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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: DOE Computer Standards, BP Spill Estimates

The Department of Energy announced in the Federal Register that it plans to order new efficiency standards for all computers and servers in the US. The DOE said it “tentatively” ruled that title III, part A of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) covers both consumers and servers. The DOE proposal is open for public comment until August 12, and it is likely to proceed with new rules after that, the Hill says.

The US government’s attempts to put a price on damage from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico failed to account fully for environmental and economic losses, a National Research Council report commissioned by Congress found. The report’s authors said they thought their findings could influence settlements between BP, the federal government and five states, the Guardian reports. The researchers also called for sweeping changes in how such losses are counted in the future.

The government of Heshan in China’s Guangdong province dropped plans for a $6 billion uranium processing plant after more than 1,000 people protested last week, Bloomberg reports. Local authorities in China have cancelled several other industrial plant projects this year due to environmental and safety-related protests.

China has raised its 2015 target for installed solar capacity from 21 to 35 GW, and said capacity would grow by about 10 GW a year between now and then. The country had 7 GW installed in 2012.

French president Francois Hollande said yesterday that he would not permit any exploration for shale gas as long as he heads the country. His comments follow an announcement by France’s top court, the Constitutional Council, that it will examine a challenge to the nation’s hydraulic fracturing ban.

Italy’s agriculture, health and environment ministries have declared a ban on the cultivation of Monsanto’s MON810 maize, a type of genetically modified corn. The crop is one of two genetically modified organisms allowed in Europe and is the only one grown commercially, Reuters reports. 

The EU plans to investigate Germany’s renewable energy laws for a possible breach of competition rules, Der Spiegel reported, according to Reuters. The German magazine expects the European Commission to open proceedings on Wednesday.

Nature’s Best of Inwood, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $19,669 civil penalty to resolve violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The EPA alleges that the company sold or distributed 18 different unregistered pesticide products, including plant regulators, insecticides, and fungicides, and also that it produced pesticides in a facility not registered with the agency as a pesticide-producing establishment from 2010 to 2012.

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