Policy & Enforcement Briefing: LA Feed-in-Tariff, Solyndra Review, Coal Mining, EU ETS, Offshore Wind Lawsuit
Los Angeles City Council approved a measure to allow the Department of Water and Power (DWP) to move forward with a feed-in tariff initiative. The Clean LA Solar program will allow property owners to sell solar power generated from rooftops and parking lots back to the DWP, using a 150-megawatt feed-in tariff. The plan will create 4,500 jobs, generate $500 million in economic activity and offset 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2016, LABC said.
The Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that the Treasury rushed its March 2009 consultation on the Department of Energy’s $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra. The OIG also found that the Treasury’s consultative role was not sufficiently defined, and no documentation was retained as to how the Treasury’s serious concerns with the loan were addressed.
The House Natural Resources Committee subpoenaed the Interior Department over planned regulations aimed at curbing environmental damage from Appalachian coal mining. The Interior plans to rework rules that regulate the dumping of debris from mountaintop-removal coal mining into nearby waterways. All documents related to the planned regulations are due by noon on April 12, The Hill said.
French prime minister Francois Fillon sent a letter to the European Commission president urging the EU to revisit the unpopular inclusion of aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme, due to the potential consequences for the bloc’s aerospace industry. China has suspended plane orders from European planemaker Airbus worth $14 billion because of the scheme. Fillon said Airbus, airline Air France and engine maker Safran warned that 2,000 jobs were at risk, Reuters said.
EU nations are opposed to temporarily cutting the supply of carbon allowances in a new energy efficiency law, and are scheduled to discuss the legislative proposal in talks starting April 11. The plan was supported by the European Parliament’s industry committee as a way to boost prices on the EU ETS, Business Week said.
United Nations experts have recommended that CDM carbon credits could be earned from cutting energy use in computer data centers, charcoal production and isolated electricity installations, Point Carbon said.
SouthPoint Wind has sued the Canadian and Ontario governments for $1 billion in damages for confiscation of its property and assets, $100 million for failure to negotiate in good faith, and another $100 million for punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages. SouthPoint is suing the province, three provincial ministries, Environment Canada, Hydro One and the Ontario Power Authority for declaring a moratorium on offshore wind farms, the Penticton Herald said.
A Romanian court annulled the Rosia Montana, Romania town zoning plan, striking a blow to Canadian-owned Rosia Montana Gold Corporation’s plan for Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine. Opponents say the four gold quarries, which would extract 314 tons of gold and 1,500 tons of silver with cyanide, would harm four mountaintops and three villages, Reuters reports.
Chevron and Transocean are being sued for $22 billion in environmental damages in Brazil, double initial claims, after a federal prosecutor filed a second lawsuit over oil spills off the nation’s coast. The second suit is related to leaks discovered in March at Frade, the second incident at the offshore oil project, Bloomberg said.
The courts in Aceh, Indonesia, threw out the case against Indonesian palm oil company PT Kallista Alam brought by the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, seeking to protect a peat forest and endangered orangutans. Judges said the complainants should first have sought mediation with the company. An appeal is expected, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
Cosmoflex, a manufacturer of rubber and plastic hoses and belts, has agreed to pay an $80,000 civil penalty to settle claims related to the public reporting of toxic chemicals at its manufacturing facility in Hannibal, Mo. The company failed to conduct Toxic Release Inventory reporting for antimony, barium and zinc compounds for calendar years 2007, 2008 and 2009, the EPA said.
The Duvall Development Co., Duvall & Son Livestock, and the president of both companies, Jeffrey H. Duvall, will pay a $30,000 penalty and purchase five acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest in order to resolve federal Clean Water Act violations. The EPA said the defendants encased portions of four tributaries of a creek on their property in Clayton, Ga.
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