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Weekly Update Volume 41, Issue 33

11/21/2011

LITIGATION 

NATURAL RESOURCES, NEPA:

The D.C. Circuit upheld BLM’s decision to allow additional natural gas drilling in the Pinedale Anticline Project Area of western Wyoming. In 2008, the BLM adopted a record of decision (ROD) that, among other things, authorized the development of more natural gas wells than a previous ROD had sanctioned and provided for management and mitigation of the development. A conservation group filed for declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the ROD violated FLPMA and that the accompanying EIS violated NEPA. But the record supports the BLM’s determination that the ROD will prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the project area. In addition, the BLM considered a reasonable range of alternatives in the EIS, and the EIS sufficiently addressed the proposed action’s impact on hunting. And the group’s claims based on the BLM’s alleged non-enforcement of the 2000 ROD are moot. Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership v. Salazar, No. 10-5386, 41 ELR 20345 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 18, 2011).


WILDLIFE, ESA:

The Ninth Circuit held that the FWS' determination that a proposed mining project in northwest Montana would result in "no adverse modification" to critical bull trout habitat and would result in "no jeopardy" to the local grizzly bear population was not arbitrary, capricious, or in violation of the ESA. The FWS properly compared the relative size of the impacted 2.88 stream miles of Rock Creek to the overall size of the Lower Clark Fork Core Area critical habitat—135 stream miles—to determine that the bull trout's critical habitat would not be adversely modified. The FWS also considered the mine's impact on bull trout recovery. In addition, the FWS's methodology for calculating the necessary amount of grizzly bear mitigation habitat was not flawed because it failed to numerically discount the effectiveness of proposed mitigation parcels already impacted by existing development. The FWS expressly acknowledged the limitations created by existing development on proposed mitigation land. In addition, the mitigation plan was so robust that the FWS concluded it would actually improve conditions over the long term and promote the recovery of the local grizzly bear population. The court also rejected claims that the proposed mitigation plan was unreasonably speculative. Rock Creek Alliance v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, No. 10-35596, 41 ELR 20339 (9th Cir. Nov. 16, 2011).


TOXIC SUBSTANCES, OIL SPILL:

A district court held that an oil company may not seek insurance coverage for damages it incurred following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill under the oil rig owner's insurance policies. The underlying insurance policies refer to the drilling contract between the rig owner and the oil company to determine the scope of coverage. Under the drilling contract, the owner is liable for pollution originating on or above the surface of the water. Because the Deepwater Horizon incident entailed a subsurface release, the owner did not assume pollution liabilities arising from the spill. Accordingly, because the owner did not assume the oil pollution risks pertaining to the Deepwater Horizon incident--the oil company did--the owner was not required to name the oil company as an additional insured as to those risks. The oil company, therefore, may not seek coverage. In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon," No. 2179, 41 ELR 20340 (E.D. La. Nov. 15, 2011) (Barbier, J.).


TOXIC SUBSTANCES, OIL SPILL:

A district court held that Alabama and Louisiana may seek punitive damages against various oil companies and operators in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The states alleged that the oil spill caused a variety of past, present, and future damages, including damage to natural resources and property, economic losses, costs associated with responding to the oil spill and performing removal actions, costs associated with providing increased or additional public services, and the long-term reputation damage or "stigma" associated with the oil spill. Because the states alleged physical injury to proprietary interests and the other elements pertinent to negligence and products liability claims, the states adequately stated claims for negligence and products liability under general maritime law. Consequently, punitive damages may also be available. The court, however, dismissed their nuisance and trespass claims under general maritime law, and it held that their state law claims were preempted. But the states may go forward with their OPA claims. In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon," No. 2179, 41 ELR 20341 (E.D. La. Nov. 14, 2011) (Barbier, J.).


HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTE, CERCLA:

A district court dismissed property owners' CERCLA, tort, and state law claims against a power company for alleged PCB contamination. A former employee of the company lived at the property before it was sold to the current owners. While working for the company, the employee removed PCB-containing capacitors from his workplace and stored them at his residence. After he passed away, the company removed the capacitors from the property and the employee's wife sold the property to the current owners. The current owners then filed suit against the company, alleging that the PCB-containing capacitors on the property caused the property to lose substantially all its value and caused the owners to suffer severe and substantial economic, physical, and emotional damages. But the owners failed to plead sufficient facts to provide a link between the employee's conduct and the company's alleged liability. The owners alleged the capacitors were in the company's possession and under its control before the employee removed them, but they did not set forth any facts indicating how the employee came into possession of the capacitors. Nor did they allege any facts supporting their bare assertions that the company had any knowledge or involvement in the capacitors' transportation to the property. Moreover, the owners have not alleged facts to support their claims that the company owed a duty to the owners, or that the employee's transportation or storage of the capacitors was in the scope of his employment with the company. Lancaster v. Northern States Power Co., No. 11-619, 41 ELR 20342 (D. Minn. Nov. 9, 2011) (Frank, J.).


HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTE, INSURANCE:

A district court held that an insurance company should have provided coverage to a demolition company for damages stemming from its disposal of contaminated waste at a recycling drop-off center. The insurance policy excludes coverage for damages arising from the final disposal of any material at a site not owned, leased, or rented by the company. Because the company's final disposal of the debris was at a site the company did own not own, lease, or rent, the insurer argued that that exclusion applies. The company, meanwhile, argued that the exclusion does not bar the claim because "final disposal" is limited to the final disposal of material in landfills, not the final disposal as to the insured. Here, the material was not taken to a landfill. Rather, it was taken to a recycling drop-off center where it was later recycled, sold, or transported to another facility. From the plain language of exclusion, it is neither plain nor clear whether it is limited to the company's final disposal of materials, whether it includes disposal at non-owned landfills, or whether it would include a recycling processing facility such as the drop-off center. Both parties' interpretations, therefore, are reasonable. Accordingly, the exclusion is ambiguous and the policy must be construed in favor of the insured. Sierra Recycling & Demolition, Inc. v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Co., No. 1:11-cv-00500-AWI-MJS, 41 ELR 20343 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 3, 2011) (Ishii, J.).


NATURAL RESOURCES, NEPA:

A district court held that DOE complied with NEPA when it determined that the construction of a "supercomputer" project on a college campus would have no significant environmental impact and did not require an EIS. The EA took a hard look at direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adequately analyzed the impacts of the project's GHG emissions, and made a reasonable determination that the GHG emissions would not significantly impact the environment. The EA also described the methodology DOE used to reach its GHG emissions conclusions. DOE also took a hard look at noise and traffic impacts. And there is no basis to support plaintiffs' claim that the construction of the proposed facility is highly controversial or located in a geologically unstable area. DOE's decision not to prepare a full-scale EIS was therefore upheld. Save Strawberry Canyon v. U.S. Department of Energy, No. C 11-01564 WHA, 41 ELR 20344 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 14, 2011) (Alsup, J.).


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 amended the primary lead processing source category NESHAP. 76 FR 70834 (11/15/11).

  • EPA announced the excess emissions penalty amounts that will apply under the Acid Rain Program for compliance years 2011 and 2012. 76 FR 71559 (11/18/11).

  • EPA entered into a proposed settlement agreement in American Forest & Paper Ass'n, Inc. v. EPA, No. 10-1284 (D.C. Cir.), that requires the Agency to interpret its Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases rule as it applies to the petitioner as originally proposed. 76 FR 71026 (11/16/11).

  • EPA entered into two proposed settlement agreements in In re BP America Prod. Co., Florida River Compression Facility, Appeal No. CAA 10-04 (EAB), and WildEarth Guardians v. EPA, No. 11-9527 (10th Cir.), that require Region 8 to undertake a pilot program on source determinations in the oil and gas industry for the CAA Title V operating permit program. 76 FR 71027 (11/16/11).

  • SIP Approvals: California (volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions for the San Joaquin Valley unified air pollution control district) 76 FR 70886 (11/16/11); (VOC emissions for the South Coast air quality management district) 76 FR 70888 (11/16/11). New Jersey (nitrogen oxide emissions for the Naval Weapons Station Earle) 76 FR 70352 (11/14/11). North Carolina/South Carolina (attainment of the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS for the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill nonattainment area) 76 FR 70656 (11/15/11). Texas (new source review (NSR) permit requirements) 76 FR 70354 (11/14/11); (partial approval of definitions for the NSR program) 76 FR 71260 (11/17/11). West Virginia (attainment of the 24-hour 2006 fine particulate matter (PM) NAAQS for the Charleston nonattainment area) 76 FR 71450 (11/18/11).

  • SIP Withdrawal: Indiana (attainment of the 1997 fine PM NAAQS for the Indianapolis nonattainment area) 76 FR 70361 (11/14/11).

  • SIP Proposals: District of Columbia (regional haze program) 76 FR 70929 (11/16/11). Oklahoma (1997 eight-hour ozone and 1997 and 2006 fine PM NAAQS) 76 FR 70940 (11/16/11).

HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTE:



  • EPA proposed revisions to the 1988 UST technical, financial responsibility, and state program approval regulations. 76 FR 71708 (11/18/11).

  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative settlement under CERCLA that requires the settling party to pay $39,926, plus interest, in U.S. response costs incurred at the River Forest Dry Cleaners Superfund site in River Forest, Illinois. 76 FR 71342 (11/17/11).

WATER:



  • EPA Region 6 announced the availability of 28 TMDLs for waters listed in Louisiana under CWA §303(d). 76 FR 70442 (11/14/11).

DOJ NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT:



  • United States v. D&L Sales, Inc., No. 11-cv-01193 (W.D. Mich. Nov. 9, 2011). A settling CERCLA defendant responsible for radiological and chemical contamination at the Aircraft Components Inc. Superfund site near Benton Harbor, Michigan, must implement institutional controls to protect the remedy, and DOD must pay $5,649,438 to resolve its alleged contribution liability at the site. 76 FR 71072 (11/16/11).

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. 899 (wildlife) was reported by the Committee on Environment and Public Works. S. Rep. No. 112-94, 157 Cong. Rec. S7451 (daily ed. Nov. 15, 2011). The bill would provide for the eradication and control of nutria.

  • H.R. 2937 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. H. Rep. No. 112-287, 157 Cong. Rec. H7712-13 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2011). The bill would amend title 49, U.S. Code, to provide for enhanced safety and environmental protection in pipeline transportation.

Bills Introduced



  • S. 1863 (Menendez, D-N.J.) (energy) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to encourage alternative energy investments and job creation. 157 Cong. Rec. S7451 (daily ed. Nov. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

  • S. 1881 (Whitehouse, D-R.I.) (climate) would establish an integrated federal program to respond to ongoing and expected impacts of climate variability and change by protecting, restoring, and conserving the natural resources of the United States and to maximize government efficiency and reduce costs in cooperation with state, local, and tribal governments and other entities. 157 Cong. Rec. S7612 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

  • S. 1883 (Hatch, R-Utah.) (land use) would provide for the sale of approximately 30 acres of federal land in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Salt Lake County, Utah, to permit the establishment of a transportation alternative to connect two ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains. 157 Cong Rec. S7701 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 1891 (Cantwell, D-Wash.) (land use) would provide lasting protection for inventoried roadless areas within the National Forest System. 157 Cong Rec. S7702 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 1895 (Gillibrand, D-N.Y.) (energy) would require the Secretary of Commerce to establish a program for the award of grants to states to establish revolving loan funds for small- and medium-sized manufacturers to improve energy efficiency and produce clean energy technology, and provide a tax credit for farmers' investments in value-added agriculture. 157 Cong Rec. S7702 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

  • S. 1897 (Casey, D-Pa.) (land use) would amend Pub. L. No. 101-377 to revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station. 157 Cong Rec. S7702 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 1898 (Murkowski, R-Alaska) (land use) would provide for the conveyance of certain property from the United States to the Maniilaq Association located in Kotzebue, Alaska. 157 Cong Rec. S7702 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.

  • H.R. 3404 (Hastings, R-Wash.) (water) would establish in the Department of the Interior an Under Secretary for Energy, Lands, and Minerals and a Bureau of Ocean Energy, an Ocean Energy Safety Service, and an Office of Natural Resources Revenue. 157 Cong. Rec. H7577 (daily ed. Nov. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3407 (Hastings, R-Wash.) (energy) would direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain of Alaska. 157 Cong. Rec. H7577 (daily ed. Nov. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3408 (Lamborn, R-Colo.) (energy) would set clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources and promote shale technology research and development. 157 Cong. Rec. H7577 (daily ed. Nov. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3409 (Johnson, R-Ohio) (land use) would limit the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations before December 31, 2013, under SMCRA. 157 Cong. Rec. H7577 (daily ed. Nov. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3410 (Stivers, R-Ohio) (energy) would require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct certain offshore oil and gas lease sales, provide fair and equitable revenue sharing for all coastal states, formulate future offshore energy development plans in areas with the most potential, and generate revenue for American infrastructure. 157 Cong. Rec. H7577 (daily ed. Nov. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3411 (Benishek, R-Mich.) (land use) would modify a land grant patent issued by the Secretary of the Interior. 157 Cong. Rec. H7577 (daily ed. Nov. 14, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3424 (Holt, D-N.J.) (climate) would establish a program under which the Administrator of EPA shall provide grants to eligible state consortia to establish and carry out municipal sustainability certification programs. 157 Cong. Rec. H7626 (daily ed. Nov. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

