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Weekly Update Volume 41, Issue 26

09/19/2011

LITIGATION 

WILDLIFE, INVASIVE SPECIES:

The Seventh Circuit denied various states' motion to issue a preliminary injunction compelling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the emigration of invasive silver and bighead carp through the Chicago Area Waterway System into Lake Michigan. The states presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of harm. Nevertheless, the Corps, in collaboration with a great number of agencies and experts from the state and federal governments, has mounted a full-scale effort to stop the carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Moreover, the government has promised that additional steps will be taken in the near future. This effort diminishes any role that equitable relief would play. The court, therefore, concluded that an interim injunction would only get in the way and affirmed the lower court's denial of an injunction, albeit on slightly different grounds. Michigan v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, No. 10-3891, 41 ELR 20289 (7th Cir. Aug. 24, 2011).


AIR, CAA, NEW SOURCE REVIEW:

A district court held that an energy company did not violate the CAA when it failed to obtain a new source review (NSR) permit prior to renovating electric utility steam generating units at its Monroe, Michigan, power plant. The government argued that a permit was required because the renovations constitute a "major modification." But the 2002 NSR rules provide source operators with the option of either getting a permit before commencing their projects or measuring their emissions afterward and running the risk of the government bringing an enforcement action. So long as certain pre-project requirements are met, NSR is triggered only if the project in question causes an emissions increase, thereby demonstrating that the project is a major modification. Here, the company projected its post-construction emissions, determined that those projections did not indicate a major modification, reported these projections to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality through the submission of a notice letter, and is now monitoring the emissions post-project. Although the project may eventually prove to be a major modification based on emissions measurements that the company has been taking since the project was completed, that determination cannot be made until the completion of the first year for which such measurements are required. Accordingly, the government's only remedy--a post-construction enforcement action--is premature. United States v. DTE Energy Co., No. 10-13101, 41 ELR 20285 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 23, 2011) (Friedman, J.).


WATER, NEPA, CWA:

A district court enjoined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from continuing with its Industrial Canal Lock Replacement Project in New Orleans until it complies with NEPA and the CWA. The canal is a manmade waterway that provides access from Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway to the Mississippi River. Navigation traffic passes through the canal by way of a lock. The Corps issued its EIS on the building of a replacement lock in 1997, but the court ordered it to prepare a supplemental EIS (SEIS) in 2006. Among other concerns, the court ordered the Corps to address significant new circumstances relevant to environmental concerns that have arisen since Hurricane Katrina. The Corps did not consider shallow-draft alternatives in the SEIS because these alternatives were considered in the original EIS. But following Katrina, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) was closed to deep-draft traffic. This closure is a "significant new circumstance" for purposes of a SEIS, and by failing to address the impact of this in the SEIS alternatives analysis, the Corps violated NEPA. For many of the same reasons, the Corps' consideration and selection of only deep-draft lock alternatives, without considering that the MRGO is closed to deep-draft traffic, violates the CWA's §404(b) guidelines. Holy Cross Neighborhood Ass'n v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 10-cv-1715, 41 ELR 20287 (E.D. La. Sept. 9, 2011) (Fallon, J.) (Plaintiffs' counsel included the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic in New Orleans, La.).


WATER, CWA, PENALTIES:

A district court held that environmental groups are entitled to injunctive relief and civil penalties in their CWA citizen suit against a coal company for violating the water quality standards for selenium set forth in its permit. Although an enforcement action was already ongoing in state court when the groups filed their suit, that action was not being diligently prosecuted, and nothing has occurred in that action to moot the instant case. In addition, an injunction is proper because the company has been in frequent violation of the selenium effluent limitations contained in its permit since April 2010, legal penalties are inadequate to compensate the groups for their injury, and the public will be served by the protection of aquatic resources. Similarly, because the company violated the selenium effluent limitations contained in its permit, a civil penalty must be assessed. Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Maple Coal Co., No. 3:11-0009, 41 ELR 20088 (S.D. W. Va. Sept. 2, 2011).


WATER, CWA, STORMWATER:

A district court held that a railroad company that operates a railroad-transportation facility in Seattle, Washington, violated the terms of its NDPES permit in violation of CWA §402 and discharged pollutants into U.S. waters in violation of CWA §301. The court granted in part an environmental group's motion for summary judgment on claims that the company violated the terms of its NPDES permit. Although genuine issues of material fact exist as to some of the group's claims, the railway's 2001 stormwater pollution prevention plan failed to include a stormwater sampling plan in violation of the 2002 general permit. The plan also failed to mention direct-to-locomotive fueling that has occurred at the site since 1990, and it failed to describe the potential of pollutants to be present in stormwater discharges. Similar deficiencies were included in the company's 2005 plan. The company also failed to collect and analyze a sample of its stormwater discharges during portions of 2006 through 2009. In addition, the company admitted to claims that it violated CWA §301(a) by discharging stormwater from its railroad-transportation facility without a permit. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 09-1087, 41 ELR 20284 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 19, 2011) (Coughenour, J.).


WATER, APPROPRIATION, COMMERCE CLAUSE:

The Tenth Circuit held that Oklahoma statutes that favor in-state water appropriation permit applicants over out-of-state permit applicants do not violate the Commerce Clause. The case arose after a Texas water district sought permits to appropriate water from Oklahoma for use in Texas. Because Oklahoma's statutes treat permits for in-state and out-of-state water use differently, the Texas water district argued that the statutes restrict interstate commerce in water in violation of the Commerce Clause. But the Red River Water Compact--an interstate water compact that apportions water among Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana--insulates Oklahoma's statutes from dormant Commerce Clause challenges. The Compact, ratified by Congress in 1980, gives Compact states unrestricted authority to regulate their apportioned water. Nor does the Compact preempt Oklahoma's statutes. Rather, key provisions in the Compact are evidence of Congress’ consent to, not preemption of, state water regulations. Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, No. 10-6184, 41 ELR 20290 (10th Cir. Sept. 7, 2011).


