Our Top 5: The Weekly Round-up, Environmental & Sustainability — September 21, 2011

1) EPA Delays Climate Change Rules for Second Time 

The Obama administration will delay issuing its politically explosive climate-change rules for the second time. The Environmental Protection Agency had said it would issue the rules, which would require power plants to slash their greenhouse-gas emissions, by Sept. 30.

Source: National Journal, 2011-09-15

2) Obama Open to Lawsuit Over Bush-Era Smog Rules 

Now that it has scrapped a plan to further tighten the smog limits set by U.S. EPA under President George W. Bush, the Obama administration has told a federal court that it has no problem with reopening the litigation over that standard in court. The rules, which were finalized in 2008, face lawsuits from both flanks.

Source: The New York Times, 2011-09-13 

3) Investigation Criticizes BP, Regulators Over Oil Spill Actions 

Federal investigators released their final report into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico last year, castigating oil giant BP and its contractors for their risky decisions and criticizing the government itself for gaps in oversight. The report — issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — contains dozens of recommendations to improve safety in the offshore oil industry.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2011-09-15

4) Federal Judges Leaning Toward EPA “Hot Spot” Rule 

Federal judges considering a challenge to a U.S. EPA rule that regulates emissions from new transportation projects appeared supportive of the agency’s legal position. The rule allows the construction of new transportation projects as long as developers undertake efforts to offset additional emissions.

Source: The New York Times, 2011-09-12

5) Agencies Say Complying with New Federal Clean Air Rules Onerous 

A threat by one of Texas’s largest energy companies to shut down generators and layoff hundreds of workers over stricter pollution standards came one day after the EPA issued a letter assuring the company a plan could be worked out to help it comply with the standards. The new rules are designed to significantly reduce smog and soot pollution by requiring 27 states, including Texas, to decrease smokestack emissions, mostly at coal-fired power plants, but Luminant and other agencies insist it is logistically impossible to comply with the new regulation by January without decreasing production.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 2011-09-13

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