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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: E15 and Supreme Court, Pump Standards, BP Settlement

The American Petroleum Institute may take its case against E15 high-ethanol fuel blend to the US Supreme Court. API would need to file a petition for a rehearing on whether E15 damages cars by mid-April. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the EPA’s decision to allow E15 fuel into the marketplace, The Hill said.

The API- and automaker-funded Coordinating Research Council has found that E15 gasoline would damage millions of post-2001 model year vehicles and result in fuel system failures. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said the study must be examined by the EPA.

Scotland announced ambitious plans to cut emissions from the power sector, aiming to reduce emissions from electricity output to 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kWh by 2030. Power producers in the country generated about 347 grams of CO2 per kWh hour in 2010. Scotland’s plan follows a decision by the UK government to withhold a decarbonization goal from energy legislation until 2016, writes the Sydney Morning Herald.

Judge Sarah S. Vance of Federal District Court in New Orleans has accepted BP’s $4 billion criminal settlement for the Gulf of Mexico spill. The company would have faced a trial and possibly tougher penalties if the plea agreement were rejected. The two top BP officers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, were charged with manslaughter in connection with each of the 11 men who died, and David Rainey, a former vice president, was charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements for understating the rate at which oil was spilling from the well. The civil penalties for pollution are still unsettled with the Justice Department, the New York Times said.

The Brazilian government has announced plans to survey the Amazon rainforest. The Forestry Ministry said the census would take four years to complete, and would provide detailed data on tree species, soils and biodiversity in the world’s largest rainforest. The last exhaustive survey was carried out more than 30 years ago, the BBC reports.

The Department of Energy has issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice of a public meeting for commercial and industrial pumps standards, on February 20. DOE has also released the framework document concerning energy conservation standards for commercial and industrial pumps. All notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents associated with this rulemaking are part of Docket No. EERE-2011-BT-STD-0031, the department said.

EPA Region 10 announced nearly 40 enforcement actions in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington from the last quarter of 2012, with assessments of more than $630,000 in penalties against the violators. Businesses involved include Healy Golden Valley Electric and Alaska Industrial Development, fined $115,000 for violating air permitting requirements at the Healy power plant in Alaska; Seattle General Biodiesel in Washington, with a $62,985 penalty for violations related to hazardous chemical emergency planning rules, and Olympic Fruit Co. in Washington, fined $33,964 10 for violating risk management program rules, the agency said.

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