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Weekly Update Volume 41, Issue 15
THE FEDERAL AGENCIES
IN THE STATES
Leslie Carothers, Publisher
The First Circuit held that the U.S. Coast Guard violated NEPA when it issued regulations that preempt state environmental law with respect to tank vessels in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. In promulgating the rule, the Coast Guard used a standard environmental checklist that included prompts corresponding to the extraordinary circumstances exceptions that might prevent the Coast Guard from relying on a categorical exemption. Based on that checklist, the Coast Guard concluded that the proposed action fell within a categorical exclusion that obviated the need for an EA or EIS. But the Coast Guard's bareboned negative response--a simple "no"--to the prompt asking whether the proposed action was likely to be highly controversial was arbitrary and capricious. During the time when rulemaking was underway, there was ferocious and widespread opposition to the Coast Guard's approach to the regulation of oil barges in Buzzards Bay. The Coast Guard knew of this opposition and also knew that much of it implicated the not implausible fear that environmental harm would ensue should the protections afforded by state law be eliminated and the proposed federal standards adopted. Given these realities, the Coast Guard's eschewal of any meaningful environmental inquiry was arbitrary and capricious. In addition, the administrative record, viewed as a whole, does not show that the Coast Guard ever analyzed, or even adequately studied, the environmental impact of its proposed action. Consequently, its failure to prepare either an EIS or an EA was not harmless. United States v. Coalition for Buzzards Bay, Nos. 10-1664, -1668, 41 ELR 20183 (1st Cir. May 17, 2011).
The Third Circuit denied environmental groups' petition for review of an NRC decision granting a license renewal for the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. The groups, who intervened in the license renewal proceedings, offered several contentions challenging the licensee's plans to detect corrosion in a safety structure at Oyster Creek. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board admitted one of these contentions, denied several others, and ultimately determined that the admitted contention lacked merit. The NRC then affirmed the Board's decisions and granted the license renewal application. The groups now assert that the Board and the NRC committed various procedural errors in denying their contentions and failed to make the safety findings required to issue a renewed license. But the Board and the NRC provided hundreds of pages detailing their decisionmaking and gave due consideration to the groups' concerns. The NRC provided a credible rationale and substantial factual basis for its decision, and the groups failed to demonstrate that the NRC's conclusions were an abuse of discretion. While the court commended the groups for their diligence in bringing the issues to the attention of the Board and the NRC, the court refused to second-guess technical decisions within the realm of the NRC's unique expertise. New Jersey Environmental Federation v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, No. 09-2567, 41 ELR 20176 (3d Cir. May 18, 2011).
A district court, on a motion to amend judgment, extended the FWS' deadline for completing its biological opinion (BiOp) for the threatened delta smelt as well as the Bureau of Reclamation's deadline to complete review of the FWS' reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) under NEPA. In December 2010, the court remanded the FWS' 2008 BiOp addressing the impacts of the coordinated operations of the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project on the threatened delta smelt. In March, the court issued its final judgment on all claims and ordered the FWS to complete the BiOp by October 1, 2011, and the Bureau to complete review of the RPA by December 15, 2011. In their motion to amend, the agencies have demonstrated that the existing final judgment would cause manifest injustice, as it would require FWS and Reclamation to complete their duties on remand in a time frame impossible for them to achieve. The court, therefore, modified the deadline to require completion of a final BiOp, RPA, and NEPA review by December 1, 2013. This is approximately 32 months from now, 36 months following the December 2010 decision, and prior to the water season in which supply restrictions have historically been imposed to protect the species. In re Delta Smelt Consolidated Cases, Nos. 1:09-cv-00407 OWW DLB et al., 41 ELR 20179 (E.D. Cal. May 4, 2011) (Wanger, J.).
The Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court decision denying the award of attorneys fees to an environmental group in their lawsuit against a town for discharging toxic pollutants into a bay in violation of the CWA. In that case, the court held that the town must apply for an NPDES permit for its harbor and ordered it to pay a nominal civil penalty of $1. When the town applied for an NPDES permit, EPA determined that a permit was unnecessary because it did not observe any industrial activity at the site. The court then vacated that portion of its earlier decision. As for attorneys fees, it held that even though the group was a prevailing party, "special circumstances" existed making it unjust for the town to have to pay the group's attorneys fees. In so finding, it relied on the fact that the group was not granted the full relief it sought, there was a lack of evidence of actual pollution, there was a lack of evidence of financial benefit by the town, and the town has not changed its behavior as a result of the litigation. But these factors are not special circumstances that would preclude an award of attorney fees. The lower court's perception that the group's victory was so insignificant as to constitute a special circumstance to deny any award of attorney fees fails to recognize the role of the permit requirements in furthering the CWA's purpose. Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance v. City of Seward, No. 10-35446, 41 ELR 20187 (9th Cir. May 19, 2011).
The First Circuit held that property owners have standing to challenge a settlement agreement entered into between a town and a telecommunications company over the construction of a 100-foot cell phone tower. The town board initially denied the company's application for a zoning variance. The company then filed suit against the town in federal court. The property owners intervened in the case and stood silent as the town defended the case. But then the town and company negotiated a settlement that vacated the board's denial and granted the company's application to build a tower without further meetings or hearings. The owners opposed the agreement, but the lower court concluded that they did not raise any claims a federal court was empowered to address and entered as a judgment the consent decree proposed by the company and town. But intervenors can continue to litigate after dismissal of the party who originated the action if they can show that they have standing. Here, the property owners colorably claim protectable economic and other interests that will be directly impaired by the construction of a tower. They also have a legal interest under state law in the protection that the zoning laws afford to their property: specifically, they could sue in state court to overturn the variance if it were granted unlawfully. The court, therefore, vacated and remanded the lower court's decision dismissing their claim for lack of standing. Industrial Communications & Electronics, Inc. v. Town of Alton, No. 10-1738, 41 ELR 20186 (1st Cir. May 19, 2011).
The Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision excluding expert witness testimony in homeowners' toxic tort case against an oil company for benzene exposure. The homeowners alleged claims of strict liability for hazardous activity, negligence, and loss of consortium. To support their claims, the homeowners retained an expert on causation to demonstrate that benzene is generally capable of causing Non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) and specifically caused one of the homeowners to suffer from NHL. The court dismissed the case, rejecting the testimony as unreliable under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), stating that it suffered "significant methodological flaws" and was based on "speculation and conjecture rather than evidence and data." The lower court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the expert did not perform a reliable differential diagnosis because he failed to rule out alternative causes of the homeowner's NHL. Nor did the lower court abuse its discretion in striking the expert's untimely supplemental declaration, in which he attempted to bolster his deficient opinion by employing a new causation methodology. The expert also failed to provide a specific causation opinion satisfying the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which governs the admission of expert testimony. The lower court, therefore, did not err in granting summary judgment on behalf of the oil company. Pluck v. BP Oil Pipeline Co., No. 09-4572, 41 ELR 20184 (6th Cir. May 12, 2011).
The Third Circuit held that a property owner's nuisance, negligence, and strict liability claims against a neighboring landfill are not continuing torts and, thus, are barred by the statute of limitations. In 1991, the owner's predecessor in interest was denied leave to intervene in a cost recovery action against the landfill. Almost 13 years later, the current owner filed suit, alleging that it has been precluded from developing its property for any commercial and/or residential use, and from otherwise receiving full use and value of its investment due to hazardous waste contamination at the landfill. The continuing tort doctrine allows a claim to go forward even if the initial tortious act occurred outside the statute of limitations period if the claim can be based upon the continuance of that tort within that period. The owner argued that evidence of ongoing migration of contaminants supported its continuing tort theory. But the owner failed to claim or adduce evidence of any compensable injury occurring within the limitations period. Moreover, the owner seeks damages for the diminution in value of its property--a measure of damages generally associated with permanent and not continuing nuisances. Likewise, the owner's negligence and strict liability claims do not constitute continuing torts. The owner failed to allege any newly breached duty apart from the duty to abate the contamination that is alleged in the nuisance claim, and it failed to demonstrate that the landfill engaged in abnormally dangerous activity within the limitations period. The lower court, therefore, properly granted summary judgment in favor of the landfill. Haddonbrook Associates v. General Electric Co., No. 10-1744, 41 ELR 20177 (3d Cir. May 4, 2011).
The Ninth Circuit, in an amended opinion, held that stormwater runoff from logging roads that is collected by and then discharged from a system of ditches, culverts, and channels is a point source discharge for which an NPDES permit is required. Accordingly, the court reversed a lower court decision dismissing an environmental group's claim that the Oregon forestry department and several timber companies violated the CWA when they failed to obtain NPDES permits for the stormwater runoff at issue in this case. The lower court ruled that the Silvicultural Rule, 40 C.F.R. §122.27, categorically exempts all discharges from silvicultural activities resulting from natural runoff, thus removing the discharges from the NPDES permitting process. But the discharge of natural runoff becomes a point source discharge when it is channeled and controlled through a “discernible, confined and discrete conveyance” in a system of ditches, culverts, and channels, as is the case here. Moreover, the collected runoff constitutes a point source discharge of stormwater "associated with industrial activity" under the terms of CWA §502(14) and §402(p). An NPDES permit, therefore, was required. The court will not rehear the case. Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown, No. 07-35266, 41 ELR 20178 (9th Cir. May 17, 2011).
A district court, on motions for reconsideration and for leave to amend counterclaims, held that a gas company may seek recovery costs under CERCLA and the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act against the plaintiffs in the case. The plaintiffs seek recovery of costs they have incurred and will continue to incur in connection with environmental impacts allegedly caused by the gas company and its predecessors at a manufactured gas plant in Dearborn, Michigan. The company filed counterclaims for contribution and cost recovery, and the court dismissed the cost recovery counterclaims on the ground that the company did not sufficiently allege that the costs were “necessary” as required under both CERCLA and the state statute. Plaintiffs contend that the company, in its proposed amended counterclaim, has again failed to alleged sufficient facts to withstand a motion to dismiss and that the counterclaim is therefore futile. But the company has corrected its previous deficiencies and its allegations are sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Accordingly, the counterclaims are not futile, and the court granted the company's motion to amend. Ford Motor Co. v. Michigan Consolidated Gas Co., No. 08-CV-13503, 41 ELR 20180 (E.D. Mich. May 5, 2011) (Wagner, J.).
A district court dismissed an oil refiner's CERCLA action against a recycling company for costs it incurred responding to PCB contamination allegedly resulting from used oil that was delivered from the company's facility to the refinery. The claim fails because there has been no release or threat of release of PCBs into the environment. According to the complaint, the only things exposed to PCBs were the refiner's storage facility and equipment, tanks, and trucks located there. Oil Re-Refining Co. v. Pacific Recycling, Inc., No. 11-6042-HO, 41 ELR 20181 (D. Or. May, 3, 2011) (Hogan, J.).
