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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: FERC $435m Penalty, Fuel Waiver, Calif. Carbon Market

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a $435 million penalty against Barclays Bank for allegedly manipulating electricity markets in and around California between 2006 and 2008. FERC is also seeking to force Barclays to give up $35 million in profits gained from the allegedly illegal trading, and proposing $18 million in penalties against four individual traders, The Hill said.

The major nations represented in the 25-member Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources could not agree on the establishment of marine protected areas off Antarctica. Among proposals, a US-New Zealand plan sought 0.6 million square miles of protected area in the Ross Sea. At the meeting in Hobart, Australia, the representatives agreed to meet again in Germany in July 2013, Reuters said.

The EPA has temporarily waived certain federal clean gasoline requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island to help ensure adequate gas supply. The EPA has the authority to grant the waiver in coordination with the DOE under the Clean Air Act, the agency said.

The California Air Resources Board has only approved four project types for delivering carbon offsets, and the American Carbon Registry says suppliers of the offset credits to California’s carbon emissions market will only be able to meet a third of demand. The project types are expected to generate 67 million offsets by 2020 at most, Reuters reports.

The Ningbo city government in China said work on a large petrochemical project is suspended following street protests by its citizens. The $8.8 billion project from China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) includes plans for a facility that produces paraxylene, a potentially harmful chemical used in making some plastics, Reuters said.

The oil-backed American Energy Alliance says in a new report that the wind industry doesn’t need the 20-year-old production tax credit (PTC) any longer. The report suggests that green electricity requirements in place in 30 states, not the tax credit, have been the primary driver of the growth in wind power generation over the past five to eight years, creating a guaranteed market, The Hill said.

The EPA agreed with Carmeuse Lime to resolve Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Chicago lime manufacturing facility. The company will pay a $350,000 fine and spend $125,000 to replace windows at residences in Chicago’s East Side neighborhood. EPA and the city of Chicago investigated the Carmeuse facility in response to complaints from nearby residents about excessive dust, the agency said.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has endorsed President Obama, saying that Hurricane Sandy had affected his views on the presidential campaign. The political independent said he had decided over the past several days that Obama’s plans were more likely to tackle global climate change, the New York Times said.

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