Entries in EPA (4)


BP Suspended from Government Contracts

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- BP is being temporarily suspended from government contracts due to its “lack of business integrity,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The corporation pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges stemming from the 2010 explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers.  The counts include misconduct, violating the Clean Water Act, and lying to Congress about the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf.  The resulting spill was the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, according to the EPA.

“EPA is taking this action due to BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company's conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response,” the agency said in a statement.

The suspension means BP cannot receive federal contracts or grants until the EPA deems its business practices acceptable.  

The petroleum giant agreed to pay a $4.5 billion in penalties on Nov. 15. The Justice Department has also filed criminal charges against three BP employees in connection with the explosion.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ethanol Waiver Sought Amid Drought

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Groups representing the livestock and poultry industry are petitioning the Obama administration to waive requirements for gasoline refineries to blend ethanol into their fuel production for one year.

The groups have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the practice in order to curb the rising cost of grain as extreme drought conditions spike feed costs for Midwestern farmers. In a conference call with reporters, industry representatives said the price of meat will continue to rise for consumers unless the waiver is granted.

“We're worried about having enough corn, soybeans, and other crops at any price to feed our animals,” said Tom Super of the National Chicken Producers Council. “These aren't unfounded fears.”

Citing USDA statistics, Super says a poor corn yield this year could result in an increase to food prices of 4 percent for consumers. The drought has forced the price of turkey alone up 50 percent.

John Burkel of the National Turkey Federation suggested the holiday season could see a disproportionate effect.

“You will see a drop in production across all the meats and prices that just put the consumer in a position where they can't afford to buy meat anymore, or very little of it,” he said, adding, “At Thanksgiving they'll splurge, but they're not going to put the extra bird in the freezer.”

The petition comes little over a week since poultry groups lost a challenge to the mandate in federal court, the latest in the spat between some farming organizations and the ethanol industry. Opponents of the biofuel contend the federal mandate for its inclusion in gasoline is a form of non-competitive subsidy.

But not all agricultural groups are on board. On Friday the National Farmers’ Union, which represents both ranchers and produce growers, questioned the practicality of eliminating the mandate.

“NFU stands by the belief that concerns from the livestock sector and some members of Congress are unwarranted,” it said in a written statement, adding “eliminating the [Renewable Fuel Standard] would reduce corn prices less than five percent.”

The stat is referencing a study released by Iowa State University on the impact of the drought. On the call a meat industry spokesman said that seemingly small figure translated into roughly $1 billion in revenue for meat distributors.

Bob Dineen of the Renewable Fuels Association says while they understand the farmers’ plight, the only beneficiary to an ethanol suspension would be oil companies.

“Waiving the RFS won’t bring the type of relief the livestock groups are seeking, nor will it result in significantly lower feed prices,” Dineen maintains, “In fact, because ethanol plants also produce a high protein feed, limiting ethanol production will only further complicate drought related feed issues and costs.”

The NFU and other groups have called for the creation of a federally owned grain reserve, similar to the one in place for petroleum. When questioned on the subject, a livestock representative on the conference call said their organizations were focused on more “immediate relief.”

This week Congress expects to vote on a number of measures aimed at disaster relief for the drought, particularly for beef, pork, and poultry farms -- sectors that are not partially shielded by government subsidies.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How to Cut Home Heating Costs This Winter

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Winter’s here. Snowstorms are hitting the Great Lakes, and temperatures are dropping further south. It’s time to make sure you’re not wasting energy -- and wasting money -- on home heating costs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. family spends over $2,000 a year on home energy, with nearly half of that going to heat and cool the home.

To save money, the EPA recommends taking the following five steps:

1. Make sure your home heating system is operating at maximum efficiency. Are its filters clean? Are any ducts leaking? Especially if your system is more than 10 years old, you should have it checked by a licensed contractor to make sure it’s working properly. After that, check your filters once a month and replace them when dirty. Change them at least every three months.

2. Get a programmable thermostat that can automatically lower temperatures when you’re asleep or away from home. By taking just this one step, you can save up to $180 a year.

3. To avoid losing heat, seal all leaks with caulk, spray-on foam or weather stripping. To retain heat, add insulation. This EPA chart will tell you how much insulation your house needs by region.

4. Use the EPA website’s Home Energy Advisor to see how your home’s efficiency compares with others in your area. The Advisor can offer further suggestions on what steps to take to boost your home’s efficiency.

5. Make sure all the appliances and home-improvement products that you buy are energy-efficient. Look for ones that display the EPA’s Energy Star symbol. The EPA has qualified more than 60 types of products, ranging from heating and cooling equipment to light bulbs.

For more information on cutting energy costs this winter, click here.

For ways to save energy year-round, click here.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


U.S. Government Wants 60+ Mph Fuel Economy

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Government issued a “Notice of Intent” on Friday indicating that it will propose much tougher fuel economy standards. 

The proposal would call for 3 to 6% increased fuel economy every year, topping out in 2025 at 62 miles an hour.

New fuel standards went into effect earlier this year that are expected to increase average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. 

This initiative is keeping with President Obama's vision to reduce greenhouse gases and increase fuel efficiency.  It is also a key part of the administration's energy and climate goals, which call for the increased domestic production and use of existing, advanced and emerging technologies to strengthen the auto industry and enhance job creation in the the United States.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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