Policy & Enforcement Briefing: GHG Reporting, Russian Pipeline, Chemical List
The EPA is proposing revisions and confidentiality determinations for the petroleum and natural gas systems source category and the general provisions of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. In particular, the EPA is proposing to revise or clarify certain definitions, calculation methods and data reporting requirements, and correct certain technical and editorial errors. Comments are due by April 24.
At least 28 Democratic senators from the Senate Climate Action Task Force, including majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), plan to participate in an all-night session tonight to draw attention to the scientific consensus on climate change. Senators will post updates using the hashtag #Up4Climate. No Republicans have agreed to speak – and on Friday, minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) emphasized his doubts about climate change, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer, “For everybody who thinks it’s warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t.”
In light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the European Commission will suspend political negotiations over a proposed Russian pipeline that would bypass Ukraine to transport natural gas to southeastern Europe. Talks will continue at a technical level, the AP reported.
The EPA plans to revise its work plan chemical list in the next few months, using results from the 2012 chemical data reporting period, Chemical Watch reports. “We only want to keep chemicals on the work plan if they are still in commerce,” Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, director of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, said.
The EPA is finalizing changes to the effluent limitations guidelines and standards for the Construction and Development point source category. EPA is promulgating these changes pursuant to a settlement agreement to resolve litigation. This final rule withdraws the numeric discharge standards, which are currently stayed, and changes several of the non-numeric provisions of the existing rule.
Out of 74 Chinese cities monitored for pollution last year, 71 failed to meet state standards, environmental protection vice-minister Wu Xiaoqing said. And on Sunday, Zhang Dejiang of the Politburo Standing Committee released a report that could pave the way for unlimited penalties for polluters, Reuters reported. But the report did not give specific details about how the government would improve enforcement.
Costa Rican opposition group PAC, expected to win presidential elections next month, will postpone the country’s deadline for carbon neutrality from 2021 to 2025. Costa Rica’s plans to become the first carbon-neutral nation, announced in 2009, drew praise from environmental groups and multi-lateral organizations, Reuters reports.
Canada’s National Energy Board has given Enbridge permission to reverse the flow of its Line 9, moving crude oil from western Canada and the Bakken shale to refineries in Quebec and Ontario, Oil and Gas Journal reports.
The federal Council on Environmental Quality and the California governor’s Office of Planning and Research have jointly issued a new handbook, NEPA and CEQA: Integrating Federal and State Environmental Reviews. The handbook provides advice to federal and California agencies, applicants, project sponsors, and consultants on how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act environmental review processes.
United Park City Mines has entered into an agreement with multiple federal and state agencies, including the EPA, Bureau of Land Management and US Fish and Wildlife Service, to assess, clean up, and restore more than 2,700 acres that are contaminated with historic mining waste within the Richardson Flat Superfund site near Park City, Utah. Various parties’ mining operations produced substantial quantities of ore and mine waste that contributed to surface water, groundwater and soil contamination, the EPA said. Contaminants of concern include lead, arsenic, zinc, and cadmium.
The California Air Resources Board has published proposed amendments to its Truck and Bus regulation, to be discussed at an April meeting. Proposals include a longer phase-in period for diesel particulate matter requirements for trucks that operate exclusively in certain rural areas with cleaner air; a compliance route for owners currently unable to qualify for a loan to finance required upgrades; and adjusted schedules for low-use vehicles and certain work trucks.
Malteurop North America will pay a civil penalty of $525,000 for discharges from a malting plant that the EPA alleges caused high levels of hydrogen sulfide to form in the sewer system of Great Falls, Mont., and will reimburse the city $21,396. Meanwhile the city will pay a civil penalty of $120,000 and complete a supplemental project valued at $125,000 to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff during precipitation events.
Utility Services will buy 18 Mississippi wastewater treatment facilities and wastewater collection and transmission systems from Total Environmental Solutions, Inc. and assume TESI’s responsibilities to perform injunctive relief at an estimated cost of $1.075 million, under a proposed settlement reached with the EPA, Department of Justice and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. TESI must pay a civil penalty of $225,000. The case involved effluent violations and unauthorized overflows of untreated raw sewage, the EPA says.
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