WATER, APPROPRIATION, STANDING:

The Tenth Circuit held that an Oklahoma city and a Texas city that entered into water contracts with one another lack standing to challenge Oklahoma's water appropriation permitting process as unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. The claims at issue here are based on a substantive provision of the Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that the Constitution does not contemplate the rights of political subdivisions as against their parent states. Accordingly, the Oklahoma city lacks standing to sue its parent state. Nor does the Texas city have standing. Its injury is not redressable because its standing is premised solely on its contract with the Oklahoma city, which itself lacks standing to sue. Hugo v. Nichols, No. 10-7043, 41 ELR 20292 (10th Cir. Sept. 7, 2011).


CLIMATE CHANGE, INSURANCE:

A Virginia appellate court held that under Virginia law, an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an energy company in an underlying lawsuit brought by a native Alaskan village for damages allegedly caused by global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases. The relevant policies only provide coverage against claims for damages for bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence or accident. Here, the underlying complaint alleges that the energy company intentionally released tons of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as part of its electricity-generating operations on the West Coast. Whether or not the company's intentional act constitutes negligence, the natural and probable consequence of that intentional act is not an accident under Virginia law. The complaint also asserts that the deleterious results of emitting carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are something that the company knew or should have known about. Inherent in such an allegation is the assertion that the results were a consequence of the company's intentional actions that a reasonable person would anticipate. When the insured knows or should have known of the consequences of his actions, there is no occurrence and therefore no coverage. And even if the company were actually ignorant of the effect of its actions and/or did not intend for such damages to occur, the village alleges its damages were the natural and probable consequence of the company's intentional actions. Therefore, the underlying complaint does not allege that its property damage was the result of a fortuitous event or accident. AES Corp. v. Steadfast Insurance Co., No. 100764, 41 ELR 20293 (Va. Ct. App. Sept. 16, 2011).


WATER, ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS:

A Maryland appellate court held that the state's general discharge permit for animal feeding operations complies with the CWA and state law. The general permit authorizes certain discharges but imposes requirements regarding the management of manure and its application as fertilizer. Environmental groups acknowledged that there were some benefits to the permit. Nevertheless, they argued that it still was not stringent enough to protect state and U.S. waters, including the Chesapeake Bay. But there is a substantial basis for the state's decision that the permit would not cause or contribute to a violation of water quality standards. Because the permit imposes restrictions on concentrated animal feeding operations that discharge to surface water as well as feeding operations that only discharge to groundwater, including farms that previously were not subject to regulation, a reasoning mind could conclude that these conservation practices would reduce, overall, the pollutants introduced to waterbodies. Thus, even with some new discharges, there would be a net reduction in pollutants to state waters. Nor is the permit less stringent than federal law. Rather, because the permit regulates facilities not subject to regulation under the CWA, it is broader, not less stringent, than federal law. Assateague Coastkeepers v. Maryland Department of the Environment, No. 471, 41 ELR 20291 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Sept. 6, 2011).


LAND USE, CALIFORNIA COASTAL ACT:

A California appellate court held that the California Coastal Commission complied with the California Coastal Act and the California Environmental Quality Act when it certified a coastal development project along beachfront dune property in the city of Malibu. Petitioners argued that the commission failed to comply with the 100-foot buffer requirement set forth in the city's land use plan policy. But the policy must be considered in conjunction with the city's local implementation plan, which does not, in all cases, require a 100-foot buffer. The applicable sections of the land use plan policy and the local implementation plan, which were simultaneously certified by the commission, must be interpreted together to give effect to all provisions of the local coastal program. Here, substantial evidence supports the commission's determination that a five-foot minimum buffer would provide adequate protection. Moreover, the commission's interpretation of the local coastal program is entitled to deference. And because of Secretary of the Resources Agency approved its certified regulatory program, the commission was exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report. Ross v. California Coastal Commission, No. B225796, 41 ELR 20283 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Sept. 9, 2011).


LAND USE, CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT:

A California appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court decision granting an environmental group's petition for writ of mandamus challenging a county's approval of a mixed-use development project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The lower court correctly determined that the analysis of the project's proposed water supply was inadequate under CEQA. However, the EIR's discussion of mitigation measures for certain archaeological sites was also legally inadequate. Similarly, the EIR failed to address mitigation measures for potentially significant impacts to traditional cultural properties. In addition, the EIR's traffic analysis lacked clarity regarding the baseline used to determine the project's potential impacts. And the discussion of cumulative impacts failed to disclose and explain the basis for assuming a 30 percent buildout in the area by 2025. Madera Oversight Coalition, Inc. v. County of Madera, No. F059153, 41 ELR 20286 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. Sept. 13, 2011).


Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


THE FEDERAL AGENCIES

Note: Citations below are to the Federal Register (FR).


AIR:



  • EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized rules to establish a comprehensive program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption for on-road heavy-duty vehicles that will go into effect with the 2014 model year. 76 FR 57106 (9/15/11).

  • EPA proposed technical revisions to the electronics manufacturing and the petroleum and natural gas systems source categories of the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule. 76 FR 56010 (9/9/11).

  • EPA determined that the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico failed to submit SIPs that address the requirements of the 2006 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM) NAAQS. 76 FR 55577 (9/8/11).

