Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Calif. Emissions Rules, Bonneville Power, FDA Plans BPA Decision

by | Dec 9, 2011

California’s Air Resources Board proposed new rules to reduce emissions from vehicles, including putting 1.4 million electric, plug-in and hydrogen cars on the state’s roads by 2025. The program, scheduled for review by the ARB at a Jan. 26 meeting would save an estimated $22 billion in fuel costs, and reduces GHG emissions from vehicles by 34 percent compared to 2016 levels, Reuters reports.

The FDA has committed to make a decision by March 31, 2012, on whether to ban BPA from use in food and drink packaging. The announcement is part of a settlement with National Resources Defense Council after the group filed a petition in 2008 seeking to block the substance as a food additive, NRDC said.

In response to a complaint from Pacific Northwest wind companies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered federal power agency Bonneville Power Administration to changes its rules governing surplus wind energy. Rather than opening spillways, Bonneville shut down turbines after weather conditions created a surplus of both wind and water energy, a move which displaced nearly 100,000 megawatt hours of wind energy, the New York Times said.

New Mexico’s Environmental Improvement Board will hear from utilities and industry groups that are seeking to repeal a regulation to reduce GHG emissions. The Monday hearing looks to repeal the 2010 rule first proposed by the environmental group New Energy Economy, according to Business Week.

The state of New Jersey released its 2011 Energy Master Plan, which emphasizes renewables, energy efficiency and cost reductions. According to North American Wind Power, Gov. Chris Christie remains committed to supporting the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 22.5% by 2021, which will focus mainly on solar and offshore wind.

Following a summit with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Wednesday President Obama remained firmly behind his decision to conduct a review of the Keystone XL pipeline project, and delay the project until after the U.S. election. The leaders announced their plan to improve inefficiencies at the border that hinder trade, Reuters reports.

Agrifos has agreed to pay a $1.8 million penalty and conduct an environmental project to resolve alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Air Act, the EPA said. Alleged violations include processing and disposing of hazardous wastewater related to the production of phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizer.

In the past fiscal year EPA Region 4 has issued Consent Agreements and Final Orders against 25 entities throughout the Southeast for violations of the Clean Water Act. As part of the settlements, the responsible parties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee agreed to come into compliance and pay $184,317 in civil penalties, the EPA said.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is filing a bill to block the European Union from requiring airlines operating in its countries to trade emissions – a policy that would cost airlines $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2020. The House approved a similar measure to U.S. airlines from being forced to participate in the EU Emission Trading System, The Hill reports.

The targets and measures of the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive are on the agenda within the European Parliament in the first months of 2012 – in a time when EU officials acknowledge that most countries are failing to meet minimum energy-saving targets. The main binding measures proposed in the directive are the annual 3 percent renovation of public buildings and 1.5 percent energy improvement for energy companies, Euractive.com writes.

South Africa has chosen 28 renewable energy projects, mostly wind and solar plants that could supply 1,416 MW as part of its goal cut its reliance on coal fired plants. A second bidding round for green projects will be launched early next year, Reuters said.

The Indian government has ruled that the port sector must assign a portion of profits for social development. All major ports will now have to spend 5 percent of their net surplus on projects or causes related to corporate social responsibility, writes the Financial Express.

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