14, 2010
The FMC Corporation must do a better job of protecting on-site personnel and the environment from potential exposure to phosphine gas, according to a Unilateral Administrative Order issued today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The FMC cleanup site is located in Southeastern Idaho on Highway 30, approximately 2.5 miles northwest of Pocatello, Idaho. Toxic phosphine gas is being emitted from some of the RCRA capped phosphorous waste ponds on FMC’s property. The former ponds were decommissioned and capped as part of a 1999 RCRA Consent Decree. Construction of the pond caps was completed by 2005.
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EPA issues penalty to CUC for failing to comply with wastewater, drinking water order.EPA News Release, June 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. $140,000 for failing to properly submit a plan, as required by a stipulated order, for reorganizing CUC to bring its wastewater plants, collection systems and public drinking water systems into compliance. Under the order, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands utility was required by September 2009 to submit a plan and schedule to improve the efficiency of its operations and make required organizational changes. To date, CUC has failed to submit the plan, despite repeated requests from EPA.
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Old Maritime Law Doesn’t Shield Transocean. – Mark Long, The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2010
An effort by Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean Ltd. to use a 159-year-old maritime law to limit its liability in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill doesn’t shield it against most lawsuits filed against it under the nation’s environmental laws, according to a court order signed Monday. Judge Keith Ellison of the U.S. District Court in Houston signed the order clarifying that claims filed against Transocean under laws including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and, with one exception, the Oil Pollution Act, can go forward outside of a continuing process by which Transocean is attempting to limit its liability to about $27 million. Transocean has been named along with BP PLC in dozens of lawsuits seeking damages for the oil leak, which continues to gush a mile below the surface of the sea more than seven weeks after the accident that killed 11 men. Amid a political furor and several investigations, it is far from clear how much any of the participants in the doomed Macondo project will end up having to pay in damages and penalties.
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EPA: Company must halt poison gas at SE Idaho site.The Associated Press, June 14, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency ordered a chemical company to take steps to halt poisonous, explosive gas that’s leaking from a Superfund site in southeastern Idaho after the state determined it’s an “urgent public health hazard.” Philadelphia-based FMC Corp. operated a plant until 2001 on the Eastern Michaud Flats area west of Pocatello on the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation. The site, about a mile from Pocatello Airport’s passenger terminal, has been on a federal list of America’s most-contaminated places since 1990. A decade after the FMC plant was shuttered, however, a capped pond is now leaking phosphine gas, a severe respiratory irritant that smells like rotten fish. This month, Idaho concluded burping phosphine gas from FMC’s Pond 15S “is an urgent public health hazard for anyone on site.”
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Pharr Yarns cited for water pollution.The Charlotte Business Journal, June 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has told Gaston County textile maker Pharr Yarns to improve the performance of its wastewater-treatment facility. The agency has found the treatment plant allows excessive amounts of pollution into the Catawba River system. EPA has issued an administrative order requiring the company to submit and implement a plan to remedy the violations. State environmental enforcement officials assessed penalties for 20 violations of discharge limits in recent years. State officials also say the treatment plant may not be “of suitable design or configuration” to consistently adhere to discharge limits.
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EPA Cites Two Memphis Area Construction Projects. – Joyce Peterson, My Eyewitness News, June 14, 2010
Two construction projects, one handled by the City of Memphis and the other by Shelby County Government, have been slapped with multiple violations from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA says neither project complies with the federal Clean Water Act.The county project is the Houston Levee Road expansion north of the Wolf River through Walnut Grove and up to Macon Road.  If proper protocol isn’t followed, the EPA says dirty storm water and construction debris could wash into local waterways. “If you drive out there right now,” says Shelby County Engineer Michael Oakes, “you see no evidence whatsoever of any violations.”
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City in ‘hole’ with DEQ over water violations. – Chris Joyner, The Clarion Ledger, June 14, 2010
The city of Jackson is running up thousands of dollars in penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act – and there will be a greater expense to fix the problem. Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. told the City Council on Monday the city has 27 items to correct with its stormwater management system to comply with the law. Currently, the city owes the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality about $48,000 in fines, but Johnson said meeting DEQ’s demands will cost much more. “I think we could be talking a couple hundred thousand, $300,000, to get it done in a compressed timeframe,” he said. The council will be asked to pay $43,400 in fines at today’s meeting.
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Wood Creek Livestock Company feedlot receives EPA Compliance Order to stop polluting Snake River tributary.EPA News Release, June 15, 2010
Jean M. Smith, owner and operator of the Boise-based Wood Creek Livestock Company, has been issued an EPA Compliance Order for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The alleged violations occurred at the Wood Creek Feedlot near Grand View, Idaho, which is close to the Snake River and its tributaries. The Wood Creek Feedlot has a winter feeding operation which confines over 1,000 head of cattle. Under today’s order, the Company is ordered to cease all discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States and remove all livestock from areas of direct access to those waters until access to nearby waterways is blocked.
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Court: Planned NM uranium mine not on Navajo land. – Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press, June 15, 2010
A New Mexico-based uranium producer plans to move forward with a mining operation in the western part of the state after that a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that its land is not part of Indian Country. The full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in a 6-5 decision that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency erred when it determined that a parcel of land near the Navajo community of Church Rock was Indian land. The decision means that Hydro Resources Inc. can seek an underground injection control permit from the state of New Mexico rather than the EPA, which has permitting authority on tribal lands.
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U.S. Forest Service Chief to Review Decision to Deny Crested Butte Ski Resort Expansion.First Tracks!, June 16, 2010
Operators of Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) today confirmed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has advised that U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwill will conduct a formal review of a recent appeal decision denying the Colorado ski and snowboard resort permission to expand onto neighboring Snodgrass Mountain. The ski resort has received communication advising that Associate Deputy Chief for National Forest System Gloria Manning, as reviewing officer for Chief Tidwell, will review Deputy Regional Forester James Peña’s decision concerning the resort’s Snodgrass Mountain expansion proposal appeal. A decision from the reviewing officer is due within 30 days of the date of the notice, June 14, 2010. CBMR therefore expects a decision by July 14.
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Editorial: Ash spill penalties could have been harsher.Knoxville News Sentinel, June 17, 2010
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation on Monday levied the largest civil penalty in its history – $11.5 million – against the Tennessee Valley Authority over the Kingston coal ash spill. The amount will go higher, too, because TDEC will continue billing TVA for its services at least through the second phase of the cleanup. The December 2008 spill at the utility’s Kingston Fossil Plant dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge into the Emory River and surrounding countryside. Coal ash, a byproduct of combustion, contains heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium. The penalties result from TDEC’s determination that the spill violated the state’s Water Quality Control Act and its Solid Waste Disposal Act.
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DEC Cites Tonawanda Coke for Series of Air Quality Violations.New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, June 17, 2010
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced that Tonawanda Coke Corp. has been cited for its failure to meet environmental standards at its facility in Tonawanda, Erie County. The alleged violations were detailed in three “Notices of Violation” (NOV) issued to the company, and are part of an ongoing, joint effort by DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve air quality in the local community. “DEC is committed to taking enforcement action when necessary to make sure that Tonawanda Coke complies with all applicable clean air requirements,” Commissioner Grannis said. “We will continue to monitor the Tonawanda facility’s operations and work cooperatively with our federal partners at EPA to protect air quality in the community.”
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EPA Cites Hanson’s Window and Construction for Failures to Warn Residents About Potential Exposures in 2005; $784,380 Penalty Proposed.EPA News Release, June 17, 2010
Based in part on information that two children living in renovated Michigan homes had tested positive for elevated blood lead levels, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has filed a complaint and proposed a $784,380 penalty against Hanson’s Window and Construction Inc. of Madison Heights, Mich., for violations of the 1998 federal rule for failure to warn residents of potential lead-based paint exposures. In this case, EPA alleges that during 2005, Hanson, a window installation firm, failed to provide home owners and tenants of 271 residential properties in Lansing, East Lansing, Haslett, Charlotte, Onondaga, Williamston, Holt, Stockbridge, Mason, Leslie and Warren with required information warning residents that their construction activities could expose residents to lead. The alleged violations of the 1998 Pre-renovation Lead Information Rule occurred in work performed around May 2005.
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EPA issues fines over runoff.WTVA News, June 17, 2010
On the same day Toyota announced it will begin production at its plant in Blue Springs the Environmental Protection Agency announced two fines related to construction near the plant. The EPA fined the Pontotoc-Union-Lee Alliance (PUL Alliance) and two construction companies $70,000 for storm-water related violations of the Clean Water Act. Toyota Motor Company was not fined and the violations did not happen at the plant construction site. The EPA says two separate violations were observed during an inspection in 2009. The first resulted in a $40,000 fine for the PUL Alliance and Eutaw Construction Company for violations at the Blue Springs rail spur construction site.
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USFS, El Dorado County settle Meyers Landfill lawsuit. – Kathryn Reed, Lake Tahoe News, June 18, 2010
The 19-year-old Meyers Landfill lawsuit is over. Final approval is expected today or Monday, with all parties signing the agreement by June 23. “Needless to say, I am happy to see that this day has finally arrived,” El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago told Lake Tahoe News. The 26-acre site off Pioneer Trail that is easily accessed directly across from Elks Club Road has been sitting idle since it ceased being a landfill in 1971. Garbage from El Dorado and Douglas counties, and South Lake Tahoe were dumped on this parcel of U.S. Forest Service land beginning in 1947. In 1991, after vinyl chloride was discovered oozing into the ground and threatening Saxon Creek, the Forest Service sued El Dorado County.
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Court Freezes Bids to Return Greenhouse Gas ‘Endangerment’ Finding to EPA. – Gabriel Nelson, The New York Times, June 18, 2010
A panel of federal judges in Washington, D.C., has set aside 17 challenges that seek to force U.S. EPA to review its scientific finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. The motions from industry groups, state attorneys general and members of Congress ask the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to remand the finding to EPA in light of recent controversies involving the climate science that provided much of the basis for the agency’s decision. The 17 motions were combined into a single case, Coalition for Responsible Regulation Inc. v. EPA. At stake are the agency’s plans to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from automobiles and stationary sources, which hinge on the “endangerment” determination. That finding was developed in response to the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which held that the agency was required to decide whether the gases qualify as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

