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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: CARB Diesel Vehicles, China vs. EU ETS, Mexico Climate Law

California’s On-Road Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles (In-Use) Regulation has shifted the reporting date to March 30, 2012, for most privately and federally owned diesel fueled trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds. The regulation requires installation of PM retrofits for heavier trucks beginning January 2012, and replacement of older trucks starting January 2015, CARB said.

The Chinese government said today that the nation’s airlines are banned from joining the EU ETS without government approval, opening the Chinese carriers to fines or prohibitions on use of EU airports from the European Union. The announcement comes a week before Chinese and EU leaders hold a summit next week on the Euro Zone crisis. The scheme is estimated to cost Chinese airlines about $123 million in the first year and more than triple that by 2020, Reuters reports.

House Republicans asked the U.S. Attorney General to invalidate a 2011 Energy Department restructuring agreement that ensured that Solyndra’s private investors who agreed to invest more capitol would be repaid ahead of the taxpayer if the company collapsed. The lawmakers say the deal violates the terms of a 2005 energy law that established the Energy Department loan guarantee program, The Hill reports.

The Senate-approved version of Mexico’s first comprehensive law to curb climate change, “General Law on Climate Change,” may pass Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies, by the spring, the Environmental Defense Fund said. The bill includes authority to establish an emissions market, mandatory emissions reporting, the creation of a public emissions registry, 35-percent clean sourced electricity generation by 2024, reduced fossil fuel subsidies and control of deforestation.

Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program, which offers incentives to businesses and residents to install renewable energy systems, has been suspended till further notice. The state budget signed by Gov. Scott Walker placed a 1.2 percent cap on how much residents can be charged through utility bills to pay for the Focus program, and the popular program with a budget of about $100 million is short of cash, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The USDA announced funding of $50 million for two programs supporting renewable biomass and production of advanced biofuels.  The Repowering Assistance Program provides approximately $25 million to pre-2008 built biorefineries to move to renewable biomass in place of fossil fuels. An additional $25 million is available for advanced biofuels producers who expect to produce eligible advanced biofuels during Fiscal Year 2012, the USDA said.

U.S. power company Calpine Corporation filed comments with the EPA objecting to a proposed settlement agreement between the EPA and a group of demand response (DR) providers. The settlement would allow emergency backup diesel generators to quadruple their allowed operating hours from 15 to 60 hours per year without having to install air emissions controls. Calpine believes that the emergency backup generators are not actually providing local emergency service but are instead supplying a capacity product since they typically are used on the hottest days to meet demand.

The full Committee on Energy and Commerce will markup the North American Energy Access Act, which would remove the president’s authority over the Keystone XL pipeline and allow construction of the pipeline to begin. The legislation is expected to be folded into the Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act when it comes to the House floor for a vote this month.

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold the fifteenth day of its hearing on “The American Energy Initiative: What EPA’s Utility MACT Rule Will Cost U.S. Consumers.” The hearing will review the rule’s costs, implementation timelines and estimated changes to electricity prices.

The Subcommittee on Water and Power Oversight has a hearing, “Water for Our Future and Job Creation: Examining Regulatory and Bureaucratic Barriers to New Surface Storage Infrastructure,” at 10 a.m. ET.

The Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs has a hearing to discuss acceptance of restricted fee tribal lands by federally recognized Indian tribes, and for other purposes at 2 p.m. ET.

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