Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Newsletter, July 12, 2010, vol. 2, no. 19

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

Proposed CERCLA Section 122(h) Cost Recovery Settlement for the Kentucky Avenue Wellfield Superfund Site, Town of Horseheads and Village of Horseheads, Chemung County, NY. – Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Register, April 5, 2010
In accordance with section 122(i) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and liability Act of 1980, as amended (‘‘CERCLA’’), 42 U.S.C. 9622(i), notice is hereby given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (‘‘EPA’’), Region II, of a proposed cost recovery settlement agreement pursuant to Section 122(h) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9622(h), with CBS Corporation (the ‘‘Settling Party’’) for the Kentucky Avenue Wellfield Superfund Site (‘‘Site’’) in the Town of Horseheads and the Village of Horseheads in Chemung County, New York. The Settling Party agrees to pay EPA $82,000 in reimbursement of certain response costs related to the performance of the work incurred by EPA at the Site. The settlement includes a covenant by EPA not to sue or to take administrative action against the settling party pursuant to sections 106 and 107(a) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9606 and 9607(a), with regard to the response costs related to the work enumerated in the settlement agreement which was performed at the Site. For thirty (30) days following the date of publication of this notice, EPA will receive written comments relating to the settlement. EPA will consider all comments received and may modify or withdraw its consent to the settlement if comments received disclose facts or considerations that indicate that the proposed settlement is inappropriate, improper or inadequate. EPA’s response to any comments received will be available for public inspection at EPA Region II, 290 Broadway, New York, New York 10007–1866.
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DECISIONS

Remedy in Montana OHV Case Reopens Motorized Trails; Restores Dispersed Camping. – Jon Crowley, Side x Side Vehicle News, July 6, 2010
On July 2, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana remanded the Travel Plan for the Little Belt, Castle, and North Half Crazy Mountains Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision to the Lewis and Clark National Forest and directed the Forest to reopen certain motorized routes and to restore dispersed camping on over 80,000 acres. Previously, the Court ruled on March 10, that the 2007 Travel Management Plan issued by the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Montana Wilderness Study Act (MWSA). The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) had joined a coalition of recreation groups in filing a lawsuit challenging the Plan.
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OK Pipeline Company Fined for Gasoline Spill.Enviro.BLR.com, July 6, 2010
A pipeline company based in Tulsa recently agreed to pay a $418,000 fine in order to resolve violations of the federal Clean Water Act. According to the consent decree, on January 5, 2008, approximately 1,075 barrels (45,150 gallons) of gasoline leaked from the company’s 12-inch distribution pipeline near Oologah, Oklahoma. The gasoline reached Four Mile Creek, a tributary of the Verdigris River, which flows into Lake Oologah. The cause of the pipeline leak was a failed weld at a coupling point. The fine will be deposited in the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is used to pay for federal response activities and to compensate for damages when there is a discharge of oil or hazardous substances to waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.
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EPA Fines Monsanto for Distributing Misbranded Genetically Engineered Pesticide.EPA News Release, July 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Monsanto Company Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri, has agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty to resolve misbranding violations related to the sale and distribution of cotton seed products containing genetically engineered pesticides. This is the largest civil administrative penalty settlement ever received under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). “This agreement shows that when a company violates the law by distributing misbranded pesticides, EPA will take action,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The regulated community should understand that we take these violations seriously, and the public will accept nothing less than compliance.”
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Monsanto to Pay $2.5 Million for Distributing Modified Seed in Restricted Area. – Scott Kilman, The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2010
Monsanto Co. will pay a $2.5 million civil fine for failing to tell farmers about the Environmental Protection Agency’s planting restrictions on its genetically-modified cotton. The St. Louis crop biotechnology giant ran afoul of the EPA, which regulates crops that are genetically modified to make their own pesticide, by distributing its Bollgard insect-resistant cotton seed in several Texas panhandle counties despite EPA-imposed planting restrictions there. Monsanto’s Bollgard seed contains genetic …
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Monsanto fined $2.5 million for mislabeled cotton.The Associated Press, July 8, 2010
Monsanto Co., the world’s biggest seed company, has agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a $2.5 million penalty for selling mislabeled bags of genetically engineered seed. The EPA says it is the largest fine ever imposed under a law that regulates pesticides and fungicides. Between 2002 and 2007, Monsanto improperly sold its Bollgard and Bollgard II cotton seeds in 10 Texas counties where the seeds were banned, according to the EPA. The cotton seeds are regulated as pesticides because they kill insects, and the seeds were banned in parts of Texas to avoid growing pest resistance to them. The ban has since been lifted. Monsanto informed the EPA it was selling seeds in the 10 Texas counties, even though the company was supposed to label the seeds as banned in those areas, the EPA said. Monsanto later changed its cotton seed labels to reflect the ban.
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Junkyard Violates RCRA.Enviro.BLR.com, July 8, 2010
A salvage company from Independence, Missouri, recently agreed to pay a $98,520 fine to settle allegations of federal RCRA violations. According to EPA Region 7, an inspection at the company’s warehouse noted several hazardous waste violations, including: Storage of waste pharmaceuticals, including hazardous wastes, without a proper permit; Unpermitted treatment of hazardous wastes, including allowing the evaporation of solvents from contaminated rags, and the crushing of mercury-containing lamps into a drum, which exposed employees to hazardous solvent fumes and mercury vapors; Shipment of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals to a medical waste disposal facility instead of a hazardous waste disposal facility; Shipment of hazardous waste solvent rags to a solid waste landfill instead of a hazardous waste disposal facility; Offering hazardous wastes for disposal without accompanying shipment manifests. Such manifests are required to help emergency responders know how to properly address accidents that may occur in transit.
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Federal appeals panel denies government bid to reinstate drilling ban. – David Mattingly, CNN, July 9, 2010
A federal appeals panel on Thursday upheld a district judge’s order to block the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. In a brief ruling just a few hours after the hearing, the three-judge appellate panel denied the government’s request to reinstate the moratorium while the full appeal of the case continues. The government declared the moratorium in response to the April 20 explosion and fire on a deepwater rig that led to the Gulf oil disaster, with millions of gallons gushing into the ocean and oil giant BP unable to stop it.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Court Rejects Moratorium on Drilling in the Gulf. – John M. Broder, The New York Times, July 8, 2010
A federal appeals court on Thursday turned down the Obama administration’s effort to enforce a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, ruled shortly after a hearing in a lawsuit filed by companies that claim they are being financially crippled by the suspension of drilling. The Interior Department said the moratorium was necessary because of the uncertainties about the cause of the BP oil well blowout in April, a shortage of response equipment and a need to write strict new drilling rules. The moratorium was struck down by a lower court on June 22 by a federal judge who found it arbitrary and economically ruinous to industry.
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LAWSUITS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS FILED