A district court held that a property owner that filed a RCRA, CAA, and CWA citizen suit against a mine may not intervene in the United States' and Missouri's enforcement action against the same mine for the same violations. Because the owner was concerned that several issues in its pending lawsuit would be mooted by the proposed entry of a consent decree between the mine and the government, it filed a motion to intervene. But it is not a foregone conclusion that the court will enter the consent decree in the case. As such, the owner's citizen suit has not been displaced by government action. The consent decree must be reviewed and approved by the court. Thus, it mere speculation that the claims in the owner's litigation may becoming moot because of the consent decree. In addition, the owner is not entitled to its “day in court” if its claims are duplicative of government action. The owner has already filed its citizen suit and had several years to pursue that end. If the government is able to protect the environment through its lawsuit, then the owner's RCRA, CWA and CAA claims are not needed to fill a void and properly are dismissed in this action. United States v. Doe Run Resources Corp., No. 4:10CV01895, 41 ELR 20188 (E.D. Mo. May 10, 2011) (Hamilton, J.).
A district court dismissed a property owner's negligence and mutual mistake claims against the former owner, as well as its request to rescind the purchase agreement, due to contamination. A shopping center sold the site to a business entity which then assigned the property to the current owner on an "as is" basis. After contamination was discovered on the property, the current owner filed the instant action and sought to have the purchase agreement rescinded. But no evidentiary proof in the record shows active concealment, or a situation that could not be ascertained upon reasonable inspection of the premises, especially considering the commercial entities that were parties to the transaction. Moreover, the property was sold as is, and the owner has not shown that the shopping center made any representations as to the property's condition. The court also rejected claims that the owner was not bound by the terms of the purchase agreement between the shopping center and the business entity. The business entity assigned the entire purchase agreement. A provision of that agreement binds not only the buyer to the terms of the contract, but also any successors and assignees of the buyer. Ridge Seneca Plaza, LLC v. BP Products North America, No. 06-CV-6333, 41 ELR 20182 (W.D.N.Y. May 3, 2011) (Siragusa, J.).
A bankruptcy court held that a property owner's CERCLA and state environmental law claims against the prior property owner are not "core" claims and, thus, fall outside the jurisdiction of the owner's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The owner's CERCLA, New Jersey Spill Act, and New Jersey Joint Tortfeasors Contribution Law claims do not involve any substantive rights arising under the Bankruptcy Code. In addition, these claims could arise outside of the bankruptcy context. The court, therefore, dismissed the claims. NEC Holdings Corp. v. Linde LLC, No. 10-11890, 41 ELR 20185 (Bankr. D. Del. May 4, 2011) (Walsh, J.).
A California court ordered the California Air Resources Board to set aside its "functional equivalent document" and scoping plan to reduce greenhouse gases as it relates to cap and trade. The court ruled that the board inadequately described and analyzed project alternatives in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It also ruled that the board violated the information requirements of CEQA when it began implementing the scoping plan without first responding to comments, completing the environmental review process, and approving the project. The board, therefore, is enjoined from engaging in any cap-and-trade related project activity that could result in an adverse change to the physical environment until it complies with its obligations under its certified regulatory program and CEQA, including any further rulemaking and implementation of cap and trade. Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board, No. 09-509562, 41 ELR 20190 (Sup. Ct. Cal. May 20, 2011) (Goldsmith, J.).
A California appellate court held that a city's revised environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed development project along an estuary complies with the California Environmental Quality Act. The project would develop approximately 64 acres, converting a maritime and industrial area into residential, retail/commercial, open space, and marina uses. A citizens group argued that the city's treatment of seismic impacts was inadequate. But substantial evidence supports the city's finding that seismic impacts have been mitigated to a less than significant level. In addition, the revised EIR does not ignore impacts to structures. Nor did the city improperly defer mitigation of the seismic effects of the project. Although final design of the structures, including seismic safety design, is deferred until a later date, the revised EIR gives adequate assurance that seismic impacts will be mitigated through engineering methods known to be feasible and effective. Oakland Heritage v. City of Oakland, No. A126558, 41 ELR 20189 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. May 19, 2011).
Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.
THE FEDERAL AGENCIES
Note: Citations below are to the Federal Register (FR).
- EPA repealed the grandfather provision for fine particulate matter (PM) under the PSD permit program. 76 FR 28646 (5/18/11).
- EPA delayed the effective dates for the final rules titled "National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters" and "Standards of Performance for New Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units" until judicial review and Agency reconsideration are completed. 76 FR 28662 (5/18/11).
- EPA updated outer continental shelf air regulations for California. 76 FR 29156 (5/20/11).
- EPA finalized amendments to Method 301, Field Validation of Pollutant Measurement Methods From Various Waste Media. 76 FR 28664 (5/18/11).
- EPA proposed revisions to the NESHAPs for the production of polyvinyl chloride and copolymers during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunctions, including requirements on demonstration of initial and continuous compliance, continuous monitoring provisions, and recordkeeping and reporting. 76 FR 29528 (5/20/11).
- EPA proposed amendments to the NESHAPs for secondary lead smelting, including revisions to stack emissions limits for lead; fugitive dust emissions control requirements; total hydrocarbons emissions limits for reverberatory, electric, and rotary furnaces; emissions limits and work practice requirements for dioxins and furans; testing and monitoring and related notification, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements; and provisions addressing periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction to ensure that the rules are consistent with a recent court decision. 76 FR 29032 (5/19/11).
- EPA deferred on an interim basis the imposition of sanctions associated with the Sacramento Metro area's one-hour ozone nonattainment area. 76 FR 28661 (5/18/11).
- EPA denied in part petitions to reconsider NESHAPs and new source performance standards (NSPS) for the Portland cement industry and denied requests for a stay. 76 FR 28318 (5/17/11).
- EPA announced delegation of authority to West Virginia to implement and enforce NESHAPs and NSPS. 76 FR 28433 (5/17/11).
