Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Poland Veto, World Water Forum, NRC Safety Rules, Ohio Fracking Law

by | Mar 12, 2012

Coal-reliant Poland vetoed a European Union roadmap for cutting the bloc’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by mid-century. All 26 other EU countries supported the plan, and climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that support was enough for the commission to make further progress. In June 2010, Poland was the only country to object to the environmental council’s conclusions, Reuters said.

Demand for water from agriculture, which uses around 70 percent of freshwater globally, is likely to rise by at least 19 percent by 2050 as the world’s population grows from 2 billion people to 9 billion, and farmers will need to grow 70 percent more food by that time, according to a UN study. The results will be debated at the World Water Forum beginning today in Marseille, Reuters said.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved three orders to improve safety at the nation’s 104 operating reactors. The rules include a requirement for nuclear plants to have a plan to indefinitely survive blackouts. Reactor owners also must have adequate instruments to monitor spent-fuel cooling pools. Another order calls for older reactors with structures similar to those that failed at Fukushima to have sturdier venting systems to prevent damage to reactor cores, Bloomberg reports.

The NRC said that it wants to speed up safety reforms planned after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, but acknowledged that the five-year schedule for implementing reforms may not be attainable, The Hill reports.

The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Oversight will have a hearing today in Nevada on “Explosion of Federal Regulations Threatening Jobs and Economic Survival in the West.” Testimony includes speakers from the Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a report that the state should pass a new law prohibiting drilling at the Precambrian basement rock level, a depth that begins at 9,184 ft. The agency found evidence that the high-pressure injection of fluid underground during the fracking process caused a series of Ohio earthquakes, Reuters said.

Ellwood Quality Steels Company has agreed to pay a $150,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at its manufacturing facility in New Castle, Pa., the EPA said. The EPA found evidence suggesting violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, including electric and ladle arc furnace dust, which was contained in two tractor trailers without hazardous waste markings. Ellwood also improperly disposed of mercury-containing universal waste lamps, the EPA said.

The EPA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have announced the creation of the Anacostia River Revitalization Fund, targeting the river that flows through Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland. The fund will invest $1 million in restoration activities this year, with a total goal of investing $5 million over the next three years, to be used to protect and restore the Anacostia River and to create a national model for watershed conservation, the EPA said.

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