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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Water Act, RFS Suit Looms, Kauai GMO Bill

The House will take up the Water Resources Reform and Development Act next week, according to a statement by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The Senate passed the act in May.

The American Petroleum Institute plans to sue if the EPA does not finalize the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard by the end of November, Reuters reports. The agency is required by federal law to finalize the standard by November 30, but it missed its 2013 deadline by a large margin, not finalizing that year’s standard until last August.

Hawaii’s Kauai County Council on Wednesday approved a bill that aims to restrict pesticide use by companies – including DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, and Dow AgroSciences – testing genetically modified crops on the island, Reuters reports. The bill establishes buffer zones around homes, schools and hospitals, and requires agriculture companies to disclose their use of GMOs and pesticides. DuPont said it may sue to block the bill’s implementation.

Colorado is scheduled to take its first action later this month against oil and gas companies that fail to disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the Associated Press reports. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission plans to take enforcement action this month against Noble Energy, Bill Barrett Corp., Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, Kerr-McGee, GunnisonEnergy, Laramie Energy II, McElvain Energy, Synergy Resources Corp. and Orr Energy, and against Encana at a later date.

North Dakota landowners this week filed 10 class-action lawsuits against oil companies, including Continental Resources, XTO Energy, SM Energy and Marathon Oil, seeking millions of dollars of lost royalties due to natural gas flaring in the Bakken shale oil field. The companies don’t have an economic incentive to transport the nat gas, which is cheap compared to the oil they are drilling for, but the value of flared gas in the state is about $100 million a month, the New York Times reported.

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Bradley Crowell as Department of Energy assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs, a post he already holds on an acting basis. In the office Crowell will lead coordination with Congress, state and city governments, other federal agencies and other stakeholders, the Hill reported.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has substantially approved Reliability Standard TPL-001-4, which defines the circumstances under which transmission planners can plan for non-consequential load loss following a single contingency. FERC commissioner Cheryl LaFleur said the issue has been outstanding since March 2010, and the approved proposal reflects a careful balancing of reliability and cost to customers.  

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