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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Cellulosic Biofuels, Ethanol Quota, Calif. Water Pipelines, RGGI Targets

INEOS New Planet BioEnergy has become the first large-scale facility to receive EPA registrations for the production and sale of advanced cellulosic biofuels from non-food vegetative waste materials. The center is scheduled to begin production in the third quarter of 2012. At full production, it will produce eight million gallons of bioethanol anually, and 6 MW of renewable power, from local yard, vegetative and agricultural wastes, INEOS Bio said.

The EPA has proposed a Significant New Use Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act to require that companies report, 90 days in advance, all new uses of long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic chemicals as part of carpets or to treat carpets, including the import of carpet containing LCPFACs. The proposed rule adds seven perfluoroalkyl sulfonate (PFAS) chemicals to the existing rule, and amends the language to include “processing” in the definition of significant new use for PFAS chemicals.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has advocated for an immediate but temporary suspension of the US ethanol production quota. The move would to ease anticipated competition between biofuel producers and food and feed markets for the distressed US corn crop, the organization said. An official petition for a waiver must come from a fuel blender or a state governor according to the RFS legislation, and the EPA has not at this time received such a request, Reuters reports.

More than 300 businesses, environmentalists and community groups in 10 Northeast states signed a letter urging governors to adopt tougher targets for power plant GHG emissions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The coalition wants fossil-fuel power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020 – up from the current requirement of 10 percent by 2020, Inside Climate News said.

The California plan for 35-mile tunnels that would move water from the Sacramento River could reduce the amount of fresh water in the river delta and damage fish and farmland due to the higher concentrations of salt water, opponents of the project say. The $14 billion pipeline project led by Gov. Jerry Brown aims to secure a water supply for large farms and densely populated regions in central and southern California, and is expected to protect the river delta from damage caused by the existing pump system, the New York Times said.

The environmental agencies of the US and Mexico have signed the Border 2020 US-Mexico Environmental Program agreement, which aims to address high priority environmental and public health problems in the 2,000 mile border region. It extends the Border 2012 environmental plan. Border 2020 continues work to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship, the EPA said.

Carmeuse Lime will pay a $350,000 fine and spend $125,000 on lead abatement to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at its Chicago lime manufacturing facility. The consent decree requires Carmeuse to upgrade and replace equipment and to improve maintenance and housekeeping practices. With the changes Carmeuse will reduce the amount of dust particles released into the area, the EPA said.

Seattle-based Icicle Seafoods has resolved alleged violations of the Clean Air Act resulting from leaks of a ozone-depleting refrigerant R-22 aboard its seafood vessels and in processing facilities. The company has agreed to repair leaks in its vessels and facilities, make repairs at a lower leak rate and pay a $430,000 penalty, the EPA said.

The EPA has fined Cox Operating LLC of New Orleans $29,400 for alleged violations of federal Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure regulations at two of its oil production facilities in Louisiana. A January 2012 inspection at the facilities found numerous violations including failure to conduct adequate self-inspections, failure to provide adequate documentation of SPCC training and failure to provide adequate secondary containment and oil collection equipment, the agency said.

The EPA is soliciting comments on its proposed PCB permit for hazardous waste management facility US Ecology, located outside Beatty, Nevada. EPA’s proposed permit will allow US Ecology to continue commercial storage, treatment and disposal of PCB wastes. The company has disposed of PCBs at this location since 1978. The 45-day comment period ends September 24.

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