Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Diesel Grants, DOT Slams Oil Sector, Bombardier Fails to Report
Republicans and Democrats are criticizing EPA proposals to cut funding for programs that have strong bipartisan backing. The agency proposes to completely eliminate the $20 million Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grants, which help trucking companies with engine retrofits and replacements. And the EPA has proposed cutting state water quality revolving loan funds by 24.7 percent, to $1.8 billion, The Hill reports.
Bombardier said that it spilled 2,642 gallons of kerosene in February at its Mirabel plant outside of Montreal, but failed to immediately report the accident to government officials. The company says it will complete the clean-up and report in the next few weeks, and will review its internal practices to ensure that such an oversight does not happen again, Reuters said.
The Department of Transportation criticized the oil sector for an “ongoing lack of cooperation,” saying the industry has only provided a small portion of the data the agency needs to estimate the dangers of moving crude oil by rail, the New York Times reports. The American Petroleum Institute denied causing delays, with a spokesman saying, “We’d like to know what information they’re not getting so we can give it to them.”
Secretary of state John Kerry reiterated the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released today, that failure to act immediately on climate change will have catastrophic consequences, including increased risk of conflict, migration, hunger and floods. “Denial of the science is malpractice,” Kerry said, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Hilcorp is trying to employ an unused Pennsylvania law from 1961 to make four holdout landowners in New Bedford, Pa., accept oil and gas drilling under their land, the New York Times reports.
Hundreds of protesters in Maoming, in China’s Guangdong province, protested Sinopec Corp’s production of paraxylene. Social media site Weibo carried photos showing hundreds of demonstrators, with some lying bloodied in the streets, and an overturned car in flames. But Reuters said it could not independently verify the images, many of which were later removed by censors.
The Obama administration listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened, a move that may affect oil and gas drilling as well as wind farm development, Reuters reports. Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, praised the listing, but Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) said the listing was not needed.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) criticized the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to move towards a threatened species listing for the Alexander Archipelago wolf. The service will today publish a 90-day finding on a petition to list the wolf, meaning it has determined there is enough information to warrant a continued review, Murkowski said. She said this decision will restrict economic development in southeast Alaska.
The EPA and Coast Guard will begin removing millions of gallons of hazardous materials and toxic sludge from the former Samoa Pulp Mill site in Samoa, Calif. as part of a joint cleanup effort. From its investigation, EPA determined all storage tanks holding the hazardous waste were leaking or failing, and several of the tanks posed an immediate risk to human health and the environment due to potential runoff from the site to Humboldt Bay, which is only 800 feet from the site. Waste from the site will be trucked to a facility in Longview, Wash. for treatment and reuse. Following site cleanup, the Harbor District of Humboldt Bay plans to reuse the site for aquaculture purposes, including oyster and caviar farming.
The California Air Resources Board has created a Clean Vehicle Rebate Project waiting list, with up to a total of $5 million in funding, in response to what it says is record growth in demand for plug-in hybrids and zero-emission vehicles. CARB staff have also proposed an additional $25 million in funding for the waiting list. Since the program began in March 2010, CARB has issued about $100 million for more than 50,000 rebates.
The House will vote as early as tomorrow on the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, HR 2413, which would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to focus its work on storm predictions instead of climate change research, The Hill reports.
In a final environmental impact statement, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that the Sierrita Pipeline Project in Pima County, Ariz., would result in limited adverse environmental impacts. The proposed facilities include about 61 miles of new 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline, two meter stations, two pig launchers and two pig receivers, and six mainline valves.
The US Coast Guard will hold a public workshop in Washington, DC tomorrow on topics related to the development of the International Maritime Organization’s International Code for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-Flashpoint Fuels. Various safety topics will be discussed including design, equipment, operational and training requirements.
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