Energy and Environment Update - May 22, 2011

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Energy and Climate Debate:

Following a week during which both Democratic and Republican versions of oil and gas legislation were voted down in the Senate, the upper chamber will debate a four-year extension of the USA PATRIOT Act this week, and the House will return to vote on the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization bill.

On May 17, Democrats failed (52-48) to move to debate on their legislation (S. 940, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act) to repeal $21 billion in tax preferences for the five largest oil companies. The next day, a procedural motion to move to debate on the Republican Offshore Production and Safety Act (S. 953), which largely mirrors a trio of pro-drilling measures passed recently by the House, fell on a vote of 42-57, well short of the 60-vote threshold set by mutual agreement. The two largely symbolic votes leave the Senate in a state of partisan gridlock over how to address gasoline prices.

Congress:

Open Process Urged in Ethanol Review; Comment Period Extension Requested; Cap and Dividend May Resurface; FTC Probe Requested; Cuban Exploration Intervention Requested; Reliability Questioned; Legislation Introduced; and Upcoming Hearings.

Administration:

Permitting Hastened and Leases Extended.

Department of Energy:

US-India R&D Center Funded; 2012 Budget Uncertain; $737 Million Loan Guarantee Offered; and Energy Innovator Agreement Signed.

Department of Interior:

Energy Coalition Possible.

Environmental Protection Agency:

Boiler MACT Postponed; Interstate Transport Rule to OMB; and Endangerment Finding Petitions Challenged.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:

Incentives Rates Approved.

Miscellaneous:

India to Prioritize Green Building

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests issued memorandums May 10 and 13 exempting certain solar energy projects from the requirement to obtain environmental clearance and prioritizing the handling of permit applications for green construction projects. Specifically, projects that generate electricity from photovoltaic cells will not require environmental approval, and priority will be given to considering environmental clearance applications for building and other construction sector projects that have obtained a green building rating.

EU ETS GHGs Rose

The European Commission released verified data May 17 showing that power plants and industrial facilities covered by the European Union’s Emissions Trading System generated 3.16 percent more greenhouse gases in 2010 than in 2009. Although emissions rose, they stayed below the 2010 cap of 1.99 billion MT...

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