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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: BP and Chevron Trials, Airliner Carbon, Ameren Sale

Anthony Badalamenti, former cementing technology director at Halliburton, formally pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to destroying evidence connected with the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Reuters reported. Meanwhile a federal court has extended the EPA’s deadline to respond to BP’s lawsuit challenging the freeze on new federal contracts for the company. The deadline was October 15, but will be extended in response to the government shutdown, the Hill reports.

The European Commission proposed limiting airline carbon charges to just the portion of flights within the continent’s airspace, in a set of regulations that would apply until 2020, when a global market-based emissions reduction system comes into force, ABC News reports. Previously the EC proposed that airlines pay for emissions for the duration of the flight, for any flights starting or ending in the EU. The European Parliament may resist the change, however, because the international agreement fell short of EU demands, Reuters reported.

The Federal District Court for Southern Manhattan started hearing evidence yesterday in Chevron‘s attempt to block collection in the US of an $18 billion environmental judgment against it. The company argues that a lawyer used fraud to win the case on behalf of residents of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, previously tried to stop the worldwide collection of the judgement, the New York Times reports.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Ameren Corp’s plan to sell five coal-fired power plants in Illinois to Dynegy, Reuters reported. Before the deal is final, Dynergy needs approval of a multi-pollutant standard variance request from the Illinois Pollution Control Board, which is expected to make a decision by November 21.

The US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service, which regulates commercial fishing, broke the law by inadequately monitoring fishing’s effect on protected elkhorn and staghorn coral in the Caribbean, the Hill reports. 

The Senate approved a bill to implement a US-Mexico oil drilling pact, the Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement. The House passed its version of the bill in June, and a spokesman for House Natural Resources Committee chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) said the congressman is hopeful lawmakers can pass a unified bill. 

The Chinese Ministry of Finance is offering a total of 5 billion yuan ($818 million) in extra funding to regions that make the greatest reductions in air pollution by the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing China Daily. Qualifying regions include Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

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