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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EU Aviation, China Carbon Tax, Euronext Settlement, NY Energy Highway

The European Commission said that airlines could be banned from European airports if they do not participate in the European Union’s emission trading system (ETS). A European ban on noncompliant airlines is seen only as a last resort in a scenario of continued non-compliance. Airlines are not required to submit permits for emissions until April 30, 2013, giving countries time to work out a compromise, writes the New York Times. China’s top airlines have reinforced the hard line taken by the Chinese government in opposition to airlines’ participation in the EU ETS. China’s aviation body, representing Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, said that the nation will not cooperate with the EU, and will not pass any surcharge to their customers related to the emissions tax, The Guardian said.

China is reviewing a carbon tax on polluting industries within the next three years. A draft of a new system of emissions taxation has been submitted by the Ministry of Finance for review, with a taxation rate starting at about $1.59 per ton of CO2 emitted and gradually increasing over time, the Asia News Network reports.

Vietnam still lacks regulations to control electronics waste, and the country has no electronics waste treatment facility. This is despite millions of tons of technology imports entering the country each year. In August 2011, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued temporary regulations for some hazardous chemicals in electrical and electronic products, and has reviewed but not accepted proposals from foreign investors to build and run a recycling factory, writes VietnamNet.

NYSE Euronext has agreed to pay a $25 million settlement after a regulatory filing by the French government that its European carbon-trading platform Bluenext was lax in catching traders in alleged tax frauds from 2006 to 2009. Its French partner Groupe Caisse des Depots will pay an additional $16.6 million. The alleged schemes were detected in 2008 by Bluenext officials, according to NASDAQ.com.

American Electric Power and its unit Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) have reached a settlement with the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society and Audubon Arkansas related to a coal-fired power plant in Arkansas. As part of the settlement, SWEPCO and its affiliates will construct or secure 400 megawatts of new renewable energy resources and reduce production at a Texas coal-fired plant to 60 percent of capacity. The 600-megawatt Arkansas plant is more than 80 percent complete and scheduled to begin operations late this year, American Electric Power said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced planning in the works to make a $2-billion upgrade to the state’s high-voltage electric transmission system, allowing power generated in upstate New York power plants and wind farms to be transported to the New York City area. The project would be privately funded, writes the Albany Times Union.

Covanta Energy has withdrawn its petition to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to include trash burning on a list of renewable energy technologies eligible for state subsidies. The PSC was expected to vote last month, but delayed its decision asking for more data regarding emissions from waste-to-energy (WTE) plants. It is the third time in seven years the PSC considered including garbage incineration in New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), Waste Recycling News reports.

In Cogan House Township, Pennsylvania, a township official cut down six trees to block a roadway used by heavy trucks from natural gas companies extracting from the Marcellus Shale formation. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection last month said the township was in violation of erosion and sediment regulations, and ordered the township to prohibit access to vehicles of more than six tons. The township had pulled permits that allowed the heavy trucks to use the road, but the action did not stop the vehicles, the (Harrisburg) Patriot News said.

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