Groups Challenge Strip-Mining of Wetlands. – Virginia Chamlee, Courthouse News, July 6, 2010
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trampled environmental law by allowing the strip-mining of 7,687 acres of wetlands and streams, a process that leads to the “utter destruction of the local natural environment,” three environmental groups claim in Federal Court. ”Worse yet, the Corps downplayed the cumulative effects of this strip mine and tens of thousands of acres of similar mines on the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor estuary, an ‘aquatic resource of natural interest’ and drinking water source for 250,000 Floridians,” the lawsuit states.
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Groups say Exxon violates US air laws. – Ramit Plusnic-Masti, Associated Press, July 7, 2010
The largest U.S. oil refinery violated federal air pollution laws thousands of times during the last five years, releasing 10 million pounds of illegal pollution, including cancer-causing toxins, without facing proper fines or being forced to fix equipment, environmental groups claim. Exxon Mobil Corp., which owns the refinery, is the latest target of Sierra Club and Environment Texas, which recently forced Shell into a $5.8 million settlement over its Clean Air Act violations and has filed a lawsuit against Chevron Phillips. The environmental groups have not yet sued Exxon but have notified the Irving-based company, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality of plans do so — a requirement under the Clean Air Act.
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Four Environmental Groups Seek To Defend Greenhouse Gas Rule in Court.Southern Environmental Law Center, July 8, 2010
Four environmental groups, representing citizens concerned about climate change and forest resources in New England and the Southeast, filed a joint motion in federal court late yesterday to help defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to count emissions from burning biomass when it begins regulating global warming pollution from large power plants and other large industrial facilities.  The agency’s decision also includes a commitment to continue a scientific evaluation of the true carbon impact of the many forms of biomass energy.
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Obama Asks Court to Reinstate Ban on Deepwater Drilling. – John M. Broder, The New york Times, July 7, 2010
The Obama administration has asked a federal court in Louisiana to reinstate the ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, saying the moratorium was a rational response to the unparalleled emergency of the BP oil spill. In a court filing late Tuesday, the Interior Department said that the six-month ban on drilling in more than 500 feet of water, imposed in late May, was necessary to allow time to adopt stricter safety and environmental regulation of deepwater wells. The action has put hundreds of people who operate and service deepwater wells out of work and has brought long-term uncertainty to the Gulf Coast economy. Politicians all along the coast have called the moratorium a case of federal overkill that threatens the livelihood of the region.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Appeals court to examine ban on offshore drilling. – Jennifer H. Dlouhy, Star-Telegram, July 7, 2010
The oil industry and Obama administration are set to face off in a New Orleans federal appeals court today in the latest round of a high-stakes legal battle over a drilling ban that has idled deep-water rigs across the Gulf of Mexico. The White House and environmentalists are asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the drilling moratorium or risk a devastating repeat of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and unleashed the spill at BP’s well in the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama announced the moratorium May 27 to allow the government to investigate the spill’s cause and the Interior Department to impose new safety and environmental rules. But a U.S. district judge in New Orleans on June 22 issued an injunction against the ban. Drilling rig owners, oil service companies and Gulf Coast officials contend that the administration overreacted. The result, they warn, will be an economic meltdown in Gulf Coast states.
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Resident sues Sammamish over storm water issues. – Caleb Heeringa, Sammamish Review, July 7, 2010
A resident near East Lake Sammamish Parkway has sued the city of Sammamish, claiming plumes of sediment diverted from the new construction are ruining his beach. Donald Burkholder said the city hooked up the storm water runoff from the project to a private culvert without his permission. Burkholder had built the culvert to collect water on his property and distribute runoff from uphill properties on the other side of the road. Attempts to reach a financial settlement to allow the city to use Burkholder’s culvert failed. As a result, Sammamish spent close to $150,000 to redesign its drainage system and route the road’s runoff through a sand filter system and into the lake through King County property 450 feet to the south.
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Gerdau, AISI And Coal Group Join Lawsuit Against EPA Rule.American Iron and Steel Institute, July 8, 2010
Gerdau Ameristeel, along with the Ohio Coal Association and the American Iron and Steel Institute, has joined a federal lawsuit against the US Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called “tailoring rule.” The rule allows the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain large stationary sources such as steel mills, Steel Business Briefing notes, and has already raised objections from steel industry groups. The litigation was filed in the Washington, DC, Circuit Court of Appeals, according to documents examined by SBB. The deadline for legal challenges to be filed against implementation of the rule is next month, SBB understands.
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Activists defend sugar beet injunction. – Wes Sander, Capital Press, July 8, 2010
Environmentalists and organic-seed producers who sued USDA over its deregulation of biotech sugar beets have argued that their goals do not conflict with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a parallel case. In court papers filed July 6, plaintiffs — the Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, Sierra Club and High Mowing Organic Seeds — said that although they seek to prohibit all use of seed developer Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets, they are not attempting to bar the USDA from proposing an alternate plan for partially deregulating the crop. Therefore plaintiffs’ goals are in line with the court’s decision in a case involving Roundup Ready alfalfa, said lead attorney Paul Atchitoff of Earthjustice. “Plaintiffs have made clear that they do not seek an injunction barring partial deregulation,” plaintiffs wrote. “Rather, Plaintiffs seek only to exercise the right to challenge any such partial deregulation Defendants may decide to put forward.”
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REGULATORY ACTIONS

