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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: E15 Registrations, EPA Delays, BPA in Packaging

The EPA approved the first applications for registration of E15, a 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline blend, opening the route to the fuel’s use in model year 2001 and newer gasoline-fueled cars and light trucks. Before it can be sold, manufactures must take steps to ensure that gasoline distributors implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements, the EPA said. Twenty companies, including Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill, have been cleared to produce the new ethanol grade, Reuters said.

The EPA will delay for two more weeks its New Source Performance Standards for the oil and natural gas industry, to review the rules against potential legal challenges, Bloomberg BNA said. The American Petroleum Institute has said that the rules could hinder hydraulic fracturing because not enough emission-cutting equipment would be available, Fuel Fix reports.

The EPA has also pushed till its projected release of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Tier 3 light-duty vehicle emission and fuel standards, from the previously expected release date in March. The Tier 3 standards are expected to be harmonized with the California LEV III standards, Green Car Congress said.

The FDA has rejected a petition to ban bisphenol-A (BPA) from all food and drink packaging, including plastic bottles and canned food, saying studies on animals cannot be applied to humans. The agency had a court order to respond to a lawsuit by March; however, federal scientists continue to study the issue, writes Manufacturing.net.

Coltec Industries and National Steel and Shipbuilding Company have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $280,000 and spend $500,000 on an NOx emissions reduction project to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and EPA’s marine diesel engine air rules. It is the first enforcement action under the new ship engine rules, the EPA said.

The EPA dropped allegations that Range Resources polluted drinking water in Parker County, Texas while drilling for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing. The suit would have made Range fix wells that the EPA claimed were polluting water, Reuters said.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved a license for construction and conditional operation of two new reactors at Scana Corp.’s Virgil C. Summer nuclear power plant in Fairfield County, S.C. As a condition of the license, the commission says the operator must develop strategies to deal with a loss of power at the plant, The Hill said.

The Maryland House of Delegates has passed the Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2012, which incentivizes the construction of offshore wind turbines 10 miles or more off the coast of Ocean City, Md. The bill now moves to the state’s Senate Finance Committee for a vote, North American Windpower said.

The EPA has awarded a total of $441,860 in grants to fund pollution prevention projects by the hospitality and retail industries in New Jersey and New York. Funding went towards helping New Jersey’s hotel industry and supermarkets, and assisting New York City restaurants with strategies to reduce the use of toxic materials, save energy, and protect human health, the EPA said.

The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) relaunched a 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) competition for one or more power plants to develop viable capture and store carbon (CCS) technology. The selected project or projects could sign contracts with the government by the end of 2012 or in early 2013, Reuters said.

The Indian government said eight industry sectors, including iron and steel, cement, fertilizers, aluminum, textiles and thermal power stations, will face fines of Rs 10,000 ($195) per ton of oil-equivalent that exceeds 2015 emission targets. Those companies that surpass targets will be issued a carbon certificate for each extra ton saved, the Hindustan Times said.

Scientists, EU officials and NGOs are calling for more review of carbon accounting rules for EU biomass emissions. The groups say that without more consideration of the biomass source, carbon capture and land use, substituting fossil fuels with biomass may result in increased emissions. Biomass energy is supposed to contribute half of the EU’s target for 20 percent of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, The Guardian reports.

Japan’s trade minister said that the decision to restart two nuclear reactors needs more time. The No.3 and No.4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power’s Ohi nuclear plant in western Japan are the first to have passed the government’s computer-simulated stress tests, Reuters said.

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