Firm pays fine for not reporting mine pollution

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Canadian-based owner of a gold mine in northern Nevada has agreed to pay a $182,000 civil penalty for failing to correctly report to federal environmental regulators the release of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals — including arsenic and cyanide — into the air and ground.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Thursday with Veris Gold USA, a subsidiary of the Vancouver-based Veris Gold Corp.

Photo by Ruhrfisch

GAO: Limited knowledge of buried drilling wastewater

Information available to regulators on chemicals in the 2 billion gallons of oil and gas drilling waste fluids injected daily into disposal wells or reused in enhanced oil recovery operations is limited by a mix of state and federal rules, the Government Accountability Office reported Tuesday.

In an audit of eight states, including shale drilling boom states Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, GAO found that federal law allowing states to regulate the wells has led to a patchwork of knowledge and monitoring of buried fluids.

Pie-in-the-sky ideas to tackle Chinese smog

Los Angeles Times

As China’s air pollution gets worse, ideas on how to tackle it are proliferating, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Wyoming wins hold on EPA haze rules

The Associated Press

Wyoming power plants can hold off on installing pollution control equipment while a legal challenge to Environmental Protection Agency rules to reduce haze in national parks and wilderness is decided, according to a ruling from federal judges in Denver, The Associated Press reports.

Mexico pollution, water disputes turn political

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Water pollution disasters in Mexico have turned into political battles as officials struggled Wednesday to blame each other for the problems.

A town in western Jalisco state is fighting state officials over what caused the death of more than 200 tons of fish at a local lake.

Jalisco state inspectors said Tuesday that the fish, a species of chub, were killed by high levels of sewage dumped into Lake Cajititlan. The head of the state forensics office, Marco Antonio Cuevas Contreras, said fecal coliform levels were six times higher than permissible limits. "The death of the fish ... was caused by the lack of oxygen due to the high level of pollution in the lake," he said.

White House targets 'Waters' bill

The White House on Monday leveled a veto threat against a bill backed by House Republicans to stop the Environmental Protection Agency's "Waters of the U.S." rule, which is intended to clarify federal water pollution jurisdiction over streams and wetlands.

The threat is not likely to be carried out, as the bill is expected to get no attention by the Democratic-led Senate after being passed this week in the House. It was the latest sign of pre-election sparring, however, between the GOP and Obama administration over the rulemaking and its broader environmental policies.

Emissions hike in Australia after end of carbon tax

The Sydney Morning Herald

Carbon emissions from Australia’s biggest electricity grid saw the biggest two-month increase in a decade following Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s move to ditch the country’s carbon tax, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Gage Skidmore Photo

Inhofe pushes back against EPA methane plans

Sen. James Inhofe late Wednesday pushed back against the Obama administration's plan to pursue a new strategy to cut methane releases from oil and gas drilling and processing, the latest indication of concerns by industry and its backers with the prospect of direct regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the White House, Inhofe, R-Okla., said the agency "lacks a fundamental understanding of the industry’s practices and inner workings" as shown in the five white papers on methane sources and potential solutions that it issued earlier this year for peer review and public comment.

Nicholas Eckhart photo

Costco agrees to $2.3M settlement with EPA over refrigerant leaks

Costco will pay $335,000 in civil penalties and spend nearly $2 million over the next three years to cut releases of ozone-depleting refrigerant chemicals at 274 stores nationwide, under a settlement of alleged Clean Air Act violations, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.

The head of EPA's enforcement office, Cynthia Giles, said the popular warehouse chain failed from 2004 to 2007 to repair leaks of the hydroflurocarbon refrigerant R-22, and did not keep repair records for its refrigerators during that time, as required under the law.

EPA staff says agency needs to be tough on smog

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency's staff has concluded that the government needs to tighten smog rules by somewhere between 7 and 20 percent.

In its final recommendation in a 597-page report, the agency staff agrees with EPA's outside scientific advisers that the 6-year-old standard for how much smog is allowed needs to be stricter, saying it will save a significant number of lives and cut hospital visits. An earlier version of the report came to a similar conclusion.


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