Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Chemical Storage Overhaul, Rail Safety, Hydropower
The Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group is considering a major overhaul of handling and storage for volatile substances, The Hill says. The group’s latest report asks for comment on an array of options, including mandatory safeguards and a third-party audit system. President Obama formed the working group in response to the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last April.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) called for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to hold a hearing on freight rail safety, especially DOT-111 tank cars, in response to last week’s BNSF oil train derailment and fire in North Dakota, The Hill reports. The train was using DOT-111 cars.
China has set targets for provinces to reduce air pollution by 5 to 25 percent. Beijing will have to cut PM 2.5 by 25 percent a year, and Shanghai will have to enact cuts of 20 percent. China regularly issues directives to try to tackle air pollution in major cities, but local enforcement has been patchy, Reuters reported.
The USDA has proposed removing restrictions on the use of corn and soybean genetically modified to resist the common herbicide 2,4-D, the AP reports.
The House plans today to discuss a Clean Air Act amendment that would remove the requirement for automakers to include the vehicle’s emissions standards on dealer certifications, The Hill reports.
The House Rules Committee will meet today to craft a rule on Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) bill that would reduce EPA oversight of hazardous substances, The Hill reports.
The EPA’s Science Advisory Board is planning this year to review how the agency could use modeling to assess its regulations’ economic impacts, InsideEPA reports (in an article excerpted by the US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works). Republicans say the EPA’s current models fail to address employment impacts.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is soliciting pilot projects to test a two-year licensing process for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects. The projects must cause little to no change to existing surface and groundwater flows and uses. Applicants must file their requests between February 5 and May 5.
Savoia, BMX Imports, BMX Trading, and their owner, Terry Zimmer, must pay a $120,000 civil penalty to settle Clean Air Act violations stemming from the alleged illegal import of over 24,167 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles without proper documentation, the EPA and Department of Justice said. The Dallas-based companies must also either stop importing vehicles or follow a comprehensive compliance plan.
The Cos-Mar Company of Carville, La., operated by Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA, will pay an $84,050 civil penalty over unnamed violations of the Clean Air Act occurring between 2009 and 2011, the EPA announced. The company has agreed to correct violations by developing a flare monitoring plan, repairing flaring devices, implementing a leak detection and repair program, and ensuring that adequate monitoring and recordkeeping protocols are in place.
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