  • H.R. 3426 (Connolly, D-Va.) (hazardous & solid waste) would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to require the closure of oil storage and processing facilities that have spilled oil multiple times near residential neighborhoods. 157 Cong. Rec. H7626 (daily ed. Nov. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

  • H.R. 3429 (Palazzo, R-Miss.) (water) would authorize the use of certain offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico for artificial reefs. 157 Cong. Rec. H7626 (daily ed. Nov. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3431 (Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.) (air) would prohibit the Administrator of EPA from granting a waiver under CAA §211(f)(4) for any fuel or fuel additive that will reduce fuel efficiency or cause or contribute to engine damage. 157 Cong. Rec. H7626 (daily ed. Nov. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 3432 (Smith, D-Wash.) (land use) would authorize voluntary grazing permit retirement on federal lands managed by the USDA or DOI where livestock grazing is impractical. 157 Cong. Rec. H7626 (daily ed. Nov. 15, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture.

  • H.R. 3436 (DeFazio, D-Or.) (wilderness) would expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness Area in the state of Oregon, make additional wild and scenic river designations in the Rogue River area, and provide additional protections for Rogue River tributaries. 157 Cong. Rec. H7713 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3441 (Fleischmann, R-Tenn.) (energy) would repeal DOE's weatherization assistance program. 157 Cong. Rec. H7713 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 3450 (Young, R-Alaska) (governance) would authorize the Administrator of EPA to make grants to assist communities in complying with environmental requirements, and authorize the use of penalty amounts collected under laws administered by EPA to finance the grants. 157 Cong. Rec. H7713 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Agriculture.

  • H.R. 3452 (Bishop, R-Utah) (land use) would provide for the sale of approximately 30 acres of federal land in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Salt Lake County, Utah, to permit the establishment of a transportation alternative to connect two ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains. 157 Cong Rec. H7828 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3453 (Benishek, R-Mich.) (wildlife) would amend the ESA to authorize permits for takings of wolves to protect from wolf depredation in states where wolf populations exceed the recovery goals in a recovery plan under that Act. 157 Cong Rec. H7828 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 3454 (Roby, R-Ala.) (land use) would amend the Food Security Act of 1985 with respect to maximum enrollment and eligible land in the conservation reserve program. 157 Cong Rec. H7828 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture.

  • H.R. 3465 (Inslee, D-Wash.) (land use) would protect inventoried roadless areas in the National Forest System. 157 Cong Rec. H7829 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2011). The bill was referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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:

District of Columbia
Florida
Illinois

Indiana
Maine
Minnesota

Missouri
Nevada
Rhode Island

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


Water:



  • The Water and Sewer Authority proposed to amend 21 D.C. Mun. Regs. §§4 & 15, Contested Water and Sewer Bills and Discharges to Wastewater System. Changes significantly alter an earlier proposed rulemaking to clarify the requirements. The deadline for comment is December 11, 2011. See http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/RuleHome.aspx?RuleID=466005.

FLORIDA


Water:



  • The Department of Environmental Protection developed a rule to amend 40 Fla. Admin. Code §302, Conditions for Issuance of General Permits. Changes would clarify the acreage threshold for general environmental resource permits for activities that occur in, on, or over wetlands and other surface waters. See https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/View_notice.asp?id=10602214.

ILLINOIS


General:



  • The Pollution Control Board proposed to amend 35 Ill. Admin. Code §106, Proceedings Pursuant to Specific Rules or Statutory Provisions. Changes establish adjusted standards procedural rules concerning authorizations under §21(q) of the Environmental Protection Act. A recent amendment allows the Board, rather than the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, to grant certain authorizations relating to composted landscape waste. The deadline for comment is December 16, 2011. See http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/index/register/register_volume35_issue46.pdf (pp. 18492-501).

Water:



INDIANA


Water:



MAINE


Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to amend 06-096 Code Me. Regs. Ch. 573, Snow Dumps: Best Management Practices for Pollution Prevention. Changes would define siting criteria and best management practices that will not result in a pollutant discharge and will not require a waste discharge permit. There will be a public hearing December 6, 2011. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/111611.html.

  • The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to amend 06-096 Code Me. Regs. Ch. 691, Rules for Underground Oil Storage Facilities. Changes would amend the current requirement for the abandonment of underground motor fuel, marketing, and distribution oil storage tanks upon the expiration of their tank manufacturer warranty and would allow tanks and their associated facilities to remain in operation for 10 years beyond their warranty expiration date. The amendment would also add safeguards to prevent an increase in the number of petroleum leaks to groundwater. There will be a public hearing December 6, 2011, and the deadline for comment is December 16. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2011/111611.html.

