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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Shell-BASF Compensation Fund, Navy Biofuel, Enbridge Fined

Local subsidiaries of Shell and BASF in Brazil have been ordered to pay $382 million into a compensation fund that would cover costs for about 1,000 workers who allege they were contaminated and sickened at an agricultural chemical plant. BASF acquired the chemical plant, originally owned by Shell, through a corporate takeover of American Cyanamid in 2000, and is appealing the ruling. Shell SA said it would abide by the decision pending the outcome of the workers’ class-action lawsuit, the Associated Press said.

The DOE, USDA and US Navy have announced $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels. The Energy Department said is also looking to fund a total of $32 million in new investments for earlier stage research that will lead to technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has called for a federal investigation into Cape Wind, 165,000-acre offshore wind farm planned for Nantucket Sound. The project is under scrutiny after the public release of FAA emails, which critics say demonstrate political pressure to approve the project. The White House has rejected the call for an investigation, The Hill said.

The Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a $3.7 million civil penalty against Enbridge, in the agency’s largest fine ever. The penalty is related to multiple violations at the company’s Line 6B near Marshall, Michigan. The 30-inch pipeline that spilled more than 20,000 barrels of heavy crude in the Kalamazoo River, Reuters said.

Activists have sued the Army Corps of Engineers, army secretary John McHugh and attorney general Eric Holder to block construction of $35 million cruise ship terminal near Charleston, South Carolina’s historic district. The environmental and preservation groups say that the project threatens the economic value of properties on the National Register of Historic Places, and that the overhaul of a cargo warehouse was improperly categorized as “maintenance” to circumvent public scrutiny, Reuters said.

The Government Accountability Office said that research on the environmental impact of chemical dispersants used on oil spills is lacking, and has called for more studies on the effectiveness of chemical dispersants use in the Arctic and underwater. Dispersants have been used about 11 times to combat spills in US waters, Fuel Fix reports.

Brazil’s Amazon REDD project has issued its first 100,000 Verified Carbon Standard credits, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preventing deforestation in a vulnerable section of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, PointCarbon said. The backers of the CIKEL Brazilian Amazon REDD APD Project, which was validated by the VCS and the Rainforest Alliance, said it expects to receive carbon credits over the next ten years based upon a projected reduction of 9.4 million tons of CO2 emissions.

The UK Environment Agency has levied £99,000 ($154,000) in penalties on four companies that failed to submit corporate emissions data required by the Carbon Reduction Commitment’s July 29, 2011, deadline. International utility Saur was fined £41,000; engineering company BI Group was fined £10,000, engineering and manufacturing group Tomkins Ltd was fined £10,000, and diversified products manufacturer Henkel was fined £38,000, Business Green said.

The White House praised the EU’s embargo on Iranian crude oil imports and other sanctions on Iran’s oil industry. The embargo stems from concerns over whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, The Hill said.

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