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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Bonn Talks, BP Investigated, Australia Carbon Tax, ECOtality Suit, UK Small Emitters

International climate change talks in Bonn wrapped up with governments only managing to draw up a partial agenda for action on a new global climate treaty, rather than a work plan to establish a treaty, as negotiated in Durban in December. China and India have stalled discussion of such a treaty, The Guardian said.

Prosecutors from the Department of Justice are reviewing statements made by BP representatives to members of Congress to determine whether the officials lied about the rate of oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon in 2010. The investigation could lead to additional criminal charges against current and former BP employees, the Wall Street Journal said.

Brindabella Airlines, a Qantas affiliate, will cancel flights between Canberra and Albury, and between Brisbane and Armidale. The airline said that the routes have become unprofitable due to the estimated $1,000 daily cost of the carbon tax, Australia’s National Times writes.

EV charging infrastructure company ECOtality has filed suit with the state’s First District Court of Appeal to halt an agreement between the California Public Utilities Commission and New Jersey-based company NRG Energy. The company alleges that the agreement, which was intended to settle NRG’s role in overcharging California energy ratepayers during the 2000-2001 energy crisis, instead rewards NRG by requiring only that the company spend $102.5 million on its electric vehicle charging station business. ECOtality also alleges that the agreement was negotiated without public review or input.

The UK is offering small emitters and hospital installations the opportunity to opt out from the EU ETS beginning in 2013 as part of government’s red tape-cutting initiative. The scheme could save industry up to £80 million ($125) million from 2013-2020, while accounting for about one percent of UK EU ETS emissions, DECC said.

The Government of Canada is launching the next phase of the ecoTechnology for Vehicles Program. The five-year, $38-million program supports advancements in clean vehicle technologies over the next several years to improve vehicle safety and to meet environmental regulations. Funding is provided in Budget 2011 under the renewal of the Government of Canada’s Clean Air Agenda.

The California Public Utilities Commission has accepted a proposal that clarifies how utilities should measure the net-metering cap. The law caps net metering at 5 percent of aggregate customer peak demand, and the new interpretation changes the calculation methodology to allow a cumulative capacity of 4,600 MW of mostly residential installations, about 2,100 MW higher than before, Renewable Energy World said.

The House is expected to vote in July on the Relief Act, a bill related to raids on Gibson Guitar factories in 2011. At the time, federal agents seized materials, files and guitars as part of an investigation into alleged imports of illegal wood in violation of the Lacey Act, and the bill would exempt some plant materials from the Lacey Act’s restrictions and reduce penalties, The Hill said.

A plastic bag bill was voted down in the Illinois House of Representatives. Senate Bill 3442, which would require manufacturers of plastic carryout bags to register, pay a fee and develop a statewide recycling plan, failed on a 70-39 vote, one vote shy of passing, Waste & Recycling News said.

Leeds Paper Recycling issued an apology to the residents of Goole, England, after tons of waste were left on the town’s docks without Environment Agency authorization. Residents said that the bales of waste caused an infestation of flies, the BBC said.

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed a bill governing fracking in the state. The bill, which must return to the senate for an approval of changes prior to the governor’s signature, would require that companies test water within 1,500 feet of proposed wells, report the fluids and chemicals used in drilling and track wastewater injected into disposal wells, Business Week said.

Governor Dave Heineman said Nebraska will continue its research into an alternative route for the Keystone XL pipeline through the state, despite a lawsuit filed by three landowners challenging the constitutionality of the law that authorizes the process., Nebraska Radio Network said.

The New Jersey Assembly passed a bill that would require the state to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The legislation is similar to bills that Governor Christie vetoed last year, and is likely to face another veto,  NewJersey.com said.

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