U.S. EPA finalizes enforcement cases against County of Hawaii and Johnson Resort Properties for cesspool violations.EPA News Release, June 14, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued penalty orders fining the County of Hawaii and the owner of Johnson Resort Properties for failing to close large-capacity cesspools, which have been banned since April 2005. “These actions are part of our continued effort to close large-capacity cesspools to protect drinking water and near-shore water resources in Hawaii,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator of EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Owners and operators need to promptly close their large-capacity cesspools to protect Hawaii waters, as we will continue to pursue violators.”
EPA issued a compliance order to the County of Hawaii in 2005 to require closure of 30 large-capacity cesspools. Two of the cesspools accepted untreated waste from 27 residences in the Komohana Heights Subdivision in Hilo. The County failed to close the Komohana Heights cesspools by the required deadline. However, they subsequently installed a new wastewater collection system to connect the homes to the existing county sewer. The County also provided service to 14 additional homes served by individual small-capacity cesspools, which are not prohibited by EPA’s regulations. The County of Hawaii will pay a $40,700 penalty for failing to meet the cesspool closure deadline.
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Texas challenges EPA over air quality program. – Peggy Fikac, The Houston Chronicle, June 14, 2010
Texas filed a federal court challenge Monday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reject part of the state’s air-quality program. The EPA earlier this year rejected the qualified facilities exemption, saying it improperly allowed companies to avoid certain federal Clean Air Act requirements, such as public review, when they made changes to their plants. The rule applied if companies kept their actual emissions below permitted levels. State Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office — in a statement accompanying the announcement of the petition being filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals in New Orleans — said the law allowing the state rule was passed in 1995, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality submitted revised qualified facilities rules to the federal agency in 1996.
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Phoenicians Sue Arizona for Clean Air. – Jamie Ross, Courthouse News Service, June 15, 2010
Phoenix residents say the Legislature’s repeal of an amendment to deposit lottery money into the Local Transportation Assistance Fund violates the Clean Air Act. The state enacted an air quality bill in 1993 requiring 31.5 percent of the lottery revenue to go to the transportation fund. Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill in March repealing that. Kelly Paisley and Sandra Bahr say they are “adversely affected by being forced to breathe air that is less pure” because the Legislature violated an emission standard on transportation control. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers Phoenix a “serious nonattainment” area, which fails to meet federal health and welfare standards for carbon monoxide, ozone and particulates.
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Legal Petition Filed to Reform Policy That Allows Oil Drilling to Evade Environmental Review.The Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 15, 2010
The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a legal petition with the White House and secretary of the interior formally requesting a rescission of the policy that allowed BP’s exploration drilling and hundreds of other drilling plans to escape environmental review. The petition requires that the secretary formally respond to the request and explain how offshore drilling evaded the mandates of the National Environmental Policy Act. “Two months later, we have yet to see real reform of the flawed process that ushered in this horrific oil spill,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It seems obvious to everyone, except perhaps those who are in charge, that the lax environmental oversight of Big Oil must end.”
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Groups file appeal in river cleanup case. – Jennifer Booton, Suburban, June 15, 2010
Two environmental groups whose lawsuit over the cleanup of the Raritan River and National Lead site was dismissed in federal court have filed an appeal. The Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) and NY/NJ Baykeeper are challenging the court’s May 27 decision against its lawsuit, which was filed last August against parties including the Sayreville Economic and Redevelopment Agency (SERA), Middlesex County, the state of New Jersey, National Lead Industries and Sayreville Seaport Associates, which was created by National Lead redeveloper O’Neill Properties. The initial lawsuit accuses those entities of violating the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA), and contributing to the pollution of the Raritan River via the former National Lead site.
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Environmentalists appeal BPU’s power line decision. – Cindy Forrest, North Jersey.com, June 16, 2010
While municipalities along the proposed 46-mile route of the Susquehanna Roseland Transmission Line route have abandoned the coalition formed to fight the project, environmental groups and a grassroots residential group have kicked their opposition up a notch. The joint Pennsylvania Power and Light (PP&L) and New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) power companies’ plan to carry coal east from the beginning had met with resistance from residents, municipalities and environmentalists on both sides of the Delaware River. However, both companies received their respective state’s approval to move forward. In New Jersey, the approval came with a unanimous vote by the members of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU).
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EPA Called on to Set National Limits on Air Pollution From U.S. Coal Mines
Mines Endanger Public Health, Safety and the Climate.
The Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 16, 2010
A coalition of environmental groups today called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to put public health and safety first, and to establish, for the first time ever, limits on air pollution from coal mines throughout the United States. “It’s time to finally hold coal mines accountable to our health, safety and environment,” said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians. “With mines spewing methane, dust, toxic orange clouds and other dangerous gases, we need a national response that puts clean air before coal.” In a petition to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Earthjustice, WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club called for the agency to exercise its authority under the Clean Air Act to both list coal mines as a source of harmful air pollution and ensure the best systems of emission reduction are used to keep this pollution in check. Such standards have been adopted for gravel mines, coal-fired power plants, coal-processing plants and dozens of other sources, but currently no national limits exist on air pollution from coal mines.
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Environmental Groups Intervene to Block Industry Challenge to Drilling Moratorium.The Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 16, 2010
The Center for Biological Diversity, in a coalition of conservation organizations, today stepped in on behalf of the U.S. government to oppose a lawsuit aimed at prematurely canceling the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling. On June 7, 2010, Hornbeck Offshore Services, a company that provides services to oil rigs, filed an action in federal district court accusing the Obama administration of violating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act in issuing the six-month moratorium on certain deepwater oil drilling and seeking its cancelation. The coalition of conservation groups is seeking to intervene on behalf of the federal government to uphold the moratorium. “The moratorium on drilling is crucial to ensure that safety and environmental measures are in place to prevent the next Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The industry attempt to overturn the moratorium is an unacceptable gamble with the fate of the Gulf coast’s human and natural environment.”
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Obama official defends offshore drill ban in court. – Jeremy Pilofsky and James Vicini, Reuters, June 16, 2010
The Obama administration defended a six-month moratorium on U.S. deepwater offshore drilling in court on Wednesday, saying the freeze was needed to ensure safety after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. An oilfield services firm, Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC (HOS.N), has asked a federal court in Louisiana for an injunction lifting the ban, saying it was not based on factual findings and violated U.S. law governing offshore drilling. Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes told the court the ban was lawful and was needed “to ensure that no further drilling accidents occur pending review and implementation of safety protocols and procedure.”
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State Sues Local Company For Air Pollution. – Patrick Preston, NBC 4i, June 16, 2010
A Columbus company accused of polluting the air faces a lawsuit from the state. The lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray asks the Franklin County Common Pleas Court to order Heartland Refinery Group to repair air pollution control equipment required by its air permit. Heartland recycles motor oil for continued use, but the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency found the company exceeded allowable sulfer dioxide emissions, failed to conduct emissions testing, and circumvented legally required air pollution controls. Ohio EPA spokesperson Erin Strouse said the agency received roughly 75 complaints from nearby workers, many comparing odors coming from the Heartland Refinery Group to rotten eggs or propane. The Heartland refinery sits in the 4000 block of East Fifth Avenue in Columbus near Port Columbus International Airport. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services operates offices across the street in a center that also houses a DSW distribution warehouse.
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Bogus Lawsuit Info Involving Environmental Cases Delights the Gullible. – Todd Wilkinson, National Parks Traveler, June 17, 2010
Last fall, Cheyenne, Wyoming, attorney Karen Budd-Falen made an astonishing claim that has reverberated all the way to Washington, D.C. Writing a guest editorial for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, she said environmental law firms had collected billions in public tax dollars by filing and winning frivolous lawsuits against federal natural resource agencies. The ruse used by environmental attorneys, she said, was a little-known law called the Equal Access to Justice Act. If Ms. Budd-Falen’s intent was to incite outrage, she succeeded. The only problem—and it’s a huge one— is that her version of the truth doesn’t hold up. As attorney Tim Preso with the law firm EarthJustice — one of her targets — told me, “I suspect Ms. Budd-Falen’s distorted accusations weren’t really about alleged payouts, which have since been refuted. Her agenda is to try and discredit organizations like ours from holding public agencies accountable for enforcing federal laws.”
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Groups seek air pollution limits for coal mines. – Ken Ward, Jr., Coal Tattoo, June 17, 2010
A coalition of environmental groups is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to for the first time impose air pollution limits on coal mines. That’s right … EPA has adopted air pollution standards for gravel mines, coal-fired power plants, coal processing plants, and dozens of other sources. But currently, no national limits exist for the air pollution from coal mines. Hoping to change that, the groups WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club filed this petition with EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. The groups are represented by attorneys from Earthjustice.
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Environmental groups sue Corps to halt lock on Industrial Canal. – Michelle Massey, The Louisiana Record, June 16, 2010
Several non-profit groups are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an attempt to stop the continued construction of a lock replacement project on the Industrial Canal. Holy Cross Neighborhood Associations, Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Citizens Against Widening the Industrial Canal and Sierra Club filed suit against the Corps June 10 in federal court in New Orleans. The groups say the project will impact their communities through the disposal, storage and release of contaminated sediments into surrounding wetlands. They argue the project will reduce the quality of their lives by imposing annoying and potentially harmful noise and pollution while reducing the visual beauty of their areas.
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Case Against California Air Resources Board’s LCFS Proceeds.NACS Online, June 18, 2010
The Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) reports that the case against California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) will proceed. On Wednesday, a U.S. district court judge denied CARB’s request to dismiss the case. “The End of Liquid Motor Fuels?” in the June issue of NACS Magazine writes that CARB developed a performance-based LCFS that must reduce greenhouse gas emissions measured on a lifecycle basis. The reductions must begin in 2011, with 2010 as a reporting period. California’s Office of Administrative Law approved and enacted LCFS regulations with the California Secretary of State on January 12, 2010.
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Barnstable, opposition group appeal FAA ruling on Cape Wind. – Erin Ailworth, The Boston Globe, June 18, 2010
The town of Barnstable and an opposition group are appealing the Federal Aviation Administration’s determination that the 130 offshore turbines of the proposed Cape Wind energy project would not significantly interfere with planes or radar. Citing “severe safety concerns,” the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a longtime opponent of the proposed wind farm, and the town, which operates the municipal airport, filed the appeal to request that the FAA reverse its decision, according to a statement.
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Lawsuit Seeks $19 billion in Clean Water Act Penalties from BP.The Center for Biological Diversity New Release, June 18, 2010
In the largest citizen enforcement action ever taken under the Clean Water Act, the Center for Biological Diversity today sued BP and Transocean Ltd., for illegally spewing more than 100 million gallons of oil and other toxic pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico. The suit was filed in federal court in New Orleans. The Center is seeking the maximum possibly penalty against BP. If BP’s violations are found to have been the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct, the maximum fine is $4,300 per barrel spilled. At this rate, the company is already liable for approximately $11 billion in Clean Water Act penalties. If the spill continues through August 1, 2010, BP’s liability will be approximately $19 billion.
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