  • EPA proposed to determine that the Los Angeles-South Coast air basin, the San Joaquin Valley, and the Southeast Desert modified air quality maintenance nonattainment areas failed to attain the one-hour ozone NAAQS. 76 FR 56694 (9/14/11).

  • EPA entered into a proposed settlement agreement under the CAA in Allied Energy Co. v. EPA, No. 10-1146 (D.C. Cir.), that requires the Agency to propose rulemaking by December 31, 2011, that will allow the continued production of diesel fuel for use in older technology locomotive and marine engines. 76 FR 56194 (9/12/11).

  • EPA entered into a proposed consent decree in WildEarth Guardians v. Jackson, No. 1:11-cv-00461 (D.N.M.), that requires the Agency to respond to a petition seeking its objection to a CAA Title V operating permit issued to the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington, New Mexico, by February 15, 2012. 76 FR 56756 (9/14/11).

  • EPA entered into a proposed consent decree in Sierra Club v. Jackson, No. 1; 11-cv-00636 (D.D.C.), that requires the Agency to respond to a petition seeking its objection to a CAA Title V operating renewal permit issued to the Edwardsport Generating Station in Knox County, Indiana, by September 30, 2011. 76 FR 56757 (9/14/11).

  • EPA granted Avenal Power Center, LLC, a CAA PSD permit for the construction of the Avenal Energy Project. 76 FR 55799 (9/9/11).

  • SIP Approvals: Alabama/Georgia/Tennessee (attainment of the 1997 annual fine PM NAAQS for the Chattanooga and Macon nonattainment areas) 76 FR 55774 (9/8/11). California (volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions for the Yolo-Solano air quality management district) 76 FR 55581 (9/8/11); (stay of offset sanctions and deferral of highway sanctions for the San Joaquin Valley unified air pollution control district) 76 FR 56114 (9/12/11); (stay of offset sanctions and deferral of highway sanctions for the San Joaquin Valley unified air pollution control district) 76 FR 56116 (9/12/11). Georgia (updates to new source review PSD program) 76 FR 55572 (9/8/11); (attainment of the 1997 annual fine PM NAAQS for the Rome nonattainment area) 76 FR 55776 (9/8/11). Indiana-Kentucky (attainment of the 1997 annual fine PM NAAQS for the Indiana-Louisville, Kentucky, nonattainment area) 76 FR 55544 (9/7/11). Kentucky-Ohio-Virginia (attainment of the 1997 annual fine PM NAAQS for the Huntington-Ashland nonattainment area) 76 FR 55542 (9/7/11). Ohio/West Virginia (attainment of the 1997 annual average fine particulate matter (PM) NAAQS for the Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Dayton-Springfield, and Steubenville-Weirton nonattainment areas) 76 FR 56641 (9/14/11). West Virginia (eight-hour ozone maintenance plans for the Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, Weirton, and Wheeling areas) 76 FR 56975 (9/15/11).

  • SIP Proposals: Alaska (motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program) 76 FR 55325 (9/7/11). California (limited approval of nitrogen oxide revisions for the Placer County air pollution control district) 76 FR 54993 (9/6/11); (VOC emissions for the Yolo-Solano air quality management district) 76 FR 55621 (9/8/11); (partial approval of reasonably available control technology plan for the San Joaquin Valley unified air pollution control district) 76 FR 55842 (9/9/11); (volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions for the San Joaquin Valley unified air pollution control district; see above for direct final rule) 76 FR 56132; 76 FR 56134 (9/12/11); (VOC emissions for the San Joaquin Valley unified air pollution control district) 76 FR 56706 (9/14/11); (partial approval of revisions for attainment of the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS for the San Joaquin Valley area) 76 FR 57846 (9/16/11); (partial approval of revisions for attainment of the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS for the Los Angeles-South Coast area) 76 FR 57872 (9/16/11). Georgia (attainment of the 1997 annual average fine PM NAAQS for the Atlanta nonattainment area) 76 FR 56701 (9/14/11). Maryland (infrastructure requirements for the 1997 eight-hour ozone and the 1997 and 2006 fine PM NAAQS) 76 FR 56130 (9/12/11). New Jersey (motor vehicle inspection and maintenance (I/M) program) 76 FR 57691 (9/16/11). New York (motor vehicle I/M program) 76 FR 57696 (9/16/11). West Virginia (eight-hour ozone maintenance plans for the Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, Weirton, and Wheeling areas; see above for direct final rule) 76 FR 57013 (9/15/11).

  • SIP Withdrawal: Texas (revisions to permitting for new construction or modification) 76 FR 56982 (9/15/11).

ENERGY:



  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement proposed amendments that require operators to develop and implement additional provisions in their safety and environmental management systems programs for oil, gas, and sulphur operations in the outer continental shelf. 76 FR 56683 (9/14/11).

HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTE:



  • The NRC seeks public comment on proposed revisions to its enforcement policy. 76 FR 54986 (9/6/11).

  • EPA approved Oregon's UST program for petroleum and hazardous substances under RCRA. 76 FR 57659 (9/16/11).

  • EPA proposed to approve revisions to Ohio's hazardous waste management program. 76 FR 56708 (9/14/11).

  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative settlement agreement and order on consent under CERCLA that requires the settling parties to pay $50,000 in future U.S. response costs at the Reclamation Oil Superfund site in Detroit, Michigan, and to perform detailed removal action at the site at an estimated cost of $1,016,863. 76 FR 56452 (9/13/11).

