Our Top 5: The Weekly Round-up, Environmental & Sustainability — January 26, 2011

1) Environmental Groups Sue EPA to Tighten Pesticide Regulations

Environmental conservation groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force it to tighten regulation of pesticide use, arguing that the agency was not consulting wildlife officials. The Center for Biological Diversity has successfully sued the EPA on similar grounds, focusing on individual species, but the new suit seeks a broad change in policy by the agency to meet what it says are Endangered Species Act rules.

Source: Reuters, 2011-01-21.

2) After Health Repeal, House Turns to Revising Clean Air Act

Now that the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the health care law, Republicans say they’re likely to move soon to another target — a rewrite of the Clean Air Act so that it can’t be used to fight climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency in December said it would draw up performance standards that would help cut heat-trapping gases produced by refineries and coal-fired power plants.

Source: Miami Herald (free reg. req’d), 2011-01-20.

3) EPA to Raise Amount of Ethanol Allowed in Gas to 15 Percent

The Environmental Protection Agency will grant a request from ethanol producers to raise the amount of the corn-based additive in gasoline for vehicles made for the 2001 model year and later, an administration official said. The agency will announce that refiners can add as much as 15 percent ethanol, up from 10 percent, said the official, who requested anonymity before the decision is made public.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 2011-01-21.

4) Insurers Struggle to Assess Climate Change Risks

Insurers are struggling to assess the risks from climate change, industry officials say, with the floods in Australia and Brazil highlighting the potential losses from greater extremes of weather. Scientists say a warmer world will cause more intense drought, floods, cyclones as well as rising sea levels and the insurance industry says the number of weather-related disasters has already soared over the past several decades.

Source: Reuters, 2011-01-19.

5) Judge Rejects EPA Request to Delay New Air Pollution Regulations

A federal judge rejected the Obama administration’s request to delay by more than a year controversial new regulations targeting emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman is a setback for the White House, which is trying to demonstrate to business leaders that it is prepared to moderate the pace of new regulation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2011-01-21.

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