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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: ‘Stop the War on Coal’ Act, Election Ads, No More Solyndras

The House of Representatives will consider a package of five bills called Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012, next week. The package includes H.R. 3409, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act; H.R. 910, Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011; H.R. 2401, Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011; H.R. 2273, Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act; and H.R. 2018, Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, the House Natural Resources Committee blog said.

Estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and drilling for oil and gas, or criticizing clean energy, has exceeded $153 million this year. In comparison, clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups defending the president’s energy record and raising concern over global warming have spent $41 million. The analysis reviewed 138 broadcast ads on energy issues by the presidential campaigns, political parties, energy companies, trade associations and third-party spenders, the New York Times said.

The House is expected to vote today on the No More Solyndras bill to curtail the Energy Department’s green energy loan guarantee program. The bill permits loans to be issued for applications submitted by the end of 2011, and places new restrictions on federal reviews of the projects. The bill is expected to pass in the House, but stall in the Senate, The Hill reports.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has withdrawn the state from a joint planning process with the federal government that is determining usage rights of 22 million acres of onshore oil reserves. The governor said the Department of Interior has shown a “complete failure” to take into account the state’s preferences for development, which includes less restrictions in areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Los Angeles Times said.

A draft renewables law written by the Polish Economy Ministry is taking criticism from the national treasury, which controls the country’s top utilities. If enacted, the new law would make biomass co-firing – a process that mixes wood and other plant material with coal before it is burnt in power stations – unprofitable, Reuters said.

The French government will begin a review of its national energy policy today. Its new Socialist government is expected to announce immediate measures to benefit the renewable energy sector. President Francois Hollande also has pledged to cut France’s reliance on nuclear power from 78 percent to 50 percent by 2025, Reuters said.

Russia will not commit to cuts in GHG emissions beyond a first round of commitments ending on December 31, 2012, under the Kyoto Protocol. Russia joins Canada and Japan in rejecting an extension of the agreement. Russia said it would work toward a new international deal by 2015 that would enter into force from 2020, Reuters reports.

The USDA announced more than $18 million in funds to organizations in 24 states that will help beginning farmers and ranchers with the training and resources needed to run sustainable farms. Beginning farmers are individuals with 10 years or less experience operating farms. Future funding of the beginning farmer program is dependent on congressional reauthorization, the agency said.

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