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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Shell Drilling, Bee Vote, Enbridge Cleanup, $2.5m Pharma Penalty

Shell must provide a detailed plan addressing safety and operational issues that thwarted its efforts to extract oil in the Arctic Ocean last year if it wants to resume drilling off the coast of Alaska, the Interior Department said. Shell has already announced that it will not return to the Arctic Ocean in 2013, in order to repair damaged equipment and review drilling and safety systems. The interior department said the company also must demonstrate to the government and an independent reviewer that it has the equipment, the management capacity and a plan for all contingencies before it can resume operations, the New York Times said.

European officials from all 27 EU member states plan to vote today on a proposal to sharply restrict the use of pesticides implicated in the decline of global bee populations. The vote follows a January report from the European Food Safety Authority recommending that none of the chemicals of a class known as neonicotinoids be used on crops that attract honeybees. The proposal needs the backing of a qualified majority of member states to become law, the New York Times said.

Enbridge must perform additional dredging in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River to clean up oil from the company’s July 2010 pipeline spill, the EPA said in an executive order. The order requires dredging in sections of the river above Ceresco Dam, upstream of Battle Creek, and in the Morrow Lake Delta, and also requires the company to maintain sediment traps throughout the river to capture oil outside the dredge areas. Enbridge has five days to respond, the agency said.

Teva Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay a $2.25 million civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the State of Missouri’s Air Conservation Law, Clean Water Law, and Hazardous Waste Management Law at the company’s facility in Mexico, Mo. In addition to the penalty, Teva will complete other actions at the facility valued at about $2.5 million, to control excess emissions from its wastewater treatment facility and excess discharges of pollutants into the City of Mexico’s wastewater treatment facility, the Justice Department, EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) criticized the EPA, saying the agency has been using secret data to justify its new regulations, with the new National Ambient Air Quality Standards as an example. The senator said that Gina McCarthy, who is President Obama’s nominee for EPA administrator, was responsible for the new regulations. Vitter said the regulations were the results of “a rushed process, reliance on secret data, and biased scientific review,” The Hill reports.

President Obama is urging Organizing for Action, the nonprofit advocacy group active during his election campaign, to give swing district politicians the political support needed to back aggressive action on climate change. His remarks were part of a broader appeal to OFA to support the major pillars of his agenda on gun control, immigration, fiscal policy and other topics, The Hill said.

GreenLaw has challenged the EPA regarding the clean air re-designation for Atlanta, which indicates that the air quality in Atlanta is clean compared to the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standard. The comments were filed on behalf of Mothers and Others for Clean Air and the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club. GreenLaw said it challenged the re-designation as faulty on the grounds that the agency did not rely on the most up-to-date data.

Bank of America has agreed to reimburse the EPA $80,398 for emergency response costs incurred at the Rehrig-United International Superfund Site in Chesterfield County, Va. Rehrig was a manufacturer of shopping carts and baskets, and Bank of America maintained control of the facility and its assets for more than a year after bankruptcy filing and a shutdown, the EPA said.

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