Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Emergency Oil Inventories, Venezuela Refinery, Advanced Energy Poll

by | Aug 27, 2012

The International Energy Agency dropped its resistance to a US-led plan to tap into global emergency oil inventories, the industry journal Petroleum Economist reported last week, citing unnamed sources. A release equaling or greater than last year’s 60 million barrel injection could occur as early as September, with the decline in Iran’s oil exports this year used as a justification, Reuters reports.

A large explosion Saturday at Venezuela’s largest oil refinery has killed at least 39 people, including 18 members of their National Guard, and injured many more. Rafael Ramírez, the energy minister, who also is president of Pétroleos de Venezuela, the state-owned oil company that runs the refinery complex, said the blast was caused by a gas leak. Critics of the national oil company say poor management has led to numerous accidents and oil spills in recent years, the New York Times reports.

A poll for Advanced Energy Economy Institute, conducted by Zogby, found that 85 percent of Republicans nationwide and in 12 key swing states believe advanced energy – energy products, technologies, and services that are secure, clean, and affordable over the long term – are “very important” or “somewhat important” to America’s future. By comparison, 88 percent of political independents and 96 percent of Democrats think so, AEEI said. The surveys also found that 80 percent across the country think it’s important for U.S. political leaders to do more to further advance energy, AEEI said.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the Environmental Defense Fund $6 million for the development of natural gas drilling regulations and safety practices. The award is a three-year grant through Bloomberg Philanthropies to support a push for safer fracking practices in 14 states, The Hill said.

The Green Climate Fund will choose a host country for its headquarters this year, deciding among the pitches made by six countries: Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, South Korea and Switzerland. The board aims to select the host country at its October 18-20 meeting in South Korea. The choice would then have to be endorsed by environment ministers at U.N. climate talks in Doha in late November, Reuters said.

Concrete and asphalt manufacturer CPM Development Corporation failed to report toxic chemical use at its Spokane, Wash., facility, the EPA said. The company has submitted the missing reports outlining chemical use and disposal at its facility, and will pay a $25,400 penalty, the agency said.

The City of Gloucester in Massachusetts will upgrade its sewage treatment plant and work to stem overflows from its sewer system. The modified consent decree stems from a DOJ federal enforcement action, and replaces the city’s 2005 plan with a more cost-effective method to mitigate and in some cases eliminate combined sewer overflow discharges. Implementation of the plan is expected to improve water quality at Pavilion Beach and in Gloucester Harbor, the EPA said.

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission will implement extensive remedial measures to minimize the discharge of sewage and other pollutants into the water bodies in and around Boston, the EPA said. The BWSC will also pay a civil penalty of $235,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act and will institute a supplemental environmental project worth at least $160,000.

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