Florida Governor Scott Pressed to Join Oil Spill Lawsuit
By Josh Goodman, Staff Writer
REGULATORY COMPROMISE: The Maine legislature is advancing a regulatory overhaul that's more modest-and less controversial-than the redesign of environmental rules that Governor Paul LePage proposed in January. According to Maine Today Media , the new proposal eliminates some state permitting requirements, changes rules for reuse of hazardous materials and gives businesses an incentive to self-report environmental violations. It reorganizes the state's Board of Environmental Protection, rather than eliminating it as LePage had proposed. The legislative proposal leaves out other LePage ideas, such as a statute of limitations for environmental offenses and legalized use of the chemical bisphenol-A in children's products. Both houses of the legislature have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a ban on using BPA.
DRILLING STUDY: Research by Cornell University scientists says that switching power plants from coal to natural gas acquired from drilling in shale rock formations won't reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, the New York Times reports . The finding comes as New York , Pennsylvania , Ohio , Maryland and West Virginia discuss whether to allow natural gas drilling on Marcellus Shale sites and how the drilling should be taxed and regulated. While the burning of natural gas produces less greenhouse gas emission than the burning of coal, the researchers said, release of methane in Marcellus Shale gas drilling actually would make coal a cleaner energy source over the next 20 years. Gas industry officials dispute the finding.
STRONGER STANDARD: California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law reinforcing the state's requirement that utilities get 33 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020, the San Jose Mercury News reports . The standard previously had been adopted as an executive order under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but now it's no longer subject to the whims of future governors. Supporters say the mandate-the nation's most aggressive renewable portfolio standard-will create jobs while boosting the wind and solar industries. Critics worry that it will raise electricity prices.
NEW NUCLEAR: Despite the nuclear disaster in Japan, the Iowa and Missouri legislatures both are moving ahead with legislation to facilitate the construction of new nuclear reactors. In Missouri, the Associated Press reports that the Senate is expected to take up a bill that would expedite plant construction by allowing utilities to charge ratepayers a fee to help pay for federal permits to build them. The Iowa House is expected to vote on a similar bill soon, the AP reports.