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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Shell LNG Exports, Democratic Governors, EPA Settlement

Royal Dutch Shell’s US president Marvin Odum said that he expects the federal government to approve expanded exports of natural gas using a phased-in approach, with some export permits approved in the near future. The Energy Department is reviewing 15 applications to export more than 21 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day to nations that don’t have free-trade agreements with the US, The Hill said.

The new chairman of the Democratic Governors Association – second-term Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin – said the group will focus heavily on climate change during his tenure. Shumlin said that a package of “liberal values,” including focuses on marriage equality and climate change that won in elections in November, are key to securing the governors’ mansions, The Hill said.

Rep.-elect Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), who will replace Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), said he would support climate change legislation as well as advocate for the Everglades and other environmental issues. West conceded to Murphy on Nov. 20 following a challenge of election results after a close race, The Hill said.

Chinese state-run oil company China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) has received Canadian government approval for the $15 billion takeover of domestic energy company Nexen. Cnooc said it would keep Nexen management and establish Calgary, Alberta, as its headquarters for North and Central America. The government also approved a $5 billion acquisition of Progress Energy Resources of Canada by Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned oil and gas company, the New York Times said.

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency said that nuclear plants along the eastern coast of Japan near the region hit by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake appear to be operating normally, and no emergency measures have been put into place so far. The IAEA said it had been in contact with Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority to collect information about the status of nuclear power plants that could be affected, the UN News Center said.

The EPA has reached a settlement with two companies for reimbursement of EPA’s past costs for the remediation of contamination at the Whitman Cistern Site, located in Whitman, Mass. The settlement requires Brown Shoe Co. and Brown Group Retail to pay $450,000. Between Dec. 2005 and June 2006, the agency said it removed about 2,800 tons of contaminated soils, demolished and removed three cisterns, and removed about 10,000 gallons of contaminated sludge contained within the cisterns.

The EPA and the New York City Department of Sanitation are collecting and properly disposing of potentially hazardous common household products from flood-damaged homes and residences in New York City. Beginning today and continuing through Dec. 21, residents of the five boroughs may bring household products, including solvents, paints, cleaners, oil, propane tanks, batteries, petroleum products, weed and bug killers, car batteries, bleach and ammonia to a set drop-off location, the agency said.

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