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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Google Wind Line, EU Aviation, Superfund Settlement

The $5 billion, Google-backed offshore wind energy transmission line proposed for the mid-Atlantic U.S. will advance to an environmental review stage after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management found that there is no competitive interest. After the review Atlantic Grid Holdings may be granted a right-of-way for the line that would enable delivery to the grid of up to 7,000 MW of wind turbine capacity, the Interior Dept. said.

The EU said that eight Chinese and two Indian airlines have broken EU law requiring them to offset their carbon emissions, while 1,200 other international carriers flying to or from Europe have complied. The 10 airlines have until mid-June to report their data to the EU, or face fines of 100 euros ($130) per metric ton of carbon and, in the worst case, a travel ban, Reuters said.

Despite an expanding economy in 2011, verified carbon emissions in the EU ETS fell by 2 percent; meanwhile, the oversupply of permits grew to 900 million. European carbon prices have fallen about 60 percent over the past year, and the European Commission will continue to work toward implementing reforms for the platform in coming month, Reuters reports.

The EPA and Department of Commerce have announced an initiative to help create American jobs in the environmental industry. The Environmental Technologies Export Initiative will promote American environmental technology, products and services in the global marketplace as part of President Obama’s goal to double US exports by the end of 2014, the EPA said.

The EPA announced three settlements totaling $6,605,080 from 11 responsible parties including Quaker Chemical and Pacific Coast Drum, to help pay for groundwater cleanup at the South El Monte portion of the San Gabriel Valley Area 1 Superfund Site in Los Angeles, Calif. The EPA has removed about 4,600 pounds of contaminants from groundwater near the site since 2008, and has recovered $25 million for the cleanup.

EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson and chief financial officer Barbara Bennett will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies on EPA’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget today at 10.30 a.m. The Obama administration proposed an FY 2013 budget of $8.344 billion for the EPA.

France’s Total is injecting heavy mud into its well at the Elgin platform in the North Sea in order to seal an eight-week-old gas leak. The leak, which is estimated to cost $3 million per day in abatement costs and lost income, has the potential to reduce British supply of gas by nearly six percent in the summer, Reuters said.

A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee panel will convene a hearing on the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program, “The Obama Administration’s Green Energy Gamble: What Have All The Taxpayer Subsidies Achieved?” today at 9:30 a.m. Witnesses include representatives from Abound Solar, First Solar, Solyndra and BrightSource Energy.

The Senate rejected an amendment that would prevent the Export-Import Bank from supporting foreign oil, natural gas and coal projects if there are similar projects in the US, The Hill reported.

A new proposal in the Senate would add a domestic content requirement to solar panels sold in the US, thus making it more difficult for US individuals and businesses to receive a 30 percent tax credit if purchasing and installing Chinese solar panels, The Hill said.

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