Air

EPA Proposal Cuts Pollution from Power Plants in 31 States and D.C. / Rule would reduce smog- and soot-forming emissions contributing to unhealthy air.EPA News Release, July6, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing regulations to cut air pollution that impairs air quality and harms the health of people living downwind. The regulation will target power plant pollution that drifts across the borders of 31 eastern states and the District of Columbia. Air pollution is linked to thousands of asthma cases and heart attacks, and almost 2 million lost school or work days. Along with local and state air pollution controls, the new proposal, called the transport rule, is designed to help areas in the eastern United States meet existing national air quality health standards. “This rule is designed to cut pollution that spreads hundreds of miles and has enormous negative impacts on millions of Americans,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re working to limit pollution at its source, rather than waiting for it to move across the country. The reductions we’re proposing will save billions in health costs, help increase American educational and economic productivity, and — most importantly — save lives.”
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

EPA Proposes “New and Improved” Clean Air Interstate Rule – Now Called “Transport Rule.” – Steven M. Taber, The Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Blog, July 7, 2010
Everything old is new again. On Tuesday, July 6, 2010, the EPA proposed regulations to “cut air pollution that impairs air quality and harms the health of people downwind.”  These regulations will replace the “Clean Air Interstate Rule” which contained a controversial cap-and-trade provision for power plants. Largely because of that provision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in 2008 that the EPA had exceeded its authority and vacated the entire rule.  However, in December, 2008, at the EPA’s request the Court allowed the EPA to keep CAIR while it worked to come up with a replacement rule. See, “D.C Circuit Reinstates CAIR Pending EPA Review,” December 30, 2008.
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EPA unveils draft interstate clean air rule. – Darren Goode, The Hill, July 6th, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday proposed new clean-air regulations that would significantly reduce emissions that cross state lines and, it says, save tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in health costs. The proposed Clean Air Transport Rule replaces – and strengthens – a Bush-era rule in cutting soot-forming sulfur dioxide and smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions from electric utilities that cross state lines, mainly in the eastern United States. The new version was needed after a federal appeals court in December 2008 struck down the earlier standard. The court ordered EPA to revise the so-called Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) after the state of North Carolina and several utilities successfully argued that parts of the program were illegal under the Clean Air Act.
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EPA Proposes Rule to Cut Smog and Soot Pollution From Power Plants in the Eastern & Midwestern U.S. – John Walke, Switchboard, July 6th, 2010
Today the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a Clean Air Act rulemaking to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from power plants in 31 eastern and midwestern states plus the District of Columbia.  The proposal targets smog and soot pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants in these upwind states, protecting citizens and air quality in downwind states in the east and midwest. This rule represents an important and necessary step to cut the harmful air pollution that forms smog and deadly soot pollution, from the industrial sector most responsible for these emissions. The proposal comes in response to a 2008 court decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which overturned EPA’s 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).  CAIR had established cap-and-trade programs for SO2 and NOx air pollution from power plants in 28 eastern and midwestern states plus the District of Columbia.  Today’s proposed Transport Rule adds Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma to the original 28 states covered by CAIR.
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EPA Proposes to Cut Power-Plant Emissions in 31 States. – Mark Peters and Tennille Tracy, The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2010
