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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: BP State Claims, Sea Rise Risks, DOT Speeds up Reviews

Gulf Coast states and local governments have made a combined $34 billion in claims against BP for the 2010 Macondo oil spill. BP said that the methods used to calculate the claims are seriously flawed, and the claims overstated, and the company would litigate them, Reuters reports.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said the city will increase preparations for a rising sea, referencing the heavy flooding in New York City following Hurricane Sandy. Menino called on city agencies and owners of low-lying properties to assess what parts of city infrastructure would be most at risk from flooding in the event of a climate-change related rise, Reuters said.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced revisions to the environmental review process for all proposed transit projects seeking federal funds. The changes, the first in more than 25 years, are expected to expedite the review of critical transit projects. The changes will also allow for the expedited release of Hurricane Sandy emergency relief funds to damaged transit assets in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other states, the department said.

EU regulators gave approval for Britain’s £600 million ($944 million) of public support for the Green Deal energy efficiency scheme. Britain’s Green Deal permits loans to consumers and businesses to help them pay for efficiency measures such as loft insulation, modern boilers and draft-proofing, Reuters said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has released her energy and resource policy agenda. The blueprint is called “Energy 20/20,” and it includes plans to open more federal lands and waters to oil drilling, launch a new green-energy fund, and expedite LNG exports to US allies, The Hill said.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a full committee hearing, “Oversight Hearing on Implementation of Corps of Engineers Water Resources Policies,” on Thursday. Witnesses include Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and representatives from the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority, and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

The EPA has reached a settlement with Pacific Mills Acquisition to recover agency clean-up costs at the Bay State Plating and Polishing Superfund site in Lawrence, Mass. In the agreement, Pacific Mills will pay $300,000 of the costs, and the EPA will release a lien it holds on the property, the agency said.

Phillips 66 Company has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at its former refinery located in Trainer, Pa., the EPA said. The agency cited the company for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations involving hazardous waste stored at the facility, including oil refinery hydrocarbon waste, chromium waste, heavy metal waste from batteries, and mercury waste from fluorescent bulbs.

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