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Weekly Update Volume 39, Issue 33

11/23/2009

LITIGATION

HURRICANE KATRINA, FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT, NEPA:



A district court held that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is liable to five homeowners and business under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for damages they incurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Corps' negligent failure to properly maintain and operate the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) was a substantial cause for the fatal breaching of one of its levees and the subsequent catastrophic flooding that occurred, and the plaintiffs' claims fall under the FTCA. The due care exception to the FTCA does not apply since due care was clearly absent in the Corps' actions. For example, the Corps recognized the need for foreshore protection of the MRGO as early as 1967 yet did not act on that knowledge. Similarly, the discretionary function exception does not apply since the Corps violated the mandated requirements set forth in NEPA. Not only was its 1976 EIS "fatally flawed," plaintiffs presented substantial, clear and convincing evidence that the Corps itself internally recognized that the MRGO was causing significant changes in the environment--the disappearance of wetlands adjacent to the MRGO and the effects thereof on the human environment--that triggered subsequent reporting requirements. Even if there was no mandate, the Corps was not acting on policy, as the Corps's defalcations with respect to the maintenance and operation of the MRGO were in direct contravention of professional engineering and safety standards. In sum, for over 40 years, the Corps was aware that the levee was going to be compromised by the continued deterioration of the MRGO. The Corps had an opportunity to take a myriad of actions to alleviate or rehabilitate this deterioration but failed to do so. The Corps was therefore ordered to pay the plaintiffs a combined total of over $700,000 in damages. In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation, No. 05-4182, 39 ELR 20264 (E.D. La. Nov. 18, 2009) (Duval, J.).


CWA, WETLANDS:



A district court denied motions to dismiss an environmental group's CWA enforcement action against a county for alleged wetlands violations related to a construction project in Mississippi. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a notice of violation to the county for the unauthorized filling and dredging of wetlands associated with the construction project. Two months later, the environmental group issued its notice of intent to sue to the county for these same violations plus for alleged unauthorized dumping of storm water into the wetlands. The county then filed a motion to dismiss the group's action, arguing that the complaint is barred by CWA §1319(g)(6) because the Corps was already diligently investigating this case prior to the group's notice of intent to sue. But by issuing the notice of violation, the Corps was not commencing a CWA §309(g) administrative civil penalty action. A reservation of rights to bring an administrative civil penalty action does not suffice as commencement or diligent prosecution. Rather, a civil administrative civil penalty action is commenced by the filing of an administrative complaint. There is no evidence that the Corps has filed one. The CWA §309(g)(6) bar, therefore, is inapplicable. Gulf Restoration Network v. Hancock County Development, LLC, No. 1:08cv186, 39 ELR 20261 (S.D. Miss. Nov. 16, 2009) (Guirola, Jr., J.) (Plaintiff's counsel included the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic in New Orleans, LA).


NEPA, AGENCY ACTION:



A district court held that the Bureau of Reclamation violated NEPA by failing to perform any environmental review prior to provisionally adopting and implementing the FWS' 2008 biological opinion and reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) on the threatened delta smelt in connection with the coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. Under the biological opinion and RPA, the projects' water delivery operations must be materially changed to restrict project water flows to protect the smelt. Both the FWS and Bureau of Reclamation participated to some degree in the agency action at issue here. But Reclamation is the appropriate lead agency for purpose of NEPA review. Reclamation was not bound by the biological opinion until it chose to proceed with the project and implement the RPA. Once Reclamation did so, operation of the projects became the relevant agency action, and Reclamation, as the action agency, is the more appropriate lead agency. Because Reclamation's implementation of the biological opinion and RPA constitutes a major federal action since they cause a change to the operational status quo of an existing project, and because the projects may cause significant degradation of the human environment, Reclamation violated NEPA in failing to conduct any environmental review. San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Salazar, No. 1:09-CV-407, 39 ELR 20263 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 13, 2009) (Wanger, J.).


