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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EPA Water Plans, Cemex $1m Fine, States Sue BP

The EPA on Friday proposed several options to reduce the amounts of mercury, arsenic, lead and selenium that power plants release into waterways via coal ash, air pollution control waste and other waste. The proposed rules would update standards in place since 1982 and would be phased in between 2017 and 2022. The agency is under a consent decree to take final action by May 22, 2014. The rules would impact coal-fired plants the most, as these facilities are the biggest source of the pollutants, Bloomberg reported. But the EPA says it expects fewer than half of coal-fired plants to incur costs under any of its proposed options, because many already have the necessary technology and procedures in place.

Florida and Mississippi have sued BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, joining existing litigants Alabama and Louisiana, which are embroiled in litigation in New Orleans. Florida is also suing BP contractor Halliburton, the AP reported.

Cemex has agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty and install selective non-catalytic reduction controls on its Lyons, Colo., cement kiln, to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, including modifications that the EPA says significantly increased emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. The controls’ capital cost is about $600,000, and EPA expects the cost of injecting ammonia into the stack emissions stream, a necessary part of the pollution prevention process, to be about $1.5 million per year.

A dozen House Republicans are petitioning the Supreme Court to review a 2012 federal court ruling that upheld the EPA’s power to regulate carbon emissions, the Hill said. The petition by the conservative Southeastern Legal Foundation also won backing from FreedomWorks, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. They join an appeal by major industries. Meanwhile states have sued over the agency’s failure to regulate GHG emissions.

Norway‘s ruling Labour party voted to conduct a study into the potential impacts of oil and gas exploration around the Lofoten Islands, just north of the Arctic Circle. The area is home to one of the world’s richest cod stocks, Reuters reports. The party said it would take another vote, in 2015, before any drilling is allowed to begin.

The United Nations Forum on Forests has called on nations to take steps to address deforestation and forest degradation, as well as to improve data collection. At its tenth session the forum also agreed that multiple sources of public and private financing, at the national, regional and international levels, is needed to address the problem.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim co-chaired the first meeting of the Advisory Board of Sustainable Energy for All, a public-private partnership that aims to double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix, double improvement in energy efficiency by 2030, and provide universal access to modern energy. Chad Holliday from Bank of America is the executive committee chair.

South Africa’s largest steel maker, ArcelorMittal SA, has applied for a three-month waiver of emissions conditions on its Vanderbijlpark plant, Business Day reported. Water and environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa backed the appeal and called the suspension an “ideal” solution.


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