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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: 4-Degree Warning, Honeywell $78m Cleanup, Gas Spike

The World Bank’s new report “Turn Down the Heat” warns of catastrophic consequences if average world temperatures rise more than 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. The study said the 4 degree increase would likely trigger widespread crop failures and malnutrition and dislocate large numbers of people from coastal areas. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim acknowledged that a 2-degree goal is unlikely to be met with an increase of 3 or 3.5 degrees Celsius now considered probable, the Washington Post said.

The Department of Justice and the EPA have reached an agreement with Honeywell International and 23 other parties in the cleanup of the Quanta Resources Superfund site in Edgewater, N.J. The consent decree requires Honeywell  to carry out the cleanup work under EPA supervision, which is expected to take two to three years and cost $78 million. The other parties that have agreed to the consent decree include: BASF, Consolidated Rail Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp; Ford Motor Company; General Dynamics Land Systems, Hess, Miller Brewing Co., and Northrop Grumman Systems, the DOJ said.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) will ask the Department of Justice to probe this year’s West Coast gas price spikes. Cantwell referred to a report from McCullough Research saying the October price spike added up to a 66-cent-per-gallon windfall profit for oil companies — or about $25 million a day. Cantwell said the difference between what drivers actually paid and what they should have paid exceeded $1 billion, The Hill said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a settlement between its Office of Enforcement and Gila River Power for Gila River’s manipulation of power markets in California between July 2009 and October 2010. The settlement agreement marks the first time that a market participant has admitted to a violation of FERC’s anti-manipulation rule in an energy trading case. It calls for Gila River to pay a fine of $2.5 million and disgorge unjust profits of $911,553 plus interest, the FERC said.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has begun an investigation into the explosion and fire on a Gulf of Mexico oil production platform that killed one worker last Friday. The US Chemical Safety Board is also looking into the accident. Platform owner Black Elk Energy continued to search for a second missing worker after the US Coast Guard stopped its search. The company said there was no visible oil sheen near the site, The Hill reports.

The EPA has reached a $2 million settlement with 290 small parties for the Casmalia Resources Superfund Site – a former hazardous waste disposal facility that accepted approximately 5.6 billion pounds of waste from nearly 10,000 generators between 1973 and 1989. The settlement requires the parties to pay their share of the estimated $284 million total cost of cleaning up the site and resolves their liability for 23 million pounds of waste they collectively sent to CRSS, the EPA said.

German environment minister Peter Altmaier gave his support to a European Commission proposal to withdraw 900 million emission permits from the EU carbon market in an effort to prevent its collapse. The permits would be auctioned from 2013-2015, the first three years of the next phase of the EU ETS. The commission said market operators need a decision on the proposal by the end of the year, Reuters reported.

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