  • EPA entered into two proposed administrative settlement agreements under CERCLA that require the settling parties to provide long-term access for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the plume pump and treat infrastructure at the Bountiful/Woods Cross 5th South PCE Plume site in Davis County, Utah. 76 FR 55061 (9/6/11).

TOXIC SUBSTANCES:



  • EPA announced approval of Mississippi's and North Carolina's lead-based paint renovation, repair, painting, and pre-renovation education programs for target housing and child-occupied facilities. 76 FR 56136 (9/12/11).

WATER:



  • EPA announced the establishment of a federal Underground Injection Control Class VI Program for carbon dioxide geologic sequestration wells. 76 FR 56982 (9/15/11).

  • EPA released a final report entitled, Aquatic Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Global Change: Challenges of Conducting Multi-Stressor Vulnerability Assessments. 76 FR 55060 (9/6/11).

  • EPA withdrew the federal aquatic life water quality criteria applicable to certain waters of the Great Lakes system in Wisconsin in favor of state-designated criteria. 76 FR 57646 (9/16/11).

  • EPA Region 2 determined that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for the New York State areas of the Long Island Sound. 76 FR 55668 (9/8/11).

  • EPA Region 6 announced that it will not reissue a NPDES general permit for the final beneficial reuse or disposal of municipal sewage sludge in Louisiana. 76 FR 55384 (9/7/11).

WILDLIFE:



  • The president proclaimed September 2011 as National Wilderness Month. 76 FR 55211 (9/7/11).

  • FWS announced a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Franciscan manzanita as endangered under the ESA and to designate critical habitat; the agency found that listing is warranted but that critical habitat is not determinable at this time. 76 FR 55623 (9/8/11).

  • FWS announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the snowy plover as endangered or threatened and to reclassify the wintering population of piping plover as endangered under the ESA; the agency determined that action is not warranted for either species. 76 FR 55638 (9/8/11).

  • FWS announced a 12-month finding on five petitions to list seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees as endangered and to designate critical habitat under the ESA; the agency found that listing is warranted but precluded by higher priority actions. 76 FR 55170 (9/6/11).

  • FWS announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Franklin's bumble bee as endangered and to designate critical habitat under the ESA; the agency found that listing may be warranted and initiated a status review. 76 FR 56381 (9/13/11).

  • FWS announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list 42 Great Basin and Mojave Desert springsnails as threatened or endangered under the ESA; the agency found that listing may be warranted for 32 of the species and initiated a status review. 76 FR 56608 (9/13/11).

  • FWS revised the regulations governing the Federal Subsistence Management Program in Alaska by adding two public members to its board. 76 FR 56109 (9/12/11).

  • NOAA-Fisheries closed the western zone of the Gulf of Mexico to commercial king mackerel fishing in the exclusive economic zone to protect the resource. 76 FR 56659 (9/14/11).

DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENT:



  • United States v. Jacob Goldberg & Son, Inc., No. 3237 (CS) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 9, 2011). Settling CERCLA defendants responsible for violations at the Port Refinery Superfund site in Rye Brook, New York, must pay $215,250 in U.S. response costs incurred at the site. 76 FR 57763 (9/16/11).

  • United States v. PSC Metals, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-01886 (N.D. Ohio Sept. 7, 2011). A settling CAA defendant that failed to follow refrigerant recovery requirements at its facility in Cleveland, Ohio, must pay a $199,000 civil penalty and must implement detailed remedial measures at all 11 of its scrap yards in Ohio. 76 FR 57764 (9/16/11).

  • United States v. City of Elkhart, No. 2:11CV328 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 6, 2011). A settling CWA defendant that discharged untreated sewage from its combined sewer collection system into waters of the United States must pay an $87,000 civil penalty to the United States and Indiana and must upgrade and expand its sewage collection, storage, conveyance, and treatment system at a cost of approximately $155.6 million by no later than July 1, 2033. 76 FR 56223 (9/12/11).

  • United States v. Schwab Family Partnership, No. 2:10-cv-00412-JD (E.D. Pa. Aug. 30, 2011). Settling CERCLA defendants responsible for violations at the Franklin Smelting and Slag Superfund sites in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, must pay $2,783,750 to the United States and $491,250 to Pennsylvania in past response costs incurred at the sites, must assign their rights to any future recovery on insurance policies related to business operations at the sites, and must contribute the net proceeds from the sale of two properties by one of the settling defendants. 76 FR 55419 (9/7/11).

Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


THE CONGRESS

Note: Citations below are to the Congressional Record (Cong. Rec.).


Committee Action:



  • S. 270 (land use) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-49, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would direct the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain federal land to Deschutes County, Oregon.

  • S. 271 (land use) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-50, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would require the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into a property conveyance with the city of Wallowa, Oregon.

  • S. 278 (land use) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-51, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would provide for the exchange of certain land located in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests in the state of Colorado.

  • S. 404 (land use) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-56, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would modify a land grant patent issued by the Secretary of the Interior.

  • S. 512 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-57, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill 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.

  • S. 519 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-58, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would further allocate and expand the availability of hydroelectric power generated at Hoover Dam.

  • S. 535 (land use) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-59, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands within Fort Pulaski National Monument.

  • S. 683 (land use) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-60, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would provide for the conveyance of certain parcels of land to the town of Mantua, Utah.

  • S. 684 (land use) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-61, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would provide for the conveyance of certain parcels of land to the town of Alta, Utah.

  • S. 916 (natural resources) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-64, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would facilitate oil and gas development on federal land and waters.

  • S. 1000 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-71, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry.

  • S. 1067 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-66, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to require the Secretary of Energy to carry out a research and development and demonstration program to reduce manufacturing and construction costs relating to nuclear reactors.

