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Policy Briefing: RGGI, Plastic Bag Ban, Oil Leases

New Hampshire’s Senate will this Wednesday consider a bill to withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the cap-and-trade program covering ten north-eastern states. The state’s House approved the measure 251-108. The New Hampshire Union Leader reported that the Senate does not appear, however, to have the 16 votes needed to prevent a veto by governor John Lynch.

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted against repealing the section 1999 domestic manufacturing tax credit for oil companies, by a vote of 241-171. Sustainable Business reports that axing the credit would have saved taxpayers $13 billion.

The House  passed HR 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, 266-149. Supporters say the bill will expand American energy production by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to sell leases for oil and natural gas sites in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia, the Chattanoogan reports.

An Oregon bill proposing a ban on plastic bags is floundering in the state Senate, having been sent back to a policy committee only days after being submitted for a floor vote, the (Eugene) Register-Guard reports. The bill had won support from some grocers by proposing that consumers also pay five cents for each paper bag they use, the newspaper said. But sponsor Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) admitted that he had not yet secured the 16 votes necessary to pass the bill.

Two Rhode Island plastics companies have appealed a power purchase agreement between utility National Grid and offshore wind farm developer Deepwater Wind. Toray Plastics America – the state’s biggest electricity consumer – does not buy energy from National Grid, but says that the Block Island deal would still require it to pay for some of Deepwater’s costs. Polytop Corp., a maker of plastic bottle caps, is also appealing the contract. “The point of deregulation was to let us choose a lower price for ourselves,” Toray senior vice president Shigeru Osada said. “In the [Deepwater contract], we don’t have a choice.” The court will hear the case on Wednesday.

An Indian parliamentary committee has proposed requiring companies to disclose, in their annual reports, what they have spent on corporate social responsibility initiatives. They would also need to spell out what the money was spent on, the Economic Times reported.

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