Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Roan Plateau Drilling, China Water Plan, US-Canada Energy Plan, Fracking Rules

by | Jun 25, 2012

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A US district judge ordered the Bureau of Land Management to re-assess its plan to allow drilling on 50,000 acres on the Roan Plateau in western Colorado, which is said to be among the largest natural gas fields in the continental US. The order says that BLM had failed to thoroughly assess all the environmental impacts, such as air-quality issues and the potential impact from ozone emissions; or consider alternative plans, Reuters reports.

China’s newly announced water conservancy plan calls for the implementation of a pricing scheme for water use before 2015. A progressive pricing scheme will increase the water rate exponentially as water consumption increases, Reuters said.

The Department of Energy and Environment Canada released the US-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue Action Plan II, outlining the next phase of activities the two countries will undertake to advance clean energy technologies. The new plan renews the commitment to work on carbon capture and storage technologies; build more efficient and clean electrical grids; and advance clean energy research and development, the DOE said.

The public comment period for the Interior Department’s draft fracking regulations has been extended by 60 days – into September – to accommodate changes sought by industry and environmental groups. Oil and gas groups have objected to the layer of regulation added to oversight by states, and environmental groups would like to see disclosure of fracking chemicals, Reuters said.

The House of Representatives has passed the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, a package of bills to expand American energy production on federal lands, set long-term energy production goals, and reduce government red tape and regulations. The legislation also will allow the BLM to conduct Internet-based auctions for onshore leases, the House Natural Resources Committee said.

The FERC has issued a final rule that amends its open access transmission tariff to remove discriminatory practices and to ensure reasonable rates for commission-jurisdictional services. Specifically, the rules removes barriers to the integration of variable energy resources by requiring each public utility transmission provider to offer intra-hourly transmission scheduling, and require interconnection customers with variable energy resources to provide meteorological and forced outage data for the purpose of power production forecasting.

The Arizona Corporation Commission has said that a municipal solid-waste-to-biogas project is an acceptable replacement for solar. The state’s Renewable Energy Standard requires ACC-regulated utilities and electric co-ops to obtain 15 percent of power from renewable sources by 2025. It also specifies that 30 percent of the fifteen percent come from distributed generation, Greentech Media said.

Russell Stover Candies has agreed to pay a $585,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its Iola, Kan., facility. The charges stem from an administrative compliance order issued to Russell Stover in 2009, to cease discharges of its acidic wastewater and provide additional monitoring and information, the EPA said.

In the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers from Utrecht University and consultancy Ecofys have recommended 21 different energy measures that countries, cities and companies should implement and scale up to meet emissions reduction targets. These measures include efforts to monitor and improve the supply chain, improved fuel-efficiency standards, and improved building efficiency policies, The Washington Post reports.

An EU draft regulation that would postpone sales of some carbon allowances faces objections by the directorates for industry, transport and economic and financial affairs, though it is expected to be presented to member states ahead of their August recess. The number of permits that may be postponed is confidential in the draft regulation, Business Week said.

The European Commission has launched its common emissions registry after a six-month delay, and is also lifting a two-week suspension on spot trade. The registry has new security measures to prevent theft, Point Carbon said.

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