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Government Roundup

July 15, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 28

Shell Oil will pay a $2.6 million penalty and spend $115 million to reduce air pollution from flaring at a refinery and chemical plant in Deer Park, Texas, to settle alleged Clean Air Act violations, EPA says.

Chemical risk assessment and management is one of the five key challenges confronting EPA, the agency’s inspector general says. EPA’s effectiveness in this area is held back because it lacks adequate legal authority to evaluate chemicals on the market as concerns about them arise.

Disagreement over green building standards led Skanska USA, an international construction and development firm, to resign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Skanska opposes a chemical industry effort, backed by the chamber, to stop the federal government from using the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design rating systems for buildings.

The energy appropriations bill (H.R. 2609) passed the House of Representatives last week. The bill, which the White House opposes, would cut funding for clean energy and science research. The Senate Appropriations Committee is working on its version of the bill, which doesn’t include such cuts.

The industry group American Chemistry Council has filed a lawsuit claiming that EPA’s data requirements for antimicrobials in products such as paints, coatings, and wood preservatives are too onerous. EPA estimates that the requirements, which were finalized on May 8, will cost industry $8.2 million annually.


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