CERCLA, OPERATOR LIABILITY:



A district court held that the United States is not liable as an operator under CERCLA for perchlorate contamination at the Whittaker-Bermite site in Santa Clarita, California. The company that owns and operates the site manufacturers, among other things, rocket motors for the military. The company's insurer argued that every contract between the United States and the company included language requiring the company to adhere to the DOD Safety Manual, which set forth the criteria for waste management and disposal at the site. Therefore, the insurer contends, by incorporating the DOD Safety Manual into the contracts, the United States created a genuine issue of material fact as to whether it controlled the generation and disposal of wastewater at the site. But courts have consistently held that contract provisions, specifications, and even mandates similar to those expressed in the DOD Safety Manual are insufficient to show "direction" or "control" over waste disposal for purposes of establishing operator liability. And the Safety Manual provides nothing more than basic safety guidance for facilities such as the site. In no way did it direct the company's employees as to their actions regarding waste disposal. Because the evidence reveals that the government has neither managed, directed, nor conducted operations specifically related to pollution, the court granted its motion for partial summary judgment precluding it from being held liable on the basis of operator liability. Steadfast Insurance Co. v. United States, No. 06-4686m 39 ELR 20266 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 10, 2009) (Matz, J.).


WATER QUALITY, BUFFER ZONES:



A North Carolina appellate court held that the North Carolina Sedimentation Control Commission erred in issuing a country club a variance from state buffer requirements allowing it to build a nine-hole golf course along and over Banks Creek, certified trout waters. The applicable state statute requires, at the very least, an undisturbed 25-foot buffer zone between classified trout waters and land disturbing activity. This mandatory buffer zone may only be violated by "temporary and minimal" land disturbing activity when specifically authorized by the Commission. Here, the country club's land disturbing activities are not minimal. The club completely removed 160 feet of the mandatory undisturbed buffer zone of Banks Creek by clearing all vegetation, removing trees and tree canopy within the buffer zone along 2,763 feet of Banks Creek, and re-routing a portion of the trout waters through 1,868 feet of underground piping. Nor is the club's activity temporary. The club will continue to conduct activity that may cause or contribute to sedimentation in the buffer zone after completion of all construction. The lower court, therefore, erred in upholding the variance based on its conclusion that the land-disturbing activities in this case were "temporary" and "minimal" in accordance with the statute. Hensley v. North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources, No. 08-1307, 39 ELR 20265 (N.C. Ct. App. Nov. 17, 2009).


NATURAL GAS, TAX LAW:



The Wyoming Supreme Court reversed the state's calculation of severance taxes owed by a company that operates a large natural gas well facility in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. State law provides that the fair market value of natural gas for severance tax purposes is determined after the production process is completed. Because the company doesn't sell the gas at the end of the production process but instead sells it after it has been processed and separated into methane, carbon dioxide, and sulfur, the amount the company receives when it sells those products is higher than their value after initial processing. The accounting method must therefore reflect the lower value of the gas at the point where the production process is actually completed. The parties' dispute centered on how post-processing transportation costs should be factored into the calculation. State law provides that "direct cost[s] of producing, processing and transporting" minerals must be included in the denominator of the direct cost ratio under the proportionate profits method. Here, the court agreed with the company that its post-processing transportation costs were direct costs. As a result, the company will be taxed at a much lower rate. Exxon Mobil Corp. v. State, No. 2009 WY 139, 39 ELR 20262 (Wyo. Nov. 12, 2009).


Copyright© 2009, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


THE FEDERAL AGENCIES

Note: Citations below are to the Federal Register (FR).


AIR:



  • EPA entered into a proposed consent decree under the CAA that requires the Agency to respond to two petitions seeking EPA's objection to a combined PSD and Title V operating permit issued for the proposed Cash Creek Generating Station in Cash Creek, Kentucky, by December 14, 2009. 74 FR 58953 (11/16/09).

  • EPA entered into a proposed consent decree under the CAA that requires the Agency to review and, if appropriate, revise the new source performance standards for nitric acid plants on or before November 15, 2010. 74 FR 58954 (11/16/09).

  • EPA entered into a proposed settlement agreement under the CAA that sets deadlines for the Agency to promulgate standards for major sources of hazardous air pollutant emissions from polyvinyl chloride and copolymers production facilities. 74 FR 58955 (11/16/09).

  • SIP Approvals: Virginia (transportation conformity requirements) 74 FR 60194 (11/20/09). West Virginia/Maryland/Ohio (1997 fine particulate matter NAAQS for the Martinsburg-Hagerstown/Parkersburg-Marietta/Wheeling nonattainment areas) 74 FR 60199 (11/20/09).

