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.

Toledo water treatment plant supervisor resigns

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A city official who was in charge of Toledo's water treatment plant has resigned just three weeks after toxins contaminated the water supply for about 400,000 people.

Toledo's mayor said he asked for David Leffler's resignation because he no longer had confidence in him.

Leffler was on vacation during the water emergency in early August, but Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins told the Blade newspaper that the do-not-drink advisory would have been issued even if Leffler had returned to the city.

Louisiana GOP lawmakers warn against EPA move on ozone

The Hill

Any Environmental Protection Agency move to tighten ozone rules would put a “brake” on the economy without offering positive health benefits, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said on KPLC Friday, the day he and Louisiana GOP Reps. Bill Cassidy and Charles Boustany hosted a hearing on the issue, The Hill reports.

Public Domain Photos

Texas No. 1 in energy carbon emissions, recent declines

Texas led the nation in energy-related carbon emissions in 2011, according to new data from the Energy Department, but was also the leader among dozens of states where emissions fell since 2000.

In an annual Energy Information Administration report on state emissions from all sources of energy used, released last week, Texas in 2011 accounted for 655.5 million metric tons of carbon. It easily outpaced second-ranking California, at 345.8 million metric tons.

NAM starts ad campaign against possible ozone move

The Hill

Although Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy hasn’t yet moved to lower limits on ozone levels following a recommendation from EPA's scientific advisers to do so, the National Association of Manufacturers is ramping up its campaign against the prospect with ads in the election battleground states of Kentucky, North Carolina and Colorado criticizing what it calls “unrealistic new ozone regulations,” The Hill reports.

EPA photo

McCarthy touts pollution cuts, but sidesteps ozone debate

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said its latest status report on urban air pollution finds significant reductions in benzene, mercury and lead, among other toxics, but that additional reductions are needed, especially in low-income and minority communities.

Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters that the data contained in its second Integrated Urban Air Toxics Report, sent to Congress as required under the Clean Air Act, showed "considerable gains in improving our air quality across the country." 

She declined to say, however, whether EPA is leaning toward a tougher ozone standard proposal, a prospect that has business and industry sounding alarms over what they say would be huge economic costs.  

Exide subject of grand jury probe in SoCal

Los Angeles Times

Exide Technologies, long the target of regulators looking at pollution from its suburban L.A. battery recycling plant,  reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission last week that the company is being probed by a federal grand jury, the Los Angeles Times reports.

EPA allows 60 days more of comment on refinery regulation

The Hill

The window for public comment on a proposal to restrict pollution from refineries has been extended until Oct. 28, the Environmental Protection Agency says in a notice to be published in the Federal Register Friday, The Hill reports.


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