  • S. 1510 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 112-47, 157 Cong. Rec. S5338 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill would promote the domestic development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

  • H.R. 2401 (governance) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. H. Rep. No 112-208, 157 Cong. Rec. H6230 (daily ed. Sept. 15, 2011). The bill would require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of EPA.

Bills Introduced:



  • S. 1516 (Menendez, D-N.J.) (governance) would establish a program under which the EPA Administrator will provide grants to eligible state consortia to establish and carry out municipal sustainability certification programs. 157 Cong. Rec. S5386 (daily ed. Sept. 7, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

  • S. 1528 (Johanns, R-Neb.) (air) would amend the CAA to limit federal regulation of nuisance dust in areas in which that dust is regulated under state, tribal, or local law, and establish a temporary prohibition against revising any NAAQS applicable to coarse particulate matter. 157 Cong. Rec. S5458 (daily ed. Sept. 8, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

  • S. 1552 (Crapo, R-Idaho) (wildlife) would amend the ESA to provide an exception to that Act for actions carried out against grizzly bears in self-defense, defense of others, or a reasonable belief of imminent danger. 157 Cong. Rec. S5624 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

  • S. 1554 (Heller, R-Nev.) (land use) would prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments in the state of Nevada except by express authorization of Congress. 157 Cong. Rec. S5624 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 1555 (Vitter, R-La.) (water) would authorize the use of certain offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico for artificial reefs. 157 Cong. Rec. S5624 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 1556 (Vitter, R-La.) (energy) would require an accounting for financial support made to promote the production or use of renewable energy. 157 Cong. Rec. S5624 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

  • S. 1559 (Cantwell, D-Wash.) (land use) would establish the San Juan Islands National Conservation Area in the San Juan Islands, Washington. 157 Cong. Rec. S5624 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 1564 (Udall, D-N.M.) (air) would amend the CAA by combining the categories of "cellulosic biofuel"' and "advance biofuel'" into one technology. 157 Cong. Rec. S5684 (daily ed. Sept. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

  • H.R. 2840 (LoBiondo, R-N.J.) (water) would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to regulate discharges from commercial vessels. 157 Cong. Rec. H5939 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

  • H.R. 2842 (Tipton, R-Colo.) (energy) would authorize all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities for hydropower development under federal reclamation law. 157 Cong. Rec. H5939 (daily ed. Sept. 6, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 2845 (Shuster, R-Pa.) (energy) would amend title 49 of the U.S. Code to provide for enhanced safety and environmental protection in pipeline transportation. 157 Cong. Rec. H5964 (daily ed. Sept. 7, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 2871 (Speier, D-Cal.) (hazardous & solid waste) would amend title 49 of the U.S. Code to direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish integrity verification requirements for pipeline facilities. 157 Cong. Rec. H6009-10 (daily ed. Sept. 8, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 2891 (Fincher, R-Tenn.) (air) would delay implementation of EPA's cross-state air pollution rule. 157 Cong. Rec. H6097 (daily ed. Sept. 12, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 2912 (Larsen, D-Wash.) (land use) would establish the San Juan Islands National Conservation Area in the San Juan Islands, Washington. 157 Cong. Rec. H6180 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 2922 (DeGette, D-Colo.) (land use) would designate certain lands in the state of Colorado as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System. 157 Cong. Rec. H6180 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 2929 (Labrador, R-Idaho) (wildlife) would amend the ESA to provide an exception to that Act for actions carried out against grizzly bears in self-defense, defense of others, or a reasonable belief of imminent danger. 157 Cong. Rec. H6181 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 2937 (Upton, R-Mich.) (hazardous waste) would amend title 49 of the U.S. Code to provide for enhanced safety and environmental protection in pipeline transportation. 157 Cong. Rec. H6230 (daily ed. Sept. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 2939 (Slaughter, D-N.Y.) (toxic substances) would provide for the disposal of drugs pursuant to national pharmaceutical stewardship programs. 157 Cong. Rec. H6230 (daily ed. Sept. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means

  • H.R. 2962 (Reed, R-N.Y.) (energy) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the depreciation recovery period for energy-efficient cool roof systems. 157 Cong. Rec. H6231 (daily ed. Sept. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

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:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona

California
Colorado
Connecticut

Florida
Idaho
Illinois

Indiana
Iowa
Kansas

Kentucky
Maine
Maryland

Minnesota
Montana
Nevada

New Hampshire
Oregon
Pennsylvania

Tennessee
Texas
Washington

ALABAMA


Water:



ALASKA


Air:



ARIZONA


Water:



  • The Department of Water Resources amended Ariz. Admin. Code 12.15.107 to reduce the maximum amount assessed for municipality fees for fiscal year 2011-2012 by the amount carried over from fiscal year 2010-2011. The rule change took effect August 10, 2011. See http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/Register/2011/35/exempt.pdf (pp. 1769-71).

CALIFORNIA


Air:



  • The Air Resources Board proposed to amend Cal. Code Regs. tit. 13 §2477, affecting transport refrigeration units (TRU) and generator sets. Changes would affect model year 2001 through 2003 that complied with the Low Emission TRU in-use performance standards. There will be a public hearing October 20, 2011, and the deadline for written comment is October 19. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/res/docs/pdf/notice/35z-2011.pdf (pp. 1385-93).

  • The Air Resources Board proposed to amend Cal. Code Regs. tit. 13 §§2258, 2260, 2261, 2264, & 2265, California Reformulated Gasoline Regulations. Changes would correct coefficients in the Predictive Model. There will be a public hearing October 20, 2011, and the deadline for written comment is October 19. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/res/docs/pdf/notice/35z-2011.pdf (pp. 1393-97).

