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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Obama Win, Michigan Measure Fails, Sandy Spills

After President Obama won re-election last night, environmental and sustainable business groups warned that he will have to take further steps to slow global climate change. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions urged Obama to keep pushing EPA regulations on greenhouse gases. The World Resources Institute said he should work with Congress to put a price on carbon.

In Michigan, voters rejected Proposal 3, which would have enshrined a renewable energy mandate in the state’s constitution and required utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2025. The proposal lost 63 percent to 37 percent, with 93 percent of precincts reporting, according to MLive.

Hurricane Sandy caused a 7,700-gallon fuel spill from Phillips 66’s Bayway refinery in Linden, N.J., the US Coast Guard said, reporting a second leak at the New York Harbor oil trading hub. The spill was reported after residents in nearby Bayonne, N.J., complained about diesel fumes. A much larger spill of about 378,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from Motiva Enterprise’s Sewaren, N.J., terminal. The Coast Guard also reported that it had recovered 780,000 gallons of an oil-water mixture from Kinder Morgan’s Perth Amboy, N.J., fuel storage terminal, Reuters said.

The EPA waived restrictions that will allow 17.6 million gallons of biofuel fuel deliveries into New Jersey to relieve a gasoline supply shortage. The New Jersey terminals are not normally permitted to handle biofuel shipments, The Hill said.

US airline industry group A4A said it would lobby Obama immediately after he retakes the oath of office, over the inclusion of all airlines in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Both houses of the US Congress have passed blocking legislation, yet to be signed by the US president, to counter the EU law. This week, the UN’s International Civil Aviation organization, based in Montreal, is expected to discuss the potential of a global framework to limit airline emissions, Reuters said.

The government of Laos said it would move forward with a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the Mekong River, the first dam to be built on the lower portion of the river. Laotian government officials and executives of Thai construction company C. H. Karnchang are expected to officially inaugurate the project at a ceremony today. The US State Department issued a statement questioning the rush to complete the dam, the New York Times said.

PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index report said that the world will have to cut the rate of carbon emissions by more than 5 percent a year to 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius this century. Although major nations have promised to cut carbon dioxide emissions, the PwC report says the pledges combined are insufficient to meet the 2C target, Reuters reports.

South Korea’s nuclear power supervisor extended an investigation into fake safety certificates for reactor components to three more facilities, following the shutdown of two reactors. The two 1,000 MW reactors were found to use components with US and Canadian certificates that had been forged by the suppliers of the parts, Reuters said.

Behlen Manufacturing, an agricultural and industrial product manufacturer, has agreed to pay a $59,996 administrative civil penalty to settle a series of alleged Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations related to hazardous waste in Columbus, Neb. In addition to paying the civil penalty, the company will spend a minimum of $75,578 to install pollution-reducing equipment as part of a supplemental environmental project, the EPA said.

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