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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Exxon and CBS Superfund, Chinese Solar War, Occidental Cleanup

Exxon Mobil, Vertellus Specialties, and CBS have agreed to pay about $29.8 million to clean up Big John’s Salvage-Hoult Road Superfund Site in Fairmont, Marion County, W. Va. The companies will perform cleanup work estimated to cost $17.8 million. as well as reimburse the EPA and the state of West Virginia $11 million for past cleanup costs at the site, the EPA said.

The EPA filed a court brief explaining its decision to deny an API petition that would have exempted refiners from part of the RFS biofuel blending mandate. The agency said that it had reasonably considered production capacity likely to be developed throughout the year, while API would have EPA rely solely on proven past cellulosic biofuel production, The Hill reports.

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers is another fuel industry group speaking out against the court decision upholding the EPA policy to sell E15. The group’s president Charles Drevna said he is aiming to protect consumers by keeping a more corrosive blend of gasoline off the market. The court decision lets drivers fill cars made in the model year 2001 or later with E15 fuel, but Drevna thinks labeling for E15 at the pump will not be enough to prevent misfueling, The Hill said.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said that six clean energy projects in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington state have received subsidies that violate World Trade Organization rules, the Wall Street Journal reported. China called on the US to ax such subsidies, in the latest round of a trade war between the nations.

China’s solar panel manufacturers face increasing trade and financial problems of “decreasing margins, decreasing exports, lack of capital, protectionism and an external environment that continues to deteriorate,” an industry official said. The US has imposed preliminary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese solar panels, and European solar manufacturers have asked the EU to impose anti-dumping tariffs, too, the New York Times reports.

The California State Lands Commission voted to allow a $64 million seismic study that will map seismic fault lines off California’s central coast near a nuclear power plant. The commission put in place some restrictions aiming to protect marine life from the sound of the sonar. The study will help PG&E and its regulators gauge earthquakes risks near the 2,160 MW Diablo Canyon power plant in San Luis Obispo County, and ensure that the facility is capable of withstanding an earthquake along one or more of four nearby fault lines, Reuters said.

Occidental Chemical Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, has agreed to continue to remediate contamination at its 300-acre facility near Delaware City, Del. The settlement with the EPA calls for the company to implement the agency’s $18 million final cleanup plan. The facility operated as a chlor-alkali plant from 1964 through 2007, the agency said.

The EPA and DOJ have reached a settlement with two subsidiaries of Sinclair Oil Corporation – Sinclair Casper Refining Co. and Sinclair Wyoming Refining Co. – to resolve alleged violations of air pollution limits at refineries in Casper and Sinclair, Wyo. The companies will pay penalties of $3.8 million and spend about $10.5 million on additional pollution controls, the EPA said.

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