WASHINGTON (AP) — The current federal limit on smog-forming pollution linked to asthma and respiratory illness "is not adequate to protect the public health," a top environmental regulator said Tuesday.
Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said a new, stricter standard is needed to cut dangerous ozone pollution and prevent thousands of asthma attacks, emergency room visits and even premature deaths.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy agreed Tuesday to pay North Carolina regulators $7 million to settle allegations of groundwater pollution at its coal ash pits and to perform accelerated cleanups costing millions of dollars at four sites.
The agreement came as lawyers for the country's largest electric company and the state were preparing courtroom arguments regarding a $25 million fine over groundwater pollution at a Wilmington plant, the state's largest-ever penalty for environmental damage.
WASHINGTON (AP) — In stock car racing, there's an old adage: If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'. You could say the same sometimes for auto makers up against stricter environmental rules.
Volkswagen is far from the first company to stand accused of trying to game required emissions tests. Almost since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, major manufacturers of cars, trucks and heavy equipment have been busted for using what regulators call "defeat devices" — typically programing a vehicle's on-board computer to boost horsepower or fuel mileage by belching out dirtier exhaust than allowed.
Refinery operators will be required to monitor for fugitive emissions within and at the fence lines of their plants, find and fix the cause as soon as possible, and publicly disclose the data under a final rule unveiled Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the standards were an important step toward protecting vulnerable communities and the 6.1 million Americans who live within 3 miles of a refinery.
“This is a big step forward for people and families who live near these facilities,” she told reporters on a call. “This rule is a big deal for many people. This rule will significantly improve air quality in the vicinity of refineries and beyond.”
The rule would also seek to “virtually eliminate” smoking flare emissions and pollution from pressure release devices, by limiting such events to three events per three years.
The agency said the standards, to be fully implemented in 2018, would cut 5,200 tons of toxic emissions and 50,000 tons of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, annually. Additionally, the agency said the rules would cut about 660,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.
The agency estimates the final regulation will cost the industry $63 million annually and have a "negligible impact” on petroleum product costs.
Researchers and health experts tell The New York Times that Volkswagen’s deception over diesel emissions testing contributed to air pollution, which could be estimated to have contributed to more than 100 deaths.
General Electric says it will move 350 jobs to Canada as a result of the expiration of the Export-Import Bank, but supporters hope to get the bank re-authorized in the weeks before the departure of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, the Los Angeles Times reports.
DENVER (AP) — A lawyer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told an appeals court Monday that a federal judge in Utah went too far when when he struck down protections for a kind of prairie dog found only in that state.
Attorney Anna Katselas asked the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the decision and restore protection for the prairie dogs under the Endangered Species Act.
The stocks of U.S. petroleum products increased last week, the Energy Information Administration reported, although the million barrel rise in crude stocks was less than analysts’ expected, while the jump in gasoline stocks exceeded predictions, according to Reuters.
Earthjustice filed court papers Tuesday on behalf of several environmental and health groups seeking to intervene to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s lower ozone limits from a lawsuit brought by coal company Murray Energy, The Hill reports.
State Department climate envoy Todd Stern told a news conference that he’s thinking about the upside, not the downside, heading into a critical global conference on climate change policy that starts Monday, National Journal reports.
The plan for coal producer Walter Energy to emerge from bankruptcy is being fought by unions and the firm’s retired workers in Alabama, but a court Tuesday approved the company’s move to auction off assets, Reuters reports.
Acting to lower its credit rating for Pemex, Moody’s Investors Service pointed to the firm’s increasing debt and declining earnings, although Mexico’s national oil company responded by saying the move brings the agency in line with other ratings firms, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The White House and the billionaire conservative Koch brothers have been allies recently in moves to liberalize the nation’s criminal justice laws, but they are disagreeing over one measure that would require proof of suspects knowingly engaging in unlawful conduct, The New York Times reports, noting that such a move is alarming environmentalists.
According to a report released this week by the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, weather-related disasters have caused more than 600,000 deaths and trillions of dollars in damages over the past 20 years, The New York Times reports.
A market-based approach for cutting vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions—which could include mileage-based driver fees or emissions trading—is the goal as Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia announced an agreement to work together on the issue, Reuters reports.