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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Raw Material Reporting, XL Go-Ahead, ConocoPhillips Sued

The EPA on Thursday said it would delay reporting rules that will require manufacturers and power plants to submit information on the raw materials they use that lead to greenhouse-gas emissions, Bloomberg reported. The rule was to take effect this year, but has been pushed back until March 31, 2013.

The U.S State Department will release its final environmental assessment of the massive Keystone XL pipeline, green-lighting the project as soon as Friday, The Washington Post reported. The department will affirm an earlier finding that the pipeline from Canada’s tar sands to Texas will have “limited adverse environmental impacts.” One more critical decision – whether the pipeline is in the “national interest” – must be made before a final permit can be issued.

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Thursday that assails the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to implement 20-year-old recommendations to improve management at the agency’s laboratories, The New York Times reported. The report calls EPA scientific research “”fragmented and largely uncoordinated.”

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey imposed a one-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing on Thursday, saying that the oil and gas production technology needs more study, Reuters reported. The governor vetoed a bill that would ban the practice.

After a rare East Coast earthquake knocked two reactors offline at the North Anna nuclear power plant in Mineral, Virginia, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will conduct a full inspection in the coming days before the 1,806-megawatt station is allowed to reopen, Reuters reported.

The EPA entered into two settlements, totaling more than $4 million, to improve drinking water at the San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site in Los Angeles, Calif., the agency announced Thursday. The first pact settles claims against Aerojet-General Corporation; the second reaches accord with Mammoet Western, Inc., Time Realty Investments and Tonks Properties.

Four Republican senators wrote to the inspector general of the NRC on Thursday, demanding an investigation of the agency’s chairman for allegedly withholding information from other members of the five-member commission and improperly exercising “emergency authority” in the wake of the radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

The EPA said on Thursday that it has reached a $1 million settlement with Chemical Waste Management for improper disposal of hazardous waste leachate at a landfill near Kettleman City, Calif. The settlement includes a $400,000 fine and $600,000 to be spent on compliance measures.

Entergy Corp, the nation’s second-largest nuclear operator, has agreed to improve safety and employee training programs at 11 nuclear power plants, the NRC said Thursday, according to Reuters. The NRC ordered a review after an employee at the company’s River Bend plant in Louisiana complained of retaliation for questioning part of the company’s quality control program.

The Texas Railroad Commission asked the state’s Attorney General on Thursday to “bring a prompt legal action” to delay the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, slated to take effect Jan 1., The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Luminant, a Dallas energy company, said the rule will force it mothball some lignite coal operations, and lose revenue.

China will sue ConocoPhillips, seeking compensation for the costs of two spills in June that dumped 3,200 barrels of oil into north China’s Bohai Bay (where the company operates several rigs – one pictured, above), according to The New York Times.

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