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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Gulf Spill Charges, CARB Ruling, Palm Oil Biofuels, EU ETS

Here’s the latest policy, enforcement and legal news affecting corporate environmental and energy executives. Today’s briefing includes 11 items.

The Department of Justice has filed the first criminal charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. A former BP engineer was arrested and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence, The Hill said.

The American Shrimp Processors Association argues that its members are unfairly excluded from BP’s proposed $2.3 billion class-action settlement for certain seafood-related claims. They say the exclusion is unfair because their losses are equivalent to those of the other qualifying industry segments, Fuel Fix said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco temporarily reinstated CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a measure blocked from taking effect in January 2012. Agriculture and oil industry groups had sued to overturn the standards on the grounds that the high carbon intensity score given to ethanol produced in the Midwest discriminates against interstate commerce, Business Week said.

The American Palm Oil Council and other groups have opposed the EPA finding that palm oil biofuels don’t meet the GHG requirements of the U.S. renewable transportation fuels mandate. EPA has extended the public comment deadline on its palm oil finding until Friday, The Hill said.

The European Commission could discuss the possibility of allowing Europe’s emitters to use some government-held Kyoto carbon permits to meet caps in place under the EU’s emissions trading scheme, an EU official said on Monday. EU countries cannot currently use the Assigned Amount Units to meet their own domestic climate targets, but Poland has proposed a change to this, Reuters said.

China’s efforts to set up a national CO2 emissions trading scheme by 2015 may fall short due to a number of factors, including government intervention in markets, significant state ownership, corruption, and distrust, the Stockholm Environment Institute said.

The Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy said that the country aims to bring the production volume of alternative and renewable energy to 10 percent of its total energy production by 2020. The minister also said that renewable energy production could achieve a share as high as 20 percent in the same period, Trend News Agency writes.

India is considering a $10 billion strategic energy fund to help secure supplies of raw materials such as coal and crude oil for the nation’s economic expansion. The fund, though modest in size, is similar to government-backed investment vehicles used in other emerging-market nations, the Wall Street Journal said.

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