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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Diesel Engines, NRC ‘Intimidation’

The EPA has made $2 million in rebates available, under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, to help public and private construction equipment owners replace or retrofit older diesel construction engines. The agency will accept applications until January 15, and expects to award the rebates in February.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a stern letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Allison Macfarlane, charging that the NRC may have impeded or obstructed oversight by withholding requested documents related to the ongoing investigation of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. And at a hearing, Boxer warned of intimidation by the NRC and said a new commission policy could be used to withhold information entirely from oversight committees, the Hill reports.

The European Union could cut greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 while reducing economic growth only a fraction of a percent, UK energy and climate change minister Ed Davey said at the Warsaw climate conference.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California State Water Resources Control Board have signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate the review of pre-application activities for hydropower proposals in California. The MOU will create a more efficient and coordinated process for license applications and water quality certifications, FERC says.

The House yesterday passed a bill that would prevent the Department of the Interior from enforcing federal regulations on fracking in states that already have fracking-related guidance or rules. The bill is unlikely to progress in the Senate, Politico reports.

The House has passed the National Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, 252-165, with support from 26 Democrats, the Daily Caller reports. Republicans say that the bill, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), will modernize the permitting process for interstate natural gas pipelines.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has proposed reductions in oil industry tax breaks, as part of a wider overhaul of corporate taxes. The cuts to oil sector tax breaks do not go as far as the White House has proposed, but still drew attacks from the industry, the Hill reported.

The Puerto Rico Land Authority has agreed to halt construction at wetlands in Guanica, Puerto Rico, and will take steps to control runoff, the EPA says. The Land Authority did excavation without first obtaining a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers, as required by the Clean Water Act, and the excavation caused sediment to wash into Guanica Bay, according to the EPA.

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