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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: IPCC Report, Carbon Tax, EPA and Duke Energy

A draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, likely to shape climate talks for years to come, makes the starkest warnings yet about global warming’s effects, the AFP says. The report will be formally published March 31.

The EPA will join the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in addressing Duke Energy’s potential Clean Water Act violations, including last month’s coal ash spill into the Dan River, the New York Times reports. The state also said it is abandoning a consent order that would have fined Duke $99,000 for violations at coal ash ponds without requiring cleanups, after a ruling against the order by a county superior court judge.

Australia’s Senate defeated a package of bills to repeal the country’s carbon tax, dealing a blow to the Abbott government. The legislation’s only hope is the arrival of new senators in July, the Australian reports.

California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District approved Exide Technologies‘ $5 million plan to reduce health risks at its battery plant in Vernon, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports. But air district executive officer Barry Wallerstein said he doubted Exide’s “ability and/or desire” to comply with emission rules, saying the company had continued to rack up violations. The agency is trying to stop smelting operations at the plant until Exide can bring emissions under control. Last year the agency found that the plant’s arsenic emissions posed a cancer risk to more than 100,000 people.

Ethanol industry groups Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association asked the Supreme Court to determine whether California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard violates an out-of-state-commerce clause of the US Constitution.

An Italian appeals court sentenced Alberto Rubegni, chief executive of builder Impregilo, to two years and one month in prison for illegal waste disposal during construction of a high-speed rail link between Bologna and Florence. Another 18 people were also found guilty, Reuters reports. Since the violations, Impregilo been taken over by rival contractor Salini. 

The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s subpanel on energy and power will meet tomorrow to review H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the bill to expedite LNG exports to US allies, in response to Russian military aggression and “DOE’s slow export approval process.”

Chad has fined the local division of China National Petroleum Corporation $1.2 billion for repeated environmental violations, and demanded that the unit take steps to repair all damage caused by pollution of the Bongor Basin, Reuters reports. The government suspended all CNPC activities in August, saying the oil producer dug trenches and dumped crude without safeguards, but allowed the company to resume operations in October.

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