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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Solar Duties, Sea Emissions, Social Cost of Carbon

Solar panel maker SolarWorld has filed a petition asking the Commerce Department to levy new duties on certain imports from China and Taiwan. The petition aims to close a loophole in a 2012 US trade decision, and could effectively keep Chinese manufacturers out of the American market, the New York Times reports.

The Department of Energy denied a petition by the Landmark Legal Foundation, which called on the DOE to remove a “social cost of carbon” provision from a microwave efficiency rule, The Hill reports. The department also issued a notice to show how updated SCC values changed its estimates of national economic benefits from efficiency standards, for commercial refrigeration equipment, walk-in coolers and freezers, metal halide lighting fixtures, and furnace fans.

The US Caribbean Sea Emission Control Area, under MARPOL Annex VI, took effect on January 1. The regulations enact stricter controls on emissions of sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter for ships in certain waters adjacent to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and the area joins three other ECAs in effect around the world, Green Car Congress reports.

China’s Hubei province will launch the world’s third-biggest carbon market this year, issuing 300 million carbon permits annually, Reuters reports. Hubei will be the sixth Chinese region to launch a carbon market.

The House next week will consider HR 2279, the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act, which combines three bills approved last year by the Energy and Commerce Committee. The combined bill would force the president to consult with states before enforcing federal environmental laws; require federally owned facilities to comply with state rules on hazardous substances; and relax requirements for EPA reviews of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, The Hill reports.

The National Association for Surface Finishing has raised concerns over the EPA’s proposed revisions to the federal multi-sector general permit for stormwater discharges. The NASF says compliance benchmarks are so low that current best practices may not be sufficient, and compliance costs could be more than twice as high as the agency estimates, association executive vice-president Christian Richter writes for Products Finishing.

The Department of Energy is revising its regulations governing the use of particular alternative testing methods for certifying compliance with energy conservation standards for commercial HVAC, water heating, and refrigeration equipment, under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. In addition, DOE is amending the compliance dates for the initial certification of commercial HVAC, water heating and refrigeration equipment.

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