  • SIP Proposals: Tennessee (1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS for the bi-state Memphis, Tennessee-Arkansas, nonattainment area) 74 FR 59943 (11/19/09). Virginia (transportation conformity requirements; see above for direct final rule) 74 FR 60227 (11/20/09).

DRINKING WATER:



  • EPA proposed to approve revisions to Arkansas' public water system supervision program to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water. 74 FR 59176 (11/17/09).

HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTE:



  • EPA proposed giving final authorization of changes to Oregon's hazardous waste management program. 74 FR 59497 (11/18/09).

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT:



  • The president proclaimed November 15, 2009, as America Recycles Day. 74 FR 59473 (11/18/09).

WATER:



  • EPA Region 10 proposed to reissue the NPDES general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations in Idaho, including Indian Country. 74 FR 59975 (11/19/09).

WILDLIFE:



  • FWS removed the brown pelican from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife under the ESA due to its recovery. 74 FR 59444 (11/17/09).

DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENT:



  • United States v. Cabot Corp., No. 1:09-cv-5783 (D.N.J. Nov. 13, 2009). Settling CERCLA defendants must pay $750,000 in U.S. response costs incurred at the Pioneer Smelting Superfund site in Chatsworth, New Jersey. 74 FR 60293 (11/20/09).

  • United States v. Allen Greig & Perry, Inc., No. 1:09-cv-482 (D. Me. Nov. 12, 2009). Two settling CERCLA defendants must pay $10,953 in past state response costs incurred at the West Site/Hows Corner Superfund site in Plymouth, Maine; must pay $900,000 in future oversight costs to Maine; must pay $6,500 in natural resource damages assessment costs to the DOI; must pay $59,427 in natural resource damages assessment costs to Maine; must perform the EPA-selected remedial action for the site; and must implement a natural resources project. Also, 80 additional settling CERCLA defendants must pay $14,878,397 into a trust account, and five settling federal agencies must pay $63,661 in remedy costs, plus a percentage of costs after the trust funds are exhausted. 74 FR 59991 (11/19/09).

  • United States v. City of St. Maries, No. 09-cv-00577 (D. Idaho Nov. 9, 2009). Settling CERCLA defendants must pay $555,951.23 in U.S. response costs incurred at a work site in St. Maries, Idaho, and must perform the EPA-selected remedy at the site, estimated to cost in excess of $12 million. 74 FR 59241 (11/17/09).

  • United States v. Corbett Package Co., No. 7:09 cv 00181 (E.D.N.C. Nov. 10, 2009). Settling CWA defendants that discharged fill material into waters of the United States must pay a civil penalty and must place a restrictive covenant on a 100-acre portion of the site to retain the existing hydrologic characteristics of its wetlands. 74 FR 59241 (11/17/09).

Copyright© 2009, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


THE CONGRESS

Citations below are to the Congressional Record (Cong. Rec.).


Chamber Action


  • H.R. 3618 (Clean Hull Act of 2009), which would provide for implementation of the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001, was passed by the House. 155 Cong. Rec. H13013 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2009).

  • H.R. 2781 (Wild and Scenic Rivers Act), which would amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Molalla River in Oregon as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, was passed by the House. 155 Cong. Rec. H13281 (daily ed. Nov. 19, 2009).

Committee Action


  • H.R. 86 (land) was reported by the Committee on Natural Resources. H. Rep. No. 111-334, 155 Cong. Rec. H13000 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill, among other things, would incorporate the rocks and small islands along the coast of Orange County, California, into the California Coastal National Monument managed by the BLM.

  • H.R. 118 (parks) was reported by the Committee on Natural Resources. H. Rep. No. 111-335, 155 Cong. Rec. H13000 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill would authorize the addition of 100 acres to Morristown National Historical Park.

  • H.R. 2781 (Wild and Scenic Rivers Act) was reported by the Committee on Natural Resources. H. Rep. No. 111-336, 155 Cong. Rec. H13000 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill would amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Molalla River in Oregon as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

  • H.R. 2888 (wilderness) was reported by the Committee on Natural Resources. H. Rep. No. 111-337, 155 Cong. Rec. H13000 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill would provide for the designation of the Devil's Staircase Wilderness Area in Oregon and designate segments of Wasson and Franklin Creeks in Oregon as wild or recreation rivers.

