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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: US Carbon Tax, Australia Carbon, EU ETS Oversupply, Renewable Energy Support

A $20 per metric ton carbon tax in the US could reduce the country’s budget deficit by 50 percent over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Research Service. The tax would generate $88 billion in 2012, rising to $144 billion by 2020, reducing US debt by between 12 and 50 percent within a decade, depending on how high the deficit climbs, Reuters said.

Australia issued 6.37 million free carbon units to companies seeking compensation from the country’s CO2 pricing mechanisms, the government said, the first ever emission rights to be issued under Australia’s carbon scheme. The units were issued via Australia’s emissions unit registry to alumina refiner Alcoa and ammonia and ammonium nitrate producer Queensland Nitrates, Reuters said.

Italian power company Enel supports the European Union plan to delay some auctions of emission permits as of 2013 to curb oversupply. The company recommended a delay at auctions of one billion metric tons to 1.2 billion tons of allowances with the volume returned to the market in 2018-2020, Bloomberg reports.

Nine in ten US adults agree that renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, should be a bigger part of America’s energy supply in the future, an Ipsos poll for Sungevity found. The survey shows that America’s commitment to solar is strong, with 80 percent of respondents expecting their elected officials to support solar energy initiatives and 81 percent believing, regardless of who is in office, the White House and other official federal and state residences should use solar energy, Sungevity said.

Trade groups for power companies and natural-gas suppliers are pressing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to delay their industries’ compliance with reforms required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, warning that higher energy costs could result. The groups say more time is needed to adhere to the new controls of derivatives trading markets, some of which begin in October, The Hill said.

A letter from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and other senators urges the Obama administration to cancel planned oil-and-gas lease sales off Alaska’s Arctic shores in coming years. They wrote the letter shortly after the Interior Department approved Royal Dutch Shell’s preliminary drilling on existing Arctic leases. Interior’s 2012-2017 offshore oil-and-gas lease sale schedule includes sales in Arctic waters in the final two years of the program, The Hill said.

A group of 20 Democrats told the Energy Department that it should complete environmental tests before approving liquefied natural gas export deals. The signatories expressed concern about the amount of hydraulic fracturing needed to meet demand for natural gas exports, The Hill said.

The EPA has finalized its plan to clean up contaminated ground water at the Evor Phillips Leasing Company Superfund site, a six-acre site in New Jersey which was used for industrial waste treatment and metal recovery operations. The responsible parties are conducting and paying for the with oversight by the EPA, the agency said.

The EPA has finalized its plan to clean up contaminated ground water beneath the White Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Newark, New Jersey. The ground water was contaminated with VOCs by past industrial activities at the site. The White Chemical Corporation operated a chemical manufacturing facility at the site from 1983 to 1990 and was cited by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for multiple environmental violations before the company abandoned the facility, the agency said.

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