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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Mercedes Ban, Agriculture GHGs, Family Dollar

The Department of Agriculture is seeking comment on its proposed methods for quantifying entity-scale greenhouse gas emissions and removals from the agriculture and forestry sectors. The USDA expects that landowners will use the methods to improve management practices and identify actions to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration. Farmers, ranchers, and forest owners could also use the guidelines to aid their participation in voluntary state and regional GHG registries, the department says.

San Jose has passed a ban on expanded polystyrene food containers, beginning in January 2014 for multi-state chain restaurants, and January 2015 for smaller local restaurants. Certain restaurants may qualify for a hardship exemption, NBC Bay Area reports. Some restaurants had opposed the ban, as have business groups and the plastics industry.

France’s Conseil d’Etat lifted a ban on sales of Mercedes vehicles, Reuters reports. The country had frozen sales of A-Class, B-Class, CLA and SL cars assembled since June because carmaker Daimler had refused to stop using the air-conditioning coolant R134a, which an EU directive banned from new vehicles starting in January 2013.

Energy secretary Ernest Moniz told the Detroit News that the Obama administration is considering reviving the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, a loan initiative for production of fuel-efficient vehicles, by revising lending criteria. The program hasn’t made any loans since March 2011, and came under fire when two of five loan recipients stopped production.

The Interior Department finalized a rule governing how the US Fish and Wildlife Service asseses the costs of designating critical habitat for endangered and threatened wildlife. The rule, which takes effect October 30, requires the service to calculate only the incremental economic impacts of such designations, E&E Publishing reports.

Family Dollar has paid a $602,438 civil penalty to the US to resolve alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The EPA says Family Dollar sold or distributed two misbranded or mislabeled antimicrobial bleach products.

The Department of Energy announced the makeup of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, a panel of outside experts. Members include Monsanto Company renewables and sustainability technology lead Martha Schlicher, North Bridge Venture Partners general partner Carmichael Roberts and Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, along with university administrators and professors of physics and economics, the Hill reports.

The Department of Energy also announced the hiring of two deputies for its Office of Fossil Energy: Paula Gant, senior vice president for policy and planning with the American Gas Association, as deputy assistant secretary for oil and natural gas; and Julio Friedmann, former chief energy technologist at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, as deputy assistant secretary for clean coal, the Hill reports.

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