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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Wind Tower Tariffs, UK Solar Subsidies, Military Biofuels

The Commerce Department set final punitive tariffs on wind towers from China and Vietnam. All Chinese producers and exporters of the goods – with specific exceptions – received anti-dumping rates of 70.63 percent. The department set lower anti-dumping duties for some companies, for example, 47.59 percent on wind towers from Chengxi Shipyard and 44.99 percent for Titan Wind Energy Suzhou Co., both based in China. The Commerce Department also set anti-dumping penalties of 51.5 percent for CS Wind’s Vietnamese unit, and 58.49 percent for other producers in Vietnam, Bloomberg said.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK has set subsidy levels for solar and biomass energy for the 2013-2017 period. Support levels for the solar PV industry will be cut by 20 percent from current levels starting in April 2013. DECC will guarantee support for new biomass plants at 1.5 Renewable Obligation Certificates per megawatt-hour produced until overall dedicated capacity hits the 400 MW cap, Reuters said.

A House-Senate deal on defense legislation omits language to thwart military purchases of biofuels. The bill includes a measure to block the defense department from spending on biofuel refinery construction in fiscal year 2013 without securing matching funds from the Energy and Agriculture departments. The bill is scheduled for a Thursday House vote, is expected to pass the Senate and reach President Obama Friday, The Hill said.

Brazil has launched a new platform called BVRio that allows landowners with untouched forest to sell the designation to farmers who fall short of the legal quota of forested lands. Under the new law, the landowners and farmers must register their properties with state governments and get land-use licenses, which ensure that the forest quotas traded through BVRio correspond to real standing trees. Enforcement and verification remain up to state governments, the Associated Press said.

Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Greenpeace signed onto the Fix the Senate Now campaign calling for changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules. Green groups hope the changes will make it easier to push clean energy and climate change-related bills through the chamber, The Hill said.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association has sued the Colorado city of Longmont, which outlawed hydraulic fracturing, saying voters had no right to ban the drilling practice. City officials had expected a lawsuit challenging Longmont’s right to make rules for an industry regulated at the state and federal levels, despite the wide margin of voter support for the ban, the New York Times said.

ConocoPhillips Alaska has reached an agreement with the EPA stemming from a December 2007 spill near its Kuparuk Unit petroleum facility on Alaska’s North Slope. As part of the agreement, the company paid a $45,000 penalty. A failure in a 24-inch flow line discharged about 102 barrels of mixed water and crude oil to the nearby frozen arctic tundra. Under a separate settlement with the State of Alaska, ConocoPhillips also agreed to restore the spill area, the agency said.

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