Agency to analyze impact of heavy truck emissions. – Overdrive Staff, Overdrive, June 14, 2010
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration June 14 announced plans to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the potential environmental impacts of the agency’s new fuel efficiency improvement program for commercial medium- and heavy-duty on-highway vehicles and work trucks. The EIS will consider the potential environmental impacts of new standards starting with model year 2016 vehicles and voluntary compliance standards for 2014-2015 vehicles that NHTSA will be proposing related to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
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Sund: Regulations can be a boon to business, environment. – Roberta Sund, Times Record News, June 15, 2010
We went to Fort Worth to see the operas at Bass Hall the weekend before last. What a deal! Tickets to three operas plus two nights at one of the hotels within easy walking distance. Great fun and exciting, too, to see the golfers at the Colonial coming and going from the hotel. The headline news in Fort Worth that weekend was the discovery that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality gave inaccurate results to the Fort Worth City Council in January and failed to notify the city for weeks after it realized the error. Mike Lee and Aman Batheja of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that a North Texas Republican congressman, Rep. Michael Burgess of Lewisville, said the incident greatly damaged the TCEQ’s credibility and called for an investigation. “I find it personally offensive to find out that what I have been told may not be the full story on the air quality issues in the area that affects millions of Texans in North Texas. The public is right to demand accountability” he stated. The TCEQ had conducted air tests in Fort Worth and declared it safe. State officials later discovered that the tests had been done with equipment that was not capable of measuring lower levels of certain compounds that are known to be harmful under long term exposure.
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EPA takes over 2 more plants’ air quality permits. – Peggy Fikac, The Houston Chronicle, June 15, 2010
The federal-state fight over Texas’ air quality regulations escalated again today when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it was taking over the issuance of operating permits for two more facilities — Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou and Garland Power and Light. “If you wish to continue operations, you must apply to EPA for your permit by September 30, 2010,” said letters to officials overseeing the Chevron Phillips chemical plant in Baytown and the power plant. They are the second and third facilities in Texas whose permitting process has been federalized after the EPA objected to draft permits approved by the state, saying Texas is not complying with requirements of the Clean Air Act. The first was a Flint Hills Resources refinery in Corpus Christi last month.
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EPA Notifies States of Areas That Would Not Meet Tighter Lead Air Standards.EPA News Release, June 16, 2010
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has notified states of the initial list of areas that would not meet new, more protective national air quality standards for lead. Reducing lead in the environment is important because lead exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects, most notably in children. Exposures to low levels of lead early in life can have an adverse impact on IQ, learning, memory and behavior. In response to recommendations from state and tribal representatives, EPA’s regional administrators sent letters to governors of all states and territories notifying them of their current status. EPA notified 12 of those states that they have at least one area under consideration for a nonattainment designation based on the 2008 lead standards. A nonattainment area would include counties with monitors that show violations of the lead standard and nearby areas contributing to that violation.
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Texas proposes changes to clean-air permit rules. – Sarah Portlock, The Associated Press, June 16, 2010
Texas proposed changes Wednesday to its clean-air permitting process for petrochemical companies in an attempt to satisfy concerns about how the state complies with the federal Clean Air Act. The announcement came one day after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered two companies, including Chevron Phillips, to apply directly to the federal government for operating permits and bypass Texas officials. The proposed changes, outlined in a 65-page document, include rules that would not allow a company to use state rules to circumvent federal regulations. The changes also would add references to federal requirements and require companies to maintain stricter records and monitoring of equipment.
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Waste