- SIP Approvals: California (nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) for the San Joaquin Valley unified air pollution control district) 76 FR 26609 (5/9/11); (new source review permitting requirements and exemptions) 76 FR 26615 (5/9/11); (volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from consumer products) 76 FR 27613 (5/12/11); (VOCs for the Mojave Desert air quality management district) 76 FR 29153 (5/20/11). Connecticut (PSD program for greenhouse gases (GHGs)) 76 FR 26933 (5/10/11). Indiana (updates to definitions) 76 FR 27904 (5/13/11). Maryland (VOC emissions from large appliance coating facilities) 76 FR 27610 (5/12/11). Massachusetts (carbon monoxide maintenance plan for Lowell) 76 FR 27908 (5/13/11). New Mexico (1997 eight-hour NAAQS for Sunland Park through 2014) 76 FR 28181 (5/16/11). Virginia (PSD permitting for GHGs) 76 FR 27898 (5/13/11).
- SIP Proposals: California (termination of backsliding fees for the Sacramento Metro one-hour ozone nonattainment area) 76 FR 28696 (5/18/11); (limited approval of permitting rules for the Sacramento metropolitan air quality management district) 76 FR 28942 (5/19/11); (limited approval of permitting rules for the Placer County air pollution control district and the Feather River air quality management district) 76 FR 28944 (5/19/11); (VOCs for the Mojave Desert air quality management district; see above for direct final rule) 76 FR 29182 (5/20/11). Colorado (attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS) 76 FR 28707 (5/18/11). Delaware (regulation of NOx) 76 FR 26679 (5/9/11); (regional haze program) 76 FR 27973 (5/13/11). Indiana (updates to definitions; see above for direct final rule) 76 FR 27973 (5/13/11). Maryland (VOC emissions from large appliance coating facilities; see above for direct final rule) 76 FR 27622 (5/12/11). South Dakota (approval of 1997 ozone NAAQS) 76 FR 27622 (5/12/11). Montana (partial approval of interstate transport plan) 76 FR 28934 (5/19/11). New Mexico (1997 eight-hour NAAQS for Sunland Park through 2014; see above for direct final rule) 76 FR 28195 (5/16/11). Ohio/West Virginia (attainment of the 1997 annual average PM NAAQS for the Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Dayton-Springfield, and Steubenville-Weirton nonattainment areas) 76 FR 28393 (5/17/11). Pennsylvania (nitrogen oxide emissions from Portland cement kilns) 76 FR 29180 (5/20/11). West Virginia/Kentucky/Ohio (attainment of the 1997 annual average PM NAAQS for the tri-state nonattainment area) 76 FR 27290 (5/11/11).
HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTE:
- EPA approved revisions to Wisconsin's hazardous waste management program. 76 FR 26616 (5/9/11).
- EPA proposed to approve revisions to Wisconsin's hazardous waste management program; see above for direct final rule. 76 FR 26681 (5/9/11).
- EPA suspended the next submission period for the TSCA §8(a) Inventory Update Reporting regulations. 76 FR 27271 (5/11/11).
- EPA proposed to revoke a significant new use rule for a chemical substance identified generically as substituted ethoxyethylamine phosphonate because of new information and test data. 76 FR 27294 (5/11/11).
- EPA announced approval of Washington's lead-based paint renovation, repair, painting, and pre-renovation education programs for target housing and child-occupied facilities. 76 FR 27044 (5/10/11).
- EPA Region 10 reproposed effluent limits for mercury, copper, total aromatic hydrocarbons, total aqueous hydrocarbons, silver, and whole effluent toxicity under the NPDES general permit for oil and gas exploration, development, and production facilities in Cook Inlet, Alaska. 76 FR 28776 (5/18/11).
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to authorize Natural Resources Conservation Service-approved categorical exclusions for recurring conservation, restoration, and survey-related activities in waters of the United States. 76 FR 28006 (5/13/11).
- FWS announced withdrawal of a proposal to list the mountain plover as a threatened species under the ESA because threats to the species are not as significant as earlier believed. 76 FR 27756 (5/12/11).
- FWS proposed to designate 57,756 acres in Ada, Elmore, Owyhee, and Payette Counties in Idaho as critical habitat for slickspot peppergrass. 76 FR 27184 (5/10/11).
- FWS designated approximately 14,069 acres in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California, as critical habitat for Lane Mountain milk-vetch. 76 FR 29108 (5/19/11).
- NOAA-Fisheries proposed to designate the Middle Columbia River steelhead as a nonessential experimental population under the ESA. 76 FR 28715 (5/18/11).
- FWS and NOAA-Fisheries proposed revisions to the regulations on textual descriptions of proposed and final critical habitat boundaries in the Federal Register, in response to Executive Order No. 13563 of January 18, 2011. 76 FR 28405 (5/17/11).
DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENT:
- United States v. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., No. 2-11-cv-1110-CWH (D.S.C. May 9, 2011). A settling CERCLA and Park System Resource Protection Act defendant responsible for violations at the National Park Service's Dockside II Property in Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston, South Carolina, must pay $3.6 million in U.S. response costs and damages incurred at the site, must pay $120,528.88 in natural resource damages to state and federal trustees, and must pay $29,471.12 in natural resource damage assessments to state and federal agencies. 76 FR 28810 (5/18/11).
- United States v. SB Building Assocs., Ltd. Partnership, No. 3:08-cv-05298 (AET/LHG) (D.N.J. May 11, 2011). Settling CERCLA defendants responsible for violations at the Algro Knitting Mills Superfund site in Milltown, New Jersey, must pay $300,000 in penalties and past U.S. response costs incurred at the site. 76 FR 28458 (5/17/11).
