Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Social Cost of Carbon, GHG Reporting, ‘Wasteful’ Pesticide Regs
The White House has issued updated values for the social cost of carbon, reflecting “minor technical corrections,” The Hill reports. The changes lower the central estimated value of the SCC in 2015 to $37 per metric ton of CO2, from the $38 estimate released in May. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs also plans to open the SCC up to public comment, OIRA administrator Howard Shelanski said in a blog post. Republicans have charged that the process of setting the SCC lacked transparency, and several industry groups have started lobbying on the issue.
Washington state’s Ballot Initiative 522, which would require labeling for foods containing genetically modified organisms, appears headed for defeat. With slightly under a million votes counted, about 54.8 percent opposed the measure. But the state is still counting mail-in ballots, Politico reports.
Canadian interim commissioner of the environment and sustainable development Neil Maxwell said the country’s government has not met key commitments and obligations to protect wildlife and natural spaces, and suggested Canada’s poor environmental reputation could hurt companies trying to export oil and gas. The report could play into the debate over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would would carry crude oil from Alberta to the US Gulf Coast, Reuters said.
The EPA is extending the public comment deadline for its proposed rule, “Revisions to Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements, and Proposed Confidentiality Determinations under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program,” from November 12 to November 26. Comments on the rule, published on September 11 and identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0929, can be posted to www.regulations.gov.
California remains on track to meet its goal of cutting emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, according to a report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. But the state will fail to meet a further goal of cutting GHGs to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, without massive policy changes or the introduction of new technology, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Having three agencies conduct separate analyses of pesticides’ effect on endangered species is redundant and wastes money, potentially costing the US government up to $474 million over the next decade, according to a report commissioned by pesticide trade group CropLife America, reported by The Hill. President and chief executive Jay Vroom said the current system provides no additional benefits for wildlife, farmers or taxpayers.
BASF has launched a legal challenge with the General Court of the European Union against the European Commission’s July ban of the company’s insecticide fipronil. The firm says the EU did not take scientific studies sufficiently into account.
Sixteen companies, including Arkema, Bayer Crop Science, DuPont, FMC, Honeywell, Shell, Syngenta and Union Carbide, have agreed to develop a detailed design plan for the Superfund cleanup of contaminated soil and waste at the Central Chemical Site on Mitchell Avenue in Hagerstown, Md., a process estimated to take about two years at an estimated cost of $250,000.
The EPA is removing the Hyde Park Landfill site in Niagara Falls, N.Y., from the Superfund National Priorities List of hazardous waste sites. Ground water and sediment in Bloody Run Creek and Niagara Gorge Face were contaminated with volatile organic compounds, and the site has been on the Superfund list since 1983, but the EPA concluded that the work to reduce contamination in ground water and creek sediment has eliminated the threat to public health and the environment.
Newfield Production Company has agreed to pay $600,000 for failing to demonstrate financial responsibility associated with the safe operation of 442 injection wells in the Monument Butte Well Field in Duchesne County, Utah on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, the EPA said. The agency said the omissions violated the Safe Drinking Water Act.
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