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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Pa. Drinking Water, German Shipper Banned, Chinese Solar

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported incomplete drinking-water test results that omitted data on some toxic metals, because the department’s oil and gas division had not requested all the results. The report is part of a lawsuit claiming that fracking and storage of wastewater have contaminated drinking water and sickened seven plaintiffs, the New York Times said.

German cargo shipper Nimmrich & Prahm Bereederung and Nimmrich & Prahm Reederei, the operator and owner of the Susan K, pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and concealing the practice of dumping oily bilge water at sea. The shipper will pay a $1.2 million penalty and is barred from US ports for five years for oil-dumping violations off the Alaska coast, Reuters said.

China will launch anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into imported European Union solar-grade polysilicon. The move comes in response to the EU’s consideration of duties targeting Chinese solar producers. China’s Commerce Ministry said it would merge the EU investigations into ongoing probes of US and South Korean-made solar products, Reuters reports.

Soy farmers in Bolivia are urging President Evo Morales to reconsider a ban on genetically modified seeds included in environmental regulations known as the Mother Earth law. The growers say the GM ban could lead to higher food prices, and hurt crop export levels, Reuters said.

Germany’s Angela Merkel held talks with governors of Germany’s 16 states on developing a nationwide strategy for renewable energy. Currently each state works on its own plan for the expansion of renewable resources in its territory, and at the federal level, there is no single leader overseeing the goal to increase renewable energy usage to at least 35 percent by 2020, the New York Times said.

The EPA in coordination with the Department of Energy has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive federal clean diesel fuel requirements in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in and around New York City. The waiver allows for the use of home heating oil in highway vehicles, nonroad vehicles, and nonroad equipment designated by the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York for emergency response to Hurricane Sandy, the agency said.

The Energy Department has established a team that is helping state and local officials identify gas stations that are in need of emergency generators to restore power or are running short on fuel supplies. This new effort includes a toll-free hotline (1-866-402-3775) that gas station owners and managers along the East Coast can call if they need assistance, the DOE said.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has asked Exelon Generation to address concerns with Dresden Nuclear Station’s response plan for external flooding events. The two-unit plant is located in Morris, Ill. NRC inspectors identified multiple areas of concern related to the largest conceivable flood levels, during inspections conducted in response to the Fukushima accident, the NRC said.

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