Policy & Enforcement Briefing: ‘Flexible’ Climate Approach, Mining Water Permits

by | Oct 23, 2013

US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern called for the next United Nations climate deal to follow a more flexible approach. Countries should be permitted to determine their own levels of commitment, rather than adhering to negotiated targets and timetables, Stern said. Participants will meet to discuss the new deal in Warsaw next month.

The EPA has decided not to seek Supreme Court review for an appellate court ruling that invalidated some of its wastewater treatment regulations, according to senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and David Vitter (R-LA), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee. The EPA had been enforcing an interpretation on the blending of partially and fully treated wastewater that had not gone through the proper rule-making procedures, the senators said.

The US Chamber of Commerce and Koch Industries have started lobbying on the social cost of carbon, the metric the Obama administration uses to help quantify the benefits of emissions cuts. The chamber is promoting legislation that would prevent the metric being used unless it is created via formal rulemaking, the Hill reports.

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) is floating an amendment to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act that would limit the EPA’s power in the case of “mountaintop removal” coal-mining projects, the Hill reports. The amendment would prevent the EPA from retroactively vetoing water pollution permits granted by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Goldcorp has secured the environmental permits needed for its $3.9 billion El Morro copper and gold mining project in Chile, Reuters reports. Constructed stopped last year after the country’s Supreme Court froze Goldcorp’s permit at the request of the local indigenous community.

EU member states have agreed to impose duties on Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel, Reuters reports, citing diplomats. The two countries, which represent 90 percent of EU biodiesel imports, are accused of selling at unfairly low prices. The European Commission has proposed duties on Argentine imports of between €217 and €246 ($300-$340) per metric ton, with duties between €122 and €179 per metric ton for imports from Indonesia.

The Department of Energy has issued a request for information to help inform energy conservation standards for ceiling fans. Specifically, DOE seeks information on the interaction between ceiling fan and air conditioning usage.

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA is amending a significant new use rule (SNUR) for perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances. The agency is also finalizing an SNUR for long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate substances, covering manufacturing, importing and processing for use as part of carpets or for treating carpet.

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