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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Hyundai Suit, Shell CCS, BP Penalties, Light Bulbs

Hyundai faces a class-action lawsuit from Consumer Watchdog in California, which seeks damages for owners of 2011 and 2012 Elantra models. The suit is related to Hyundai’s alleged use of gas mileage numbers in advertising without government-mandated disclosures, which the auto maker denies, writes AutoblogGreen.

Royal Dutch Shell’s Canadian carbon-capture and storage project has been approved in Alberta, if the company can agree to 23 conditions – mostly related to data collection, analysis and reporting – outlined by Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board. Shell’s Quest project, which could capture one million tons of carbon dioxide a year, would be the first of its kind for the oil sands near Edmonton, Alberta, Reuters said.

The European Commission put forward proposals to implement new CO2 emissions reduction targets from new cars and light commercial vehicles by 2020. The proposals will cut average emissions from new cars to 95 grams of CO2 per km (g CO2/km) in 2020 from 135.7g in 2011 and a mandatory target of 130g in 2015. Emissions from vans will be reduced to 147g CO2/km in 2020 from 181.4g in 2010 and a mandatory target of 175g in 2017, the EC said.

The House of Representatives has passed the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, which directs the FERC to study the feasibility of a streamlined two-year permitting process for small hydropower and conduit projects. The bill, which moves on to the Senate, intends to help the development of hydropower at existing manmade structures, such as canals, writes Tacoma’s News Tribune.

The House approved a bill that would give federal agencies 30 months to make decisions related to mining permits, and limit the time that groups may challenge the permits in courts, to 60 days after a permit is issued. The bill also proposes that the mining projects should not be subject to National Environmental Policy Act standards, if existing agency guidelines or state guidelines account for environmental protections, The Hill said.

OSHA and BP Products North America have resolved 409 of the 439 citations issued by the agency in 2009 for willful violations of OSHA’s process safety management standard at BP’s refinery in Texas City, Texas. Under the agreement, BP will pay $13,027,000 in penalties. After a deadly explosion in 2005, the parties entered into an agreement that required BP to identify and correct deficiencies. The agreement resolves all but 30 violations that mounted during OSHA’s follow-up investigations, the agency said.

A Texas District Court judge has ruled that the atmosphere and air must be protected for public use, as water is protected, a ruling that could help arguments for climate change lawsuits designed to force emissions reductions in a number of states. The Texas lawsuit, argued by the Texas Environmental Law Center, is part of a multistate campaign from nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, the Washington Post said.

A DOE efficiency rule that effectively rules out the sale of T12 fluorescents takes effect Saturday. The rule, found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 10, Part 430, doesn’t explicitly ban T12-size fluorescents, but no commercially available T12 lamps meet the efficacy required. More on the phase-out can be found in EL Insights, issue 34.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced $18 million in grants for businesses and entities to replace older medium-duty or heavy-duty gasoline or diesel vehicles with natural gas vehicles or repower the vehicles with natural gas engines. The grants reimburse between 60 percent and 90 percent of the incremental cost of the natural gas vehicles and engines, for projects that result in at least a 25 percent reduction of emissions of NOx, Green Car Congress said.

Officials from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas testified before the state Senate Committee on Business and Commerce saying there should be enough power generation to meet summer demand, but reserve margins will shrink in the next few years, leaving questions about power supply at peak times after 2014. The committee also heard testimony as to whether ERCOT’s procedures give an advantage to certain types of power generation, such as wind power or solar plants, Fuel Fix reports.

The European Commission said during talks with the International Civil Aviation Organization that the EU remains committed to a global plan to manage carbon emissions from airlines, which could supersede its ETS requirement. The EU would stop including all aircraft in its ETS either in the event of an ICAO alternative, or if other nations agreed on a global scheme to curb emissions from the sector. An ICAO meeting last month identified three market-based options to cut emissions, Reuters said.

Consolidated Tire Recyclers Inc., operators of a tribal-owned tire recycling plant located on Cabazon Band of Mission Indians’ land, have not yet complied with an EPA order from May 2011, the agency said. The company failed to properly move about 160,000 tires stored along the site’s perimeter fences and buildings, or to demonstrate that the facility’s fire prevention system could handle all of the tires stored there, The Desert Sun writes.

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