Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Romney Wind Credit Stance, Enbridge Line 14, Airline Bill Passed

by | Aug 1, 2012

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would allow the wind energy tax credit to expire. President Obama is in favor of extending the credit, which is estimated to cost the federal government $1.6 billion this year. This costs less than the combined tax subsidies for oil, coal and natural gas by a 4 to 1 margin, the Des Moines Register said.

Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) are among those Republican lawmakers who said they don’t support cutting off the production tax credits that the wind industry says are vital, in a break with Romney, The Hill said.

Enbridge’s Line 14 pipeline, which was closed down by a leak that spilled more than 1,000 barrels of crude, could get approval from regulators to be up and running by the end of today. No decision had been made on whether Enbridge would have to take any corrective measures prior to a restart for the Wisconsin pipeline. The leak came almost exactly two years after a ruptured Enbridge line in Michigan spilled more than 20,000 barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River, Reuters said.

The Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill authorizing the transportation secretary to bar US airlines from complying with the EU carbon emissions requirement. The measure will be sent to the full Senate for a vote. The DOT and State Department also are hosting talks today with 16 other countries that oppose the EU’s trading scheme, Reuters said.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said that she aims to get her energy efficiency legislation attached as an amendment to every Senate bill called on the floor for the rest of session. Sponsors of the Shaheen-Portman bill said it will reduce consumers’ net energy costs by $4 billion annually and add about 80,000 jobs by 2020. The bill proposes tax incentives and loan programs to encourage efficiency actions, but is stuck largely because of contention over the federal tax code, debt and deficit, The Hill said.

Supporters of the Navy’s “Great Green Fleet” program have pointed out that Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who was critical of the program’s $26-per-gallon biofuel, secured a $2.3 million defense contract for Tulsa, Okla.-based Syntroleum Corp. in 2006 so the company could test a $22-per-gallon liquid natural-gas jet fuel. In today’s dollars, that fuel would cost $25 per gallon, The Hill reports.

The European Environment Agency said that 11 EU member states have exceeded internationally agreed emission ceilings of the Gothenburg Protocol of the UNECE Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution Convention. Denmark and Spain exceeded three ceilings for NOx, non-methane volatile organic compounds and ammonia while Germany exceeded two ceilings – NOx and NMVOCs. Exceeding one ceiling are Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden (all NOx) and Finland (ammonia), the EEA said.

In Japan, critics of the government’s new long-term economic revival plan, which includes a key focus on renewable energy, doubt that it will really help Tokyo hit its growth targets. The government plans to favor green energy over nuclear energy, with a goal of creating a new 50 trillion yen ($640 billion) market and 1.4 million jobs by 2020. However, economists say this will not trigger growth unless Japan puts emphasis on the export market, Reuters said.

Dallas-based power generator Luminant Generation Co. lost its lawsuit challenging the EPA’s partial rejection of the Texas state implementation plan for new clean-air standards. The EPA rejected a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality plan giving air polluters latitude for emissions resulting from unplanned, unavoidable malfunction, writes the Associated Press.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power hosts the second session of a bipartisan forum Thursday, Aug. 2, to examine state, local, and federal cooperation in the Clean Air Act. Participants include representatives from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a full committee markup today on several bills including the “No More Solyndras Act,” which aims to phase out the DOE loan guarantee program. The U.S. Agricultural Sector Relief Act, which directs the EPA to seek critical use exemptions under the Montreal Protocol treaty process to ensure the availability of the crop fumigant methyl bromide, also will be considered.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will continue its hearing, “The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on Growing Differences for Energy Development on Federal vs. Non-Federal Lands,” on Thursday, Aug. 2.

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