Environment: Chinese, Texas companies fined $1.26 million for selling ‘dirty’ ATVs and motorcycles

Motorized recreation on Tenderfoot Mountain, Summit County, Colorado.

EPA fines ATV and motorcycle companies for violating Clean Air Act certification requirements. bberwyn photo.

Clean Air crackdown?

Staff Report

FRISCO — The EPA has dinged two Texas companies and four manufacturers in China  with $1.26 million in civil penalties after selling more than 11,000 motorcycles and ATVs that violated clean air rules. The companies will also be banned from selling 2015 vehicles in the U.S.

“EPA’s vehicle certification regulations are an important way we help reduce air pollution and protect public health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Failing to provide honest and accurate information to EPA compromises our ability to protect clean air for Americans.” Continue reading

Climate: U.S. Supreme Court eyes greenhouse gas ruling

aggi_figure1By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The U.S. Supreme Court won’t question the EPA‘s fundamental finding that greenhouse gases are a big environmental threat, but the justices will decide how far the agency’s authority to regulate those gases extends.

At issue is the EPA’s ability to set emission limits on cars, factories and power plants — all key pieces in the Obama administration’s push to get a handle on global warming. Big business, of course, would like to see business-as-usual, and along with several states, legally challenged the EPA’s rule-making authority. Continue reading

Environment: Safeway to pay fine for leaky freezers

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Keeping that ice cream frozen has an environmental cost.

Under settlement with EPA, company agrees to cut emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Under a court-ordered settlement, Safeway will pay a $600,000 fine and upgrade equipment and management practices to cut emissions of ozone-depleting refrigerants by 100,000 pounds.

The improvements will come at a cost of $4.1 million, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which detailed the agreement in a Sept. 5 news release. The settlement affects 659 Safeway stores across the country — the largest number of facilities ever under the Clean Air Act’s regulations governing refrigeration equipment. Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis co-sponsors bills to regulate fracking

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U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).

BREATHE and FRESHER acts would close significant clean air and water loopholes

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Saying that the rapid expansion of fracking in Colorado has outpaced the ability of state regulators to monitor health and environmental impacts, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO.) is calling for federal legislation to protect the safety and the health of the communities where the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process is already taking place.

“New technologies have led to the rapid development of hydraulic fracturing in Colorado and Pennsylvania before community members could fully understand the potential health, safety, and quality of life implications of drilling in their neighborhood,” Polis said, explaining that two new related laws would make sure that fracking is not exempt from the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act simply because fracking was not prevalent when these laws were initially written. Continue reading

Environmental groups challenge EPA’s sulfur-dioxide emission exemptions for Southwest power plants

Fight over regional haze plans now at the federal appeals court level

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Conservation groups continue to fight for air pollution cleanup in the Southwest.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Clean Air Act loopholes in regional EPA-approved air quality plans are unacceptable, according to a coalition of environmental and community groups who last renewed their challenge to the regs in a Denver-based federal appeals court.

According to the groups, the plans allow coal-fired power plants in Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming to escape federal requirements to reduce their emissions of haze-causing pollutants. Of particular concern are exemptions for sulfur dioxide emissions, responsible for obscuring visibility and for significant human health impacts.

The exemptions are being challenged by HEAL Utah, National Parks Conservation Association, Powder River Basin Resource Council, and Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice. Continue reading

Draft report IDs key global warming threats

Activists say deep greenhouse gas cuts needed to avoid climate disaster

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Seasonal temperature anomalies by season in 2012.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A recent federal draft report on climate change has spurred renewed calls for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to avert the most serious impacts from rising global temperatures.

The report, which is in a public comment phase, concludes that global warming is already affecting the U.S. Warmer temperatures will endanger food supplies, increase the risk of flooding and powerful hurricanes, and warm the country by as much as 10 degrees by 2100.

The report finds that global warming has already delivered hotter summers, more flooding and periods of extreme heat that “last longer than any living American has ever experienced.” Continue reading

Shell Oil notified of multiple violations in Arctic drilling program

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter.

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter.

Company responds to violations by asking for permission to emit more pollution

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Environmental groups say numerous and ongoing violations of the Clean Air Act stemming from Shell’s ongoing efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean are yet another sign that the company isn’t prepared to operate in the pristine environment off the north coast of Alaska.

Most recently, the EPA issued notices of violation for failures to install required air pollution control technology, for failures to maintain and calibrate the equipment it is using and for violating emission standards set to protect human health and ambient air quality. Continue reading

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