State launches Kettleman City environmental probe.Central Valley Business Times, June 17, 2010
The California Environmental Protection Agency has started testing of the soil, water and air in Kettleman City in the Central Valley following reports of an unusual number of birth defects. State officials are going door-to-door notifying residents of activities that will happen during the next 10 weeks. “This is a matter of urgency for our agency and the people of Kettleman City, and we want to expedite our investigation into potential environmental exposures in this city,” says Secretary for Environmental Protection Linda Adams.
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State samples air, water near Calif. toxic dump. – Garance Burke, San Jose Mercury News, June 17, 2010
Grieving parents testified Thursday before state legislators about a rash of infant deaths and birth defects in an impoverished farm town next to the biggest hazardous waste landfill in the West. Members of the Latino Legislative Caucus organized the hearing in rural Kettleman City to hear the latest from state and federal regulators who are probing what may have caused at least 11 birth defects since 2007. Residents have blamed the toxic waste dump for the grouping of cleft palates and heart problems, but Waste Management officials have said there is no evidence linking the central California landfill to the deformities. “How many more children will have to be born with these conditions for them to listen to us?” asked Magdalena Romero, whose daughter, America, died a few months after she was born with a cleft palate and other health problems. “Our children are dying, and we don’t know why. For such a small town, it’s just too big of a coincidence.”
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EPA proposes removal of more than 2,500 acres at Rocky Mountain Arsenal from Superfund list.EPA News Release, June 17, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposal to delete portions of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) from the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a list of the nation’s most contaminated sites, known as Superfund sites. EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have determined that all required cleanup activities are complete in the areas proposed for deletion. EPA is accepting public comments on the Notice of Intent to Delete for 30 days, from June 17 to July 19, 2010. EPA is proposing to delete 2,500 acres of soil, sediment, surface water and structures from the central and eastern surface areas within the RMA boundaries. EPA is also proposing to delete the entire surface area just north of the RMA boundary. Groundwater underlying these areas is not included in this deletion and will remain on the NPL. All areas at RMA deleted from the NPL will continue to be subject to regular EPA review to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.
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Kansas Department of Health and Environment and EPA Renew Hazardous Waste Permit for Ash Grove Cement in Chanute, Kan.EPA News Release, June 17, 2010
After extensive public participation and comprehensive technical evaluation, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 (EPA) have agreed to renew the Hazardous Waste Permit for Ash Grove Cement Company in Chanute, Kan. Ash Grove began burning hazardous waste as fuel in 1988 and built a new kiln system in 2000. The new kiln system allowed cement production to triple without any significant change in the usage of hazardous waste fuels. The renewed permit allows Ash Grove to continue storage of hazardous waste in containers and in tanks and to burn hazardous waste in the cement kiln. The permit also contains technical and regulatory requirements to protect public health and the environment.
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EPA Wraps Up $200,000 Marshall Township Cleanup.EPA News Release, June 18, 2010
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 this week wraps up a $200,000 cleanup of Midwest Metallurgical Laboratories, a shuttered iron-casting business at 15290 15 Mile Road, Marshall Township, in Calhoun County near Battle Creek, Mich. Work at the site began May 11. The Calhoun County Treasurer’s office brought the site to EPA’s attention. A Grosse Ille, Mich.-based Superfund emergency response team performed the work using federal government contractors, and in consultation with Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment. A cost recovery effort involving the former operators of the facility, as well as companies that may have contributed hazardous waste to the site continues on a separate track.
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Water

EPA Clamps Down on Stormwater Dischargers in Southeast.Environmental Protection, June 16, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued administrative orders against eight entities in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee between January and April for violations of the Clean Water Act. “By taking these enforcement actions, we are sending a strong message about the importance of protecting rivers, lakes and streams across the Southeast,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Region 4 acting regional administrator. “To protect our region’s waters, these regulated entities must comply with the Clean Water Act and promptly take the steps needed to resolve the violations noted in our inspections.”
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State Water Board to Take Action on 1,700 Severely Polluted Waterways New List Reveals Few Californians Enjoy “Fishable, Swimmable, Drinkable” Waterways. – California Coastkeeper Alliance, YubaNet.com, June 16, 2010
According to a new state list of polluted waterways, more than 90% of Californians live within 10 miles of a severely polluted waterway. The State Water Resources Control Board is required to create a list of seriously polluted water bodies every two years, known as the “303(d) list,” after Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. The list is compiled based on water quality monitoring data that show which waters are too polluted for activities that Californians used to be able to enjoy, such as fishing, swimming, boating or surfing. Today, the State Water Board is expected to formally adopt the 2008/2010 303(d) list, which shows that more than 1,700 California beaches, rivers, lakes, and coastal waters are severely polluted, or “impaired.”
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EPA concerned about Monsanto pollution control dam. – John Miller, The Associated Press, June 16, 2010
Federal regulators are concerned that a dam built by Monsanto Co. earlier this year to trap phosphate mine runoff may be stopping more than just pollution. They say the dam has also halted millions of gallons of water in Sheep Creek that would otherwise help fill the Blackfoot River. The Environmental Protection Agency now wants the maker of Roundup herbicide to begin a costly treatment to remove selenium and heavy metals, then discharge clean water downstream, instead of capturing it in a 50-million-gallon lake behind the dam and using it for dust control on its mining roads.
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Monsanto captures water to stop Idaho pollution.The Associated Press, June 16, 2010
Monsanto Co. has created a small lake below an eastern Idaho mining dump to capture polluted water that since 2007 has drawn Environmental Protection Agency violation notices. Still, federal regulators are now concerned the maker of Roundup herbicide has cut off water flowing into the Blackfoot River. They want the company to remove selenium and heavy metals, then discharge the treated water downstream. This situation shows the predicament companies like St. Louis-based Monsanto and the government face in southeastern Idaho’s rich-but-polluted phosphate mining country. They’re trying to contain poisons unearthed during a century of digging, while protecting the integrity of a water system in a farm state hit by drought for much of the last decade. The aim is to avoid killing streams just to save them.
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EPA Proposes Updating Drinking Water Rule to Better Protect Public Health.EPA News Release, June 16, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revise a national primary drinking water regulation to achieve greater public health protection against waterborne pathogens in the distribution systems of public water systems. Waterborne pathogens can cause a variety of illnesses with symptoms such as acute abdominal discomfort or in more extreme cases, kidney failure, hepatitis or chronic concerns. EPA is proposing to revise the 1989 Total Coliform Rule to incorporate improvements recommended by a federal advisory committee that included representatives from a broad range of stakeholder groups, including public health and public interest groups, environmental groups, state drinking water agencies and drinking water utilities. EPA used a transparent, collaborative process with stakeholders to help make this regulation more effective.
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EPA moves to tighten water safety regulations.The Associated Press, June 17, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to tighten rules protecting the safety of water in public systems. A new rule proposed Thursday would call on water suppliers to make repairs whenever testing indicates the possibility of contamination. For example, that could mean when tests detect even harmless microbes, which could suggest a broken water main or other pathway that also might allow dangerous germs into the system. Currently, water systems are required to do periodic tests and to make repairs if hazardous microbes are discovered. No effective date has been set for the new rule, which will be open to public comment for 60 days.
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Army Corps of Engineers Suspends Nationwide Permit for Mountaintop Removal Mining.Environmental News Service, June 17, 2010
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today suspended the use of a fast-track nationwide permit, Nationwide Permit 21, for mountaintop removal mining operations in the six states of the Appalachian region. Now, proposed surface coal mining projects that involve discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States will have to go through the individual permit process to obtain Department of the Army authorization under the Clean Water Act. The individual permit evaluation procedure provides increased public involvement in the permit evaluation process, including an opportunity for public comment on individual projects.
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Water managers blast EPA for permit.Capital Press, June 17, 2010
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials predicted at the start of a public meeting here July 16 that a “lively” discussion would ensue regarding new pesticide regulations. It did. Water managers and attorneys blasted the new permit for discharging pesticides to waters of the U.S., saying it would further burden operators who are already complying with other federal pesticide regulation. Boise water attorney Scott Campbell told EPA officials that they were acting as “pawns” for eco-terrorists.
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EPA Reaffirms December 2010 Deadline for Bay TMDL.EPA News Release, June 18, 2010
As part of the process for restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, EPA has reaffirmed the federal-state commitment to establish the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) – or pollution diet – by the end of this year. The Bay TMDL will set limits on nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment throughout the 64,000-square-mile watershed. Backed by a strong accountability framework, the Bay TMDL includes state action plans, a series of two-year commitments, close monitoring and, if necessary, federal accountability measures to spur progress. On June 11, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin reaffirmed to the six watershed states, the District of Columbia and others, the schedule ahead.
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Climate Change

