Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Chevron Assets, Gulf of Mexico Leases, Defense Fuels

by | Nov 30, 2012

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A group of 47 Ecuadoreans have asked Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to seize Chevron assets in Canada to collect on the 2011 $19 billion judgment against the company for environmental damages. The Ecuador ruling ordered the company to pay for oil pollution dating to the 1960s, which Chevron has protested saying it was a decision fraught with bribery and fraud, Bloomberg said.

Rights to drill on 116 tracts in the western Gulf of Mexico netted $157.8 million in high bids during a lease sale this week. Only 11 of the 116 blocks sold are located in less than 200 meters of water, and 40 of them are in water depths of more than 1,600 meters. More than a dozen companies submitted bids, Fuel Fix said.

The US Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas J. Donahue recommended that any deficit agreement between the administration and Congress should include plans to tap into America’s domestic energy resources. The lobby group said that promoting such opportunities could assist in negotiations by creating a “third bucket” of financial resource, in addition to spending cuts and taxes, the Washington Times said.

The Senate voted for amendment 2985, which would delete a provision in the defense bill blocking the military from spending on alternative fuels if the cost exceeds that of traditional fossil fuels. The Pentagon has opposed the provision, and is asking for $1.4 billion in next year’s budget for investments in clean energy, including hybrid electric drives for ships, more efficient engines, better generators and solar power, the Associated Press said.

The Senate also passed amendment 3095 to the defense bil, striking the prohibition on biofuel refinery construction. The amendment allows the Department of Defense to invest in refineries for advanced biofuels such as algae and switchgrass through a joint Agriculture, Energy and Navy departments agreement. The government funds the development of advanced biofuels with $510 million through the Defense Production Act, The Hill said.

Republicans Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) are seeking support for a resolution declaring that a carbon tax would be economically harmful. Pompeo said that the planned resolution seeks to put Congress on the record as formally in opposition to carbon tax proposals, The Hill said.

Oil executive Nathan Garber pleaded not guilty to a Class C felony charge that he threatened North Dakota drinking water with his company’s hydraulic fracturing wastewater disposal practices. Garber was president of Executive Drilling at the time of the alleged crime. A Class C felony in North Dakota carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both, The Dickenson Press said.

The Olympic Fruit Company based in Union Gap, Wash., has reached a settlement with the EPA regarding Clean Air Act risk management requirements for its handling of more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. As part of the settlement, the company will pay a penalty of $33,964. The company will spend at least $40,659 to install new ammonia detection sensors, safety shut-off valves and an emergency pressure control system, the agency said.

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