MINNESOTA


Climate:



  • The Environmental Quality Board amended Minn. R. 4410.4300 to add a specific threshold number applying to greenhouse gas emissions to the mandatory EA worksheet category for air pollutants. The level is a combined total of 100,000 tons per year of greenhouse gases, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents. The gases to which this applies are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. See http://www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/stateregister/36_17.pdf (p. 567).

MISSOURI


Water:



  • The Department of Natural Resources proposed to amend Mo. Code Regs. Ann. tit.10, §60.5.010 to §60.15.080, to conform various aspects of the regulations with new federal requirements from the Lead and Copper Rule Short-Term Revisions. There will be a public hearing December 20, 2011. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/v36n22/v36n22a.pdf (pp. 2374-94).

NEVADA


Wildlife:



RHODE ISLAND


Water:



  • The Coastal Resources Management Council amended Ocean Special Area Management Plan (O-SAMP) §800, Renewable Energy and Other Offshore Development, and §1100, The Policies of the O-SAMP. Changes ensure consistency between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement regulation changes and those of the O-SAMP requirements. The amendments will take effect December 5, 2011. See http://sos.ri.gov/rules/index.php?page=details&erlid=6495.

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


INTERNATIONAL

BRAZIL POLICE TO INVESTIGATE CHEVRON SPILL

Brazilian police launched a probe last week to investigate an offshore oil spill in a field operated by Chevron Corp. Brazil's energy agency attributed oil seeps off the coast of Rio de Janeiro to a spill at the company's Fade site, where Chevron estimates that as much as 650 barrels of oil was creating a sheen on the surface. Some environmental groups claim that the spill is much larger, and Fabio Scliar, head of the federal police's environmental affairs division, said that information provided by Chevron did not match reports from technicians. According to Chevron, the spill leaked between 400 and 650 barrels, but the oil on the surface has dissipated and the slick is now under 65 barrels. SkyTruth, a group that uses satellite imagery to monitor the environment, said the oil spill extended 918 square miles and the rate as of last week was 3,738 barrels a day. A spokeswoman for the nation's oil regulator, the National Petroleum Agency, said an estimated 1,000 barrels had leaked to the surface and that it was unclear whether Chevron had contained the leak. For the full story, see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/17/MNOO1M0O0T.DTL. For SkyTruth's last satellite image, see http://blog.skytruth.org/2011/11/chevron-oil-spill-off-brazil-10-times.html.


EURO ZONE DEBT CRISIS MAY WIDEN GAP IN CLIMATE FUNDING

The European debt crisis may widen the climate funding gap to $45 billion by 2015, according to accounting firm Ernst & Young in a report last week. Governments facing severe austerity measures will struggle to maintain promised climate change investments in the Green Climate Fund, as 10 of the world's major economies will likely produce a gap of $22.5 billion in renewable energy, clean technology, pollution-cutting measures and subsidies, which could escalate if the crisis worsens. The report, Durban Dynamics: Navigating for Progress on Climate Change, has caused concern that the climate summit in Durban will not secure a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, in part because nations will not be able to commit a full $100 billion to the Fund to help vulnerable countries tackle climate change. "The enormous projected funding gap revealed by this report suggests continuing economic uncertainty is pushing a low carbon economy further out of reach," said Juan Costa Climent, the firm's global climate change and sustainability services leader. Under current austerity measures, the gap would be largest in Spain, Britain, and France. For the full story, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/17/us-climate-finance-idUSTRE7AG0L720111117?type=GCA-GreenBusiness. For the report, see http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Services/Specialty-Services/Climate-Change-and-Sustainability-Services/Durban-dynamics--navigating-for-progress-on-climate-change---Kyoto-Protocol-in-the-balance.


CANADA PROPOSES TO MATCH U.S. FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS

Environment Minister Peter Kent announced last week proposed standards to require new vehicles sold in Canada to have an average fuel efficiency of 100 km on 4.35 litres of fuel by 2025, matching similar American standards. The regulations would also reduce tailpipe emissions over the next five years until more stringent rules take effect in 2017. Kent acknowledged automakers were skeptical. "I've met with representatives of the Canadian auto industry and the American side of the industry and there are concerns," said Kent. He added that the government would work to make sure targets are attainable and that emerging technologies would be a factor in final standards. For the full story, see http://www.vancouversun.com/life/environment/Canada+aims+match
+tougher+tailpipe+standards+Peter+Kent+says/5721808/story.html
.


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


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