EPA should proceed with market-based regulations. – Richard L. Revesz, Planet Panel, June 16, 2010
Q: Should EPA keep pressing ahead with new greenhouse gas rules, or should it accept Congress will shape the future of any mandatory limits on carbon dioxide? The EPA can and must proceed with new rules–but it must do so using market-based mechanisms that will not clash with possible future congressional actions. It is bound by law to proceed, but it can move wisely by laying groundwork that will come at the lowest possible costs to business and will mesh well with the legislation Congress will hopefully enact someday soon.
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Other

Forest Service Decision Denies Solitude Ski Resort Expansion Into Silver Fork.First Tracks!, June 17, 2010
U.S. Forest Service officials in Salt Lake City today announced that the government entity has denied Solitude Mountain Resort’s request to expand lift-served ski and snowboard terrain onto adjacent land in Silver Fork, a side canyon to Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon. Ferebee indicated that Solitude’s plan to relocate the Honeycomb lift and add a new lift to access 182 acres on the east side of Silver Fork is inconsistent with the 2003 Forest Plan for Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, which specifically allocated Silver Fork to provide for watershed protection and undeveloped recreational opportunities, including backcountry skiing for which the drainage is popular. As a result, Ferebee concluded that Solitude’s proposed expansion would not be in the public interest.
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Oil companies push for status quo on environmental regulations for deep-water drilling rigs. – Jim Tankersley and Jennifer Martinez, The Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2010
Oil and gas companies have told the Obama administration that environmental regulations for deep-water drilling rigs do not immediately need to be toughened because the Deepwater Horizon explosion was an unforeseeable event, not a failure of federal oversight, according to documents filed last week with the White House. The industry’s chief lobbying arm, the American Petroleum Institute, submitted written comments to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The council is reviewing whether the federal Minerals Management Service — the now-splintered and much criticized agency charged with regulating oil drilling — has appropriately conducted reviews mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA. “One accident does not mean that the practice and procedures of MMS are inadequate to implement NEPA’s requirements, especially when the cause of the accident has yet to be determined,” wrote the lobbying group, which represents 400 oil and gas companies, including BP.
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EPA Seeks Public Comment on Strategic Plan to Move Forward on Agency Priorities: Draft plan will help advance Administrator Jackson’s seven priorities.EPA News Release, June 18, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on its draft FY 2011-2015 strategic plan, which helps advance Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities and the mission to protect human health and the environment. Administrator Jackson’s seven priorities are; taking action on climate change, improving air quality, protecting America’s waters, cleaning up our communities, assuring the safety of chemicals, expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice, and building strong state and tribal partnerships.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Farmers Benefit from Carbon Legislation. – The Green Economy, Matter Network, June 14, 2010
The battle over who will regulate Green House Gas (GHG) continues, with no one winning. The Supreme Court mandated that–in the absence of a legislative solution– the US Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) must enact regulations under the Clean Air Act—even though most acknowledge that regulation is not the ideal solution. In one move, Senator Murkowski (R-AL) proposed an amendment to gut the EPA. The amendment was recently voted down. But the argument continues. An independent analysis by Informa Economics, Inc., for the American Farmland Trust and the National Association of Wheat Growers concluded that a large segment of U.S. farmers and rural America can benefit significantly from properly structured clean energy legislation, with a net benefit to agriculture, and in particular wheat farmers. The study also concludes that if no climate change legislation is passed, direct regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would harm agriculture and farmers more than a bill.
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ACC: Congress Must Delay EPA Stationary Source Regulations, Continue Its Work On Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policies. – American Chemistry Council, Chemical Online, June 14, 2010
The U.S. Senate is expected to schedule a vote on legislation introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that would suspend U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of stationary sources of greenhouse gases for two years. American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Cal Dooley issued the following statement: “It’s clear that lawmakers have concerns about the negative impacts of EPA regulating stationary sources of greenhouse gases independent of greenhouse gas emission reduction policies developed by Congress. We share those concerns. EPA’s final plans for stationary source regulation, as laid out in the ‘tailoring rule’ released last month, will cause various forms of uncertainty that will stifle investment and run counter to the nation’s goals of economic recovery, clean energy development and GHG emission reduction. We believe Congress must assert its authority over policy development and pass legislation to suspend EPA’s stationary source regulations. We urge lawmakers to consider Senator Rockefeller’s bill as a top priority.
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Builders, activists, elected officials spar over state environmental law. – Craig Wolf, Poughkeepsie Journal, June 15, 2010
Development of housing, including affordable choices, can be made smoother by streamlining the state Environmental Quality Review Act, speakers said Monday at a conference in Poughkeepsie. The conference, Housing the Hudson Valley: a Balanced Pattern for Growth, sponsored by Pattern for Progress at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, brought in a sold-out registration of 250 people, Pattern staffers said. The keynote speaker was Ron Sims, deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who said the future of funding from that agency is not necessarily one of growing dollars, but it will be one with new focuses, including a regional one. He urged local leaders to operate in a collaborative fashion and predicted that it would improve chances for funding and help attract private business and jobs.
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EPA: Kerry-Lieberman’s Costs ‘Modest.’ – Darren Goode, National Journal, June 15, 2010
The climate and energy plan from Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, I/D-Conn., would have a “relatively modest impact” on consumers, according to an EPA analysis made public today. The average annual cost to households would be between $79 and $146, which includes higher prices for energy consumption and other goods and services, as well as “impacts on wages and returns to capital.” This does not reflect any benefits of avoiding the effects of climate change, according to the 74-page analysis EPA delivered to Kerry and Lieberman Monday. EPA last June determined the annual household cost of then-pending House climate and energy legislation would be between $80 and $111. Kerry’s office released the analysis today in anticipation of a public rollout by the two senators this afternoon.
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U.S. Carbon Limits May Cost Households $146 a Year. – Simon Lomax, Bloomberg Business Week, June 15, 2010
A proposal in the U.S. Senate to charge power plants, factories and refineries a price for releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would cost the average U.S. household $79 to $146 a year, the Environmental Protection Agency said today. Pollution allowances, each representing one metric ton of carbon dioxide, would cost $16 to $17 each in 2013 under the cap-and-trade legislation unveiled last month by Senators John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, the EPA said in a report. The allowances would cost $23 to $24 each in 2020, the agency said.
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EPA evaluates the American Power Act. – Ezra Klein, Washington Post, June 15, 2010
