Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Mandatory CSR, Oil Spill Fines, Flood Report
India is mandating that companies with an annual turnover of INR 10 billion ($164 million) or more, or a net worth of INR 5 billion and more, or a net profit of INR 0.05 billion or more during any financial year, set aside two percent of their net profits for socially beneficial activities in the country, under the CSR Rules, which come into effect April 1, Rahul Rishi, Ankita Srivastava and Milind Antani of Nishith Desai Associates write for Lexology. The law applies to foreign companies doing business in India. Companies choose their social cause from a list of specified activities, according to Ramesh K. Vaidyanathan and Pooja Thacker at Advaya Legal Mumbai, writing for Business Today.
Leaders have proposed an October deadline for agreeing on the EU’s 2030 climate and energy goals, Reuters reports.
The Interior Department is delaying a rule that would raise oil spill fines for offshore facilities, after the Independent Petroleum Association of America and National Ocean Industries Association requested an extension of the comment period, the Hill reports.
Projects that store carbon in grazing land soil will be eligible for funding from Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The initial methodology is expected to be ready in mid-2014, environment minister Greg Hunt said.
A report by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission recommends that the industry move operations as far from waterways as possible, and better flood-proof wells and tanks, the Denver Post reported. The “lessons learned” report addresses the September floods that, at their peak, forced the closure of 2,658 wells, broke pipes and swept away tanks. The commission will take up the report at its April meeting.
The EPA ordered the US Army to address 15 million pounds of abandoned explosives and propellant stored on the grounds of Camp Minden in Minden, La. A private company under contract with the army had been using the site to improperly store unused explosives and propellant, the EPA said. It ordered the army to submit a disposal plan, including safety measures for disposal workers and the surrounding community.
Myanmar will ban the export of raw timber logs from April 1. The country’s forest cover shrank by almost a fifth from 1990 to 2010, Reuters reports.
All Chinese companies emitting more than 13,000 metric tons of CO2e in 2010 will be required to report their greenhouse gas emissions, under regulations expected to kick in next year, Reuters says. The reporting rule is designed to set the stage for a nationwide carbon market.
Chinese environmental authorities have approved in principle a plan to tackle soil pollution, by prioritizing certain pollution sources and creating a process to clean damage soil. About 8 million acres of Chinese farmland – about the size of Belgium – is too polluted for crops, Reuters reports.
The Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin are helping consumers pay for pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars from Chinese makers, including Warren Buffett-backed BYD, SAIC Motor Corp and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Co (JAC Motors). The government has a target of half a million new energy vehicles by 2015 and 5 million by 2020.
Today at 4pm PST, the California Air Resources Board will post the formal 15-day “Notice of Public Availability of Modified Text and Availability of Additional Documents and Information” including 15-day changes to the proposed amendments to the California Cap On Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Market-Based Compliance Mechanisms (Regulation). This formal 15-day package is the version that will be considered for adoption at the April board hearing. A public comment period runs until April 5.
The California Air Resources Board has posted the 2012 Annual Crude Average carbon intensity calculation for public comment.
California’s Water Resources Control Board will ease some protection for fish in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, citing recent rains. The shift is expected to make more water available for farming, Reuters reported.
EPA is making available an electronic reporting option for those who file substantial risk notifications and voluntary “For Your Information” submissions with EPA pursuant to section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act. These submissions may now be filed using EPA’s electronic document submission system, the Central Data Exchange. Use of this electronic reporting option will streamline and reduce the administrative costs and burden of submitting paper-based notifications, the EPA says.
The DOE Building Technologies Office announced that its Peer Review will now be ending on April 24. A programmatic peer review meeting, April 22-24 in Arlington, Va., will be open to the public. At the event, independent experts will assess the contributions of each project’s progress toward BTO’s mission and goals. These assessments will be used to enhance the management of existing efforts, gauge the effectiveness of projects, and design future programs, the DOE says. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to promote collaborations and partnerships.
Five companies in New England that store or use extremely hazardous chemicals will pay penalties ranging from $5,600 to over $85,000 for violating the Clean Air Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and/or the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the EPA announced. Under settlements with the agency, the companies are also taking action to reduce the likelihood of chemical accidents. The companies are Metal Finishing Technologies, JCI Jones Chemicals, Holland Company, PCA Systems and Northeastern Shaped Wire.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved further revisions to the definition of the bulk electric system, to provide greater clarity, consistency and improved reliability by focusing on core facilities that are necessary for operating the interconnected transmission network. FERC approved a proposal by the North American Electric Reliability Corp to refine exclusions for radial facilities and local networks, and it clarified that all forms of generation, including variable generation resources, are included in the bulk electric system.
FERC initiated further steps to improve the coordination and scheduling of natural gas pipeline capacity with electricity markets, in light of increased reliance on natural gas by electric generators. The Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to gather public comments on its proposals to revise the natural gas operating day and scheduling practices used by interstate pipelines to schedule natural gas transportation service. The proposed revisions include starting the natural gas operating day earlier, moving the Timely Nomination Cycle later, and increasing the number of intra-day nomination opportunities to help shippers adjust their scheduling to reflect changes in demand.
FERC issued a 10-year pilot license to Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County for the proposed 600 kW Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project to be located in Puget Sound, Wash. The experimental project is designed to determine whether commercial tidal power development in the sound is commercially viable. The action authorizes Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County to study, monitor, and evaluate the environmental, economic, and cultural effects of hydrokinetic energy.
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