As many interested environmental and industry groups have lauded and bemoaned respectively, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently finalized its enforcement priorities for 2011 through 2013. While some goals (namely, new source review, mineral processing, air toxics, and concentrated animal feeding operations) appeared as priorities on the 2008 - 2010 list, EPA has added "energy extraction" pollution as a new enforcement initiative. This priority, specifically targeting Eastern mountaintop mining operations, oil and natural gas wells, and other gas shale play activities, has the potential to place new burdens on two already heavily regulated industries.
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