Policy & Enforcement: Deepwater Horizon, Wind Tower Anti-Dumping Claim, Rio+20, Thai Flood Plan

by | Jan 23, 2012

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a U.S. District Judge to declare BP, Anadarko and Transocean, as Deepwater Horizon owners and operators of vessels or offshore facilities, liable for penalties under the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The Clean Water Act allows for penalties of $1,100 per barrel of oil spilled, and up to $4,300 per barrel if the discharge is the result of gross negligence. The U.S. government has estimated that 4.9 million barrels of oil were dumped in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, writes The Times-Picayune.

The U.S. Commerce Department said it will investigate wind energy tower imports from China and Vietnam. The Wind Tower Trade Coalition had asked for anti-dumping duties of 64 percent on imports from China and 59 percent from Vietnam, while the department said China was alleged to undercut U.S. wind tower prices by nearly 214 percent and Vietnam by 141 to 143 percent. In a separate hearing the International Trade Commission is also questioning whether U.S companies have been materially harmed or threatened by the imports.

The first draft of the summit document for the June 2012 Rio+20 environmental summit has been released, calling for sustainable development goals related to food security, access to water, green jobs and sustainable production and consumption models. The document also discusses which economic indicators to consider in addition to GDP to review a country’s economic strength, AFP reports.

The Thai government has announced a $9.4 billion plan for water-management and flood-prevention, including reforestation, dam construction, and city planning to prevent disasterous flooding along the Chao Phraya river basin, but businesses and groups call the planning hasty and inadequate, Al Jazeera reports. The plan follows a class action lawsuit from flood victims filed in December against the government for its response to the floods. Major businesses were also hard hit.

Beijing began disclosing measurements of tiny pollution particles – PM2.5 – in the air this weekend, and the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center will publish hourly 2.5 data on its website, www.bjmemc.com.cn. The data will be collected from a monitoring station positioned at the second ring road around the center city, Reuters reports.

Exxon Mobil agreed to pay $1.6 million in penalties – $300,000 in cash and $1.3 million on future environmental projects – to the state of Montana related to water pollution caused by a pipeline break affecting the Yellowstone River. The company also revised its spill estimate from 1,000 to 1,500 barrels. It is the largest settlement to date for Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality, the Associated Press reports.

Arizona’s Regulatory Review Council voted against continuing lower vehicle-emissions regulations that required car companies to cut fleetwide emissions each year and to help develop an infrastructure to support electric-drive vehicles. The Council voted 5-1 in favor of repealing the Clean Cars program, saying that the state’s program is unnecessary with the federal government proposing requirements for fleetwide fuel economy improvements by 2025, writes AutoblogGreen.com.

The EPA is sampling water at approximately 60 homes in Dimock, Pa. to assess whether residents are being exposed to hazardous substances. The decision is based on their review of data provided by residents, Cabot Oil and Gas, and the Pennsylvania DEP. EPA is ensuring the delivery of temporary water supplies to four homes in the area, the EPA said.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will present projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices to 2035 with the early release of the Reference case projections from Annual Energy Outlook 2012 today at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. The press conference has a live webcast, and the EIA will take question from Twitter via @EIAgov.

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a hearing “American Jobs Now: A Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3548, the North American Energy Access Act.” for Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, inviting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify on the State Department’s review of the Keystone XL project.

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