- United States v. Alsol Corp., No. 2:09-cv-03026 (JLL/CCC) (D.N.J. May 11, 2011). Settling CERCLA defendants that denied EPA entry and access to the Michelin Powerhouse Superfund site in Milltown, New Jersey, must pay a $200,000 civil penalty. 76 FR 28459 (5/17/11).
- United States v. HPI Products, Inc., No. 08-06133 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 26, 2011). Under a modified consent decree, a settling RCRA defendant has been given additional time to make its first civil penalty payment and to submit certain environmental reports to EPA. 76 FR 28242 (5/16/11).
- United States v. Town of Greenwich, No. 3:11-CV-00674-RNC (D. Conn. Apr. 27, 2011). A settling CWA defendant that made unauthorized discharges from its wastewater collection system in violation of its NPDES permit must pay a $200,000 civil penalty, must rehabilitate a section of the Old Greenwich Common Force Main, must evaluate the need to replace other sections of the force main, and must pay additional penalties and replacement costs for any future ruptures. 76 FR 27350 (5/11/11).
- United States v. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., No. 3:09-CV-00064-JWS (D. Alaska May 3, 2011). A settling CAA, CWA, and Pipeline Safety Law defendant responsible for violations in the operation of oil pipelines on the North Slope of Alaska must pay a $25 million civil penalty and must implement a comprehensive integrity management program to maintain its oil pipelines in Prudhoe Bay. 76 FR 26768 (5/9/11).
Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.
Note: Citations below are to the Congressional Record (Cong. Rec.).
- H.R. 1231 (offshore drilling), which would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that each five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources and to establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal, was passed in the House. 157 Cong. Rec. H3237-42 (daily ed. May 12, 2011).
- S. 350 (Federal Water Pollution Control Act) was reported by the Committee on the Judiciary. 157 Cong. Rec. S3170 (daily ed. May 19, 2011). The bill would require restitution for victims of criminal violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
- S. 398 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-18, 157 Cong. Rec. S3105 (daily ed. May 18, 2011). The bill would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to improve energy efficiency of certain appliances and equipment.
- S. 629 (hydropower) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-19, 157 Cong. Rec. S3105 (daily ed. May 18, 2011). The bill would improve hydropower.
- S. 739 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Rules and Administration. 157 Cong. Rec. S2927 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill would authorize the Architect of the Capitol to establish battery recharging stations for privately owned vehicles in parking areas under the jurisdiction of the Senate.
- S. 917 (Bingaman, D-N.M.) (outer continental shelf) would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to reform the management of energy and mineral resources on the outer continental shelf. 157 Cong. Rec. S2777 (daily ed. May 9, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 926 (Menendez, D-N.J.) (offshore drilling) would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently prohibit the conduct of offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf in the Mid-Atlantic and North Atlantic planning areas. 157 Cong. Rec. S2777-78 (daily ed. May 9, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 927 (Vitter, R-La.) (natural resources) would require congressional approval before agency actions that withdraw permits that would have been used to produce a natural resource or create one or more jobs, or that restrict access to natural resources. 157 Cong. Rec. S2839 (daily ed. May 10, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 937 (Barrasso, R-Wyo.) (fuel) would repeal 42 U.S.C. §17142, Procurement and acquisition of alternative fuels, add algae-based fuel incentives to the CAA, and add rules for natural gas loan guarantees. 157 Cong. Rec. S2839 (daily ed. May 10, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 938 (Collins, R-Me.) (hybrid vehicles) would establish a research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program to promote research of appropriate technologies for heavy duty plug-in hybrid vehicles. 157 Cong. Rec. S2839 (daily ed. May 10, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 948 (Merkley, D-Or.) (electric vehicles) would promote the deployment of plug-in electric drive vehicles. 157 Cong. Rec. S2874 (daily ed. May 11, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 953 (McConnell, R-Ky.) (outer continental shelf) would authorize the conduct of certain lease sales in the outer continental shelf and amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to modify the requirements for exploration. 157 Cong. Rec. S2874 (daily ed. May 11, 2011). The bill was referred read the first time.
- S. 962 (Murray, D-Wash.) (Northwest Straits) would reauthorize the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Act to promote the protection of the resources of the Northwest Straits. 157 Cong. Rec. S2928 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- S. 963 (Carper, D-Del.) (energy) would reduce energy costs, improve energy efficiency, and expand the use of renewable energy by federal agencies. 157 Cong. Rec. S2928 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 972 (Carper, D-Del.) (construction emissions) would amend titles 23 and 49, U.S. Code, to establish procedures to advance the use of cleaner construction equipment on federal-aid highway and public transportation construction projects and make the acquisition and installation of emission control technology an eligible expense in carrying out such projects. 157 Cong. Rec. S2928 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- S. 973 (Whitehouse, D-R.I.) (oceans) would create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of the U.S. ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems. 157 Cong. Rec. S2928 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- S. 979 (Durbin, D-Ill.) (wilderness areas) would designate as wilderness certain federal portions of the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin Deserts in the state of Utah. 157 Cong. Rec. S2928 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 983 (Nelson, R-Fla.) (oil spill) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to disallow a deduction for amounts paid or incurred by a responsible party relating to a discharge of oil. 157 Cong. Rec. S2928 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 989 (Moran, D-Va.) (CAA) would amend the CAA to require the exclusion of data of an exceedance or violation of a NAAQS caused by a prescribed fire in the Flint Hills Region. 157 Cong. Rec. S2929 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- S. 997 (Tester, D-Mont.) (water rights) would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to extend a water contract between the United States and the East Bench Irrigation District. 157 Cong. Rec. S2929 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 999 (Inhofe, R-Okla.) (SDWA) would amend the SDWA to prevent the enforcement of certain national primary drinking water regulations unless sufficient funding is available. 157 Cong. Rec. S2992 (daily ed. May 16, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- S. 1000 (Shaheen, D-N.H.) (energy) would promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry. 157 Cong. Rec. S2992 (daily ed. May 16, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 1001 (Wyden, D-Or.) (oil consumption) would seek to reduce oil consumption and improve energy security. 157 Cong. Rec. S2992 (daily ed. May 16, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 1007 (Inhofe, R-Okla.) (oil and gas tax) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to eliminate the taxable income limit on percentage depletion for oil and natural gas produced from marginal properties. 157 Cong. Rec. S3052 (daily ed. May 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.
