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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: State Climate Alliance, Intel’s Air Quality, Veolia Penalty

The leaders of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia pledged to harmonize targets to reduce carbon pollution by 2050, integrate the region’s electricity grid, standardize energy efficiency standards for appliances and speed up clean energy permitting. The governors of Oregon and Washington said they would work to limit carbon in fuels, which California has already done, the New York Times reports.

The EPA is in talks with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality about Intel’s air quality permit for its $3 billion expansion in Hillsboro, Ore., which the DEQ may have approved incorrectly after the company failed to disclose fluoride emissions for years, the Oregonian reports. Environmental groups have filed notice of intent to sue Intel for what they say are violations of the Clean Air Act.

Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of the energy and power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, unveiled draft legislation to repeal greenhouse gas power plant rules already proposed by the EPA, and require that any future GHG standards on new coal-fired power plants be achievable by “commercial power plants operating in the real world,” according to a committee press release. The bill would also require a federal law to set an effective date for any EPA guidelines for existing plants.

AAA said the EPA could cause a surge in gas prices and potentially damage motorists’ cars if it requires a high percentage of ethanol under the 2014 renewable fuel standard, the Hill reports. But leaked drafts of the standard suggest the agency is planning to reduce ethanol requirements.

President Obama will nominate Rhea S. Suh to be the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, overseeing the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Hill reported. Suh has been Interior’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget since 2009, and previously worked for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The House Natural Resources Committee is meeting today to mark up several bills including HR 2799, which would establish a committee to advise the secretaries of the interior and agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting and recreational shooting; and HR 1308, which would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to reduce predation on endangered Columbia River salmon and other nonlisted species.

Veolia ES Technical Solutions, a subsidiary of Veolia Environmental Services North America, will pay a $95,000 civil penalty for failure to properly manage PCBs at its Jefferson Avenue facility in Phoenix, Ariz., the EPA said. The agency said its inspectors found the company using PCB-contaminated structures, and improperly storing and disposing of PCBs in violation of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

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