  • H. Res. 908 (Wild and Scenic Rivers Act) was reported by the Committee on Rules. H. Rep. 111-339, 155 Cong. Rec. H13068 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2009). The resolution would provide for consideration of H.R. 2781 to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Molalla River in Oregon as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Bills Introduced


  • S. 2773 (Collins, R-Me.) (energy) would require the Secretary of Energy to carry out a program to support the research, demonstration, and development of commercial applications for offshore wind energy. 155 Cong. Rec. S11382 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 2776 (Alexander, R-Tenn.) (energy) would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to create the right business environment for doubling production of clean nuclear energy and other clean energy and to create mini-Manhattan projects for clean energy research and development. 155 Cong. Rec. S11382 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 2778 (Boxer, D-Cal.) (Public Works and Economic Development Act) would amend the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to reauthorize that Act. 155 Cong. Rec. S11382 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

  • S. 2779 (Klobuchar, D-Minn.) (Upper Mississippi River Basin) would promote DOI efforts to provide a scientific basis for the management of sediment and nutrient loss in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. 155 Cong. Rec. S11382 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 2783 (Bayh, D- Ind.) (oil) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for used oil refining. 155 Cong. Rec. S11430 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

  • S. 2791 (Merkley, D-Or.) (timber) would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to grant economy-related contract extensions for certain timber contracts between the Secretary of the Interior and timber purchasers. 155 Cong. Rec. S11492 (daily ed. Nov. 18, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • S. 2798 (Udall, D-Colo.) (wildfires) would reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire through the facilitation of insect and disease infestation treatment of National Forest System and adjacent land. 155 Cong. Rec. S11492 (daily ed. Nov. 18, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 4070 (Pomeroy, D-N.D.) (biodiesel) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the incentives for the production of biodiesel. 155 Cong. Rec. H13001 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

  • H.R. 4081 (Schrader, D-Or.) (land) would direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of the suitability and feasibility of establishing the Willamette Falls National Heritage Area in Oregon. 155 Cong. Rec. H13001 (daily ed. Nov. 16, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 4085 (Thompson, D-Cal.) (energy) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow an investment credit for property used to fabricate solar energy property. 155 Cong. Rec. H13068 (daily ed. Nov. 17, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 4108 (McClintock, R-Cal.) (land acquisition) would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire the Gold Hill Ranch in Coloma, California. 155 Cong. Rec. H13265 (daily ed. Nov. 18, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 4119 (Rehberg, R-Mont.) (water) would authorize the construction of the Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority System in the states of Montana and North Dakota. 155 Cong. Rec. H13351 (daily ed. Nov. 19, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 4132 (Becerra, D-Cal.) (water) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for clean renewable water supply bonds 155 Cong. Rec. H13352 (daily ed. Nov. 19, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

  • H.R. 4137 (Frank, D-Mass.) (National Historic Parks) would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide preservation and interpretation assistance for resources associated with the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in Massachusetts 155 Cong. Rec. H13352 (daily ed. Nov. 19, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

  • H.R. 4149 (Markey, D-Colo.) (energy) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a renewable electricity integration credit for a utility that purchases or produces renewable power. 155 Cong. Rec. H13353 (daily ed. Nov. 19, 2009). The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

Copyright© 2009, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


IN THE STATES

Note: The entries below cover state developments since the last issue of Update. The entries are arranged by state, and within each section, entries are further subdivided by subject matter area. To access material previously reported in 2009, visit our list of Cumulative State Developments. For state material reported prior to 2009, visit the ELR Archives.


The states below have updates this week:

















Michigan New Hampshire Rhode Island
Minnesota New Jersey Texas
Nebraska Oklahoma Virginia
Nevada Pennsylvania Wisconsin

MICHIGAN


Air:



MINNESOTA


General:



  • The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board will hold a series of public hearings on proposed amendments to rules governing the state's environmental review program. The amendments include a new mandatory environmental assessment worksheet, EIS and exemption categories for shoreland area development, and a new mandatory EIS category for releases of genetically engineered wild rice. Other amendments would streamline a variety of rules related to urban development projects and clarify the meaning of various rule provisions, such as the meaning of cumulative potential effects. The hearing will be February 25, 26, and March 2, 4, 5, 2009. See http://www.eqb.state.mn.us/resource.html?Id=19905

