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Energy this Week: Aviation Emissions, a Prius Record, Romney Waffles

The best energy news from the past week.
January 12, 2012

China’s four biggest airlines have said they will not pay carbon allowances demanded by European Union under its six-year-old emissions trading system. The fees, which the E.U. has said must be paid by all airlines that fly into European airports, went into effect January 1. (Read more at The Guardian.)

But the E.U. is standing firm. It has threatened to ban noncompliant airlines from European airports. (Read more at The New York Times.)

The United States has been more quiet about its opposition to the new carbon fees, but Reuters reports that the Obama administration has been mulling its retaliation options. Meanwhile, American Airlines, US Airways Group Inc, Delta Air Lines Inc and United Airlines have each added small surcharges to flights between the U.S. and Europe in order to help offset the new costs. (Read more at Reuters.)

U.S. Department of Energy decided against finalizing a $730 million loan to Severstal North America, which would have gone toward the manufacturing of lightweight, high-strength automotive steel. As The Hills E2 Wire notes, the loan proposal had come under heavy scrutiny by Republican lawmakers, several of whom applauded the decision to not to proceed with it. Disappointed company officials told Reuters that the technology the loan would have funded is “absolutely critical” to auto manufacturers aiming to meet more stringent fuel efficiency standards. (Read more at Reuters and The Hills E2 Wire.)

Toyota says Prius sales will set a record this year. The company, which is banking on its new smaller model, the ‘c,’ to bolster sales, expects consumers to purchase over 220,000 Prius vehicles in 2012. (Read more at Bloomberg.)

The U.S. Department of Interior announced a 20-year ban on new uranium mines near the Grand Canyon. The move will make one million acres off-limits. (Read more at The New York Times.)

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney declined to take a position on the Environmental Protection Agency’s cross-state air pollution rule. The rule, which was finalized last July and requires states to reduce power plant sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions that blow across state lines, has so far survived attempts by Congressional Republicans to kill it. (Read more at The Hills E2 Wire.)

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