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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Northern Gateway, EU ETS, USDA, Vermont CEP

The elders of the Haisla First Nation voiced their opposition at the opening of a regulatory joint review hearing in Kitamaat Village, British Columbia, on Enbridge’s proposed $5.4 billion Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline for its potential impact on fishing and traditional life on the Pacific Coast. The pipeline would move 525,000 barrels of oil sands crude a day from Alberta, 730 miles across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, where it would be loaded onto tankers and shipped to Asian markets, Reuters said.

Profits for U.S. airlines could increase by more than $2.5 billion by 2020 through the Eu Emissions Trading Scheme, researchers from MIT and Germany’s University of Muenster concluded – because airlines were likely to pass on to passengers the costs of carbon emission permits while initially receiving the permits for free, Reuters said. So far, United-Continental and US Airways have joined Delta in adding a $3 surcharge to one-way tickets to Europe, Federal Times reports.

The state-controlled parent of offshore energy explorer China National Offshore Oil Corp Ltd. has received notification from Tianjin Maritime Court that 29 fishermen are seeking compensation from them and ConocoPhillips, joint owners of Penglai 19-3 field. Tianjin court accepted the fishermen’s complaint late last year. They seek $34 million for economic losses following oil leaks in Bohai Bay last year, Reuters reports.

President Obama gave a 10-minute speech at EPA headquarters Tuesday to thank agency employees and express pride in the agency’s actions, making reference in the speech to the new fuel economy standards, MATS, clean-up of waterways, and other long-term results of EPA action.

The USDA will trim about 1 percent from its $22-billion 2012 budget by closing down about 260 field offices, facilities and labs by October. The agency is also cutting more than 700 cell phone plans, and cutting personnel training and software costs, writes the Federal Times.

In New Hampshire, Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry and its owner pleaded guilty to unlawfully storing hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); the owner may face two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Eleven property owners and the firm Atlas Property Management near Holyoke, Mass., agreed to pay a $16,000 fine to resolve the EPA’s allegations of violations of the federal lead paint disclosure law.

Triad Mining, owner and operator of 31 surface mines in Appalachia and Indiana, has agreed to pay a $810,171 civil penalty and restore waterways of the White River watershed for failing to obtain the required CWA permit.

Heath Oil has agreed to pay $25, 347 penalty for alleged violations of oil spill prevention regulations at a Harrisville, Pa. oil storage facility.

Wyomissing Park Apartments in Reading, Pa., has settled at a $26,880 penalty for alleged violations related to lead-based paint hazards to tenants.

California Gov. Jerry Brown estimates the state will take in about $1 billion for the year beginning July 1 under the state- run cap-and-trade air-pollution program, half of which he hopes to earmark for the state’s $9.2 billion budget deficit. Large industrial plants must hold a permit for every ton of carbon they release beginning Jan. 1, 2013, with transportation-fuel distributors following in 2015, Bloomberg said.

Vermont has released the state’s first Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) since the late 1990s with a recommendation that the state eliminate its dependence on fossil fuels and secure 90 percent of total energy from renewable sources by the year 2050. Currently, less than 25 percent of Vermont’s total energy comes from renewable sources, according to Vermont’s Department of Public Service.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, city officials have agreed to roll back a strict energy code, which had been based on the expected 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, and revert to the state code. The city code would have made Albuquerque a top U.S. city for energy conservation, Bloomberg said.

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