Toxic Substances:



  • The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment proposed to amend Cal. Code Regs. tit. 27 §25705 to establish a specific regulatory level posing no significant risk for Imazalil. The deadline for public comment is October 25, 2011. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/res/docs/pdf/notice/36z-2011.pdf (pp. 1474-77).

COLORADO


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



Water:



  • The Department of Public Health and Environment amended 5 Colo. Code Regs. §1002.61, Housed Commercial Swine Feeding Operations. Changes include the addition of a requirement that swine waste management plans identify the crops to be planted in each field, a new section of rules on changes to swine waste management plans, and best management practices for flooding and overflow. The changes take effect September 30, 2011. See http://www.sos.state.co.us/CCR/Upload/AGORequest/AdoptedRules02011-00446.RTF.

CONNECTICUT


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to amend Conn. Gen. Stat. §§4.168 and 22a.6 to update the list of designated recyclable items that every person and entity in Connecticut is required to recycle. The list would be expanded to include containers of three gallons or less made of polyethylene terephthalate plastic and high-density polyethylene plastic and additional types of paper including boxboard, magazines, residential high-grade white paper, and colored ledger. The deadline for written comment is October 6, 2011. See http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2586&Q=486296.

FLORIDA


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



IDAHO


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Department of Environmental Quality proposed to amend Idaho Admin. Code r. 58.01.06, Solid Waste Management Rules. Changes would create a permit-by-rule program for composting facilities. There will be a public hearing September 28, 2011, and the deadline for comment is September 30. See http://adm.idaho.gov/adminrules/bulletin/bul/11bul/11sept.pdf (pp. 173-74).

INDIANA


Air:



ILLINOIS


Air:



IOWA


Climate:



  • The Environmental Protection Commission proposed to amend Iowa Admin. Code ch. 22, Controlling Pollution, and ch. 33, Special Regulations and Construction Permit Requirements for Major Stationary Sources—Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality. The amendments would incorporate federal regulations regarding carbon dioxide. There will be a public hearing October 11, 2011. See http://www.legis.state.ia.us/aspx/ACODOCS/DOCS/09-07-2011.Bulletin.pdf (pp. 274-76).

Water:



  • The Environmental Protection Commission proposed to amend Iowa Admin. Code ch. 40, Rules of Practice; ch. 41, Water Supplies; ch. 42, Public Notification, Public Education, Consumer Confidence Reports, Reporting, and Record Maintenance; ch. 24, Design and Operation; and ch. 83, Laboratory Certification. Changes incorporate federal regulations by reference. There will be a public hearing September 28, 2011, and the deadline for public comment is September 29. See http://www.legis.state.ia.us/aspx/ACODOCS/DOCS/09-07-2011.Bulletin.pdf (pp. 276-331).

KANSAS


Water:



  • The Department of Health and Environment proposed to replace the existing Water Pollution Control General Permit for stormwater runoff from industrial activity with a new general permit. Stormwater runoff from industrial activity is defined as a discharge from any conveyance that is used for collecting and conveying stormwater and that is directly related to manufacturing, processing or raw materials storage areas at an industrial facility. The deadline for comment is October 8, 2011. See http://www.kssos.org/pubs/register%5C2011%5CVol_30_No_36_September_8_2011_p_1225-1256.pdf (p. 1232).

KENTUCKY


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Division of Waste Management amended 401 Ky. Admin. Regs. 42:005, Definitions related to 401 KAR Chapter 42, pertaining to USTs. See http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/401/042/005reg.htm.

  • The Division of Waste Management amended 401 Ky. Admin. Regs. 48:205, Technical requirements for petroleum-contaminated soil treatment facilities. Changes affect the definition of "Asphalt Plant Aggregate dryer" and were approved August 15, 2011. See http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/401/048/205reg.htm.

  • The Division of Waste Management amended 401 Ky. Admin. Regs. 48:206, Petroleum-contaminated soil treatment facility liner soil layer quality assurance and quality control. Changes relate to quality assurance testing and methods. Changes were adopted August 15, 2011. See http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/401/048/206reg.htm.

  • The Division of Waste Management amended 401 Ky. Admin. Regs. 42, Underground Storage Tanks. Changes were adopted August 15, 2011. See http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/title401.htm#chp042.

MAINE


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to amend 06-096 Code Me. Regs. Ch. 410, Maine Solid Waste Management Rules: Composting Facilities. Changes would increase the exemption thresholds for the volume of Type IB and Type IC residuals composted by a farm in any 30-day period from 30 cubic yards to 60 cubic yards. The deadline for public comment is October 7, 2011. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/090711.html.

  • The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to amend 06-096 Code Me. Regs. Chs. 418 & 419, Beneficial Use of Solid Wastes & Agronomic Utilization of Residuals. Changes would exempt wood ash from the licensing requirements of Chs. 418 & 419 if the wood ash is agronomically utilized as an effective substitute for a commercial product. There will be a public hearing October 4, 2011, and the deadline for comment is October 14. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/091411.html.

  • The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to amend 06-096 Code Me. Regs. Ch. 850 to implement changes from Pub. L. 2011 Ch. 304. Changes would exempt isopropyl alcohol when used or reused as an effective substitute for a commercial product and would establish methods for determining an effective substitute. There will be a public hearing October 4, 2011, and the deadline for comment is October 14. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/091411.html.