NEBRASKA


Air:



Toxic Substances:



Water:



NEVADA


Energy:



  • The Office of Energy adopted Nev. Admin. Code Ch. 701, relating to renewable energy. The rules establish provisions governing loans from the Fund for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Loans administered by the Director of the Office of Energy. See http://www.leg.state.nv.us/register/2009Register/R161-09P.pdf

NEW HAMPSHIRE


Air:



  • The Department of Environmental Services will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to N.H. Code Admin. R. Ann. Env-A 500, Standards Applicable to Certain New or Modified Facilities and Sources of Hazardous Air Pollutants (NSPS, NESHAPs). Env-A 500 incorporates by reference certain federal new source performance standards, NESHAPs, and NESHAPs for specific source categories (also know as maximum achievable control technology). The hearing will be December 8, 2009. See http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/legal/rulemaking/documents/env-a500_ip_notice.pdf

NEW JERSEY


Water:



  • The Department of Environmental Protection seeks public comment on the proposed readoption of N.J. A.C. tit. 7 §10, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Rules. The SDWA rules establish the state primary and secondary drinking water regulations for public and nonpublic water systems, construction standards, fees, physical connections between an approved and an unapproved water supply, and provisions regarding civil administrative penalties and adjudicatory hearings under the New Jersey SDWA.  The Department has evaluated the rules and has determined that they are necessary, reasonable, and proper for the purpose for which they were originally promulgated. Comments are due February 5, 2010. See http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices/120709a.html

OKLAHOMA


Water:



  • The Water Resources Board will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to Okla. Admin. Code §785:5-1-6, Stream water permit application and administration fees; Okla. Admin. Code §785:5-1-9, Dam safety and inspection fees; Okla. Admin. Code §785:5-1-10, Groundwater application and administration fees; Okla. Admin. Code §785:5-1-11, Well driller and pump installer licensing fees; and Okla. Admin. Code §785:5-1-14, Stream water and groundwater petition fees. The amendments would increase the existing amounts for each category of fee by $5.00, eliminate the additional late fee for filing annual water use reports, and provide that failure to file the annual water use report by the date specified in the report form may be considered a failure to comply with terms of a permit to trigger an administrative proceeding to cancel the permit. The hearing will be January 12, 2010. See http://www.oar.state.ok.us/register/Volume-27_Issue-05.htm#a16906

PENNSYLVANIA


Air:



  • The Environmental Quality Board will hold a series of public hearings on proposed adoption of 25 Pa. Code §290, relating to beneficial use of coal ash. The rule contains the standards, procedures, and requirements that apply to the beneficial use of coal ash. The hearings will be December 7, 8, and 9, 2009. See http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-45/2062.html

  • The Environmental Quality Board will hold a series of public hearings on proposed amendments to 25 Pa. Code §§121 and 129, relating to general provisions and standards for sources. The proposed rulemaking would limit emissions of volatile organic compounds from the use and application of coatings and cleaning materials in paper, film, and foil surface coating processes. The hearings will be December 9, 11, and 14, 2009. See http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-45/2064.html

Hazardous & Solid Waste:



  • The Environmental Quality Board seeks public comment on proposed amendments to 25 Pa. Code §261a, relating to identification and listing of hazardous waste. The amendments would modify an existing hazardous waste delisting previously granted to Geological Reclamation Operations and Waste Systems, Inc., whose successor by merger, Waste Management Disposal Services of Pennsylvania, Inc., petitioned the Board to increase the maximum annual volume covered by the current delisting. Comments are due December 7, 2009. See http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-45/2063.html

Water:



  • The Environmental Quality Board will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to 25 Pa. Code §95, relating to Wastewater Treatment Requirements. The proposed amendments include the elimination of a redundant provision, the recognition of applicable TMDL requirements, and the establishment of new effluent standards for new sources of wastewaters containing high total dissolved solids concentrations. The hearing will be held December 14, 15, 16, and 17, 2009. See http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-45/2065.html

RHODE ISLAND


Air:



TEXAS


Energy:



