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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: MATS Technical Review, EU ETS, Chevron Spill

The EPA is reviewing technical information on pollution limits for new power plants under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, based on new information provided by industry stakeholders after the rule was finalized. The agency said that the review will provide more information to evaluate five planned facilities, in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Utah, that would be covered by the standards.

The Arctic Challenger, Shell’s oil spill containment system in Arctic waters, has obtained Coast Guard approval for weather standards. However, officials said that several important systems have to be installed before the vessel can be certified, and that the 38-year-old barge would not be ready for sea trials scheduled to begin today, the Los Angeles Times said.

The European Commission will announce plans this week to withhold carbon allowances to boost the oversupplied Emissions Trading Scheme. At a meeting on July 25, EU leaders will adopt a proposal clarifying an article of the ETS law on the timing of auctions of permits. Market insiders are eager to hear firm numbers on how many permits are expected to be withheld; however, this number is not expected to emerge Wednesday, Reuters said.

The International Emissions Trading Association has expressed concern about the EU’s migration of 30,000 emissions trading accounts from 30 national registries to a single platform. IETA said that the common emissions registry, which was developed to improve security, still has a number of risks, Reuters Point Carbon said.

Sir Richard Branson requested a meeting with President Obama and energy secretary Steven Chu, wanting to discuss the commercialization of integral fast reactors, designed to burn nuclear waste as fuel. So far there are no commercial examples of such reactors in operation. The White House declined the request, The Guardian said.

Brazilian oil regulators the ANP said that Chevron failed to interpret geological data appropriately, and was then two days late to detect a leak that ended up causing 3,700 barrels of oil to spill into the Atlantic Ocean last November. The ANP determined that the spill could have been avoided, and its assessment will be the basis of fines Brazil will levy against Chevron, Reuters said.

Canada’s energy industry must improve its environmental record in order for the country to fully realize the benefits of its oil and natural gas resources, Canada’s Energy Committee of the Senate found, according to Reuters.

The US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and its Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health will have a joint hearing Tuesday on “Oversight of EPA Authorities and Actions to Control Exposures to Toxic Chemicals.” The meeting will include representatives from the EPA, the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation and Great Lakes Solutions.

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