Toxic Substances:



  • The Board of Pesticides Control proposed to amend 01-026 Code Me. Regs. Chs. 28, 33, 41, & 60. Among other changes, the amendments would allow for notification of aerial spraying within 1,000 feet of sensitive areas, establish procedures for licensing growers who use only general-use pesticides and annually produce at least $1,000 of plant produce, and remove from the Deblois Fish Hatchery the designation of a critical pesticide control area. There will be a public hearing October 7, 2011, and the deadline for comment is October 21. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/091411.html.

Water:



  • The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to amend 06-096 Code Me. Regs. Ch. 372, Policies and Procedures under the Site Location Law, and Ch. 500, Stormwater Management. Changes would provide that permits issued under these chapters are valid for 4 years after they are issued and that a person who holds these permits has 7 years to complete a project. The deadline for public comment is October 7, 2011. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/090711.html.

MARYLAND


Air:



  • The Department of the Environment proposed to amend Md. Code Regs. 26.11.09, Control of Fuel-Burning Equipment, Stationary Internal Combustion Engines, and Certain Fuel-Burning Installations. The amendment makes minor administrative corrections to the Department’s opacity regulations that became effective May 17, 2010. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3819.pdf (p. 1148).

MINNESOTA


Water:



  • The Pollution Control Agency proposed to reissue the NPDES/State Disposal System MNG-490000 for Construction Sand & Gravel, Rock Quarrying, and Hot Mix Asphalt Production Facilities, which is set to expire September 30, 2011. The permit authorizes stormwater and wastewater discharges. Changes include adding the monitoring of stormwater discharges to surface waters and adding discharges from industrial sand and crushed stone mine and quarry areas to mine dewatering. See http://www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/stateregister/36_07.pdf (pp. 244-45).

MONTANA


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board proposed to amend Mont. Admin. R. 17.56.101, 17.56.605, and 17.56.607 pertaining to definitions, cleanup plan, and release categorization related to USTs. Changes alter the definition of "petroleum mixing zone" and add the establishment of a petroleum mixing zone in accordance with Mont. Admin. R. 17.56.607. There will be a public hearing September 28, 2011, and the deadline for comment is October 6. See http://sos.mt.gov/arm/Register/archives/MAR2011/MAR11-17.pdf (pp. 1775-84).

NEVADA


Air:



Energy:



  • The Environmental Commission amended Nev. Admin. Code ch. 701 §§2-11, related to energy conservation. Changes adopt certain documents by reference, and repeal certain provisions of the Model Energy Code. The entire regulation will take effect July 1, 2012. See http://www.leg.state.nv.us/register/2011Register/R024-11P.pdf.

Hazardous & Solid Waste:



NEW HAMPSHIRE


Air:



  • The Department of Environmental Services proposed to amend Env-Wm 1404.17(e)-(i), Applicability of Stage II Vapor Recovery Requirements. Changes would eliminate requirements to install Stage II controls on certain gasoline dispensing equipment starting January 1, 2012, and require facilities to decommission Stage II equipment by December 22, 2015. There will be a public hearing October 7, 2011, and the deadline for public comment is October 17. See http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/register/2011/september-9-11.pdf (pp. 8-10).

OREGON


Climate:



  • The Department of Environmental Quality proposed to amend Or. Admin. Code 340.215, Greenhouse gas reporting requirements, fees and program updates. The rules were initially filed as part of administrative order DEQ 12-2010 and were re-filed on request of legislative counsel. The rules were certified to be effective July 21, 2011. See http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/doc/rules/bulletin/September2011_Bulletin.pdf (pp. 49-55).

PENNSYLVANIA


Air:



  • The Environmental Quality Board amended 25 Pa. Code Chs. 121 and 127, relating to general provisions and construction, modification, reactivation, and operation of sources. Changes add PM2.5 as a regulated new source review pollutant. The amendments took effect September 3, 2011. See http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol41/41-36/1502.html.

TENNESSEE


Air:



  • The Environment and Conservation Agency amended Tenn. Admin. Code §1200.03.16, New Source Performance Standards. Changes relate to the reporting of monitored emissions, coal preparation plants, and nonmetallic mineral processing plants, and incorporate federal code changes by reference. The amendment takes effect November 27, 2011. See http://www.tn.gov/sos/rules_filings/08-43-11.pdf.

Climate:



  • The Air Pollution Control Board amended Tenn. Admin. Code §12.03.09, Construction and Operating Permits. Changes alter the requirements for a major source operating permit so that the greenhouse gas provisions no longer apply if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court determines that greenhouse gases should not be subject to regulation. The amendment takes effect November 27, 2011. See http://www.tn.gov/sos/rules_filings/08-44-11.pdf.

Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Environment and Conservation Agency amended Tenn. Admin. Code §§1200.02.04, General Provisions, and 1200.02.10, Licensing and Registration, pertaining to radioactive material. Changes amend definitions, revise transportation requirements to be consistent with those of the International Atomic Energy Agency Standards, add recordkeeping requirements for decommissioning a facility, and alter baseline dates for registered inspections. See http://www.tn.gov/sos/rules_filings/09-04-11.pdf.

TEXAS


Air:



  • The Commission on Environmental Quality proposed amendments to 30 Tex. Admin. Code §111.147, Materials Handling, Construction, Roads, Streets, Alleys, and Parking Lots. The section pertains to visible emissions and particulate matter. Changes relate to El Paso's city plan for alley paving. There will be a public hearing September 27, 2011, and the deadline for comment is October 3. See http://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/pdf/backview/0902/index.shtml (pp. 5640-44).

