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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: UNEP GEO-5, EU Aviation Scheme, EU ETS, EU Auto Emissions Standards

The United Nations environment agency warned that the world continues on its unsustainable path in spite of hundreds of agreed-upon environmental goals in its fifth Global Environmental Outlook report. UNEP assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four.

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee and the administration’s top transportation official said that the EU law requiring airlines to participate in emissions trading scheme is likely unworkable under international law. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified that the US may file a formal complaint to the United Nations, Reuters said.

The European Commission is expected to propose tougher carbon emissions standards for new EU automobiles in the coming month. The proposal is expected to create a binding 2020 goal to lower carbon dioxide emissions to an average of 95 grams per kilometer – currently only a provisional, non-binding target. The existing, binding target is 130 g/km, Reuters said.

The House approved a $32 billion Energy and Water spending bill that increases spending in 2013 by $87.5 million above current levels with the inclusion of policy riders including an additional $10 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The administration opposes the spending increase for the cuts that will be required elsewhere. The bill does not release funds to enforce federal light bulb standards, The Hill said.

The House Ways and Means Committee has a hearing today to consider a framework for how Congress should evaluate tax extenders. Though the hearing is not focused on specific tax extensions, according to The Hill, it is a likely forum to debate expiring wind energy tax credits.

The Obama administration has announced a $26 million multi-agency, public-private investment fund – the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. About 12 projects are expected to successfully complete a competitive inter-agency grant process that evaluates the potential for regional economic development, increased exports, development of small businesses, advanced manufacturing assets, and other criteria, the DOE said.

The EPA has released its proposal to approve revisions submitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to the state’s permitting program for major air pollution sources under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review program. The state’s clean air plan is consistent with federal permitting requirements and meets clean air goals for existing major facilities, the agency said.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey have sued New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration for its departure from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The groups said the governor failed to provide advance public notice and an opportunity to comment on the decision before it is finalized, Bloomberg said.

The Center for Biological Diversity and six other conservation groups sued the EPA in order to gain federal regulation of lead in ammunition which threatens wildlife and poses a risk to human health. The EPA said it does not have authority to regulate lead ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act, Reuters reports.

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