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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: DuPont Order, E-Waste Ban Expanded, Fracking Report Issued

The Energy Department’s natural gas advisory subcommittee has released its report on hydrofracking, saying that the industry might win public trust by overhauling water management, updating rules that protect water sources, releasing more information on the impacts of the process, and measuring methane from shale gas operations before and during drilling, Reuters said.

On Wednesday U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said that the U.S. can move to dismiss a New York lawsuit seeking stronger regulation of fracking, Fuel Fix reports.

Illinois governor Pat Quinn has signed a bill strengthening the state´s Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act, Waste & Recycling News reports. Effective immediately, the state’s landfill ban on electronics now includes keyboards, portable music devices, scanners and video game consoles. It requires manufacturers, by 2012, to recycle 40 percent of the products they sold in 2010. The fine for violations also increases from $1,000 to $7,000, and manufacturers are now required to inform the public about proper disposal methods.

The EPA on Thursday ordered DuPont to stop selling, using, or distributing Imprelis, a weed control chemical that has reportedly harmed a large number of trees, including Norway spruce and white pine. The agency has been investigating whether the problems were caused by product misuse, inadequate warnings or other reasons.

The European Union has launched a legal challenge against Canada at the World Trade Organization, protesting against an Ontario program that guarantees above-market prices for renewable energy generated using domestic products. The EU says the program is illegal under global trade rules. This action follows a recent, similar action by Japan, Reuters reports.

In Japan, the ruling Democratic Party yesterday reached an agreement with the main opposition parties on a bill to promote renewable energy, Reuters said. Prime Minister Naoto Kan had earlier said that he would step down once his conditions on this bill were met.

Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) sent a letter to President Obama, urging his administration to issue a smog rule consistent with the levels recommended by the EPA’s science advisers, as soon as possible, the Hill said.

The EPA fined the Texas Petroleum Company of Houston, Texas, $163,487 for failing to prepare and implement Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plans. The agency said it found plans lacking at company facilities in several Louisiana parishes.

The Burlington Free Press reported that Entergy Corp. will not be allowed to cancel its $40 million company guarantee toward decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The company made the request because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had extended the plant’s operating license for 20 years, but the company currently is in litigation with the state of Vermont.

As a result of the fire that shut down Valero’s Memphis, Tenn., refinery, the EPA has temporarily waived certain federal clean gasoline requirements for parts of the state, the EPA said. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam requested the waiver, and the agency determined that the supply circumstances could result in a shortage of gasoline, so it will allow the sale of 9.0 psi conventional gasoline in part of Shelby County for 20 days.

The Bureau of Land Management has dismissed a challenge to the agency’s plans for about 500 coalbed methane wells to be drilled in the Powder River Basin in northeast Wyoming, the New York Times reports.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (pdf) proposed a $3,500 fine for GeoConcepts, an Ashburn, Va., engineering firm, for temporarily losing a portable nuclear gauge last year at Fort Meade Army Base in Maryland.

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