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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: SCOTUS Refuses Coal Appeal, Phillips 66 Fined, Anadarko Wins

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Mingo Logan, a subsidiary of Arch Coal, which had challenged the EPA’s decision to veto the Spruce No. 1 mine, the Hill reports. EPA blocked the mine in 2011, four years after the project won its mineral-dumping permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Meanwhile, in response to what they see as the EPA “grossly overstepping” its boundaries, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Regulatory Fairness Act of 2014. The bill would prohibit the EPA from preemptively or retroactively vetoing permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Air pollution is the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, killing about 7 million people in 2012, the World Health Organization said. This toll is double previous estimates, and it equals one in eight of all global deaths that year, Reuters reports.

Traffic has started to resume through the Houston Ship Channel following last weekend’s spill, the Coast Guard said. But crews are continuing to remove oil from the scene, according to the New York Times.

Phillips 66 Company has agreed to retire over 21 billion sulfur credits that could have been used in the production of gasoline, and will pay a $500,000 penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act, the EPA said. In an administrative settlement agreement, the EPA alleged that the company generated invalid sulfur credits between 2006 and 2012. The EPA also alleged that the company failed to comply with recordkeeping, reporting, sampling, and testing requirements at a number of refineries and terminals.

The House has passed HR 2824, Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America, in a vote of 229-192. The bill would require the Obama administration to use a Bush-era rule that regulators had dropped and replaced with new coal mining regulations, the Hill reports. Meanwhile, House Natural Resources Committee chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) issued a subpoena to Department of the Interior deputy inspector general Mary Kendall for an unredacted copy of the Office of Inspector General report on the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement’s efforts to rewrite the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding an oversight hearing today on the EPA’s fiscal year 2015 budget. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to testify.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) subpoenaed EPA administrator Gina McCarthy for documents related to the agency’s rejection of a permit for the Pebble mining project near Bristol Bay, Alaska, the Hill reports.

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