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Policy & Enforcement: Ecuador Opens Park to Drilling, New Small Hydro Laws, ExxonMobil Leaked Pipe

Ecuador approved Yasuni national park oil drilling in Amazon rainforest after a conservation plan that attempted to raise funds from the international community failed to raise enough funding to keep out oil developers. President Rafael Correa signed an executive decree for the liquidation of the Yasuni-ITT trust fund. The fund had a $3.6 billion campaign goal, but received only $13 million in deposits, The Guardian said.

President Obama signed into law two bills aimed at supporting small US hydropower projects. The bills, HR 267, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, and HR 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, are expected to help develop some of the estimated 60,000 megawatts of untapped US. hydropower capacity, the National Hydropower Association said.

ExxonMobil Pipeline will consider retiring the 65-year-old pipe that leaked oil into a Mayflower, Ark., neighborhood, but a final decision could take more than one year. The line carries heavy Canadian crude from Illinois to the Texas Gulf Coast. A seam ripped in late March, spilling 210,000 gallons in Mayflower and threatening nearby Lake Conway, the Associated Press said.

Early leaked access to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) September 2013 report indicated that scientists are increasingly certain human activity is causing global warming, but they cannot predict future impact in specific regions. The report is the main guide for states weighing shifts to renewable energy from fossil fuels, for coastal regions considering sea defenses or crop breeders developing heat-resistant strains, Reuters reports.

A study for the Defense Department says that commercial US nuclear reactors are still vulnerable to terrorist threats. According to the report the combined public and private security at the power plants “is inadequate to defend against a maximum, credible, non-state adversary,” Bloomberg said.

Governments at all levels in Canada need to play a lead role in managing environmental risks in the food sector to ensure the environmental sustainability of the food system, but the overall environmental impact of Canada’s food system needs closer scrutiny. Recommended measures include laws and regulations, technical assistance and cost-sharing programs, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior and Chippewa Indians have been issued a compliance plan to correct Clean Water Act violations at the wastewater treatment facilities located on the Tribe’s northern Wisconsin reservation. The Bad River Band must upgrade plant operations to correct the violations by January 2014. Violations include failure to comply with permit effluent limits for phosphorus, E. coli, total suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand, the EPA said.

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