Laws & Regulations

West Virginia: "Reports: DEP Mine Cleanup Program Unfunded, Mismanaged"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As this year's legislative session begins, a state advisory council is again urging lawmakers to increase a coal production tax that funds abandoned mine cleanups and a scathing new audit says mismanagement by the Department of Environmental Protection could leave the state responsible for 'immense amounts of monies' for reclamation."

Source: Charleston Gazette, 01/11/2012

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Wetlands Case Today

"The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case near and dear to EPA haters. It would seem to be a David-and-Goliath case that pits a middle-class American couple trying to build their dream home against the Environmental Protection Agency. But the couple, Michael and Chantell Sackett, is backed by a veritable who's who in American mining, oil, utilities, manufacturing and real estate development, as well as groups opposed to government regulation."

Source: NPR, 01/09/2012

"A Coal-Fired Plant That Is Eager for U.S. Rules"

"BALTIMORE — As operators of coal-fired power plants around the country welcome a court-ordered delay on tighter pollution rules, the owner of a retrofitted plant here says that the rules cannot come too soon. The company, Constellation Energy, says it is an issue of fairness. A little more than two years ago, it completed an $885 million installation that has vastly reduced emissions from two giant coal-burning units at its Brandon Shores plant here, within view of the city’s downtown office towers."

Source: NY Times, 01/06/2012

"Industry Wields Sway Over Air Pollution Rules, Enforcement"

Sunflower Electric Power Corp. refused to take no for an answer when Kansas rejected its bid to build two new power plants there. A heavily funded political push eventually won approval, even as the company denied it was engaging in politics. "Yet the company’s success is a telling snapshot of how, when industry flexes its muscles over Clean Air Act issues, it often wins. From Kansas to Louisiana to Texas, Wisconsin and Ohio, community groups have fought new plants, expansions and chronic emissions – only to see industry score victories with regulators and politicians."

Source: iWatch News, 12/30/2011

"40% Of State Drilling Regulators Have Industry Ties"

"Robert Finne was talking with a friend about the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission earlier this year when they both started wondering, 'Who are these people?' So they wrote to the commission and asked. Finne, a critic of gas drilling in the Fayetteville Shale, was surprised to learn that most of the commissioners owned oil and gas drilling companies. 'I knew the cards were stacked against us, but I had no idea how badly,' Finne said."

Mike Soraghan reports for Greenwire December 19, 2011.

Source: Greenwire, 12/20/2011

States Partly Fill Federal Vacuum on Fracking Fluid Disclosure Law

Colorado, which adopted its disclosure rules December 13, 2011, joins Texas, Pennsylvania, and several other states in requiring some disclosure by drillers of the chemicals they pump into shale formations under high pressures to release natural gas. Scores of chemicals, some very toxic, may be involved.

Oregon Court Rules That Not All Bloggers Are Journalists

The Portland judge ruled that blogger Crystal Cox, who published allegations against businessman Kevin Padrick and was subsequently sued by Padrick for defamation, was not a journalist as she lacked any conventional journalistic credentials or affiliations, and therefore was not entitled to the protections of the state's shield law.

Louisiana Flunks at Enforcing Air, Water Laws: EPA Inspector General

"Louisiana is among the worst states at enforcing federal clean air, clean water and hazardous waste laws, and the Environmental Protection Agency should either force Louisiana and fellow laggards to do a better job, or enforce the laws itself, according to a report released Monday by EPA’s inspector general."

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 12/13/2011

"MSHA Blocked Questions About Previous UBB Methane Incidents"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- U.S. Labor Department officials blocked an independent state team investigating the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster from digging into questions about the federal government's response to earlier incidents where methane leaked from the Raleigh County operation's mine floor, newly disclosed records show."

Source: Charleston Gazette, 12/09/2011

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