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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Production Tax Credit, Light Bulbs, Buffett on Keystone

President Barack Obama urged Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit and expand the 30 percent tax credit to investments in clean energy manufacturing, known as the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. The remarks came at a speech on the economy at the State University of New York in Albany, the White House said.

Warren Buffett has expressed support for the Keystone XL pipeline, the Hill reports. Asked if he would support the pipeline, assuming that it doesn’t pose a threat to environmentally and culturally sensitive areas in Nebraska, Buffet – who is a Nebraska resident – told Fox Business Network, “I’m not an expert, but it certainly seems like it makes sense to me.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is expected to try to block funding for implementation of the federal light bulb efficiency standards with an amendment to Energy Department spending legislation for FY 2013. The House Appropriations committee approved the DOE spending bill for 2013, and the legislation is expected to come to the floor in the coming weeks, The Hill said.

Vermont will be the first state to outlaw fracking when Governor Peter Shumlin signs a bill banning the practice. Though the state is not rich in the energy resource, legislators approved the measure last week. Other states – New York, Maryland, Texas and Michigan – have signed some restrictions on fracking while Ohio and Pennsylvania blocked efforts to impose such measures, Reuters said.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources released strict standards for biomass plants to qualify for RECs. From now qualifying plants must generate power at 50 percent efficiency to earn one-half REC per MWh, and at 60 percent for one full REC. Plants must also demonstrate at least 50 percent reductions in lifecycle emissions over 20 years, Renewable Energy World said.

California air regulators will uphold the requirement in its cap-and-trade program that blocks covered utilities from displacing rather than reducing emissions. CARB said that utilities may not “shuffle” resources by changing the delivery point of dirty energy, Point Carbon said.

Norway has opened a 5.8 million Norwegian crown ($1 billion) government-funded center to develop carbon capture and storage. It is the world’s largest facility to test the commercially unproven technology. The facility’s two carbon capture plants are able to process 100,000 tons of CO2 per year, Reuters said.

Lufthansa estimates that it will spend about 100 million euros ($130 million) for participation in the EU ETS. Combined with other taxes and regulations – Germany’s air travel tax, a night flight ban at Frankfurt airport and other items – the airline expects costs to exceed 700 million euros ($913 million) this year, Reuters reports.

China National Offshore Oil Corp has its first deep water oil drill ready for production in the South China Sea. The rig will start operations today in waters 200 miles southeast of Hong Kong and drill at depth of 1,500 meters, The Washington Post said.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power continues hearings today at 9 a.m. on the American Energy Initiative with discussions on two bills, “Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act of 2012” and the “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012.”

The House Natural Resources Committee has a full committee oversight hearing today at 10 a.m. on “Evaluating President Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan and Impacts on Our Future.” Witnesses include representatives from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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