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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Sherwin-Williams, Duke Energy, Beijing Pollution

Sherwin-Williams has agreed to pay $1.35 million to reimburse the US for costs incurred to combat releases of hazardous substances at the Eagle Zinc Superfund Site in Montgomery County, Ill. In a consent decree filed with the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois, the US agreed not to sue the company under sections 106 and 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), or under section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Duke Energy has reached a settlement with the Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition, Save the Valley and Valley Watch over issues to do with air permits for its Edwardsport power plant in Indiana, as well as deadlines for retiring units at its Wabash River Station in West Terre Haute. The company has agreed to honor its pledge to retire four 1950s-vintage units totaling 350 MW by the 2015 federal mercury rule deadline, or by 2018 if the rule is vacated or delayed. The company also agreed to stop burning coal at another, 318 MW Wabash unit by 2018. It will also either implement a 30 MW feed in tariff for solar PV; or contract for 15 MW of solar or wind, while retiring two oil-fired peaking stations totaling about 166 MW by 2018.

The city of Beijing will force 1,200 polluting companies to upgrade or close parts of their facilities or entire plants, between now and 2016, as part of a raft of new anti-pollution measures, reported by the official Xinhua news agency. For regions and sectors that fail to meet air pollution reduction targets, the city government will refuse regulatory approval to new, emitting projects. The city also said it will push water and electricity pricing reforms, and a pilot emissions trading program for major polluters will start in 2014.

The World Bank is planning “aggressive action” to help developing nations reduce soot and other air pollutants, by insisting that future energy, farming, waste and transport projects include components to cut air pollution. These types of projects currently receive almost 8 percent of its funding to poor nations, or $18 billion from 2007-12, Reuters reports.

Japan said it will spend 47 billion yen ($473.05 million) to stop leaks and decontaminate radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, including 32 billion yen for a wall of frozen earth to contain groundwater flows, and 15 billion yen for a water treatment system, Reuters reports.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, located on California’s Point Reyes National Seashore, which had sought an injunction to keep its 40-year lease of public land from expiring. Former interior secretary Ken Salazar rejected the lease extension in November, and the company sued, saying the decision was based on a flawed environmental impact statement, Reuters reports.

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