- S. 1023 (Durbin, D-Ill.) (deforestation) would authorize the President to provide assistance to the Government of Haiti to end within five years the deforestation in Haiti and restore within 30 years the extent of tropical forest cover in existence in Haiti in 1990. 157 Cong. Rec. S3105 (daily ed. May 18, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
- S. 1024 (Bingaman, D-N.M.) (federal land) would designate the Organ Mountains and other public land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System and the National Landscape Conservation System in the state of New Mexico. 157 Cong. Rec. S3170 (daily ed. May 19, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 1027 (Barrasso, R-Wyo.) (federal land) would rescind certain instruction memoranda of the BLM and amend the Mineral Leasing Act to provide for an impact determination of proposed policy modifications. 157 Cong. Rec. S3170 (daily ed. May 19, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- S. 1033 (Wyden, D-Or.) (water) would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the city of Hermiston, Oregon, water recycling and reuse project. 157 Cong. Rec. S3170 (daily ed. May 19, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1806 (Guinta, R-N.H.) (ESA) would amend the ESA to provide that Bluefin tuna may not be treated as an endangered or threatened species. 157 Cong. Rec. H3159 (daily ed. May 10, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1808 (Altmire, D-Pa.) (nuclear power) would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to require the Secretary of Energy to carry out programs to develop and demonstrate two small modular nuclear reactor designs. 157 Cong. Rec. H3159 (daily ed. May 10, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
- H.R. 1819 (Miller, R-Mich.) (ESA) would amend the ESA to provide for state management of population segments of gray wolves in the United States. 157 Cong. Rec. H3160 (daily ed. May 10, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1828 (Boustany, R-La.) (wetlands) would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide financial assistance to the state of Louisiana for a pilot program to develop measures to eradicate or control feral swine and to assess and restore wetlands damaged by feral swine. 157 Cong. Rec. H3217 (daily ed. May 11, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1829 (Boustany, R-La.) (invasive species) would provide for the eradication and control of nutria. 157 Cong. Rec. H3217 (daily ed. May 11, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1837 (Nunes, R-Cal.) (rivers) would address certain water-related concerns on the San Joaquin River. 157 Cong. Rec. H3218 (daily ed. May 11, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1858 (Larsen, D-Wash.) (Northwest Straits) would reauthorize the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Act to promote the protection of the resources of the Northwest Straits. 157 Cong. Rec. H3277 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1868 (Capito, R-W. Va.) (coal) would require the inclusion of coal-derived fuel at certain volumes in aviation fuel, motor vehicle fuel, home heating oil, and boiler fuel. 157 Cong. Rec. H3278 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
- H.R. 1872 (Capito, R-W. Va.) (EPA) would require the Administrator of EPA to consider the impact on employment levels and economic activity prior to issuing a regulation, policy statement, guidance, or other requirement, or implementing any new or substantially altered program, or issuing or denying any permit. 157 Cong. Rec. H3278 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Agriculture.
- H.R. 1875 (Cicilline, D-R.I.) (vehicles) would make investments in cleaner vehicle technologies and infrastructure. 157 Cong. Rec. H3278 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committees on Ways and Means, Transportation and Infrastructure, Energy and Commerce, and Science, Space, and Technology.
- H.R. 1889 (Shuler, D-N.C.) (fuel tax) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to suspend the excise tax on highway motor fuels. 157 Cong. Rec. H3278 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
- H.R. 1890 (Tsongas, D-Mass.) (oil spill) would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require, as a condition and term of any exploration plan or development and production plan submitted under that Act, that the applicant for the plan must submit an oil spill containment and clean-up plan capable of handling a worst-case scenario oil spill. 157 Cong. Rec. H3278 (daily ed. May 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1904 (Gosar, R-Ariz.) (land use) would facilitate the efficient extraction of mineral resources in southeast Arizona by authorizing and directing an exchange of federal and non-federal land. 157 Cong. Rec. H3301 (daily ed. May 13, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1907 (Calvert, R-Cal.) (habitat conservation) would require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a program to provide loans and loan guarantees to enable eligible public entities to acquire interests in real property that are in compliance with habitat conservation plans approved by the Secretary of the Interior under the ESA. 157 Cong. Rec. H3301 (daily ed. May 13, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1916 (Hinchey, D-N.Y.) (federal land) would designate as wilderness certain federal portions of the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin Deserts in the state of Utah. 157 Cong. Rec. H3301 (daily ed. May 13, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1917 (Kind, D-Wis.) (migratory birds) would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, through the FWS, to conduct a Joint Venture Program to protect, restore, enhance, and manage migratory bird populations, their habitats, and the ecosystems they rely on, through voluntary actions on public and private lands. 157 Cong. Rec. H3301 (daily ed. May 13, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
- H.R. 1920 (Noem, R-S.D.) (biomass) would amend the CAA to conform the definition of "renewable biomass" to the definition given the term in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. 157 Cong. Rec. H3301 (daily ed. May 13, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.
