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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Oil Company Wastewater, GE at the White House

The EPA will allow oil companies to continue dumping polluted wastewater on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation. NPR reports that there had been controversy within the agency over the practice, but while the EPA has proposed adding some restrictions, it will still allow companies to release the water on the reservation. A public comment period on proposed permits for several oil fields closes today.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection announced yesterday that it will no longer unconditionally exempt operators of unconventional gas wells from seeking air quality plan approval for well sites. But the DEP says it may grant these operators permitting exemptions, if the companies implement controls more stringent than those required by federal rules.

The Department of Energy has approved a third natural gas export project, proposed by Lake Charles Exports LLC, a venture between the UK’s BG Group and Texas-based Energy Transfer Equity. The companies plan to ship up to two billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from Lake Charles, La., the Wall Street Journal reports.

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that BP must pay the $130 million third-quarter operating budget for an administrator distributing payments to people who say they were hurt by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The oil company had said the amount was excessive, Reuters reports.

The Keystone XL pipeline will not have a greenhouse gas impact because Canadian oil sands will be tapped whether or not the pipeline gets built, according to a report by consultants IHS CERA. The consulting group reached a similar conclusion to that of the State Department, which is reviewing the pipeline, the Hill reports.

General Electric officials met in late July with Howard Shelanski, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget, to discuss the EPA’s proposed emissions rules for new power plants, the Hill reports. GE makes gas turbines, and is warning of “potential unintended consequences of overly stringent gas standards.”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has placed Georgia on probation for deficiencies in its Agreement State program, which gives the state authority to license and regulate certain nuclear materials users. It is the first time the NRC has taken such action. In an October 2012 review, the NRC observed that Georgia staff members had “a basic misunderstanding of several important safety and security requirements.”

Maralex Disposal will pay an $89,900 penalty after it was found liable for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act at its commercial brine disposal injection well in La Plata County, Colorado, on the Southern Ute Reservation. An administrative judge upheld the EPA’s finding that Maralex violated Underground Injection Control permit requirements.

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