The Obama administration proposed new rules Tuesday that would require owners of coal-fired power plants to invest in technology to slash the smog-forming gases they send drifting across the Eastern U.S. The proposed “transport rule,” released by the Environmental Protection Agency, would require utilities to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The EPA said the new rules could reduce asthma, bronchitis and heart attacks and avert 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths a year—benefits the agency valued at $120 billion annually by 2014. As a trade-off, utilities, and their ratepayers, would face $2.8 billion a year in added annual costs by 2014, the agency estimated.
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Emissions control rules to replace CAIR are proposed by EPA.Power-Gen Worldwide, July 6, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed transport rules to take effect in 2012 that target power plant emissions that drift across 31 eastern states and the District of Columbia. EPA estimated compliance costs could reach $2.8 billion in 2014. Health benefits were estimated at $120 billion. The proposal would replace the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated and ordered EPA to revise in 2008. The court allowed CAIR to remain in place temporarily while EPA worked to finalize the replacement rule. EPA is proposing one approach for reducing SO2 and NOX emissions in states covered by this rule and taking comment on two alternatives.
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New Rules Issued on Coal Air Pollution. – John M. Broder, The New York Times, July 7, 2010
Acting under federal court order, the Obama administration proposed new air-quality rules on Tuesday for coal-burning power plants that officials said would bring major reductions in soot and smog from Texas to the Eastern Seaboard. The Environmental Protection Agency is issuing the rules to replace a plan from the administration of President George W. Bush that a federal judge threw out in 2008, citing numerous flaws in the calculation of air-quality effects. Gina McCarthy, head of the E.P.A.’s air and radiation office, said the new rules would reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by hundreds of thousands of tons a year and bring $120 billion in annual health benefits. Those benefits, Ms. McCarthy said, include preventing 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths, 23,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma and 1.9 million missed school and work days.
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US EPA to cut power plants’ SO2, NOx; limit trading.Platt’s, July 7, 2010
A federal proposal to reduce ozone and soot pollution from power plants in 31 states starting in 2012 will allow for only limited interstate trading of emission allowances, a tactic spurring praise from air regulators and concern from the utility industry Tuesday. The US Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed the Transport Rule to replace the current Clean Air Interstate Rule as a means of reducing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired power plants in upwind states that affect the air quality of downwind states and their ability to meet national clean air standards. The Transport Rule is designed to cut power plant emissions of SO2 by 71 and NOx by 52% from 2005 levels by 2014 by setting state-by-state emission budgets.
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Utilities May Shut Smaller, Dirtier Plants Under U.S. EPA Rules. – Kim Chipman, Bloomberg, July 7, 2010
The Obama administration proposed tougher air pollution rules for 31 states from Massachusetts to Texas that may lead energy companies to shut some power plants. American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of coal-fueled electricity, and Southern Co., the second largest, are among companies that may be affected by the regulations announced yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency to curb smog and acid rain. The rules would take effect in 2012.  “It’s generally a negative for all of them,” Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, a Washington-based policy analysis firm, said in an interview. “They are either going to have to buy new technology, switch the fuel they use or shut down plants.”
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New ‘Clean Car’ Rules Now In Effect in USA.EVWorldwire, July 7, 2010

In April, the U.S. EPA and the Department of Transportation announced the first-ever national limits on greenhouse gas pollution from cars and light trucks. Dubbed its “Clean Cars Rule,” it will increase vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by motor vehicles, a major source of global warming pollution in the U.S. The landmark rule goes into effect on Tuesday, July 6, 2010, making U.S. and world history. Under the rule, the first greenhouse gas limits will apply to model year 2012 cars. This historic policy will ultimately save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one billion metric tons — the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from 50 million of today’s cars over their lifetime.
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Water

