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Policy & Regulatory Briefing: EU Target Defeated, Yucca Mtn., Shell in Alaska

The European Parliament has today voted against raising the continent’s emissions reduction target, from the current goal of a 20 per cent cut against 1990 levels by 2020, to a 30 per cent cut by the same date. MEPs voted 347-258 against the proposal, with 62 abstentions, Business Green reports.

A federal appellate court on Friday granted at least a temporary victory for the Obama administration, which had decided to cancel long-standing plans for a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. The court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Energy Department’s decision, the Hill reports.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced legislation that would require the Energy Department to establish two temporary repositories for spent nuclear fuel, the Hill reports.

The EPA released draft air pollution permits for Shell Oil’s plans to drill in federal waters off the Alaska coast. Shell’s proposed operations would emit more than 250 tons of air pollutants a year and therefore must have federal Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permits, the EPA said.

Both houses of the Oregon legislature have voted to reduce the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit for solar installations, news site Clean Energy Authority reports. John Audley, deputy director of the nonprofit Renewable Northwest Project, said he expects the governor to sign the measure, House Bill 3672.

France has become the latest government to pass legislation on hydraulic fracturing. Senators have voted to ban the natural gas extraction technique, and energy companies that use fracking to produce oil and gas in France will have their permits revoked could face fines and prison, Bloomberg reports.

The Scottish government has published a Renewables Routemap calling for at least 30 percent of all energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, Business Green reports. Scotland already has a goal for 100 percent of electricity to be sourced from green power by 2020.

A federal appeals court has overturned (pdf) the EPA’s plans for dealing with eight regions of the country that still aren’t meeting air quality standards for smog set more than ten years ago, the New York Times reports.. These areas are Baltimore, Md.; Baton Rouge, La.; Houston; New York City; Sacramento; Los Angeles; the San Joaquin Valley, Calif.; and California’s Southeast Desert.

The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA can, under the Clean Air Act, allow three Kentucky  power plants to obtain necessary permits from the state to proceed with construction, Platts reports. The court allowed a district court’s dismissal of a Sierra Club lawsuit, which claimed the EPA had a mandatory duty to block permits for “prevention of significant deterioration,” in relation to three plants: the East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s coal-fired J.K. Smith Generating Station, the ConocoPhillips and Peabody Kentucky NewGas synthetic natural gas production plant, and the Cash Creek Generation integrated combined-cycle coal facility.

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