Both the Congressional Budget Office and the Environmental Protection Agency are a little weird when it comes to climate change. They score costs, but not benefits. There are good methodological reasons for this. But it’s a bit like looking at food based only off its possibility of making you fat, not its ability to feed you. It’s not totally wrong, but just as humans wouldn’t be eating food if we had no need to eat, there’d be no effort to price carbon if we didn’t need to avert climate change. But either way, the EPA’s estimate of the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act is out, and the conclusion is that the cost of the bill would be extremely modest — and that’s before you include any of the benefits. “Average household consumption is reduced, relative to the no-policy case, by 0.0-0.1% in 2015, by between 0.0-0.2% in 2020, by 0.2-0.5% in 2030, and by 0.9-1.1% in 2050,” concludes the analysis. And remember, there’s a lot of growth between now and then, so total consumption is still way up. Meanwhile, we might’ve headed off the worst of the climate-change scenarios, and though it’s hard to say how much that’s worth, it seems like it might be worth a lot. David Roberts has more.
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Key Dem says votes lacking to include climate change in energy bill. – Michael O’Brien, The Hill, June 15, 2010
There aren’t enough votes to include climate change rules in a Senate energy bill, a top Democrat said Tuesday. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, dismissed any hopes his colleagues might have of including regulations to clamp down on emissions as part of a comprehensive energy bill this summer.  “Now, there are others in Congress who would like to bring a climate change bill and add that [to an energy bill],” Dorgan said Tuesday morning on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” “You know, it would take 60 votes in the Senate to do that,” he added. “I doubt very much whether those 60 votes exist right now.”
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Dorgan: Climate change measure lacks votes.UPI, June 15, 2010
A key Democrat on the U.S. Senate energy committee said backers lack the votes to get climate-change rules into the energy bill. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, noted adding the rules would require 60 votes. “I doubt very much whether those 60 votes exist right now,” he said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” The Hill reported. The Washington publication noted President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are preparing to squeeze an energy bill into a busy summer schedule on Capitol Hill.
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As Senate Defeats Challenge to Climate Finding, EPA Faces Additional Trials.OMB Watch, June 15, 2010
Opponents of climate change regulation are attempting to dismantle the regulatory framework the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has crafted thus far under the Obama administration. The Senate unsuccessfully attempted to overturn a scientific determination in which the agency found that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare. However, EPA still faces court challenges by industry groups on regulations limiting emissions from both vehicles and industrial sources. On June 10, the Senate defeated a resolution (S.J. Res. 26) introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would have canceled EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases. The Dec. 7, 2009, endangerment finding declared climate-altering emissions a threat to “the public health and welfare of current and future generations” under the Clean Air Act. A procedural vote that would have brought the resolution up for a vote failed, 47-53, effectively killing it.
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Liberal group puts pressure on Graham on climate change bill. – Michaela Martens, The Hill, June 16, 2010
A faith-based liberal group is spending six figures on a new ad to pressure Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on climate change. Amid the push for lawmakers to pass some form of clean energy and climate legislation, the American Values Network took out an ad buy on D.C. cable it says will total in the six-figure range, targeting Graham for “flipping sides” on the issue. “If you can’t participate in solving a hard problem, why are you up there,” the ad asks, noting Graham’s comments during the last year on energy policy. “He’s now using the same talking points he so effectively dismissed a few months ago in an attempt to kill momentum on this bill,” said Eric Sapp, Executive Director of the American Values Network.
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Farm lobby must step aside, because the Chesapeake Bay can wait no longer. – Robert McCartney, The Washington Post, June 16, 2010
Here are the interest groups that would benefit from legislation before Congress to really, finally clean up the Chesapeake Bay: Boaters. Fishermen. Swimmers. People who live on the shoreline. People who like to visit the bay. People who eat fish, crabs and oysters that come from the bay. Here’s the main interest group fighting the bill: farmers. Guess which side looks likely to win?  The potent national farm lobby is poised to block a pair of bills that would set a firm deadline of 2025 for cutting the flow of pollutants by enough to restore the bay’s health, according to both supporters and opponents of the measures. Two Maryland Democrats, Sen. Ben Cardin and Rep. Elijah Cummings, are the leading sponsors of the similar bills. They would give federal and state governments genuine authority for the first time over all kinds of polluters — including farmers — in the six-state Chesapeake watershed.
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Vote today could curb Marcellus pollution. – Rick Stouffer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 16, 2010
New rules to protect statewide water resources from pollution caused by Marcellus shale-related natural-gas drilling will move closer to implementation today with an expected vote by the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission. Formed in 1982 by the Legislature to review most of Pennsylvania agency regulations, the commission has been reviewing nearly a month the new rules regarding the shale-related pollution. The panel received the rules from the state Environmental Quality Board, which originally received the new guidelines from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Pollution-related incidents — such as the October 2008 Monongahela River water problem that produced foul-smelling drinking water and damaged industrial equipment — were all attributed to high concentrations of what’s known as total dissolved solids. The incidents led to the DEP’s push for stronger standards.
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House looks into restructuring offshore drilling watchdog agency. – CNN Wire Staff, CNN.com, June 17, 2010
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources questioned high-ranking officials from government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and private companies Thursday about how to best divide up the troubled Minerals and Management Service, the government agency that oversees offshore drilling, which has come under greater scrutiny since the Deepwater Horizon incident on April 20. Acting MMS Director Bob Abbey was one of the witnesses. He said the Gulf oil spill disaster has forced everyone involved with offshore drilling to reconsider their preparedness.
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November may bring clean air bill solution.Capital Press, June 17, 2010
Last week the Senate Democrats defeated a bipartisan bill that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under provisions of the Clean Air Act. Supporters of a similar proposal in the House of Representatives say the defeat will increase momentum for their effort, but admit that getting such a bill passed will be an uphill battle. From the outset, prospects for the bill were dim. Assuming a bill passed out of both houses, President Barack Obama had promised to veto the measure. After the bill’s defeat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he hoped to push debate on a comprehensive climate bill to the floor in the next few weeks. The House narrowly passed a climate bill after considerable deal-making last year.
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DeFazio, Wu, Walden, Schrader challenge EPA.Natural Resource Report, June 18, 2010
Members of Oregon’s House congressional delegation, Reps. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield), Kurt Schrader (D-Canby), and David Wu (D-Hillsdale) and led 63 members of Congress in sending a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson challenging the agency’s decision to treat emissions from biomass the same as emissions from fossil fuels.  Biomass emissions are currently treated as a renewable energy source.  The action by EPA came as part of the agency’s process to create a regulatory scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
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ENERGY