IN THE STATES
Note: The entries below cover state developments since the last issue of Update. The entries are arranged by state, and within each section, entries are further subdivided by subject matter area. To access material previously reported in 2011, visit our list of Cumulative State Developments. For state material reported prior to 2011, visit the ELR Archives.
The states below have updates this week:
- The Department of Water Resources amended Ariz. Admin. Code 12.15.101-107 to increase fees. The rule change took effect April 15, 2011. See http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/Register/2011/18/exempt.pdf (pp. 776-81).
- The Air Resources Board proposed to amend Cal. Code Regs. tit. 13 §1956.8, pertaining to heavy-duty diesel engine test procedures. Changes would modify the measurement allowance for the regulated particulate matter emissions during heavy-duty diesel in-use compliance testing when using portable emissions measurement systems. There will be a public hearing on June 23, 2011. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/res/docs/pdf/notice/18z-2011.pdf (pp.735-39).
- The Air Resources Board proposed to amend Cal. Code Regs. tit. 13 §2299.2, Regulations for Fuel Sulfur and Other Operational Requirements for Ocean-Going Vessels Within California Waters and 24 Nautical Miles of the California Baseline. Changes will incorporate new documents from NOAA and International Standard ISO. There will be a public hearing on June 23, 2011. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/res/docs/pdf/notice/18z-2011.pdf (pp.742-46).
- The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission amended 2 Colo. Code Regs. 404.1.9a to defer the effective date of pit lining requirements for certain areas of Colorado. See http://www.sos.state.co.us/CCR/Upload/AGORequest/AdoptedRules02011-00062.RTF.
- The Air Pollution Control Board proposed to amend 326 Ind. Admin. Code 11.6.1 through 11.6.9, concerning hospital/medical/infectious waste incinerators. Changes alter the definition of a designated facility. There will be a public hearing August 3, 2011. See http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20110518-IR-326100733PRA.xml.pdf.
- The Air Pollution Control Board added 326 Ind. Admin. Code §4.3, establishing regulations for outdoor hydronic heaters. The rule includes a maximum stack height of 22 feet. The rule goes into effect June 18, 2011. See http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20110518-IR-326050332FRA.xml.pdf.
- The Water Pollution Control Board temporarily amended 327 Ind. Admin. Code 5 & 15, pertaining to concentrated animal feeding operations. The rules took effect May 18, 2011, and expire August 16. See http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20110518-IR-327110306ERA.xml.pdf.
- The Department of Environmental Protection repealed and replaced Ch. 117, Source Surveillance--Emissions Monitoring. Changes alter the rule to better reflect improvements in monitoring technology and provide a standard protocol for emerging gaseous pollutant monitoring. The rule took effect May 18, 2011. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/051811.html.
- The Department of the Environment amended Md. Code Regs. 26.11.19, Volatile Organic Compounds from Specific Processes. The amendment adopts the requirements of U.S. EPA's Control Techniques Guidelines for miscellaneous metal and plastic parts coating. The rule took effect May 16, 2011. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3810.pdf (p. 617).
- The Department of the Environment amended Md. Code Regs. 26.11.34, Low Emissions Vehicle Program, to reflect changes made to California's low emission vehicle regulations. The rule took effect May 16, 2011. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3810.pdf (p. 617).
- The Department of the Environment amended Md. Code Regs. 26.09, Maryland Carbon Dioxide Budget Trading Program. Changes implement provisions of the Healthy Air Act, which required Maryland to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state market based carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program. In order to create additional incentives to generate electricity in non-carbon dioxide producing ways, the department is outlining eligibility requirements for the Voluntary Renewable Set-Aside Account, which encourages the voluntary purchase of electricity that has a demonstrated greenhouse gas benefit. The rule took effect May 16, 2011. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3810.pdf (p. 617).
- The Department of Environmental Quality proposed to amend Mich. Admin. Code R.29, Underground Storage Tank Regulations. Changes add a number of definitions and add requirements on operator training. There will be a public hearing June 2, 2011, and the deadline for comment is June 16. See http://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/MR8_051511_352867_7.pdf (pp. 2-11).
Hazardous & Solid Waste:
- The Department of Natural Resources proposed to amend Mo. Code Regs. Ann. tit.10, §25, Hazardous Waste Management Commission. Changes would incorporate updates to federal regulations. There will be a public hearing June 16, 2011, and the deadline for public comment is June 23. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/v36n10/v36n10c.pdf (pp. 1322-44).
- The Department of Natural Resources proposed to amend Mo. Code Regs. Ann. tit.10, §26.2, Underground Storage Tanks--Technical Regulations. The changes would clarify the definition of an underground storage tank and define specific words used in the chapter. In addition, the changes would remove references to a 1998 deadline and add modern standards for testing and evaluating steel tanks. There will be a public hearing June 16, 2011, and the deadline for public comment is June 23. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/v36n10/v36n10a.pdf (pp. 1222-39).
- The Department of Natural Resources amended Mo. Code Regs. Ann. tit. 10, §20-8.110, Engineering--Reports, Plans, and Specifications. The amendment updates the rule to current industry practices, providing specific and clear requirements for engineering reports, facility plans, plans, and specifications. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/v36n10/v36n10c.pdf (pp. 1384-88).
- The State Environmental Commission proposed to amend Nev. Admin. Code §445B, revising the definitions of "major source" and "regulated air pollutant" and amending the provisions governing the adoption by reference of certain federal regulations by the Commission. See http://www.leg.state.nv.us/register/2011TempRegister/T009-11P.pdf.
