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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Electricity Act, GMO Suit, Pinelands Pipe Decision

The energy and power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a markup and vote today and tomorrow on HR 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act. The bill, which committee chair Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced on Thursday, would require that EPA carbon standards for new coal-fired power plants be achievable by “commercial power plants operating in the real world.”

Companies fracking in waters off of Southern California must report the chemicals they discharge into the ocean, under a new EPA rule that takes effect March 1, the AP reported. The final general NPDES permit (permit No. CAG280000) applies to 23 existing development and production platforms as well as to any new exploratory drilling operations in the specified lease blocks.

DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics (a company affiliated with Dow Chemical) filed a suit in US district court on Friday to block Kauai’s law limiting GMO planting and pesticide use. The companies claim the island’s action is unconstitutional, Reuters reports.

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission narrowly defeated a proposal by South Jersey Gas and the state Board of Public Utilities to build a 22-mile natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands. The pipeline would connect to the B.L. England power plant, which is switching from coal to natural gas, the AP reported.

China’s wetlands have shrunk nearly 9 percent since 2003, due to large infrastructure projects, conversion to agricultural land and degradation by climate change, the country’s forestry administration said, according to Reuters. Last October a World Resources Institute study found that 51 percent of planned coal-power plants in China were in regions with severe water shortages.

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld BP’s settlements with businesses and residents in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill case, the AP reported. BP had argued that a misinterpretation by Federal District Court judge Carl Barbier and claims administrator Patrick Juneau would force the company to pay billions in inflated or false claims.

Chile’s supreme court has ruled in favor of fishermen who say Endesa Chile’s Bocamina coal-fired power plant facility sucks in crabs, sardines and other marine life, and expels warm, contaminated water – but the court said environmental authorities would have to decide whether to halt plant operations, Reuters reported.

The EPA is proposing amendments applicable to three industrial source categories, for two national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants: NESHAP for Source Categories: Generic Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards; and NESHAP: Manufacture of Amino/Phenolic Resins. The three source categories addressed in this action are acrylic and modacrylic fibers production, polycarbonate production, and amino/phenolic resins production. Amendments address electronic reporting; risk and technology reviews; and emissions during startup, shutdown and malfunction, among other provisions.

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