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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Biofuels, Herbicide Ruling, MA Energy Bill

Six biofuel trade associations filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of Appeals to intervene in support of the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) 2012 final rule, which is under challenge by the American Petroleum Institute. The groups say their members already have made investments in equipment, research and development in order to supply the necessary quantities of renewable fuel, Ethanol Producer said.

The EPA ruled that herbicide 2,4-D will remain on the market, denying a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council that sought to revoke the chemical’s approval. The EPA found that the group did not adequately show that 2,4-D would be harmful under the conditions in which it is used, and the evidence was contradicted by other studies, the New York Times said.

The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill to reduce electricity prices  and open the market to more competition. Actions covered by the bill include an end to the current long-term contract program under the Green Communities Act, and clarification of current law regarding solar and wind property tax classifications, North American Windpower said.

The Interior Department and U.S. Coast Guard designated their areas of collaboration in offshore oil spill preparation and response. The “memorandum of agreement” covers inspections, training, response to accidents and other areas that showed the need for better federal and industry accident preparation in the 2010 Gulf spill crisis, The Hill said.

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) has made a request that companies and individuals impacted by the deepwater drilling moratorium that followed the 2010 Gulf spill be included in claims for compensation. The congressman wrote a letter to the plaintiffs’ lawyers asking for coverage of claims based on those losses, The Hill said.

Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states as part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Durham School Services also will pay a $90,000 penalty and complete environmental projects valued at $348,000, the EPA said.

Dubai cement factories face permanent closure if they fail to meet the new green measures aimed at reducing dust controls, announced by the Ministry of Environment and Water. Factories first face a temporary three-month closure, but if problems identified in the first warning are not corrected within 90 days, the ministry could withdraw factories’ licenses and shut them down for good, Gulf News said.

The EIA is proposing changes to two electric power survey forms, and would like comments by May 14 on the proposed changes. The changes would cut requirements for plants with capacity less than 200 MW to report fuel cost, quality, and receipts, and drop data from blast furnace gas, kerosene, and jet fuel from the survey, the EIA said.

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