Oil

Babbitt Blasts Interior’s MMS Reform Plan as Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic.The Center for Biological Diversity News Release, June 14, 2010
Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has blasted an Interior Department proposal to allow the Minerals Management Service to continue to have environmental oversight of offshore drilling. Speaking on “Platts Energy Week” on Sunday, Babbitt said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s proposal doesn’t go far enough, likening it to “rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.” Babbitt suggests shifting oversight to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Center for Biological Diversity agreed that the MMS is grossly unqualified to provide critical environmental oversight of offshore work, as evidenced by the Gulf of Mexico spill disaster. In fact, MMS – an agency created by the stroke of a pen during the Reagan administration – has no inherent mandate from Congress to protect the country’s air, water and wildlife.
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Break Up Minerals Agency, Shift Duties to EPA, Babbitt Says. – Todd Shields and Mark Crumpton, Bloomberg Business Week, June 17, 2010
Congress should break up the Minerals Management Service, faulted for lax regulation of offshore oil drilling, and give some of its duties to the Environmental Protection Agency, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said. “You can’t have one agency both promoting a business and pretending to regulate it,” Babbitt said today in an interview with Mark Crumpton and Julie Hyman on Bloomberg Television.
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BP May Lose U.S. Oil Leases, Contracts After Spill. – Jim Efstathiou Jr. and Jeff Plungis, Bloomberg Business Week, June 14, 2010
BP Plc may lose control of its U.S. oil and natural gas wells and be barred from doing business with the federal government as punishment for the worst oil spill in U.S. history, industry and regulatory analysts said. President Barack Obama and lawmakers are debating penalties that would cripple the company’s ability to do business in the U.S. as public outrage intensifies. In addition to BP’s culpability in the Gulf of Mexico spill, a 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers and a 2006 pipeline leak that dumped 200,000 gallons of crude at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, will figure in the debate, said Michael Wara, associate professor of environmental law at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
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White House Legal Authority Over Oil Claims Assessed as Spill Continues.PBS Newshour, June 14, 2010
As the Obama administration pressures BP to start an independently monitored escrow fund to expedite oil leak damage claims for people and businesses in the Gulf region, Ray Suarez talks to two attorneys about the White House’s legal authority to enforce damage payments.
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Foreign flagging of offshore rigs skirts U.S. safety rules. – Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger, The Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2010
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico was built in South Korea. It was operated by a Swiss company under contract to a British oil firm. Primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a tiny, impoverished nation in the Pacific Ocean. And the Marshall Islands, a maze of tiny atolls, many smaller than the ill-fated oil rig, outsourced many of its responsibilities to private companies.
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Oil Industry Leaders Try to Avoid Regulatory Fallout From BP’s Gulf Oil Spill. – Don Miller, Money Morning, June 15, 2010
The leaders of the three largest U.S. oil companies will testify before Congress today (Tuesday) about the Gulf oil spill’s effect on U.S. energy policy, hoping to convince legislators to be cautious about introducing new regulations on the industry. Chief Executive Officers Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobile Corp. (NYSE: XOM), John Watson of Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) and James Mulva of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), are scheduled to appear before a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel examining offshore drilling safety and energy policies. The review comes after a blowout at BP PLC’s (NYSE ADR: BP) Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico caused a massive oil spill.
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Oil spill a sea change moment for American environmentalism (Rep. Jay Inslee). – Rep. Jay Inslee, The Hill’s Congressional Blog, June 15, 2010
I won’t presume to tell the President what he should say or do.  Faced with the enormous challenges that have come to bear I doubt many of us would willing take his place.  What I can do is offer a few ideas about what we can do. First, despite what the pundits say, the public doesn’t need an “emoter-in-chief”, we need a “commander-in-chief.”  I would suggest President Obama take a few minutes to explain a number of specific actions the federal government is taking to seize control of the situation and direct BP’s response.  The American people need to understand, they need the President to demonstrate, that he is making the decisions, protecting taxpayer’s interest and helping the people of the Gulf.  This can reassure the public that BP is not coordinating its efforts based solely on what is good for their shareholders and executives.  I commend the President for already taking steps, including the mandating of relief wells, delaying new oil drilling off our coasts and putting Thad Allen of the Coast Guard in charge of Gulf efforts.
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Lautenberg proposal would require relief wells for new offshore wells. – Herb Jackson, The Record, June 15, 2010
Oil companies would be required to drill an emergency relief well with every new offshore well under a bill introduced Tuesday by Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Lautenberg, D-N.J., said relief wells such as the one BP is digging in the Gulf of Mexico are proven to work. But it takes too long to drill them when there’s an emergency. “If relief wells had been in place before the BP rig explosion, the gushing oil could have been stopped in weeks instead of months,” Lautenberg, D-N.J., said in a news release.
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Boxer Encouraged by Strong Justice Department Response to BP Oil Spill.U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, June 16, 2010
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today released a letter she received from the United States Department of Justice detailing steps the Department has taken to date to respond to the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The DOJ letter is a response to a May 17, 2010 letter from Senator Boxer and seven other Senators to United States Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concerns about the truthfulness and accuracy of statements submitted by BP to the government in its initial exploration plan for this site, and asking him to open an investigation into potential violations of civil and criminal laws. Joining Senator Boxer in signing the May 17 letter were Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
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Resolving BP spill will take years. – Noel L. Griese, Atlanta Journal Constitution, June 16, 2010
Just before the Deepwater Horizon accident, Florida spent $200,000 on a study of offshore drilling safety that concludes: “Oil spills from offshore exploration, development, production and the transportation associated with these activities are unlikely to present a major risk to Florida.” So much for studies. As the editor of Energy Pipeline News, I have followed the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico with an insider’s knowledge of offshore drilling and an idea of what we can expect in the months and years ahead. Unfortunately, my background leads me to conclude that the cleanup will take years to accomplish, and compensating the victims and punishing those responsible will also take time. Although the Deepwater Horizon may have been the first rig most Americans ever heard of, the Gulf is populated by a tangled network of 3,500 oil-drilling platforms and more than 43,000 miles of pipelines between Texas and Alabama.
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With Criminal Charges, Costs to BP Could Soar. – John Schwartz, The New York Times, June 16, 2010
As BP watches its bill rise quickly for the oil spill, including $20 billion it is setting aside for claims, it could find the tally growing much faster in coming months if the United States Department of Justice files criminal charges against the company. Based on the latest estimates, for example, the daily civil fine for the escaping oil alone could be $280 million. But criminal penalties, if imposed, could cause the costs to balloon still further, said David M. Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan, who headed the environmental crimes section of the Justice Department from 2000 to 2007. Others note that such penalties could lead to loss of government contracts.
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Claims Fund Offers Shield From Suits. – Dionne Searcy and Neil King Jr., The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2010
BP’s decision to establish a $20 billion fund for oil-damage claims could help the company blunt protracted legal battles and earn a measure of goodwill with U.S. prosecutors, according to legal experts. Under the agreement with the Obama administration, BP said it would pay $5 billion a year over the next four years into an escrow account to be administered by government-appointed administrator, Kenneth Feinberg. Mr. Feinberg would handle all claims for damages by individuals and businesses hurt as a result of the oil-spill disaster. Appeals would go to a three-judge panel.
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Gas

Gulf oil spill worsens — but what about the safety of gas fracking? – Margot Roosevelt, The Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2010
Imagine a siege of hydrocarbons spewing from deep below ground, polluting water and air, sickening animals and threatening the health of unsuspecting Americans. And no one knows how long it will last. No, we’re not talking about BP’s gulf oil spill. We’re talking about hydraulic fracturing of natural gas deposits. And if that phrase makes your eyes glaze over, start blinking them open. Fracking, as the practice is also known, may be coming to a drinking well or a water system near you. It involves blasting water, sand and chemicals, many of them toxic, into underground rock to extract oil or gas.
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EPA Announces a Schedule of Public Meetings on Hydraulic Fracturing Research Study.EPA News Release, June 18, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting four public information meetings on the proposed study of the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and its potential impacts on drinking water. Hydraulic fracturing is a process that helps production of natural gas or oil from shale and other geological formations. By pumping fracturing fluids (water and chemical additives) and sand or other similar materials into rock formations, fractures are created that allow natural gas or oil to flow from the rock through the fractures to a production well for extraction. The meetings will provide public information about the proposed study scope and design. EPA will solicit public comments on the draft study plan.
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Biofuels

Dirtier Than Coal? Under Fire, Institute Clarifies Its Claim About Biomass. – Stacy Feldman, SolveClimate, June 16, 2010
A group behind a new study that concludes biomass is dirtier than coal has tried to quell the uproar over that controversial central finding, by issuing a clarification. Generating electricity from “waste wood” creates little, if any, carbon pollution, the group said. The clarification from the Pinchot Institute, a national conservation organization, was released on Friday after the largest U.S. biomass trade group put the heat on the study’s authors. The report, conducted for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, had focused on the global warming impacts of producing energy from burning down forests, a highly polluting practice.
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EPA decision on ethanol blend put off until fall. – Mary Clare Jalonick and Matthew Daly, The Associated Press, June 17, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency says it will wait until this fall to decide whether car engines can handle higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline. The agency had been expected to decide by this month whether to increase the maximum blend from 10 to 15 percent. The EPA said Thursday that initial tests “look good” and should be completed by the end of September. A decision will come after the Energy Department completes the testing of the higher blend on vehicles built after 2007.
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Ethanol industry and allies in Congress steamed over EPA E15 delays. – Bill Lambrecht, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 18, 2010
Just about now, the Environmental Protection Agency was to have made its decision on allowing 50 percent more ethanol in gasoline, and the biofuels industry expected it to go in its favor. So when word leaked out today that the EPA was putting off its decision until late this year, ethanol producers and their allies professed anger at the government and threatened to take their case to their friends on Capitol Hill. “This thing is continuing to get delayed, delayed, delayed, which is a common tactic in Washington when people don’t want to make changes,” Tom Buis, CEO of the ethanol trade association Growth Energy, told reporters this afternoon. Buis’s group fired off a letter to President Barack Obama today and began contacting friends on Capitol Hill.
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Nuclear

