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Policy & Regulatory Briefing: EPA and Interior Budgets, Capture Incentives, RGGI

The House will debate this week the EPA and Department of Interior fiscal 2012 spending bill, the Hill said. The proposal would give the EPA $7.1 billion and the Interior $9.86 billion. Among its restrictions, the EPA spending bill would delay agency greenhouse gas emission regulations for power plants and refineries and mountaintop removal coal mining rules.

The Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission on Friday issued its final report (pdf), which includes 96 recommendations. These suggestions include amending the state’s Oil and Gas Act, doubling civil penalties, and enabling the Department of Environmental Protection to assess them.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners is urging Congress and the Obama administration to restore funding and eliminate barriers to capturing carbon dioxide from electric power plants for enhanced oil recovery. The group is encouraging states and regional groups to develop policies, including grants and tax incentives, to speed the progress of carbon capture technology.

A letter (pdf) from the Clean Energy Council, which represents green energy companies, asks Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative state governors to strengthen the initiative, noting that the market-based program has provided a $4 to $6 increase in economic output for every dollar invested in energy efficient programs in participating states, according to a June analysis.

The Joint Investigative Team, headed by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, will release its report on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill later than scheduled, according to the Hill. The report was set for release July 27, but members want more time to “analyze all of the relevant information,” said Eileen Angelico, a task force spokesperson.

The final environmental impact statement for the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline is the last step remaining before the U.S. State Department releases its final review of the project in August, the Hill said. The proposed pipeline project, which would carry oil sands from Alberta to Texas Gulf Coast refineries, should still be on track for a permit application decision by the end of the year, said Daniel Clune, principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Following Friday’s vote, the House opted to keep its polystyrene coffee cups but rejected an amendment that would have blocked funding for compact fluorescent light bulb use in the Capitol complex, the Hill said. Jim Moran (D-Va.) argued that the House should be setting an example and not use polystyrene at its food service facilities.

Dow Jones reported that on Friday the EPA issued draft clean air permits to Royal Dutch Shell and Conoco Phillips for drilling projects off Alaska’s coast. The draft permits are open for public comment until Sept. 6. Shell noted that it must get approval for several other permits before any drilling can begin.

Tuesday’s House hearings include one called “Lights Out: How EPA Regulations Threaten Affordable Power and Job Creation” by an Oversight and Government Reform Committee panel and one on fishery science at NOAA by a Natural Resources Committee Fisheries panel, the Hill said. On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Committee will discuss state perspectives on revenue sharing from offshore drilling.

Finally, a study by a solar provider says California’s “inconsistent government permitting processes” add more than $2,500 to the average cost of residential solar power installations, an article from The Sacramento Bee reports. California Gov. Jerry Brown opened a conference on local renewable energy resources today and has called for commercial buildings throughout the state to install solar energy.

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