Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Airlines in ETS, BP Felony Charges, Black Elk

by | Nov 28, 2012

President Obama has signed into law a bill that excludes US airlines from European carbon emissions taxes in the EU ETS. The US airline industry argued that the rules – which the EU put on hold earlier this month – were unfair because they would have been applied to the entire length of flights to European destinations, not just the time spent in EU airspace. The administration said it will work to address airline emissions with the International Civil Aviation Organization, The Hill reports.

BP answered to manslaughter and other criminal charges at an arraignment before a federal judge in New Orleans. BP entered a not guilty plea as a procedural matter, but the company still intends to plead guilty later. A trial date is set for Feb. 4 if the court doesn’t accept a plea deal and the case goes to trial. If BP fails to reach an agreement with the Justice Department, fines related only to violations of the Clean Water Act could reach $21 billion, the Houston Chronicle said.

Only about half of the 25,866 businesses and individuals that requested an opt-out from the proposed BP settlement managed to submit valid requests, the company and a team of plaintiffs’ attorneys said in a court filing. More than 9,000 were deemed invalid because an attorney, not the actual claimant, signed the document, the Associated Press said.

A United Nations-led partnership, Momentum for Change: Innovative Financing for Climate-Friendly Investment, will launch Dec. 6 from the Doha conference. The partnership aims to showcase innovative public-private financing mechanisms for climate change adaptation and mitigation activities. The initiative pairs the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change with the World Economic Forum, the UN News Center said.

House Democrats on the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources committees requested a briefing from Black Elk Energy on the explosion at an offshore oil platform that killed two workers and left another missing. Black Elk also faces disciplinary action from the Interior Department in its ongoing investigation. The agency had previously cited the company for safety violations, The Hill said.

Industries in Minnesota that emit more than 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year may be required to report their emissions under a rule sought by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The MPCA sees the permit ruling as a way to gather the information on large emitters – a total of about 300 facilities around the state – and review what regulatory actions those facilities may need to comply with state and federal laws, Minnesota Public Radio said.

The American Petroleum Institute has sued the EPA in an effort to reverse the agency’s mandate to blend 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel into diesel fuels starting in January. The API also filed a petition for the EPA to reconsider the 2013 required volumes, suggesting the agency roll back to last year’s 1 billion gallon requirement, Market Watch said.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a group of former lawmakers and government officials, has advanced a plan for the development of a comprehensive US energy strategy. The group also recommends the creation of a National Energy Strategy Council charged with overseeing all aspects of US energy policy, Fuel Fix said.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power subcommittee will have a forum Thursday on the Clean Air Act. The third forum continues discussions on state, local, and federal cooperation in the Clean Air Act. Participants include representatives from Montana DEQ, the Tennessee DEQ, and the Gila River Indian Community.

The Department of the Interior has implemented a new experimental long-term protocol for high flow water releases from Glen Canyon Dam. The new protocol calls for experimental releases from the dam through 2020 to send sediment downstream to rebuild sandbars, beaches and backwaters, and maintain power supplies. The releases are expected to improve ecosystems along the Colorado River corridor in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park, the department said.

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