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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Obama’s Big Plan, Efficiency Bills, Cap and Trade

Obama climate change videoIn a video address, President Obama announced that he would make a major speech tomorrow to outline his plans for combating global warming. Politico reports that the plan will address carbon limits for both new and existing power plants; an expansion of renewable energy production on federal land; and efficiency standards for lamps and appliances.

On a tour of Asia, Secretary of state John Kerry urged India to work with the US to secure a global pact on climate change. The two countries’ US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, or PACE, has invested over $1.7 billion in clean energy initiatives, Reuters reports.

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) introduced an energy efficiency bill that aims to halve energy used by businesses and homes over the next 20 years. Their legislation would address building and appliance efficiency through a competitive state grant program, modeled on the “Race to the Top” education initiative, the Hill reports.

But an existing energy efficiency bill faces two major obstacles: competing priorities and partisan amendments, according to sponsor Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). The bill could attract proposals on climate change, EPA regulations and the Keystone XL pipeline, The Hill reports.

All companies required to report their greenhouse gas emissions to the Australian government did so, and a total of 256 companies handed over 212 million metric tons worth of allowances and offsets, meeting an interim deadline of June 17, the country’s Clean Energy Regulator said, according to The Age. Companies were required to hand in permits covering 75 percent of their emissions in the year to June 30, and the balance must be submitted by February 3, 2014 – when about 120 more firms are expected to submit.

House Republicans this week plan to pass H.R. 2231, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, which would open new oil and gas production areas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and require a new offshore lease plan from the Obama administration; and HR 1613, the Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act. The bill approves terms of a US-Mexico agreement allowing production along the maritime border, the Hill reports. 

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s sub-panel on energy and power will hold a hearing entitled “Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Government Perspectives.” A witness list will be posted here.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has published amendments, approved by the Office of Management and Budget, to its regulations governing environmental impact reviews of nuclear plant operating license renewals. The amendments change the number and scope of issues that plant operators must address. The amendments are effective in 30 days, but compliance will not be required for one year.

W/T Land & Cattle has reached a $42,000 settlement with the EPA for discharging pollutants to Idaho’s Boise River without a Clean Water Act permit, the agency says. EPA inspections found that W/T’s feedlot waste washed into the river during and after flood events.

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