Water:



  • The Railroad Commission of Texas proposed to add 16 Tex. Admin. Code §3.29, relating to Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Disclosure Requirements. The regulation would require operators to enter information about the chemical ingredients and volume of water used in the hydraulic fracturing treatment of a well into "FracFocus," a website of the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. There will be a public hearing October 5, 2011, and the deadline for written comment is October 11. See http://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/pdf/backview/0909/index.shtml (pp. 5765-75).

WASHINGTON


Air:



  • The Department of Ecology amended Wash. Admin. Code §173.422A, Motor vehicle emission inspection. Changes amend the current emissions inspection process by exempting light diesel vehicles from inspection, eliminating the gas cap test and dynamometer testing, and tightening the test standards for heavy-duty diesel vehicles. Changes were adopted August 10, 2011 and take effect July 1, 2012. See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/laws/wsr/2011/17/11-17-041.htm.

Climate:



  • The Department of Ecology amended Wash. Admin. Code §§173.400, General Regulations for Air Pollution Sources, & 173.401, Operating Permit Regulation. Changes are meant to ensure consistency between state rules and federal rules for greenhouse gas that defer for a period of three years the consideration of carbon dioxide emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic sources when determining whether a stationary source meets the PSD and Title V applicability thresholds. Changes were adopted August 10, 2011, and took effect September 10. See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/laws/wsr/2011/17/11-17-037.htm.

Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


INTERNATIONAL

EU BIOENERGY TARGETS MAY OVERESTIMATE CARBON SAVINGS

The European Union rejected a study that called bioenergy's climate benefits into question, saying that it failed to properly compare carbon savings to those of diesel and gasoline burned by cars. The report, by the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency, said that biofuel and bioenergy targets are based on a "serious accounting error" and should be revised downward. The Committee wrote that the carbon-reducing role played by biofuels should be measured by additional carbon dioxide absorbed beyond what would have been absorbed by existing fields, forests, and grasslands. However, according to the report, the EU has been "double counting" some of the savings, and the consequences of the error are "immense," as it assumes that biomass burning does not add carbon to the atmosphere. The study indicated that policymakers began with a basic mathematical error, giving liquid and solid biofuels more carbon savings than they merit. "Plants do absorb carbon, but this thinking makes a 'baseline' error because it fails to recognize that if bioenergy were not produced, land would typically grow plants anyway, and those plants would absorb carbon," said the report. It likened the accounting error to a "subprime carbon mortgage that it may never be able to pay back." The report indicated that policies to advance biofuel, such as the EU's 20 percent by 2020 target that is estimated to be comprised of up to 60 percent biofuels, may even accelerate global warming. In addition, 10 agencies, including the World Food Programme, recently called for an end to policies that support biofuels as they drive up the cost of food. The implications of this report, if adopted as policy, could be significant--about 20 percent of world sugar cane supply went to biofuels in 2007-2009, as well as nine percent of oil seeds and coarse grains. For the full story, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/14/us-eu-biofuels-idUSTRE78D38520110914 and http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/serious-error-found-in-carbon-savings-for-biofuels/. For the EU's rejection, see http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/serious-error-found-in-carbon-savings-for-biofuels/.


STUDY SHOWS BIODIVERSITY HIGHEST IN PRISTINE FOREST

A National University of Singapore researcher said that pristine forests with the least disturbance sustain the highest biodiversity and are crucial to many tropical species. The study analyzed 28 tropical forests and found that regenerating and degraded forests had substantially lower levels of biodiversity than in forests untouched by humans. "There's no substitute for primary forests," the researcher said. "All major forms of disturbance invariably reduce biodiversity in tropical forests." Recent global efforts to protect forests have been met with resistance; in Indonesia, a ban on slash-and-burn agriculture has been largely ignored in some provinces. The Straits Times Indonesia found that reports of respiratory ailments in the province capital had quadrupled in the last two weeks, and province "hot spots," fires covering at least one hectare that can be detected by satellite, hit 88 before recent rains, suggesting that efforts to wean farmers of the practice have not taken hold. The Indonesian government has encouraged aquaculture, which does not require extensive forest clearing. But enforcing the slash-and-burn ban is difficult due to the large areas involved. For the full story on the study, see http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/09/14/Biodiversity-highest-in-pristine-forests/UPI-60721316035412/. For the story on Indonesian forests, see http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/nvironment/hard-to-wean-farmers-off-slashing-and-burning/465846.


CHINA INCREASES EFFICIENCY STANDARDS FOR VEHICLE SUBSIDY

China has increased requirements for its energy saving vehicle subsidy in an effort to curb fuel consumption and roll back stimulus measures. The government has been subsidizing fuel saving cars since June 2010, with additional subsidies for hybrid and electric cars in certain cities. However, the Ministry of Finance announced that cars would only be eligible for the 3,000 Yuan subsidy if they consume 6.3 liters of gas or less per 100 kilometers, compared to the previous 6.9 liter standard. The number of weight classes for eligible vehicles has also been reduced. As of May, China had provided subsidies to 2.15 million energy saving vehicles. Vehicle sales in China have slowed this year after a 32 percent growth rate last year after the government raised interest rates and removed sales tax breaks and rebates for buyers. The Ministry of Science has announced that it plans to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, and Honda, Daimler AG, and Nissan Motor Co. have all announced plans to add alternative energy vehicles to the Chinese market, with Hyundai in talks to create a China-only brand that will focus on electric cars. For the full story, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-16/china-to-adjust-subsidy-policy-on-energy-saving-vehicles.html. For the story on electric cars, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-15/beijing-auto-hyundai-in-talks-on-china-only-electric-brand-1-.html.


Copyright© 2011, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


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