Policy & Enforcement Briefing: FERC Fight, Ecotality Suit, Post Holdings
The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to consider the nominations of Ronald Binz for commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Elizabeth Robinson for under-secretary of energy, and Michael Connor for deputy secretary of interior. Binz’s nomination looks contentious due to opposition from the coal industry, the New York Times reports.
Chevron will spend about 300 million reais (about $130 million) under an agreement with Brazilian prosecutors that could help to end $17.5 billion worth of civil lawsuits related to a 3,600-barrel 2011 oil spill. The deal calls for 95 million reais for environmental and social projects.
Investors in Ecotality have filed a lawsuit, and a lawfirm is investigating potential claims on behalf of buyers of Ecotality’s securities, based on possible violations of federal securities laws between April and August 2013. The claims include allegations that Ecotality failed to meet loan obligations for the US Department of Energy’s EV Project, and did not meet a commitment to deliver new Minit Chargers, AutoBlogGreen reports.
A white paper by attorneys general from 17 states, and one senior environmental regulator, expresses concern about whether the EPA will stay within the limits of its authority under the Clean Air Act while developing regulations for existing coal-fired power plants. They argue that the EPA’s authority is limited to developing a procedure for states to establish their own emissions standards. The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on energy and power, Ed Whitfield (R-KY), published the paper.
A federal judge on Friday ordered a stop to shipments of oil field equipment through a national forest in north-central Idaho, pending a review by the US Forest Service, the New York Times reported. Equipment maker Resources Conservation Company International, an affiliate of General Electric, said the equipment could save billions of gallons of water a year, and that delays could cost millions of dollars. The Nez Perce tribe and environmental group Idaho Rivers United brought the case, arguing that the Forest Service had failed to enforce its own regulations to protect the forest and river corridor.
Cereal producer Post Holdings and its former parent Ralcorp Holdings will pay $635,000 for violations of the federal Clean Air Act, including failing to install required controls for volatile organic compounds at Post’s cereal production facility in Modesto, Calif., the EPA said. The penalty is in addition to about $1.4 million the company spent on emissions-reduction equipment in 2012.
Brazil will likely back off of its plans to build four new nuclear plants by 2030, and replace some of that capacity with wind power, according to the chief of its energy planning agency. The changes are due to safety concerns following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.
Scotland gave consent for work to begin on an 86 MW tidal array, the largest in Europe. MeyGen Limited, a joint venture between Morgan Stanley, International Power and Atlantis Resources Corporation, will begin the project in Pentland Firth with a 9 MW pilot, Reuters reported.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposes revising its generic determination on the environmental impacts of the continued storage of spent nuclear fuel beyond a reactor’s licensed life for operation and prior to ultimate disposal. The NRC says it is feasible to have a mined geologic repository within 60 years following the licensed life for operation of a reactor.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the Treasury Department has released only 3 percent of emails, requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), related to a possible carbon tax. The White House says Obama has no intention of proposing a carbon tax.
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