Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Carbon Markets, EPA Budget, Efficiency Bill
The California Air Resources Board and the Australian Clean Energy Regulator signed a memorandum of understanding to develop complementary market-based programs. The agreement establishes a framework for a working relationship and establishes information-sharing between the two agencies.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is urging developing countries to ban monocrotophos, a toxic pesticide linked to the deaths of at least 23 children in India earlier this month. The insecticide is already banned in the European Union, EurActiv reports.
The House Appropriations Committee is holding a full committee markup today on proposed 2014 budgets for the Department of the Interior and the EPA, among others. The bill under discussion would appropriate $24.3 billion for 19 agencies, a cut of $5.5 billion compared with 2013 levels, and would block EPA carbon standards for power plants as well as planned Interior rules on mountaintop coal mining waste, the Hill reports.
A 50,000-liter oil spill from a PTT Global Chemical pipeline, about 12 miles off the Thai coast, is having a serious impact on tourism, officials said. Tourists are leaving the island of Koh Samet in droves. The spill could spread to the mainland and affect the country’s fishing industry, Reuters reports.
JP Morgan will pay $410 million in penalties and disgorgement to ratepayers for alleged market manipulation, relating to the company’s bidding activities in the California ISO and MISO electricity markets, under an agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Under the agreement, the company will pay a civil penalty of $285 million to the US Treasury and disgorge $125 million in unjust profits, of which $124 million will go to California ratepayers, and the other $1 million to MISO ratepayers.
Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) energy efficiency legislation is scheduled for the Senate floor this week, with a vote expected after the August recess, the Hill reports. The bill has lost its provision for state-based grants for commercial building upgrades, though backers are hoping to re-introduce that item; and the latest version no longer offers incentives for the federal government to install electric vehicle infrastructure.
BP’s compensation costs for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill rose for the second straight quarter, Reuters reports, and chief executive Bob Dudley says the company is prepared for a long legal battle. The firm faces $42.4 billion in fines and compensation so far and the number could rise.
The EPA has reached settlement agreements with ACF Industries and Carter Building Incorporated that will allow work to begin this summer on a $30 million cleanup of the Carter Carburetor Superfund Site in North St. Louis, Mo. Investigators have found unacceptable levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), trichloroethylene (TCE), and asbestos at the site, a 10-acre former gasoline and diesel carburetor manufacturing plant that operated from 1915 until 1984.
Star Ice and Fuel, of Fife, Wash., agreed to pay $50,805 in federal penalties for failing to immediately report a 450-pound anhydrous ammonia release to local, state, and national emergency responders, in violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, according to a settlement with the EPA. The release was caused by a compressor valve leak in the company’s refrigeration system.
President Obama plans to nominate Michael Connor to replace David Hayes as deputy secretary of the interior. Connor is currently head of the Bureau of Reclamation, Interior’s water and hydropower agency, and was previously Democratic counsel to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Hill reports.
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