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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: FERC Fight, Ecotality Suit, Post Holdings

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to consider the nominations of Ronald Binz for commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Elizabeth Robinson for under-secretary of energy, and Michael Connor for deputy secretary of interior. Binz’s nomination looks contentious due to opposition from the coal industry, the New York Times reports.

Chevron will spend about 300 million reais (about $130 million) under an agreement with Brazilian prosecutors that could help to end $17.5 billion worth of civil lawsuits related to a 3,600-barrel 2011 oil spill. The deal calls for 95 million reais for environmental and social projects.

Investors in Ecotality have filed a lawsuit, and a lawfirm is investigating potential claims on behalf of buyers of Ecotality’s securities, based on possible violations of federal securities laws between April and August 2013. The claims include allegations that Ecotality failed to meet loan obligations for the US Department of Energy’s EV Project, and did not meet a commitment to deliver new Minit Chargers, AutoBlogGreen reports.

A white paper by attorneys general from 17 states, and one senior environmental regulator, expresses concern about whether the EPA will stay within the limits of its authority under the Clean Air Act while developing regulations for existing coal-fired power plants. They argue that the EPA’s authority is limited to developing a procedure for states to establish their own emissions standards. The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on energy and power, Ed Whitfield (R-KY), published the paper.

A federal judge on Friday ordered a stop to shipments of oil field equipment through a national forest in north-central Idaho, pending a review by the US Forest Service, the New York Times reported. Equipment maker Resources Conservation Company International, an affiliate of General Electric, said the equipment could save billions of gallons of water a year, and that delays could cost millions of dollars. The Nez Perce tribe and environmental group Idaho Rivers United brought the case, arguing that the Forest Service had failed to enforce its own regulations to protect the forest and river corridor.

Cereal producer Post Holdings and its former parent Ralcorp Holdings will pay $635,000 for violations of the federal Clean Air Act, including failing to install required controls for volatile organic compounds at Post’s cereal production facility in Modesto, Calif., the EPA said. The penalty is in addition to about $1.4 million the company spent on emissions-reduction equipment in 2012.

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