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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EU ETS, Solar Trade War, Talisman Reporting Fine

A European Commission analysis presented a draft proposal for the EU ETS to address the carbon allowance surplus – with options to withhold 400 million, 900 million or 1.2 billion allowances over the first three years of the market’s next phase beginning in 2013. The proposal will be debated by all member states at a meeting of the Climate Change Committee in September. Analysts say that a price between €20 and €50 is needed to encourage green power investment, and canceling 800 million permits would increase prices by roughly €6 from the 2013-20 phase, Reuters said.

Chinese solar firms called on their government to retaliate against an anti-dumping complaint filed in Europe. Germany’s SolarWorld led the complaint with the support of the 25-member EU ProSun group and others, asking the EU to investigate claims that Chinese companies sold their products below market value in Europe, the Chicago Tribune said.

The Department of the Interior, with the Department of Energy, will publish the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for an eventual 5,900 MW of solar energy development on public lands in six southwestern states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. The plan includes the establishment of 17 initial Solar Energy Zones across 285,000 acres with strong incentives for development within the zones, the DOI said.

California Governor Jerry Brown and the DOI announced a $24 billion plan for two 35-mile tunnels that would reconfigure the state’s water delivery system. The tunnels would divert water from the Sacramento River just south of Sacramento to the aqueduct system. The plan aims to help restore the habitat of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and improve the reliability of water supplies, Reuters said.

Talisman Energy USA will pay a $62,457 penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous chemical reporting requirements at 52 hydraulic fracturing facilities throughout Pennsylvania that include natural gas well sites and compressor stations. Talisman discovered the violations and self-disclosed them to the EPA, the agency said.

The American Petroleum Institute said the EPA is penalizing refiners for failing to meet cellulosic biofuels quotas outlined in the agency’s renewable fuel standard, and it is suing in an attempt to shut down part of the EPA biofuels mandate. EPA requires gas and diesel importers and refiners to use or buy credits covering 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels despite the fact that no cellulosic biofuels are produced at commercial scale in the US, The Hill said.

UK energy supplier and developer SSE said that it no longer expects to develop any new conventional hydroelectric schemes because of the reduced subsidies to renewable energy projects announced in the government’s updated Renewables Obligation. Also, SSE said that the scope to increase generation of electricity from biomass at coal-fired power stations is significantly reduced, and development of onshore wind farms might be restricted.

The 21 states that signed an agreement to purchase CNG vehicles for use in state fleets have released an RFP asking US automakers to respond. The RFP follows a multistate initiative announced in November 2011 by Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin and Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, The Associated Press said.

The EPA, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Health Department have reached a settlement with Shenango Inc. resolving alleged air and water pollution violations at the company’s coke manufacturing plant in Allegheny County, Pa. The consent decree requires the company to pay $1.75 million in civil penalties and make significant upgrades to the plant, the EPA said.

The EPA fined mercury recycling company Bethlehem Apparatus Company in Pennsylvania $103,433 for alleged violations of reporting rules. The company corrected the issues at its Hellertown, Pa., facility, and no additional steps are required, Waste & Recycling News said.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee‘s Energy and Power Subcommittee approved the No More Solyndras bill – a GOP plan that would curtail the Energy Department’s loan-guarantee program. The bill would prevent the DOE from issuing loan guarantees on applications received after the end of 2011, and also sets new restrictions on existing applications and loans. A full committee vote is not yet scheduled, The Hill said.

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