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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Biofuels Producers Coordinating Council, California ETS, Carbon Bill

Eight biofuels groups are forming a coalition, the Biofuels Producers Coordinating Council, in reaction to calls to limit a federal mandate for renewable fuels because of the drought. The coalition aims to defend the renewable fuel standard, which requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be blended into traditional transportation fuel by 2022. Various lobbying groups say that the requirement should be waived because of expected drought-related prices increases, The Hill said.

Citizens Climate Lobby and Our Children’s Earth Foundation have sued the California Air Resources Board to block the state regulators from allowing emitters to use offset credits in the state’s forthcoming emissions trading system. The groups say there is no way to accurately measure the environmental impact of carbon offset projects. So far, four offset project types – forestry, urban forestry, agricultural methane and ozone depleting substances (ODS) – can generate credits for program compliance. A hearing for the case is scheduled for November 6, Reuters said.

BP in its second quarter 2012 earnings reports booked an $847 million contingent liability for conservative estimates of penalties from Clean Water Act violations related to the Deepwater Horizon spill. BP also will pay $1.25 billion in the third quarter and $860 million in the fourth quarter 2012 to fund the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust. Transocean also reported an additional liability contingency of $750 million for the second quarter. Halliburton, which booked a $300 million liability in the first quarter of 2012, has not added any additional liability contingencies for the second quarter, Fuel Fix said.

Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced a new bill “The Managed Carbon Price Act of 2012.” The bill would place a price on carbon emissions that would increase over time, with the goal to create a market incentive to reduce emissions. The lawmaker said the bill that would imposes an emissions reduction schedule that would reduce CO2 emissions by 80% of 2005 levels within 42 years of enactment.

The Senate Finance Committee voted to extend two biofuels tax credits for next-generation technology. The cellulosic producer tax credit pays biofuels producers up to $1.01 per gallon sold or used as a fuel input for another business process. The other credit lets biofuel plant owners take a depreciation deduction for new cellulosic biofuel plants, The Hill said.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter to the EPA asking for the immediate withdraw the proposed rule, “Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.” The senator said that coal-fired and some natural gas fired power plants would have difficulty complying to the proposed standards.

The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration demanded that Enbridge submit a plan to improve safety on its entire 1,900 mile system before restarting key Midwest line, Line 14. The new conditions to this week’s corrective action order for the line that spilled last week in Wisconsin. The 318,000 barrel per day pipeline could remain idle, potentially for months, if regulators also require the company to implement reforms, Reuters said.

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