EPA OKs New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine.Sustainable Business.com, July 6, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the Army Corps of Engineers a green light for the Pine Creek mine permit, a mountaintop removal (MTR) mining site in West Virginia. This is the first permit decision the EPA has issued under the new mountaintop mining guidelines, which came out last April and were anticipated to provide tougher oversight of mountaintop removal coal mining. The new MTR guidelines were understood to provide greater protection for headwater streams by curbing the practice of dumping waste in neighboring valleys to create what is known as valley fills. It was anticipated that these guidelines, by requiring mining operators to control levels of toxins in nearby streams, would significantly reduce the dumping of mining waste in valleys, which the EPA said was scientifically proven to contaminate drinking water and wreck ecosystems.
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EPA Proposes Use of Sufficiently Sensitive NPDES Test Methods.Environmental Protection, July 6, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing minor amendments to its Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations to codify that under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, only “sufficiently sensitive” analytical test methods, that is, those that are capable of detecting and measuring the pollutants at, or below, the respective water quality criteria or permit limits, can be used when completing an NPDES permit application and when performing sampling and analysis pursuant to monitoring requirements in an NPDES permit. This proposal is based on requirements in the CWA and existing EPA regulations. It also would codify existing guidance on the use of “sufficiently sensitive” analytical methods with respect to measurement of mercury and extend the approach outlined in that guidance to the NPDES program more generally.
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EPA Rejects Iowa’s Designated Use Changes for 93 Waterbodies.Environmental Protection, July 6, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) designated use changes for 64 waterbodies and disapproved changes for 93 waterbodies. Designated uses describe the achievable recreational activities and aquatic life uses in Iowa’s waters. EPA is finalizing action on the remaining 19 waterbodies. The Clean Water Act (CWA) presumes that all waters are suitable for the highest levels of recreation, such as swimming, and that the waters can support a diverse community of aquatic life. A state must present a well-documented study to set a lower goal. EPA found that the studies submitted by IDNR did not support a lower designated use for the 93 disapprovals.
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EPA Takes Action to Strengthen Environmental and Public Health Protection for the L.A. River Basin. – EPA News Release, July 7, 2010
U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced the Agency’s decision that will ensure more effective protection under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for the Los Angeles River and for those who use the river for boating, fishing, and other recreational and commercial opportunities. The announcement strengthens future environmental protection for the entire 51-mile river and for small streams and wetlands throughout the L.A. River Basin, affirming the Agency’s commitment to urban communities and natural resources. The decision reflects years of work by EPA, in coordination with federal, state, and local partners and the public, to strengthen future protection for the river and surrounding watershed. “This designation assures the community that their local waters are protected by the nation’s water laws,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “A clean, vibrant L.A. River system can help revitalize struggling communities, promoting growth and jobs for residents of Los Angeles. We want the L.A. River to demonstrate how urban waterways across the country can serve as assets in building stronger neighborhoods, attracting new businesses and creating new jobs. ”
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EPA finishing up Pavillion-area monitoring wells.The Associated Press, July 7, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has almost finished drilling two monitoring wells to test for pollution in a central Wyoming community where residents suspect chemicals related to gas drilling have contaminated their well water. Meanwhile, the EPA has pushed back a meeting with residents of the Pavillion area. Originally planned for July, the public meeting now will be held in August. The agency wants to make certain ahead of the meeting that homeowners have accurate information about the contamination and any health risks, EPA spokesman Richard Mylott said. “One of the things that’s become clear is getting a good health-based assessment of the many wells we’ve sampled is time-consuming,” Mylott said Tuesday.
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Pleasant Bay/Chatham Harbor Now Protected from Boat Sewage Pollution – “No Discharge Area” designation finalized for another Cape bay.EPA News Release, July 8, 2010
The coastal waters of Pleasant Bay/Chatham Harbor now join all of Cape Cod Bay and most other coastal Massachusetts waters by having attained a “No Discharge Area” designation. EPA approved a request by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (MA CZM) and the Pleasant Bay Resource Management Alliance to designate Pleasant Bay/Chatham Harbor as a no discharge area. This designation means that the Towns of Chatham, Harwich, Orleans and Brewster are protecting their coastal water quality from boat sewage pollution by prohibiting the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage in the water body.
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Waste

Rehberg questions EPA’s responsibility on cleanup.The Western News, July 7, 2010
Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg sent a letter last week to an Environmental Protection Agency official asking for clarifications relating to the Superfund cleanup, especially that of Operable Unit 1 adjacent to Riverfront Park in Libby. The questions mostly regarded what the EPA’s responsibility would be in the event that the cleanup proves to not be protective of human health in the future. “As much as the folks in Libby want this cleanup to be over, they also want it to be done right,” Rehberg said in a prepared statement. “… This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a less than thorough response from the federal government, so the skepticism of the local community is completely justified.”
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Supersize cleanup effort at toxic sites. – John Upton, San Francisco Examiner, July 8, 2010
The Bay Area is a natural wonderland where unique geological and meteorological phenomena have sculpted an abundance of intricate microclimates around a biologically rich estuary. And the region has been ground zero for history-shaping American endeavors, including its role as a Navy headquarters during World War II and the mass production of computer chips, which boosted the population while polluting water supplies and the ground upon which hordes of people live, work and play. Most of the damage was inflicted in the last century, a period when property records were painstakingly detailed, meaning federal and state regulators have identified most of the companies and agencies that must now fund extensive cleanup efforts.
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Climate Change

