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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Air Pollution in Court, General Mills Suits

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments tomorrow on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, USA Today reports – and on the same day, the DC Circuit Court will hear arguments in an attempt to overturn EPA standards on mercury and acid gases from power plants. Peabody Energy, the United Mine Workers of America, other companies and several states are plaintiffs on that second case, Bloomberg says.

Governors of eight Northeastern states will petition the EPA today to tighten air pollution rules on nine Midwestern and Appalachian states, the New York Times reports. The governors want stricter regulations than proposed by the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which the Supreme Court is considering tomorrow.

Wind farms will be eligible for permits, of up to 30 years, that allow them to kill bald and golden eagles if those deaths do not have a long-term impact on the population, under an Interior Department decision. The permits will be subject to recurring five-year reviews. The announcement follows a recent White House review of the proposed regulations.

Minneapolis residents have filed two class-action lawsuits against General Mills after state-ordered testing showed the soil beneath some houses has higher-than-acceptable levels of trichloroethylene. Both state and federal authorities have known for decades about the dumping of TCE-contaminated waste at a former General Mills site nearby, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The Department of Energy will hold a public meeting January 14 to discuss its planned approach to considering new and amended energy conservation standards for general service lamps. The DOE outlines its approach in a recently released Framework Document.

The Department of Energy has proposed energy conservation standards for a number of previously unregulated commercial and industrial electric motors. It has also amended energy conservation standards for some currently regulated motors. The DOE will hold a public meeting on the proposed standards on December 11.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is eliminating the sunset clause from ship speed restrictions designed to protect the North Atlantic right whale. The regulations, which were due to expire today, restrict vessel speeds to no more than 10 knots for vessels 65 ft or longer, at certain times of year and in certain locations along US east coast.

The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight field hearing is Pasco, Wash., today on “The Future of the US-Canada Columbia River Treaty – Building on 60 years of Coordinated Power Generation and Flood Control.” Witnesses are due to include representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration, US Army Corps of Engineers, and British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines.

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