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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Pipeline Approved, Carbon Trading, Fracking Fine

A Canadian environmental and economic review panel approved plans for a pipeline and port project that, if built, will move oil from Alberta’s oil sands to tankers on the Pacific Coast. The $7.4 billion Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is Canada’s backup plan if the Keystone XL pipeline through the United States to the gulf Coast is not built.

The first day of trading in what will be by far the largest carbon market in China started briskly. The first trade on the China Emissions Exchange in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, was priced at 61 renminbi, or about $10, with the cement firm Hailuo buying 20,000 carbon permits from the new energy arm of the state-owned power producer Huadian Energy. Early trade volume in Guangdong’s carbon permit market is expected to be the world’s second largest in terms of carbon dioxide covered.

Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy, will spend an estimated $6.5 million to restore 27 sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands and to implement a comprehensive plan to comply with federal and state water protection laws at the company’s natural gas extraction sites in West Virginia, many of which involve hydraulic fracturing operations. The company will also pay a civil penalty of $3.2 million, one of the largest ever levied by the federal government for violations of the Clean Water Act, according to the EPA.

EPA announced that AL Solutions, a West Virginia-based metal recycler, has agreed to implement extensive, company-wide safeguards to prevent future accidental releases of hazardous chemicals from its facilities, resolving alleged Clean Air Act violations stemming from an explosion at the company’s New Cumberland, W. Va., facility that killed three people.

The City of West Haven, Conn. will significantly reduce illegal discharges of raw sewage from the city’s wastewater collection system. The agreement is between the EPA, the Department of Justice, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, and the City of West Haven. Under terms of the settlement, the city will reduce illegal raw sewage overflows from their wastewater collection system, which previously has been discharged to area waterways including New Haven Harbor and the Long Island Sound, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The city will also pay a fine of $125,000.

EPA awarded over $2.2 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Act grants to partners along the West Coast and Pacific Island Territories. The 14 grants are administered through the West Coast Collaborative, an EPA Region 9 and Region 10 public-private partnership aimed at reducing diesel emissions and leveraging an additional $6 million from public, private and nonprofit partners.

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