EPA Seeks Comments on Confidentiality of GHG Reporting Data.Truckinginfo, July 6, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comments on whether certain data collected under its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program should be publicly available or kept confidential. The proposed rulemaking will be open for comments for 60 days.  While emission data are public under the Clean Air Act, EPA believes some non-emission data could harm a business’s competitiveness if made public. Under the proposed rule, data kept confidential include information reported by fossil fuel and industrial gas suppliers related to production quantities and raw materials.
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Other

Government seeks public input on Salton Sea work. – Keith Matheny, The Desert Sun, July 6, 2010
The public can weigh in at special meetings Wednesday on what state and federal regulators should consider as they go through the environmental impact study process on Salton Sea species conservation habitat projects. Meetings are slated for 1 p.m. at the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert campus and at 6:30 p.m. at the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians’ tribal administration building in Thermal. Kimberly Nicol, environmental program director for the California Department of Fish and Game, said the meetings are a way of “incorporating everyone’s concerns as to the impacts of constructing anything” at the Salton Sea. At least one public hearing also will be held once a draft environmental impact study is released, probably by early 2011, Nicol said.
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EPA Launches a Collaborative Web Site for Integrated Environmental Modeling.EPA News Release, July 8, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching a new on-line tool for scientific collaboration and knowledge sharing that was built by Purdue University with support from the agency. The Integrated Environmental Modeling Hub (iemHUB) allows environmental researchers to analyze environmental problems and combine environmental models so that a better understanding of the environment can be developed – everything from keeping beaches clean to predicting climate effects.
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Weighing Safety of Weed Killer in Drinking Water, EPA Relies Heavily on Industry-Backed Studies. – Danielle Ivory, The Huffington Post, July 8, 2010
Companies with a financial interest in a weed-killer sometimes found in drinking water paid for thousands of studies federal regulators are using to assess the herbicide’s health risks, records of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show. Many of these industry-funded studies, which largely support atrazine’s safety, have never been published or subjected to an independent scientific peer review. Meanwhile, some independent studies documenting potentially harmful effects on animals and humans are not included in the body of research the EPA deems relevant to its safety review, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund has found. These studies include many that have been published in respected scientific journals.
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STATE & FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Dow Chemical Standing Apart From Industry on Cap and Trade. – Peter Behr, The New York Times, July 6, 2010
As the climate bill sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) headed for a showdown in the House last year, critics warned that the energy-intensive U.S. chemical industry would be among the primary victims of a cap-and-trade carbon regime. Now, with time running out on climate legislation in the Senate, officials of Dow Chemical Co., the largest American chemical company, continue to call for a bill that would set a price on carbon emissions. “We just see it differently” than others in industry, said Peter Molinaro, Dow’s vice president for federal and state government affairs. “We start with the premise that you can’t solve the climate problems without chemistry. That’s what we do, and that is on the plus side.”
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PG&E opposes CA prop. to halt global warming law.The Associated Press, July 6, 2010
California’s largest utility says it will oppose Proposition 23, the initiative that seeks to suspend the state’s landmark global warming law. Pacific Gas & Electric Company Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee said in a statement Tuesday that climate change could cost California’s economy tens of billions of dollars a year, with losses to agriculture, tourism and other sectors. The 2006 law, known as AB32, requires utilities, manufacturers and other businesses to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. If approved in November, the initiative would suspend the law until California’s unemployment rate falls from its current rate of 12.4 percent to 5.5 percent or lower and stays there for a year.
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Tester won’t budge on bill’s logging. – Brad Fuqua, The Western News, July 6, 2010
Sen. Jon Tester isn’t giving up any ground on the four provisions he included in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. The Montana legislator reiterated last week that logging will not be stripped from the final version of the bill, which he introduced nearly a year ago. Besides timber, other provisions cover wilderness, recreation and restoration. “In the end, if we’re missing those components, the bill will not move,” Tester said during a telephone interview on Thursday. “We need to get it passed. That’s why we’re working so hard to do it.”
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Ill. EPA delivers ‘green’ report to gov, lawmakers.The Associated Press, July 7, 2010
Setting performance standards for handling rain runoff is part of an anti-pollution report delivered to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and leaders of the General Assembly. The Environmental Protection Agency produced the report in answer to the 2009 Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act. The EPA recommends that a group work with citizens in the coming year to set performance standards for retaining runoff in urban areas to prevent pollution. EPA will also conduct a review to determine whether new laws are needed. The green infrastructure law set up a process in which interest groups worked with the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, along with EPA staff.
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Senator Udall Introduces Green Infrastructure Bill. – Stacy Detwiler, American Rivers, July 8, 2010
As I stood outside a metro stop, waiting under an overhang as the rain poured down during one of the District’s hot summer thunderstorms, I watched as water slowly began rising in the street. After about five minutes, cars were swerving to avoid the water that lapped up to the height of the curb. This is stormwater runoff, the unseen water that most of us ignore once it’s fallen as rain and flows…somewhere. That “somewhere” is where many of the problems arise when you talk about stormwater runoff. With aging infrastructure, increasing population growth, and poorly planned development, the amount of impervious surfaces like roads and driveways is steadily increasing. When an area is covered in these impervious surfaces, stormwater has nowhere to infiltrate and runs along the surface collecting contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals which ultimately end up in our rivers and streams.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Bill Introduced in Senate Cleans Up Waterways, Boosts Water Supplies & Greens Cities Nationwide. – Rebecca Hammer, NRDC Switchboard, July 8, 2010
Last week, the Senate introduced a bill I’ve been working on that will provide tools to help communities clean up their waterways and make them more resilient to droughts, water shortages and floods at the same time. That bill – sponsored by Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) – is the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act, and I blogged about it back when it was introduced in the House of Representatives last December.  Since then, 40 members of the House have signed on.  Now it’s the Senate’s turn.  If enacted, it will provide funding and technical support for communities to use something called “green infrastructure” techniques to manage their stormwater pollution. Every time it rains, water carries trash and pollutants from hard surfaces (like roads, parking lots, and roofs) into our waterways.  Green infrastructure prevents that from happening by using techniques like green roofs, rain gardens, and permeable pavement to stop rain where it falls: storing it, allowing it to filter into the ground, or using it as water for thirsty plants.  That way, rainfall is prevented from turning into harmful polluted runoff.
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ENERGY

