Policy & Enforcement Briefing: BLM Opposes Shale Dev, US Carbon Tax, Calif. ETS, Australia Backs Kyoto

by | Nov 12, 2012

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The Interior Department issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the west originally slated for oil shale development. The BLM cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes, which are open for a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process before implementation, The Hill said.

An unnamed White House official said President Obama is not planning a carbon tax proposal. An analyst with HSBC bank predicted that Obama might pursue such a tax as a way to address the deficit, The Hill said.

California carbon traded at a record low in the midst of legal threats, political opposition and rule changes ahead of this week’s first auction of permits. Futures contracts based on California carbon permits for 2013, the first year of compliance under the program, dropped 40 cents to a record low of $12.25 a metric ton last week, Bloomberg said.

Australia said that it will sign up for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, a move praised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The first period for emission reduction commitments is due to expire at the end of this year, and a Climate Change Conference will take place in Doha, Qatar, later this month. Point Carbon reports that New Zealand will not sign up to a new period of the treaty.

The British government has not provided the required financing guarantees and will not get any EU funding under the first round of the NER300 subsidy scheme for carbon capture and storage projects. The British government has included CCS technology in its plans to meet emissions reduction targets and says it has earmarked £1 billion ($1.59 billion) to fund a commercial scale pilot CCS program, Reuters said.

The EU is investigating accusations that Argentina and Indonesia, boosted by government subsidies, are dumping biodiesel in Europe, undercutting local companies which face falling output and bankruptcies. The European Commission said there was enough initial evidence to show import prices were damaging the local industry’s viability, Reuters said.

The EU said progress was made by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization toward a global deal to cut carbon emissions from the sector. The ICAO will set up a representative council which will make recommendations on potential measures for the ICAO’s next meetings in March and June, Reuters said.

Johnstown Wire Technologies has agreed to pay a $14,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous chemical reporting requirements at its manufacturing facility in Johnstown, Pa. The EPA said the company did not immediate notify federal, state and local emergency response officials after the facility released an estimated 16,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid in February 2010.

The EPA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Suffolk County will collect and dispose of potentially hazardous common household products from flood-damaged homes in Suffolk County. Beginning today, people in affected homes may bring household products, including solvents, paints, cleaners, oil, propane tanks, pesticides, and car batteries to drop-off locations. Residents of surrounding areas can put waste products on the curb for pickup, the EPA said.

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