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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EPA Emissions Tool, Nuclear Loans, 2nd Coal Ash Leak

The EPA has released the AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT), designed to help state air quality planners estimate the emissions benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. According to the EPA, AVERT “aims to address a key reason states have not implemented previous EE/RE State Implementation Plan guidance.”

North Carolina officials found the second leak in a month from Duke Energy’s coal ash dump at its decommissioned Eden power plant, and ordered the company to plug the leak, Reuters reports. The wastewater may be entering the Dan River, which supplies drinking water, officials said. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Duke committed a crime in the first incident.

Energy secretary Ernest Moniz plans to announce Wednesday that he will soon finish two loan guarantees, worth $6.5 billion and $1.8 billion, to help Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation and MEAG build nuclear reactors. The announcements may effectively end the program, which at one point was expected to provide up to $50 billion, the New York Times reports.

The California drought has left 10 communities at acute risk of running out of drinking water within two months, Reuters reports. The concentration of contaminants is also growing because of the dry conditions, and stagnation creates breeding ground for mosquitoes and disease.

A White House proposal to create “Sustainable Shale Gas Growth Zones,” in coordination with Congress, state and local governments, has not received the attention it deserves, the Wall Street Journal writes. A fact sheet that accompanied the State of the Union address strongly suggests that the administration wants shale to subsidize renewables, which would raise the price of natural gas, the paper says.

The EPA reached settlements worth $274,000 with 35 home renovation contractors and training providers, between May 2013 and January 2014, requiring the companies to take additional steps to minimize lead dust under the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Standards. The agency says 17 contractors failed to obtain required certification prior to performing renovation activities on pre-1978 homes, while 21 settlements involved failure to follow required lead-safe work practices, and three cases involved general contractors who failed to ensure their subcontractors followed the RRP standards.

House Natural Resources committee chairman Doc Hastings announced he will not seek reelection in November, the National Journal reports. The 73-year-old, who has been in Congress for two decades, said he wants to spend more time with family.

China plans to spend 2 trillion yuan ($330 billion) to reduce water pollution, Reuters reported, citing the China Securities Journal. The government will aim to improve the quality of China’s water by 30 to 50 percent, by investing in wastewater treatment and recycling.

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