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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EPA Budget, Bottle Ban, Chevron Win

President Obama’s 2015 budget proposal calls for more investment in natural gas research and fossil fuel development, including what energy secretary Ernest Moniz called the administration’s first moves to demonstrate carbon capture technology for natural gas systems, The Hill reports. The budget also includes Obama’s $1 billion fund to help communities adapt to extreme weather.

President Obama’s proposed FY 2015 EPA budget of $7.890 billion is $309.9 million below the agency’s enacted level for FY 2014. But the budget would increase funding and personnel for new climate regulations, allocating more than $1 billion for its Climate Change and Air Quality program, a $41 million increase over FY14. The budget would shift two dozen employees over to tackle climate change, and raise spending on chemical regulation development by $13 million, The Hill reports.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday to begin phasing out the sale and distribution of single-use plastic water bottles on city owned or leased land in October, and to ban the use of city funds for water bottle purchases. The ordinance needs approval on a second reading next week, and a signature from mayor Ed Lee, Reuters reports.

US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled that the two-decade-long legal effort to hold Chevron responsible for pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon was marred by fraud and corruption. The judgment was a major victory and makes it more likely that the oil company will ultimately defeat the suit, the New York Times says.

The Los Angeles City Council has taken steps towards a ban on hydraulic fracturing, agreeing to draft rules to prohibit “well stimulation” until state and federal governments can adopt adequate environmental protections, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that BP must abide by its agreement and pay some Gulf of Mexico companies for economic damage without the businesses having to prove that losses are attributable to BP’s 2010 oil spill. The oil company says it is considering its appeal options, the New York Times reports.

Further proceedings on the Better Buildings Act of 2013 have been postponed in the House. Among other provisions, the bill would require the EPA to develop a voluntary Tenant Star program, within Energy Star, to recognize tenants in commercial buildings that voluntarily achieve high levels of energy efficiency in separate spaces.

HR 4076, the HHEATT Act of 2014, passed the House on a voice vote. The bill seeks to address shortages and interruptions in the availability of propane and other home heating fuels.

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