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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: CA Fuel Standards, Loan Guarantee Restart, Halliburton Guilty

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld California transportation fuel standards, which regulate the carbon emitted during production, shipping and use, the New York Times reported. The decision lifted a partial injunction on the program, set by a district court in 2011, which ruled that the regulations discriminated against fuels produced outside California.

The Energy Department will revive a loan guarantee program that has caused controversy and come under scrutiny from Congress after failed green energy ventures – such as Solyndra – lost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. But the program will now devote up to $8 billion to help industries such as coal and oil create cleaner energy, the New York Times reports.

Halliburton pleaded guilty Thursday to destroying test results on the design of the well involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, receiving the maximum fine of $200,000, CNN reported. Federal prosecutors also announced they are charging Anthony Badalamenti, who was Halliburton’s cementing technology director at the time, with destroying evidence. They say Badalamenti gave the order to destroy the results.

EU regulators are considering new environmental targets of a 40 percent cut in GHGs (from 1990 levels) by 2030, as well as a 30 percent renewable energy target, an anonymous source tells Reuters. The current targets are a 20 percent GHG reduction and 20 percent renewables by 2020, along with a target to improve energy savings to 20 percent. France urged a 40 percent cut and said it is leading the way with goals to halve its energy consumption by 2050 and cut fossil fuel use 30 percent by 2030.

Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli said the country plans to publish a list of the 10 best and 10 worst cities for air pollution each month. He said this will help cities meet pollution targets, Reuters reported.

China must do more to alleviate the effects of its urbanization on the environment, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said Wednesday. He said the country needs to find new ways to improve energy efficiency, promote clean energy and reduce traffic congestion.

Citgo Petroleum has agreed to pay a $737,000 civil penalty and to implement projects to reduce harmful air pollution, to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its petroleum refining facilities located in Lemont, Ill. and Lake Charles (Westlake), La. But the EPA has also made new allegations, that the Lake Charles refinery produced fuel that exceeded the refinery’s annual average emissions limit for mobile source air toxics, including benzene, and that Citgo failed to sample and test reformulated gasoline blendstock at its Lemont refinery.

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