Nuclear power holds key to combatting climate change. – Cathy Rose A. Garcia, Korea Times, June 16, 2010
Despite the safety and security risks involved, nuclear energy just might be the way to combat climate change, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).
The two agencies unveiled a nuclear roadmap on Wednesday, declaring that nuclear energy has the potential to make a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Nuclear energy is one of the key low-carbon energy technologies that can contribute, alongside energy efficiency, renewable energies and carbon capture and storage, to the decarbonization of electricity supply by 2050,” said Nobuo Tanaka, IEA executive director, during the East Asia Climate Forum, at the Shilla Hotel, Wednesday.
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Solar

Environmental Law & Policy Center Explains Solar Power and Answers Consumer Questions.PR Newswire , June 16, 2010
A new online resource launched by the Environmental Law & Policy Center will help consumers understand how solar energy could power their homes and businesses. With solar panel prices at their lowest point in years and new financial incentives available, solar power is becoming an attractive opportunity to many consumers. “Solar power makes sense for the growing number of consumers concerned about unpredictable energy bills and looking to solve global warming pollution problems,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.  “We’re giving consumers the tools they need to tap into this clean energy resource.” The new ELPC web-based FAQ addresses common questions about how and where solar equipment works, what financial incentives and income opportunities are available and how to locate a solar installer and get a project underway.
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Wind

Brownfields’ Bright Spot: Solar and Wind Energy. – National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Chem.Info, June 14, 2010
NREL engineer James Salasovich checks his SunEye, a device that analyzes shade to help determine a site’s solar energy potential. It can distinguish between trees, clouds and shaded contours.  Wind turbines are rising from abandoned toxic industrial sites. Solar panels are catching rays over contaminated landfills. America’s eyesores are becoming the hot places to install renewable energy for electric power generation. The land is cheap, often abandoned, close to such necessary infrastructure as power lines and roads, is often properly zoned, and no other developers are rushing to erect anything on them.
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Wind Energy Developer Negotiating with Molokai Ranch.Molokai Dispatch, June 16, 2010
Wind energy company First Wind has announced it will not pursue a proposed wind project on Molokai’s Hawaiian homestead land. The company is now negotiating with Molokai Properties Ltd., also known as Molokai Ranch, to build a similar wind farm on Ranch land. The original plan was nixed because there was not enough land area available, according to First Wind Director of External Affairs Kekoa Kaluhiwa.
Kaluhiwa said First Wind was awaiting a response from the Federal Aviation Administration as to whether the company could use land adjacent to the Ho`olehua Airport. It found out in the last month that this was not possible, and there is not enough land for the proposed wind turbines on the remaining land, owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Air

Waste

State to begin cleanup of massive illegal dump in Markham. – Joel Hood, Chicago Tribune, June 14, 2010
Officials from the state Environmental Protection Agency will begin cleanup Tuesday of a remote wooded area in suburban Markham that may be the largest illegal dump site ever uncovered in Illinois. Thousands of pounds of home and construction debris, abandoned mobile homes, damaged boat hulls, tires, used auto parts, swimming pool chemicals and drums of unknown liquids are spread over 12 acres near 159th Street and Dixie Highway. Markham had annexed the neighborhood from Cook County. “I’ve never come across a dump site of this scale,” said Charlene Thigpen, an environmental specialist with the state EPA. Officials speculated the debris had been accumulating in the area over years, if not decades.
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Water

Why a ferry gets to dump coal waste in Lake Michigan. – Matt Hrodey, Milwaukee News Buzz, June 15, 2010
The S.S. Badger bills itself as “the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan.” It’s also the last coal-fired ferry still crossing the lake, and its lobbyist helped it win permission to continue dumping coal ash on its journeys. One competitor estimates the ferry dumps more than seven tons into the lake every day. The ferry must finally end this practice by 2012, the EPA has ruled. Lake Michigan Carferry, owner of the S.S. Badger, says it’s the only coal-fired steamship still operating in North America. Just as old-fashioned is its method of disposing the hot coal ash produced in its furnaces – mixing it with water and dumping the slurry into the lake.
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Snowe to propose ocean endowment. – Bill Trotter, Bangor Daily News, June 15, 2010
More wind turbines, fewer fish, floating islands of trash, and millions of gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. With all these developments and many more manifesting in marine waters all over the planet, some observers are calling for Congress to do more to help generate and encourage more research on the health of the world’s oceans. Two U.S. senators are working on a proposal to do just that, and one of them is Maine Republican Olympia Snowe. Working with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Snowe is hoping to co-sponsor a bill, the language of which is still being crafted, that would create a National Endowment for the Oceans.
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Scientists study impact of ocean acidification.Physorg.com, June 16, 2010
Scottish scientists are working with colleagues from around the United Kingdom to investigate the impacts of ocean acidification. Dr Nick Kamenos of the University of Glasgow is among 101 scientists from around 21 of the UK’s top scientific institutions investigating the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption on the chemistry of the ocean as part of a £12m Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOARP) project. The absorption of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, as well as from other human sources, fundamentally increases the acidity of seawater, which in turn has considerable consequences for the life and processes within. This ‘acidification’ of the ocean is also likely to have significant impacts upon marine biogeochemistry and biodiversity, however, changes could extend beyond this to the whole Earth System via effects on air-sea gas exchange and sedimentation of material through the oceans.
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Ocean Acidification: Carbon emissions, Marine lives affected.Newsxlive, June 17, 2010
There’s been plenty of doom and gloom predictions about the effects of carbon emissions on the planet. One of the major impacts is being seen in our oceans which are becoming more and more acidic as more carbon dioxide is absorbed into them. The results have been disastrous for marine life. NewsX correspondent Aafreen Alam traveled all the way to the Arctic Circle to bring you this report.
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Ocean ecosystems in decline: study. – Meredith Griffiths, Australian Broadcast News, June 18, 2010
Australian scientists warn that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases are dramatically changing the way oceans function. Many studies often overlook the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems because of their complexity. But in a paper published today, a leading Australian marine scientist has pulled together research from the past 10 years, which he says paints a grim picture. The Global Change Institute director at the University of Queensland, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, says the world is seeing a decline in major ocean ecosystems like kelp forests and coral reefs.
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Climate Change

Industrial Farming Slows Climate Change? – Bryan Walsh, Time, June 14, 2010
That’s the conclusion from a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Two Stanford researchers looked at the effects of the Green Revolution—the half-century old transition to more intensified agriculture, with more fertilizers and more irrigation—to see what impact the shift might have had on global carbon emissions. Here’s how the British magazine New Scientist reported the findings: The study included carbon dioxide and other gases such as methane emitted by rice paddies. It found that, overall, the intensification of farming helped keep the equivalent of 600 billion tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere – roughly a third of all human greenhouse-gas emissions between 1850 and 2005. The emissions were avoided because the green revolution boosted crop yields – for instance by promoting hybrid varieties that had higher yields, and through widespread distribution of pesticides and fertilisers. This meant that more food could be produced without having to slash vast swathes of forest to expand farmland.
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Obama ‘Will Not Accept Inaction’ on Climate Change. – Mark Ambinder, The Atlantic, June 15, 2010
First, the newsy nuggets, and after the jump, the full text of the speech: The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years. Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise.  I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip.  So if something isn’t working, we want to hear about it.  If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

President to Nation: “Now is Time for Action, Clean Up Mess in Gulf and Move Ahead to Clean Energy Economy”NRDC News Release, June 15, 2010
In his first Oval Office address, President Obama laid out his plans for cleaning up the millions of gallons of oil that have already escaped and talked about what we must do to decrease our dependence on oil. The following is a statement from Peter Lehner, Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council: “Tonight, President Obama made it clear that he plans to put a clean energy future ahead of the interests of Big Oil. The catastrophe in the Gulf is proof positive that we must end our addiction to oil, enact safety measures to ensure something like this never happens again and establish a firm limit on carbon pollution this year.”
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Other

Boat alarm could save manatees.The National Geographic, June 14, 2010
Manatees can’t hear the low sounds of boat engines, which is why the animals are frequently injured, but a new high-pitched alarm could solve the problem
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