  • The Public Utility Commission of Texas has adopted amendments to 16 Tex. Admin. Code §25.174, Competitive Renewable Energy Zones. The amendments direct the commission to consider the level of financial commitment by renewable generators for each Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) in determining whether to grant a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN). The amendments address the level of financial commitment that renewable generators must satisfy before the commission will process the CCN applications for transmission facilities to serve certain CREZs previously designated by the commission, and delete language that would be inconsistent with the changes resulting from the amendment. See http://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/archive/October302009/adopted/16.ECONOMIC%20REGULATION.html#535

Water:



VIRGINIA


Air:



Toxic Substances:



  • The Pesticide Control Board seeks public comment on a petition for rulemaking requesting amendments to 2 Va. Admin. Code §20-51, Regulations Governing Pesticide Applicator Certification Under Authority of Virginia Pesticide Control Act. The changes would exempt certain government employees who use FIFRA §25(b) minimum risk pesticide products from the applicator certification requirements of the Virginia Pesticide Control Act when the only intended use of those products is to prevent immediate personal harm from stinging or biting insects. Comments are due December 1, 2009. See http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/comments.cfm?petitionid=95

  • The Department of Environmental Quality seeks public comment on proposed amendments to 9 Va. Admin. Code §25-580, Underground Storage Tanks: Technical Standards and Corrective Action Requirements. This action will amend the technical standards and corrective actions requirements for USTs to incorporate requirements of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005. Comments are due January 8, 2010. See http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/comments.cfm?stageid=5053; and http://legis.state.va.us/codecomm/register/vol26/iss05/p9v25580.html

Water:



  • The Department of Environmental Quality seeks public comment on proposed amendments to 9 Va. Admin. Code §25-260, State Water Quality Standards Regulation. The amendments would designate Urbanna Creek from its mouth to its headwaters and all tributaries as Exceptional State Waters. Comments are due November 30, 2009. See http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/comments.cfm?petitionid=93

WISCONSIN


Air:



  • The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing on proposed revisions to Wis. Admin. Code NR §§404, 438, and 484, relating to ambient air quality standards for ozone and lead and new reporting requirements for lead compounds. The hearing will be held December 1, 2009. See https://apps.dhfs.state.wi.us/admrules/public/Rmo?nRmoId=5545

Copyright© 2009, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


INTERNATIONAL

INDIA'S CABINET APPROVES SOLAR POWER PROGRAM


India's cabinet approved its first solar power plan last week, pledging to boost output from near zero to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 as part of its plan to fight global warming.  The $19 billion plan is aimed to help India close the gap on solar front-runners like China and could increase India's leverage in international talks for a new U.N. climate pact in Copenhagen next month.  Money would be spent on incentives for production and installation as well as research and development, and the plan offers financial incentives and tax holidays for utilities.  It envisions three phases starting with 1-1.5 GW by 2012 along with steps to drive down production costs of solar panels and spur domestic manufacturing. For the full story, see http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-GreenBusiness/idUSTRE5AI3PM20091119

RUSSIA MAKES EMISSIONS PLEDGE, CONFUSION ON WTO


Russia set a new target for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at a summit with the European Union (EU) last week but failed to clear up confusion over its plans to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). The EU said the promise to make further reductions to those planned was a boost for climate talks in Copenhagen next month, and the good atmosphere at the meeting was a sharp contrast to previous EU-Russia summits that have been marred by disputes. The EU also welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's commitment to join the WTO quickly, but he failed to answer their questions about whether Moscow would join as a separate state or as part of a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. One sour note at the talks in Stockholm was a disagreement over human rights, with the EU expressing concern over the situation in Russia. But the sides said they hoped soon to agree a new framework agreement for economic and political ties and avoided any conflict over Russian energy supplies to Europe. For the full story, see http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/55548

PUMA JOINS UNEP CLIMATE NEUTRAL NETWORK


Sport lifestyle brand PUMA will become the first major sportswear company to join the Climate Neutral Network of the United Nations Environment Programme, the company announced at its seventh annual stakeholder meeting "Talks at Banz" at the Banz monastery in Germany. PUMA will reduce its carbon footprint by converting to green energy such as solar power and other renewable sources, optimizing travel and logistics to reduce transport-related emissions, and leasing more fuel-efficient cars for its company fleet, among other measures. The plan covers the breadth of PUMA's worldwide operations, from direct emissions from PUMA's offices, stores, and warehouses to staff business travel and the shipping of goods. For the full story, see http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=602&ArticleID=6373&l=en&t=long

Copyright© 2009, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.


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