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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: RFS, EPA Bee Suit, McCarthy in China

The American Petroleum institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers filed a court brief on Monday accusing the EPA of ignoring a series of legal deadlines for the Renewable Fuel Standard. The EPA is required to issue annual renewable fuel levels each November, but did not issue the 2013 RFS levels until this August, The Hill says.

The Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and its clean air subcommittee, are holding an oversight hearing today on renewable fuels. Witnesses are due to include representatives from the EPA, Department of Energy, DuPont, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Advanced Ethanol Council, and ethanol association Growth Energy.

The Pollinator Stewardship Council, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Honey Producers Association, the American Beekeeping Federation and individual beekeepers are suing the EPA over the agency’s approval of sulfoxaflor, a neonicotinoid pesticide made by Dow Chemical. The groups say the pesticide kills bees, the Hill reports.

The European Parliament agreed a plan to shore up prices under the EU emissions trading system. Many see the plan as a stopgap action, but it could also be an important first step, the New York Times reports.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy is on a tour of China and plans to stop today in Shanghai – which is experiencing record air pollution, The Hill reports. McCarthy plans to discuss air pollution standards with Chinese officials.

The European Parliament voted 342-326 yesterday, with 19 abstentions, to end deep-sea trawling in areas with the most at-risk ecosystems, and called for a review of related fishing equipment. But lawmakers stopped short of an overall ban on deep-sea trawling, the New York Times reports.

A US district judge dismissed 11 counts of manslaughter, but refused to dismiss 11 others, against former BP supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, related to the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion that killed 11 people in 2010. The remaining manslaughter charges and a Clean Water Act violation charge will be heard at a trial starting in June, Reuters reports.

Two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees – Energy and Power, and Environment and the Economy – will hold a meeting tomorrow on “Oversight of NRC Management and the Need for Legislative Reform.” They will discuss H.R. 3132, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Reorganization Plan Codification and Complements Act, which was introduced in September. Witnesses are to include NRC chairman Allison Macfarlane and several NRC commissioners.

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to consider the nominations of Franklin Orr for DOE under secretary for science; Jonathan Elkind for DOE assistant secretary of energy (international affairs); Rhea Suh for Interior assistant secretary of fish and wildlife and parks, and Tommy Beaudreau for Interior assistant secretary of policy, management and budget. The committee will also hold a hearing to consider the nominations of Steven Croley for DOE general counsel, Christopher Smith for assistant secretary of energy (for fossil energy) and Esther Kia’aina for assistant secretary of the interior (for insular areas).

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