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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: BP’s Latest Spill, Rare Earths, NESHAP

The EPA is investigating possible violations of the Clean Water Act following BP’s crude oil spill into Lake Michigan from its Whiting, Ind., refinery. BP today more than doubled its estimate of the maximum amount spilled, to 39 barrels, or 1,638 gallons. The EPA said the spill likely poses no long-term risk to the lake, the Chicago Tribune reported.

A World Trade Organization panel found that China’s taxes, quotas and bureaucratic delays on export of rare earth elements and other metals broke international trade law. The judgement raises the possibility that Beijing will face sanctions from the US, which brought the case, as well as the EU and Japan, the New York Times reported.

President Obama has given his first full-length interview solely on the topic of climate change, to the Showtime documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, executive produced by James Cameron. The show premieres April 13, Mashable says.

The EPA has finalized the residual risk and technology review conducted for nine source categories regulated under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions: Group IV Polymers and Resins; Pesticide Active Ingredient Production; and Polyether Polyols Production. The revisions to the final rules maintain the level of environmental protection or emissions control on sources regulated by these rules, the agency says.

The Federal Trade Commission is proposing changes to its Fuel Rating Rule, which determines the fuel rating that appears on fuel pump labels, how octane levels are calculated, and helps to inform consumers about proper fuel for their vehicles. The FTC is proposing to revise rating, certification and labeling requirements for blends of gasoline with more than 10 percent ethanol, and introduce a new octane rating method that the agency says would lower compliance costs. Comments are due by June 2.

The Obama administration signaled support for increasing liquefied natural gas exports, in a joint statement with the EU. But the White House did not say whether it supports speeding up the export approval process, The Hill reports.

Argentine Retail Developers will build La Plaza Argentine, a retail center anchored by a Walmart, on the former Kansas City Structural Steel Superfund Site in Kansas City, Kan., the EPA announced. EPA says this re-use was enabled by its partnership with innovative businesses, local governments and the state to use flexible cleanup laws. The EPA conducted cleanup in 1993 to cap soil contaminated by lead and other heavy metals. The developer has enrolled the property in the Environmental Use Controls Program administered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, to maintain the cap and protect human health and the environment during construction and into the future.

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