Oil

Gulf of Mexico hides 27,000 abandoned wells. – Jeff Donn and Mitch Weiss, The Associated Press, July 7, 2010
More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one – not industry, not government – is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows. The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing. The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells – those characterized in federal government records as “temporarily abandoned.” Regulations for temporarily abandoned wells require oil companies to present plans to reuse or permanently plug such wells within a year, but the AP found that the rule is routinely circumvented and that more than 1,000 wells have lingered in unfinished condition for more than a decade.
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Enviro groups stunned that govt ignoring 27K wells. – Jeff Donn and Mitch Weiss, The Associated Press, July 8, 2010
Leading environmental groups and a U.S. senator on Wednesday called on the government to pay closer attention to more than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico and take action to keep them from leaking even more crude into water already tainted by the massive BP spill. The calls for action follow an Associated Press investigation that found federal regulators do not typically inspect plugging of these offshore wells or monitor for leaks afterward. Yet tens of thousands of oil and gas wells are improperly plugged on land, and abandoned wells have sometimes leaked offshore too, state and federal regulators acknowledge. Melanie Duchin, a spokeswoman with Greenpeace, said she was “shell-shocked” by the AP report and upset that government wasn’t “doing a thing to make sure they weren’t leaking.”
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Natural Gas

Hurdles for a Natural Gas Transition. – Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times, July 8, 2010
Natural gas might emerge as a “bridge” fuel in controlling carbon dioxide emissions, but switching over from coal would cost hundreds of billions of dollars — not even counting the cost of the gas, according to a study sponsored by the American Public Power Association. With the Environmental Protection Agency having just issued an updated air pollution rule for power plants and with other rules already scheduled to take effect, some utilities already seem to be replacing their oldest, dirtiest and least efficient coal-fired operations with natural gas. And others may begin phasing out slightly younger plants. All of this is a response to new or impending rules on emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates and on the disposal of coal ash but ahead of any agreement on carbon dioxide limits.
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EPA Fracking Study On Drilling Pollution Near End. – Mead Gruver, The Huffington Post, July 6, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has almost finished drilling two monitoring wells to test for pollution in a central Wyoming community where residents suspect chemicals related to gas drilling have contaminated their well water. Meanwhile, the EPA has pushed back a meeting with residents of the Pavillion area. Originally planned for July, the public meeting now will be held in August. The agency wants to make certain ahead of the meeting that homeowners have accurate information about the contamination and any health risks, EPA spokesman Richard Mylott said.
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Biofuels

EPA to Give Partial Waiver For E15.NACS Online, July 6, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will probably give a partial waiver for 15 percent ethanol blends of gasoline (E15) for model year 2007 automobiles and newer, the Bureau of National Affairs reports. On July 1, Gina McCarthy, the agency’s assistant administrator for air and radiation, told attendees at a future of renewable energy conference that the EPA waiver could be granted in September. “Now I will tell you that we are very confident, because of the way newer vehicles are constructed and engineered, that E15 will be amenable for use in newer vehicles,” she said. “As the vehicle gets older, we have less certainty about the use of E15.”
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Opinion: Ethanol is a fuel alternative that fits our domestic infrastructure. – Glenn Nedwin, Capitol Weekly, July 8, 2010
Last month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed action yet again on allowing an increase in the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline. Raising the ethanol blend allowance in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent is in the best interest of our state, our country, our economy and our environment. And, contrary to myths, higher ethanol blends will not harm vehicle engines. In fact, there has been more testing of E15 than there has been of any other fuel additive in the history of the EPA waiver process. The State’s current energy policy calls for replacing 20 percent of petroleum-based fuel with renewable fuels, including ethanol, by 2020. Increasing the blend of ethanol in gasoline will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create green-collar jobs. Growth Energy, an industry coalition of which Genencor is a member, filed the Green Jobs Waiver with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lift the arbitrary cap on the use of homegrown, low-carbon ethanol.
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OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Air

