Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Soot Ruling, Chemical Hearing, Quake Stops Fracking
The US Court of Appeals in Washington ruled in favor of the EPA yesterday, finding that the agency didn’t violate rule-making procedures when it set standards for particulate matter emissions from new steam-generating power plants. The state of Texas and power company body the Utilities Air Regulatory Group had challenged the regulations. Court decisions on standards for mercury and other pollutants are still pending, Bloomberg Business Week reports.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ordered work stopped an seven oil and gas wells in Poland Township, including one undergoing fracking, after earthquakes of magnitude 2.6 and 3.0. The department said it acted “out of an abundance of caution” to halt operation by Hilcorp Energy, and it was too early to tell if drilling had caused the earthquakes.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on environment and the economy is holding a hearing today on the Chemicals in Commerce Act. Scheduled witnesses include Carolyn Duran, director of chemical risk and compliance, global sourcing and procurement for Intel; Connie DeFord, director of product sustainability and compliance for Dow Chemical; Jennifer Thomas, director of federal government affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; Beth Bosley, on behalf of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates; Roger Harris, on behalf of the National Chemical Distributors Association; and Barry Cik on behalf of Companies for Safer Chemicals.
The California Air Resources Board has fined 12 shipping companies a combined $476,750 USD for failure to switch from diesel “bunker” fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur marine distillate fuel upon entering Regulated California Waters, as required by state law. The companies are Univan Maritime (Hong Kong), Firon Shipping, W. Bockstiegel GmbH & Co. Reederei KG (Germany), MK Shipmanagement Co. (Japan), Cosco Maritime (UK), Triton Schiffahrts GmbH, Dumun Marine S.A. (Panama), Peter Doehle Schiffahrts (Germany), Byzantine Maritime Corporation (Greece), Crowley Technical Management (USA), BigLift Shipping (Netherlands), and YA-SA Tanker and Transportation (Turkey).
Asia-Pacific nations are failing to stop the loss of natural forests and grasslands, with 2 million hectares (20,000 square km) rendered useless each year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Reuters reports. The losses worsen environmental problems like climate change and desertification while robbing people of their livelihoods, the organization said.
All the nuclear regulatory bodies in the 16 selected countries in a Government Accountability Office review have taken steps to strengthen nuclear safety in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Japan in particular has fundamentally restructured its nuclear regulatory framework, and 3 other countries—China, Sweden, and Vietnam—are providing additional resources to their nuclear regulatory bodies. However, the US does not have a specific timetable for ensuring that its systems can operate in emergency conditions such as the loss of off-site power, the GAO said.
The former owner of the Double V Dairy, near Rock Valley, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $75,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. The dairy discharged manure into Rogg Creek and its tributaries from 2010 to 2013, the EPA said.
The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board has recommended “full disclosure of all known constituents” in fluids used for hydraulic fracturing, in a draft report released March 6. The SEAB said the industry’s FracFocus website is a good example of public disclosure.
Shell is working with state and federal agencies on cleanup after an oil pipeline in southeast Texas leaked about 364 barrels of oil yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The EPA is extending the public comment period to April 16 for its proposal to issue a Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments permit to Clean Harbors of Braintree, Mass. The permit includes organic air emission requirements related to hazardous waste. The agency will also hold a public hearing on the draft permit on April 16 in Braintree.
The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has issued a request for information on High Impact Commercial Building Technology Deployment, an effort by the BOE Building Technologies Office to develop a pipeline of cost-effective, energy saving, and underutilized commercial building technologies. The RFI seeks information regarding the development and maintenance of new and existing tools, specifications, case studies and other resources actively deployed by the Commercial Buildings Integration program. The closing date is May 30.
The EPA has issued a final rule establishing tolerances for residues of the pesticide fenamidone in or on ginseng, some beans and some onions. The regulation also removes several individual tolerances that are superseded by inclusion in crop subgroup tolerances.
EPA Region 1 is publishing a direct final rule to delete the O’Connor Superfund Site in Augusta, Maine, from the National Priorities List. The EPA has determined that all appropriate response actions under CERCLA, other than operation, maintenance, and five-year reviews, have been completed. However, this deletion does not preclude future actions under Superfund.
The EPA has issued a document to explain its reasons for its January 28 rejection of a petition received under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The petition, from the National Center for Healthy Housing, the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades, the Lead and Environmental Hazards Association, and the National Association of Lead and Healthy Homes Grantees, requested the EPA to promulgate a rule under TSCA section 8(d) requiring property managers, building owners, and contractors disturbing lead-based paint in public and commercial buildings to submit certain records related to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s construction standard for lead. The EPA said the petitioners did not establish the necessity of initiating such a reporting rule, and said a rule under TSCA 8(d) is not an efficient way to get the information described.
The EPA issued a notice outlining its broadly applicable decisions, made on 2013, on alternative test methods in support of New Source Performance Standards, the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants , and the Consolidated Federal Air Rule under the Clean Air Act.
The EPA has issued a correction to notices from August 21 and October 30. It clarifies that the registrant of the pesticide product Paraquat Dichloride Technical (EPA Reg. No. 083558-00005) did not request voluntary cancellation. The new document removes the EPA’s cancellation order for the product.
The EPA is finalizing disapproval of revisions to the portion of the Nevada State Implementation Plan related to Clark County, of which Las Vegas is the county seat. The agency says it identified deficiencies with provisions related to equipment startup, shutdown and malfunction events.
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