Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EPA Compliance Results, Coal Ash, Microgird Research
The EPA released its annual enforcement and compliance results demonstrating a focus on violations that have the most impact on public health. Highlights for fiscal year 2013 include $4.5 billion in combined fines, restitution and court-ordered environmental projects, more than $1.1 billion in civil penalties.
North Carolina’s environmental agency says it was wrong to declare the arsenic levels in the Dan River safe for people after a massive coal ash spill, according to Aljazeera America. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Sunday a water sample taken two days after the spill was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact.
The Energy Department announced up to $7 million to advance the design of microgrid technologies that will help communities become more adaptive and prepared for power outages caused by severe weather and other events.
The Obama administration is moving forward with tougher energy efficiency standards that would cost manufacturers more than $70 million, but save consumers billions of dollars in energy bills. The Energy Department said the new requirements for metal halide lamp fixtures and external power supplies will cut energy waste, save families money on their utility bills and reduce pollution, The Hill reports.
EPA is proposing significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for three chemical substances which were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). The notice in the Federal Register pertains to aromatic amino ether (P90-1840)Alkenyl ether of alkanetriol polymer (93-458) and certain chemical substances (91-1299/95-1667 91-1298 91-1297).
Former New York City Major Michael Bloomberg says closing coal-fired power plants would make the biggest dent in reducing carbon emissions across the country. Bloomberg, now a United Nations envoy, made the comments in an interview with NPR, according to The Hill.
On Tuesday the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing, “Department of Energy Oversight: Status of Clean Coal Programs.” The hearing will examine the status of clean coal programs, with a focus on the research, development, demonstrations, and timeframes to support the advancement of carbon capture and sequestration technologies.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission invoked its emergency authority under the Interstate Commerce Act to help alleviate a shortage of propane supplies to consumers in the Midwest and Northeast. The Commission’s order directs Enterprise TE Products Pipeline Company, LLC to temporarily provide priority treatment to propane shipments from Mont Belvieu, Texas, to the Midwest and Northeast regions suffering from severe cold weather.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Joint Petition of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Texas Reliability Entity, Inc. of a proposed regional Reliability Standard BAL-001-TRE-01—Primary Frequency Response in the ERCOT region.
A team of scientists has launched a study of seismic activity in North Texas to determine if fracking may be the cause of a series of earthquakes that have rattled two towns in the region since November, Reuters reports. The seismic activity in Azle and Reno, northwest of Fort Worth, has national implications, with opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, saying what is happening in the towns points to the dangers of the energy source extraction method.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is proposing a $3,500 civil penalty for Pennsylvania-based Valley Quarries, Inc. over violations involving inadequate control and security of a portable nuclear gauge. The gauge went temporarily missing in West Virginia last May.
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