TXI to keep Midlothian wet cement kilns closed. – Terry Wallace, The Associated Press, July 8, 2010
Texas Industries announced Tuesday that it will close all four of its wet-process cement kilns in Midlothian permanently, handing a victory to grass-roots opponents who had waged a lengthy fight over downwind pollution from the plants. The TXI plant in Midlothian, 25 miles southwest of Dallas, is part of the nation’s greatest concentration of cement plants. The Dallas-based construction materials company said in a statement that, henceforth, it would rely on the plant’s dry-process kiln that the citizen activists agree burns cleaner and uses more up-to-date technology.
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Water

Carbon emissions threaten fish.Science Alert, July 6, 2010
Baby fish may become easy meat for predators as the world’s oceans become more acidic due to CO2 fallout from human activity, an international team of researchers has discovered. In a series of experiments reported in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), the team found that as carbon levels rise and ocean water acidifies, the behaviour of baby fish changes dramatically – in ways that decrease their chances of survival by 500 to 800 per cent.
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Ocean Acidification Gives Young Fish a Death Wish. – Brandon Keim, Wired Science, July 7, 2010
Changing ocean chemistry could turn some fish species into easy meals, with senses of smell so scrambled they’re actually attracted to their predators. Researchers discovered the potentially deadly problem through a series of experiments on common reef-dwelling fish that were raised in seawater with acidity levels resembling what’s expected by the century’s middle and end. “Instead of avoiding the odor of a predator, they’re attracted to it,” said biologist Douglas Chivers of the University of Saskatchewan. “When you take them into the wild, their behavior has changed. We ended up with huge mortality.” When carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, the concentration of hydrogen ions increases, making it more acidic. Global oceanic pH — the scale used to measure acids and bases — has changed by 0.1 in the last century. The number looks small, but in geological terms it’s a massive change, and Earth’s oceans are more acidic now than at any time in the last 650,000 years. Scientists say marine pH could change by another 0.3 by the year 2100.
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Methane Releases in Arctic Seas Could Wreak Devastation. – Sid Perkins, Science News, July 7, 2010
Massive releases of methane from arctic seafloors could create oxygen-poor dead zones, acidify the seas and disrupt ecosystems in broad parts of the northern oceans, new preliminary analyses suggest. Such a cascade of geochemical and ecological ills could result if global warming triggers a widespread release of methane from deep below the Arctic seas, scientists propose in the June 28 Geophysical Research Letters. Worldwide, particularly in deeply buried permafrost and in high-latitude ocean sediments where pressures are high and temperatures are below freezing, icy deposits called hydrates hold immense amounts of methane (SN: 6/25/05, p. 410). Studies indicate that seafloor sediments beneath the Kara, Barents and East Siberian seas in the Arctic Ocean, as well as the Sea of Okhotsk and the Barents Sea in the North Pacific, have large reservoirs of the planet-warming greenhouse gas, says study coauthor Scott M. Elliott, a marine biogeochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
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Climate Change

Attorney General Cuccinelli Under Investigation for Climate Probe—By Greenpeace. – Elizabeth McGowan, SolveClimate, July 6, 2010
As a scientist, Michael Mann has peered into his share of microscopes, but he never expected to have his life’s work magnified under one. While delving into math and physics as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley in the late 1980s and then geology and geophysics as a doctoral student at Yale University in the 1990s, he could hardly imagine the firestorm his “hockey stick” diagram would ignite among those who doubt that the burning fossil fuels are significantly altering the Earth’s climate.
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Soybean Yields to Drop on Climate, Ozone, U.S. Researcher Says. – Rudy Ruitenberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 8, 2010
Climate change and pollution may cut yields for soybeans and other crops by 2050 unless plants are adapted, the University of Illinois said, citing research. Tests showed crops grown in open fields benefitted less than expected from higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air, the university said in a report published yesterday. The yield increase was only half of that assumed by the United Nations’ climate-change panel to predict world food supply in 2050, according to the report. The world must grow 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed a rising population, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says. One assumed positive aspect to climate change has been that higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will stimulate photosynthesis and boost yields, the researchers said.
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Other

Oregon scientists make sticky tape from vegetable oil. – Elizabeth Weise, USA Today, July 8, 2010
A professor of wood science and engineering in Oregon State University who won the 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the Environmental Protection Agency has now come up with a vegetable-based, pressure-sensitive glue that is environmentally benign, cheap and doesn’t require petrochemicals. The new adhesive is made from vegetable oils instead of the acrylate-based polymers usually used in the $26 billion global pressure-sensitive tape market. The Oregon scientists, led by wood chemist Kaichang Li, were trying to make a glue to use in wood-based composite products. They wanted one that was at room temperature but would melt if heated.
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Posted in CERCLA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Climate Change, Congress, Environmental Protection Agency, NEPA, RCRA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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