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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Chevron in Supreme Court, Calif. Gas Prices, Australia Solar Farm

Chevron Corp lost a Supreme Court bid to block the $18.2 billion judgment against it in Ecuador over alleged pollution in the Amazon jungle from 1964 to 1992. Chevron had appealed a lower court ruling, which had thrown out an injunction blocking enforcement of the Ecuadorean judgment. The Supreme Court did not give any explanation for its decision in the decades-old case, Reuters said.

House Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) requested that the Federal Trade Commission find out if market manipulation is behind the spike in California gasoline prices. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also called for an FTC investigation Sunday, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) separately urged the multi-agency Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group, which is led by the Justice Department, to investigate, The Hill said.

The 10 MW Greenough River Solar project in Western Australia, the country’s first utility-scale solar farm, has opened. The project comes online as the nation’s renewable energy targets – 20 percent of electricity from renewables by 2020 – are undergoing a routine review by Australia’s Climate Change Authority, and some utilities and energy companies are campaigning to cut back the mandatory targets, The Guardian said.

The Department of the Interior said it has reached a goal set by the Obama administration to approve 10 GW of renewable energy development on public lands. The announcement came along with the approval of the 3,000 MW Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project on public lands in Wyoming. Most of these renewable projects are expected to come online in 2013, KCET.com reports.

The Interior has also approved construction of the transmission line for First Solar’s 139 MW Campo Verde Solar energy project, which will cross public lands southwest of El Centro in Southern California. The project is expected to support more than 250 construction and operation jobs. At full capacity, the Campo Verde facility will produce enough electricity to power 41,700 homes, the department said.

The EPA has finalized its third and final phase of the plan to clean up contaminated ground water at the Scientific Chemical Processing Superfund site in Carlstadt, New Jersey. The cleanup plan calls for substances designed to break down the contaminants to be injected into the deeper ground water in affected areas on and off the site. The Scientific Chemical Processing site was listed in 1983, the agency said.

The EPA has completed construction activities for the cleanup of the North Penn 2 Superfund Site in Montgomery County, Pa. The soil, sediment and groundwater at the site were contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and with metals including arsenic, cadmium and chromium. In 1989, the EPA added the 87-acre North Penn 2 site to the federal Superfund list, and the former owner of the property, Ametek, removed nearly 1,200 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment under EPA oversight, the agency said.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint claiming that Murray Energy Corp., a pro-GOP coal company, illegally forced employees to contribute to Republican candidates. The CREW group says that the company CEO coerced employees to give to the company’s PAC by threatening reprisals, including job loss, if they did not contribute. Separately, the Ohio Democratic Party asked the Justice Department to conduct a criminal probe of regarding financial contributions from employees, The Hill said.

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