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Study finds methane emissions dropping in US
The Associated Press via CBS News
Washington State University researchers have found that methane emissions from local natural gas distribution systems across the U.S. have decreased in the past 20 years. The researchers pointed to upgrades in metering and regulating stations, changes in pipeline materials, better instruments for leaks and regulatory changes for dropping methane emissions from 36 percent to 70 percent.
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Federal judge rejects EPA's 'lack of jurisdiction' argument in Murray Energy suit
The State Journal
A federal judge has rejected the government's latest bid to dismiss a complaint Murray Energy filed in March 2014 over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's controversial regulations for existing coal-fired power plants. Murray Energy's suit, filed in March 2014, challenged EPA's rules, claiming the agency had failed to perform a statutorily-required assessment of how its enforcement decisions governing coal-burning power plants would impact American jobs.
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NERC chief: Clean air rules likely to cause power generation shortages in much of US
New U.S. environmental regulations are likely to create generation shortages in the Great Plains, Midwest, Northeast and Texas, the head of the North American Electric Reliability Corp. said. Speaking at the Gulf Coast Power Association's Spring Conference in Houston, Gerry Cauley, NERC president and CEO, said new greenhouse gas rules could cause the retirement of 60 GW of generation capacity, mainly coal-fired, over the next few years.
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Participate in these A&MWA events
From now through July, the A&WMA has a number of webinars, workshops, specialty conferences and our annual meeting. It is a great chance for you and your colleagues to gain new knowledge and certifications for your professional development. There is still time to participate.
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How will Clean Power Plan compliance be tracked?
Environment & Energy Publishing
Critics of U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan frequently argue that requiring states to reduce carbon emissions will threaten the grid's reliability and drive up utility bills. Those are the big-ticket items to worry about, said Brenda Brickhouse, environment vice president for the Tennessee Valley Authority. She's also uneasy about something else: creating an inexpensive, uncomplicated compliance program to keep track of emission reduction data.
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Maryland lawmakers pass two-year fracking ban
The Hill
Maryland's Senate passed a bill that would institute a two-year ban on the controversial hydraulic fracturing process. The 45-2 vote follows a House vote to ban fracking for oil and natural gas for three years and require a study into its health and economic impact.
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A former EPA lawyer has been tapped to lead US refiners' top lobbying group
Fuel Fix
Refiners are getting a new leader in the nation's capital, where a former Environmental Protection Agency lawyer has been tapped to head the industry's top trade group. Chet Thompson is set to take over as president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers on May 4, succeeding Charles Drevna who has spent eight years at the helm of the association.
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Report: Regulators outpaced by gas industry waste
State Impact
Pennsylvania's environmental regulators are failing to keep pace with a growing volume of liquid and solid waste generated by the natural gas industry, and are allowing risky practices like open-air waste storage to continue, according to a study issued on April 2. The report says the volume of solid waste generated by companies active in the Marcellus and Utica Shales rose by 500 percent to some 5 million tons from 2011 to 2014, while that of liquid waste doubled to 130 million barrels.
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Reporting hydraulic fracturing chemicals — new BLM rules and EPA study spotlight FracFocus
The federal government recently articulated different views on the utility and effectiveness of FracFocus, a website used by many operators to report the chemicals used to fracture their wells. In its final regulations issued on March 20, the Bureau of Land Management embeds the website as a primary reporting tool. In contrast, EPA issued a study of FracFocus on March 27 that contains a critique of the information collection service, particularly its allowance of confidential business information claims. However, provisions in the BLM rule and limitations in the EPA study combine to mitigate the potential use of the study to undermine the continuing utility of FracFocus.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Reversing course, EPA tightens its RCRA hazardous waste recycling rules (Lexology)
Barack Obama pledges greenhouse gas emissions cuts (Politico)
Supreme Court's conservative justices question cost of EPA emissions rule (Los Angeles Times)
China plans to build huge space solar power station (The Economic Times)
Canada pushes ahead with Keystone XL alternatives (Climate Central)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Drones now integral to China's pollution monitoring
Want China Times
In nine cities in China, 90 percent of air pollution has been attributed to vehicles, industrial production, coal burning and dust, according to a Ministry of Environmental Protection report. The ministry will adapt its strategies for curbing pollution according to the different regions of the country. The ministry's 10 supervisory teams will conduct randomized surveillance using unmanned aerial vehicles in Beijing and other areas, pressuring enterprises that have violated environmental laws.
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API releases updated standard to improve refinery safety
Oil & Gas Eurasia
The American Petroleum Institute issued an updated pressure relieving design and installation standard to enhance refinery safety as part of its core commitments to improving workplace safety and protecting the environment. The Sixth edition of API Standard 520, Sizing, Selection, and Installation of Pressure-relieving Devices in Refineries, Part II on Installation, was published March 2015. This standard covers methods of installation for pressure-relief devices for equipment that are used to provide the required protection against excessive pressure accumulation.
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After 2 Montana breaks, scrutiny builds over federal pipeline regs
Casper Star Tribune
Two pipelines have dumped 70,000 gallons of crude into the nation’s longest free-flowing river in the last four years. What they have in common is that right up until breaking, both were considered safe. That "all clear" by regulators has sparked concern about whether the federal government is setting the bar too low for pipeline safety and ignoring destructive river conditions.
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Date Event More Information
April 1 2015 A&WMA Alamo Chapter Environmental Conference Register Online
April 14 GRI G4: Sustainability Reporting for Environmental Professionals Register Online
April 17-19 Leadership Training Academy Pittsburgh
April 29-May 1 North American Waste-To-Energy Conference Register Online
April 30 Lake Michigan States Section Annual Waste Conference Register Online
May 12-14 ENV•VISION: Environmental Vision — An International Electricity Sector Conference Conference Info
May 14 1st Annual A&WMA/EPA Colloquium — Waste Information Exchange Washington, DC
June 22-25 2015 Annual Conference and Exhibition Conference Info
Aug. 19-21 A&WMA Southern Section 2015 Annual Meeting Callaway Gardens, Georgia
Sept. 9-10 Addressing Climate Change: Emerging Policies, Strategies, and Technological Solutions Oak Brook, IL
Sept. 22-23 Oil & Gas Environmental Conference New Orleans
Oct. 20-22 International Conference on Thermal Treatment Technologies & Hazardous Waste Combustors Houston
Dec. 1-2 40th Annual A&WMA/EPA Information Exchange Research Triangle Park, NC


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