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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Aviation Carbon Price, Oil Production, Supply Chains

As predicted, President Obama formally nominated Ernest J. Moniz, a physicist and advocate of natural gas and nuclear power, to run the Department of Energy. He nominated clean air regulator Gina McCarthy to head the EPA. Michael A. Levi, a climate and energy fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the appointments represent a continuation of the president’s first-term policies rather than a new direction, the New York Times reports.

The Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain finds that aviation pollution can only be stabilized by the middle of the century if a price is set on airline carbon emissions. The university looked at a number of proposals under consideration by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization, including technological improvements, biofuels and streamlined take-off and landing procedures. Assuming the EU ETS is extended to 2050, the report found that the platform could deliver CO2 annual savings of up to 587 million tons by the middle of the century, Reuters reports.

A House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee has said that Britain’s planned expansion of nuclear power plants by 2025 may be unrealistic. The committee said it was worrying that a backup plan is not in place. The French utility EDF and the British government currently are negotiating the terms for developing two new nuclear plants, but the utility needs a price guarantee for the project to progress, the New York Times said.

Congressional Research Services has found that all increases in oil and gas production since 2007 have taken place on non-federal lands. The CRS report finds that though US oil production is at its highest levels in two decades, their evidence suggests this increase is largely a result of production on state and private lands where the federal government plays little or no role, the House Energy and Commerce committee reports.

Businesses and environmentalists are still bitterly divided over California’s months-old carbon cap-and-trade program. The program has brought the state $138 million in revenue from two permit auctions; however, groups including the California Manufacturers & Technology Association say the program is hurting businesses and has cost jobs. California’s largest business group, the California Chamber of Commerce, sued over the program last year, and a hearing on the case is scheduled for May 31 at Sacramento Superior Court, Reuters said.

The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission is moving forward on a decision to adopt an amendment to Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan. The amendment will allow for future siting of marine renewable energy development projects. Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan covers state waters extending three miles out from the shoreline, and identifies four suitable areas where initial development of wave energy will be encouraged, the governor’s office said.

The White House has released an update on the implementation of the National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security policy. The focus of the strategy is the worldwide network of transportation, postal, and shipping pathways, assets, and infrastructures by which goods are moved. Its two primary goals are promoting the flow of legitimate commerce while protecting and securing the supply chain from exploitation, and reducing its vulnerability to disruption, and fostering a resilient global supply chain system that is prepared for and can withstand evolving threats and hazards, the administration said.

Carlos Pascual, State Department coordinator for international energy affairs, says the department will help the energy industry implement new SEC rules required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law. The rules will force oil and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments once legal challenges brought by business and oil-and-gas industry groups are sorted out in litigation scheduled to begin later this month. Exxon, Shell and Chevron are among those that have fought against the mandates, and the American Petroleum Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce and other groups have sued to overturn the regulation, The Hill said.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing today titled “Our Nation of Builders: Powering US Automobile Manufacturing Forward.” Witnesses include representatives from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Honda of America Manufacturing, Johnson Controls and Ford Motor Company.

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