- The State Environmental Commission proposed to amend Nev. Admin. Code §445B, establishing the Class IV Operating Permit Program to require an operating permit of sources of hazardous air pollution. See http://www.leg.state.nv.us/register/2011TempRegister/T008-11P.pdf.
- The Department of Environmental Quality amended Okla. Admin. Code §252.100 to adopt new appendices for the allowable particulate matter emission rate for incinerators and primary ambient air quality standards. See http://www.oar.state.ok.us/register/Volume-28_Issue-17.htm#a38689.
- The Department of Environmental Quality amended Okla. Admin. Code §252.100, Air Pollution Control, to incorporate U.S. EPA's new greenhouse gas rules. The state rules will not be more stringent than federal rules. In addition, the amendments will alter the department's fee structure to charge a different rate for emitters of hazardous air pollutants, lead, and lead compounds. The rules were approved by the governor April 12, 2011. See http://www.oar.state.ok.us/register/Volume-28_Issue-17.htm#a37891 .
- The Water Resources Board amended Okla. Admin. Code §785:45.5.3, Oklahoma's Water Quality Standards. Changes modify procedures for listing and reporting beneficial use. See http://www.oar.state.ok.us/register/Volume-28_Issue-17.htm#a675087.
- The Water Resources Board amended Okla. Admin. Code §785:50.3, Financial Assistance. Among other changes, the amendments alter language regarding "urban storm water activities" to "storm water" and "Brownfield activities" and add a definition of "consultant." See http://www.oar.state.ok.us/register/Volume-28_Issue-17.htm#a692505.
- The Commission on Environmental Quality adopted changes to 30 Tex. Admin. Code §101.1, General Rules. Changes add clarifying definitions for rules related to NAAQS. The rule took effect May 15, 2011. See http://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/pdf/backview/0506/0506is.pdf (pp. 2841-52).
- The Department of Ecology proposed to amend Wash. Admin. Code 173.334, Children's safe products--Reporting rule. Changes would alter the process for updating the list of chemicals of high concern to children. There will be a public hearing on June 8, 2011, and the deadline for comments is June 15. The intended date of adoption is July 8. See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/laws/wsr/2011/10/11-10-088.htm.
- The Department of Natural Resources amended Wis. Admin. Code NR §400, relating to major source permit thresholds for sources of greenhouse gas emissions. See http://legis.wisconsin.gov/rsb/code/register/reg665a.pdf (p. 16).
Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.
NORWAY MAY BUY AND RETIRE CO2 PERMITS TO ACHIEVE CUTS
Norway may buy european carbon permits and retire them to achieve its promised cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said last week. "The only way that Norway could achieve what it wants to achieve and overcome its membership of the [European Union emissions trading scheme] is to go into the market, buy permits and cancel them," said Simon Upton, head of the OECD environment directorate. Norway's national emissions goal, which Upton called "problematic," is for a 30 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. Greenhouse gas emissions, which totaled 51.3 million tons in 2009, will have to reach 39.8 million. Domestic options for cutting greenhouse gases include setting tougher carbon standards for industries covered by the emissions trading scheme than those set in the EU. However, such efforts may be extremely expensive: some calculations have shown that cutting down on transport emissions may require a doubling of fuel prices by 2020. The OECD noted that according to a study by the Norwegian government, an emissions price of 200 euros per ton of carbon dioxide would be needed to cut emissions by 12 million tons by 2020. Carbon is currently trading at 16.5 euros a ton. For the full story, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/19/us-carbon-norway-idUSTRE74I4UV20110519.
INDONESIA BANS FOREST CUTTING FOR TWO YEARS
In a financial deal with Norway, Indonesia has agreed to set a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear primary forests and peatlands. The deal, which took effect Friday, will protect 158 million acres of trees from logging and conversion into plantations. As part of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program, Norway will pay a fixed sum per ton of CO2 emissions Indonesia prevents through forest protection. The agreement could yield up to $1 billion. However, the agreement allegedly fell short of some projections. "Based on map analysis by Greenpeace, the moratorium should cover 104.8 million hectares (259 million acres) of Indonesian forests to make it a more meaningful commitment," said Bustar Maitar, Southeast Asian forest campaigner of Greenpeace. Also, the moratorium excludes permit extensions and permits already given in principal by the forestry minister; energy development projects including geothermal, gas, and power plants; as well as plantations for rice and sugar. For the full story, see http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/05/20/science-as-indonesia-forest-moratorium_8476633.html. For limitations to the deal, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/20/indonesia-environment-permits-idUSJKB00453020110520.
SHARP INCREASE IN AMAZON DEFORESTATION
The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the nation's environmental agency, announced a "zero deforestation policy" last Wednesday in response to growing deforestation. Satellite images recently released by Brazil's space research institute suggest that deforestation from March to April 2011 increased sixfold over the same period last year. Last December, a study indicated that deforestation in Brazil was at its lowest level in 22 years. However, the recently released data shows a 27 percent spike. Some environmentalists have said that the spike was caused by an increase in demand for soy and cattle, a theory supported by the fact that much of the deforestation has been in the soya-rich Mato Grosso state. However, Marcio Astrini of Greenpeace suggested that there's a link between the increased deforestation levels and the months of debate over existing forest protection laws. "You have 300-400 lawmakers here in Brasilia sending the message that profiting from deforestation will be amnestied, that crime pays," said Astrini. "The only relevant factor is the Forest Code. It is a gigantic rise." IBAMA will be deploying additional agents to the Amazon. There are currently 520 agents in the region, with 60 more due to arrive. For the full story on the rise in deforestation, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13449792. For Brazil's response, see http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2011/05/20/brazil_steps_up_fight_against_deforestation/ and http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0517-ibama_brazil_moukaddem.html.
Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.
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