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Policy and Enforcement: EPA Revises Ford MPG, US Natural Gas Production, BP Wants to Block Civil Suit

The EPA is revising estimates for the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, with plans for updating its fuel economy labeling regulation. EPA tested the C-Max after receiving consumer complaints that the vehicle did not achieve the label values of 47 miles per gallon (mpg) for highway, city, and combined driving. The new fuel economy estimates for Ford 2013 C-Max are 43 mpg combined, 45 mpg city, and 40 mpg highway, the agency said.

Responsible development of natural gas is a major component of Obama administration efforts to combat global warming, according to EPA chief Gina McCarthy. The remarks are part of a campaign to promote increased US gas production which environmentalists fear will erase the climate benefits of natural gas due to methane releases, The Hill said.

BP has asked a federal judge to deny US investors the right to pursue a class action suit claiming the company lied about the size of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The investors, led by the New York and Ohio pension funds, sued BP and certain officers in 2010, alleging violations of US securities laws, Bloomberg said.

A federal appeals court in Vermont upheld a lower-court ruling against the state’s efforts to close its only nuclear power plant. State legislators passed laws in 2005, 2006 and 2008 making it harder for the Vermont Yankee plant to win permission to operate for another 20 years. Plant owner Entergy Corp. has argued that it is the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to extend the plant’s operating license, the Associated Press said.

The California Coastal Commission will investigate offshore fracking after revelations that the practice had quietly occurred off the coast since the late 1990s. A recent report documented at least a dozen instances of hydraulic fracturing in the Santa Barbara Channel, and federal regulators earlier this year approved a new project that has yet to begin, the Associated Press said.

Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson used her private email to conduct official business, including with a lobbyist, in a possible violation of federal record laws. The emails were part of the latest batch of documents released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The conservative nonprofit has been digging through Jackson’s correspondence for months after it discovered she used a secret EPA email address under the pseudonym “Richard Windsor,” the Washington Times said.

Abilene Products Co. has agreed to pay a $15,290 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its fertilizer facility in Abilene, Kan. The company will spend an additional $75,370 to complete a supplemental environmental project. The $90,660 total settlement stems from an inspection that revealed Abilene Products failed to develop and implement a Risk Management Program for its fertilizer facility that complied with the requirements of the chemical accident prevention regulations, the EPA said.

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