Policy & Enforcement Briefing: PTC, China Solar Tariffs, Chemical Reporting, India and ETS

by | Mar 21, 2012

New bipartisan legislation seeks an extension to the production tax credit for wind energy under the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, after the measure dropped out of the payroll tax bill and the transportation bill. The new bill also would extend the renewable energy tax credits for biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, hydropower, marine and hydrokinetic energy until the end of 2014, North American Windpower writes.

The U.S. Commerce Department will impose smaller than expected tariffs, at 2.9 to 4.73 percent, on solar panels imported from China after concluding that the Chinese government provided illegal export subsidies to manufacturers there. Additional tariffs could be imposed in May, when the Commerce Department is scheduled to decide whether China is dumping solar panels into the U.S. below actual cost, the New York Times said.

The EPA has proposed requirements to report all new uses, including in domestic or imported products, of five groups of potentially harmful chemicals – polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), benzidine dyes, a short chain chlorinated paraffin, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), and phthalate di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP). The proposed regulatory actions are known as significant new use rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA said.

The Indian government is waiting for approval from several ministries before issuing an order to local airlines not to share emissions data with the EU or buy any carbon credits under the EU ETS. If the European Commission retaliates by suspending Indian airlines from flying to Europe, India would make similar moves and consider charging an “unreasonable” amount for flying over India, Reuters reports.

Fast-growing emitter South Korea will again consider legislation to set up emissions trading in 2015. The country delayed a decision in February, and may reschedule a vote as soon as April. Though ruling and opposition parties support the bill, a new National Assembly which forms in June would have to start over on the climate bill if it is not finalized before then, according to Business Week.

The U.K. government has announced that 53 environmental regulations are to be repealed and 132 regulations are to be “improved, mainly through simplifications and mergers,” as a result of its Red Tape Challenge program. Some environmental groups are saying the changes are too severe, the Guardian reports. A full list of proposed changes is here.

As part of the challenge, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has outlined details of a plan to simplify waste regulations. Defra would loosen requirements for issuing waste transfer notes, and fully review the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) system, Let’s Recycle said.

Australia is expected to meet its Kyoto protocol carbon target, with a carbon surplus of 125 million tons, potentially worth up to $830 million if Australia chose to sell the carbon as credits to other countries. News of the surplus comes as the country debates the starting price for carbon at $23 per ton, about $13 higher than the current international price, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

A BP whistle-blower said in a court filing that the company obtained its Gulf of Mexico operating permits by lying to regulators, and that BP’s Atlantis facility remains unsafe. Former BP contractor Kenneth Abbott sued London-based BP in 2009 on behalf of the U.S. government, seeking to get a judge to shut down Atlantis, which produces about 120,000 barrels of oil daily, Fuel Fix said.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) submitted the Misfueling Mitigation Plan for E15, which the EPA now says meets that agency’s requirements. There are still a few obstacles left for the fuel, which is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. These include a House bill that prevents E15 sale unless its effects are further studied, and state-by-state rules which can forbid its sale, according to the Green Auto Blog.

The full House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing on “Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Families and Cost-of-Life Impacts” today at 10 a.m.

The full Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works will hold a hearing on the EPA’s fiscal year 2013 budget, tomorrow at 10 a.m. with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning a floor vote within two weeks on Democratic legislation to strip tax breaks for the largest oil companies. A similar measure fell eight votes short of the 60 needed last May, The Hill reports.

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