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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EU Aviation, ‘Stop the War on Coal,’ Drought Aid, Energy Efficiency

The Senate unanimously passed a bill Saturday that would shield US airlines from paying for their carbon emissions on European flights on the EU ETS. The House passed a similar measure, and could work out differences with the Senate’s version or accept the Senate bill when Congress returns for a post-election session, Reuters said.

The House approved the Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, in a 233-175 vote for its last legislative act of the House before the November election. The legislation is a combination of five bills that would overturn or prevent regulations said to harm the coal industry and the economy, including EPA action on GHG emissions, The Hill reports.

The USDA announced $11.8 million in additional financial and technical assistance to help crop and livestock producers in 22 states apply conservation practices to reduce the impacts of drought and improve soil health and productivity. Since the start of summer, assistance from the agency has amounted to nearly $28 million, Environmental Protection said.

The Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets told UK energy suppliers and generators that they face enforcement action and fines if they fail to deliver on government targets to install energy efficiency measures for consumers by December 2012. The OFGEM also said it will take into account additional efficiency measures installed after the deadline, as mitigation against enforcement action in the future, Dow Jones reports.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Water and Power Commissioners has approved the final environmental document required to expand a transmission line for renewable energy from the Tehachapi Mountains and Mojave Desert areas to Los Angeles. The Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project will provide up to 2 GW of additional power transmission capacity for wind and solar resources, North American Windpower said.

The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted the revised Rule 21, which governs the state’s interconnection procedures. The new Rule 21 adopts a modified screening mechanism that classifies applicants according to the level of review necessary for the project, which is expected to speed the review process for renewable energy projects, North American Windpower said.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the northwest Alaska village of Kivalina lacked the standing to sue oil, coal and power companies for global warming. Judge Sidney Thomas said that Kivalina is being “displaced by the rising sea,” but must seek a legislative solution to its problem. There were more than 20 defendants, including ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, Alaska Dispatch said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo will allow exploration work inside in Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park, if significant oil deposits are found there, the country’s hydrocarbons minister said. It is currently against the law to prospect or exploit minerals inside Congo’s national parks, but British oil company Soco International received permission to carry out aerial surveys in the area, Reuters said.

Royal Dutch Shell is suing Greenpeace International in an attempt to have the environmental organization banned from holding any protest within 500 meters of any Shell property, or face a $1.3 million fine. The suit at Amsterdam’s District Court aims to protect Shell’s $4.5 billion investment into drilling off the coast of Alaska, the Washington Post said.

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