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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Sunflower Defeat, EU CO2 Standards

Germany has convinced Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to try to delay a vote on cutting CO2 to 95 g/km for all new EU cars from 2020, a target agreed by the EU in June, anonymous EU sources told Reuters. Germany is trying to protect major carmakers Daimler and BMW, and recently proposed that the carbon limit apply to only 80 percent of new cars in 2020, rising 5 percentage points a year to take full effect in 2024. On Friday, the EU also endorsed limiting vans’ emissions to 147 g/km by 2020, and these rules will become law after a rubber-stamp approval by EU ministers.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday ruled unanimously to force the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to reconsider the permit it granted to Sunflower Electric Power Corp. for an 895 MW coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, Kan., saying the KDHE failed to require the plant to meet the required federal air emission standards. The Sierra Club brought the lawsuit. The plant has been a political football since Sunflower first aired its plans in 2006, The Kansas City Star reports.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cancelled 10 meetings planned for this week and next. Because of the government shutdown, the NRC postponed meetings on its proposed rule for extended storage of spent nuclear fuel. If the shutdown continues, NRC may cancel further meetings on the topic, scheduled for this month and next, and will make decisions on a week-by-week basis. The NRC also postponed an open house planned for Wednesday in New Hampshire, regarding concrete degradation at the Seabrook nuclear power plant 

The US will become the world’s top combined producer of oil and natural gas this year, pushing Russia down to number two, according to an Energy Information Administration report published Friday, the HIll reports. The EIA says US production is rising quickly, but Russian output has dipped.

Transco’s Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project and Northeast Connector Project would cause some adverse environmental impacts, but these would be insignificant if Transco follows its proposed mitigation measures as well as additional steps recommended by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC said in a draft environmental impact statement. The projects involve building 3.2 miles of pipeline, a new metering station and an offshore cathodic protection system to provide firm delivery lateral service of 647,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas to National Grid’s local distribution system in Brooklyn and Queens.

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