China turns down $19.5B in projects in anti-pollution push


In an effort to limit industrial-scale pollution, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection turned down as many as 32 industrial projects worth $19.5 billion last year, Reuters reports.

NC dumps coal ash deal with Duke

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's environmental agency sought late Monday to delay its own settlement with Duke Energy a week after a busted pipe at one of the company's coal ash dumps spewed enough toxic sludge into the Dan River to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

Lawyers for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources asked a judge to disregard their proposed settlement with the nation's largest electricity provider. Under the deal, Duke would have paid fines of $99,111 over groundwater pollution leaking from two coal dumps like the one that ruptured Feb. 2.

The state's letter came one day after a story by The Associated Press in which environmentalists criticized the arrangement as a sweetheart deal aimed at shielding Duke from far more expensive penalties the $50 billion company might face under the federal Clean Water Act. The settlement would have required Duke to study how to stop the contamination, but included no requirement for the company to actually clean up its dumps near Asheville and Charlotte.

EU moves on support plan for carbon market

The New York Times

European Union lawmakers moved quickly to approve a plan to help support the bloc's faltering carbon market by reducing the number of permits sold and distributed, The New York Times reports.

NC river turns to gray sludge after coal ash spill

ON THE DAN RIVER, N.C. (AP) — Canoe guide Brian Williams dipped his paddle downstream from where thousands of tons of coal ash has been spewing for days into the Dan River, turning the wooden blade flat to bring up a lump of gray sludge.

On the river bank, hundreds of workers at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina scrambled to plug a hole in a pipe at the bottom of a 27-acre pond where the toxic ash was stored.

Since the leak was first discovered by a security guard Sunday afternoon, Duke estimates up to 82,000 tons of ash mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water has spilled into the river. Officials at the nation's largest electricity provider say they cannot provide a timetable for when the leak will be fully contained, though the flow has lessened significantly as the pond has emptied.

RGGI emissions fell 6 percent in 2013


Overall greenhouse gas emissions fell six percent in the nine northeast states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative carbon market last year, marking the third straight year of emission cuts for the program, Reuters reports.

Wide gap between New Delhi, Beijing smog policies

NEW DELHI (AP) — Think twice before taking a deep breath in New Delhi, where worsening air pollution has drawn comparisons with Beijing, the world's pollution poster child.

On bad days in India's congested capital, the air is so murky it slows traffic to a crawl. Conversations are punctuated with rasping coughs. Weak bands of sunlight filter through a grainy sky.

Air monitoring sensors around the landlocked Indian capital have routinely registered levels of small airborne particles at "hazardous" levels in recent months — three to four times New Delhi's own sanctioned limit, rivaling Beijing.

EPA mulls options on power plant carbon rules

The New York Times

Environmental Protection Agency staff are considering a number of proposals from outside groups as they try to develop lawsuit-proof, loophole-free regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, The New York Times reports.

U.K. achieves target for greenhouse gas reduction


The United Kingdom said it has reached its first target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction under the Kyoto protocol, with emissions in 2008-2012 running an average 22.5 percent below 1990 levels, Bloomberg reports.

EPA, Texas reach deal on clean air plan

DALLAS (AP) — Federal and state environmental officials said Wednesday that they've reached an agreement on portions of the Texas clean air plan that for years have been points of contention.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the conditional agreement on state permits will allow some operating flexibility to major air-pollution sources, such as oil refineries.

"We are pleased that the TCEQ and EPA have been able to reach an agreement for EPA to propose conditional approval of the Texas flexible permit program, and that the EPA now understands why the program is legal and effective," TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw said in a statement.

Coast Guard decision coming on river transport of fracking waste


The U.S. Coast Guard is deciding whether to allow river transportation of fracking wastewater, and if so, how to keep water companies informed about the contents of ships carrying it, Gannett's Cincinnati.com reports.


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