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car exhaust

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Car Deal on Ice, China Tariffs, Pipeline Penalties

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German lobbying has frozen an EU deal imposing stricter carbon emissions limits on new cars from 2020, Reuters reports. Various sources said Germany is trying either to delay the deal or to kill it completely. Earlier reports said that the EU had managed to reach a compromise deal, despite German objections.

China has announced duties of up to 36.9 percent on European toluidine, a chemical primarily used in dye production but also in pesticides and pharmaceuticals. The tariffs expand a trade dispute that has already encompassed solar panels, steel, autos, telecom equipment and wine, CNN reports. The toluidine duties are set to take effect today and last five years.

The Department of Justice yesterday charged Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel with stealing intellectual property from AMSC, in the latest stage of a long-running legal battle between the companies. Following an investigation by the FBI, the government also charged two Sinovel employees and a former employee of an AMSC subsidiary. Possible penalties include jail terms of five to 20 years for each charge, and fines of up to $4.8 billion, Windpower Monthly reports.

New Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd will seek to accelerate the country’s transition from a carbon tax to an emissions trading system, but replacing the fixed price with a market-based price could see the cost of carbon drop as low as $6 per metric ton. The issue is set to top the agenda at Rudd’s first cabinet meeting, scheduled for Monday, Australia’s Daily Telegraph reported.

The operators of major crude oil pipelines in Canada must have C$1 billion ($954.97 million) available for clean up in case of any spills, under measures unveiled by the Canadian government. Natural resources minister Joe Oliver also said new fines of up to C$100,000 will soon come into force for violators of environmental laws, and the government unveiled plans to codify the “polluter pays” principle, Reuters reported.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) cancelled a planned sale of carbon allowances, citing a lack of buyer interest. The allowances are kept in a state-run reserve, Point Carbon says.

SunCoke Energy Inc. and two of its subsidiaries will spend about $100 million on control equipment for hot coking gases at heat-recovery coking facilities in Granite City, Ill., and Franklin Furnace, Ohio, to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations. The companies will also pay $1.995 million in penalties, spend about $700,000 on sulfur dioxide monitoring equipment,  spend $255,000 on a lead abatement project, and have agreed to accept more stringent emissions limits on SO2, particulate matter and lead, the EPA said.

President Obama nominated former Colorado utility regulator Ron Binz to take over the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Renewables proponents backed the selection, but Binz could run into opposition from the coal industry and some Republicans, the Washington Post reports.

The Senate has confirmed Allison Macfarlane for another term as chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Federal News Radio reports. She has led the commission since last year.

A bipartisan group of four senators introduced a bill yesterday to provide temporary, centralized storage for nuclear waste. Leaders in the House are trying to revive plans for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, even though the White House has said that plan is dead, the New York Times reports.

The House of Representatives voted 238-185 to double, from $500 million to $1 billion, the cap on oil and gas revenues that four Gulf Coast states can receive each year. The approved amendment is part of HR 2231, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, which likely won’t pass the Senate, the Hill reports. The House also passed a bill that would implement an offshore energy development agreement between the US and Mexico.

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday voted along party lines, 28-21, to approve a 2014 Energy and Water spending bill that would cut renewable energy spending from $1.9 billion to $1 billion. Senators are working on a vastly different bill, raising the specter of deadlock, the Hill says. 

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