Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Climate Bill, GAO High Risk List, Koch Penalty

by | Feb 15, 2013

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Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced their fee-and-dividend climate bill. The fee-and-dividend idea puts a price on carbon at its source and rebates most of the money back to US residents. The concept is modeled on Alaska’s permanent fund that rebates oil royalties to state residents. Boxer, who is chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, expects to hold hearings by spring and have a markup in summer, the San Francisco Chronicle said.

The GAO added financial risks from climate change and gaps in weather satellite data to its High Risk List, in its biennial assessment of federal programs and operations. A total of 30 programs and operations are included on the listing. GAO added climate change because the federal government is not well positioned to address the fiscal exposure presented by global warming and needs a government-wide strategic approach with strong leadership to manage related risks, the agency said.

The Spanish Parliament approved a law that cuts subsidies for alternative energy technologies, backtracking on its push for green power. Foreign investors in renewable energy projects in Spain have hired lawyers to prepare potential legal action. International funds have more than $17 billion of renewable energy assets in Spain and say that the government has reneged on the terms of their investment, Reuters said.

A series of new bills in the Senate seek to limit the EPA’s regulatory reach and would subject the agency to penalties for missing reporting deadlines. Offered by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), the legislation reflects the discontent with the agency’s use of regulations and official memoranda to further the administration’s environmental agenda without congressional approval, The Hill said.

Investors and a group of large businesses have urged the EU to revive its emissions trading scheme, ahead of a vote in the European parliament next week on whether to hold back some carbon permits from sale. Shell, General Electric, Kingfisher, Unilever and EDF were among companies calling for reforms that would raise carbon prices and restore confidence in the scheme. The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change also joined the call for reform, The Guardian said.

Koch Nitrogen Company has agreed to pay a $380,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the risk management program required by the Clean Air Act at facilities in Iowa and Kansas. The inspected facilities are in Fort Dodge and Marshalltown, Iowa, and Dodge City, Kan. The Fort Dodge and Dodge City facilities manufacture ammonia and urea-ammonium nitrate solution. The Marshalltown facility is a pipeline terminal that processes anhydrous ammonia, the EPA said.

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