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Policy & Enforcement: Mexico Energy Proposal, BP Sues US, Oil Groups Seek Waiver from RFS

A sweeping reform package proposed by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto would partly reverse state-owned oil production. The plan would allow foreign private oil companies to partner with the national oil company in sharing profits from exploration, The New York Times said.

BP is suing the US government for barring the company from obtaining new federal contracts after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill. The suit, filed in US District Court in southern Texas, claims keeping the ban in place risks causing the company “irreparable harm.” The oil company claims the ban unfairly includes 21 of its subsidiaries that had nothing to do with the spill, Reuters said.

The American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers requested for a waiver from the requirements of the renewable fuel standard. The groups said that failing to adjust blending targets for corn-based ethanol refiners could result in “severe harm to the U.S. economy” resulting from higher gasoline prices, The Hill reports.

The high-speed rail project in California is no longer subject to environmental laws, the state attorney general’s office argued, because the federal Surface Transportation Board ruled that it has oversight of the project. The June STB decision, which was sought by opponents of the bullet train, pre-empts the authority of the California Environmental Quality Act, the state argued in the filing made on behalf of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the Contra Costa Times said.

Midway Importing, a distributor and marketer of Hispanic health and beauty care brands, has paid a penalty of $213,000 for violating consumer products regulations that protect air quality. The Houston, Texas-based company agreed to pay the fine after the Air Resources Board found that multiple hair gel products that were sold and/or supplied by Midway Importing exceeded state limits for volatile organic compounds, the California Air Resources Board said.

The James J. Welch & Co, based in Salem, Mass., faces a penalty of $28,125 for allegedly violating a requirement designed to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint during painting and other renovation activities. The alleged violations occurred during a renovation project at the former Frisbee School in Kittery, Maine, at which JJ Welch was the primary contractor. The Kittery site was, at the time of the renovation, a child-occupied facility subject to EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule, the EPA said.

The EPA has issued updates for the April 2012 oil and natural gas standards for storage tanks. The new requirement cover tanks that emit six or more tons of VOC annually, saying they must reduce emissions 95 percent between April 2014 to 2015, and control removal on tanks that demonstrate emitting less than four tons of VOC annually, the agency said.

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