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The New Administration Releases An Executive Order and A Series of Memoranda On Energy and Environmental Issues

The Trump administration has issued an Executive Order and a series of memoranda relating to energy and the environment. The goal of the Executive Order–Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects–is to expedite environmental reviews and approvals.  It provides that action by the Chair of the Counsel of Environmental Quality to designate … Continue Reading

Watching for Initiatives from the Trump Administration and Congress Affecting the Power Sector

The Trump Administration will take office intent on reversing many Obama Administration policies. Although the Trump Administration’s publicly released 100-day plan does not announce a new energy policy, campaign promises and priorities of the Republican-controlled Congress suggest a number of early initiatives that will impact the power sector.  Moreover, the Trump transition team for the Department … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decisions Raise Questions about Future Judicial Scrutiny of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Two of the Supreme Court’s major, end-of-term decisions turn on the deference the Court gives to agency determinations of the meaning of ambiguous clauses in complex regulatory statutes, applying the familiar Chevron framework.  The Court’s less deferential applications of Chevron raise important questions about the deference courts might be expected to give to the scope … Continue Reading

EPA to Hold Public Meeting on Nanoscale Materials Proposed Rule

EPA has scheduled a stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C. on June 11 to discuss its proposed nanoscale materials rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The proposed rule would require manufacturers of nanoscale materials to provide EPA certain information, including health and safety-related information, regarding their nanoscale materials.  Public comments are due by July … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases Spring Regulatory Agenda

On May 21, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Obama Administration’s Spring Unified Agenda, providing greater details about the President’s strategy to rely on executive actions for carrying out his energy and environmental initiatives. The agenda’s release—specifying the upcoming actions that the Administration will be taking by regulation—comes at a time … Continue Reading

FERC Outlines Its Role in Implementing EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Earlier this year, FERC held four technical conferences to discuss the implications of state, regional and/or federal plans for compliance with EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule to set carbon emission limits for existing electricity generating units.  A major issue raised was the impact of the CPP on electric grid reliability as coal-fired generators … Continue Reading

Spotlight on Manatee Conservation in Clean Power Plan Debate

As the partisan debate about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan continues, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-Utah) recently suggested that the agency’s forthcoming carbon emission rules could significantly harm the West Indian Manatee, a mammal that has been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since … Continue Reading

EPA Clarifies Standards for CERCLA Assessments

In a move designed to provide greater certainty to those purchasing, selling, or evaluating industrial or commercial properties, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed to remove any lingering effect of ASTM International’s E1527-05, a nine-year-old industry standard practice for evaluating potentially contaminated sites under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). As … Continue Reading

EPA Issues Direct Final Rule To Revise 2013 Cellulosic Biofuel Renewable Fuel Standard

On April 22, EPA issued a direct final rule to revise the 2013 cellulosic biofuel renewable fuel standard (“RFS”) that it had originally issued on August 15, 2013.  The new rule reduces the cellulosic biofuel RFS to 0.0005%, which reflects the number of cellulosic biofuel renewable identifications numbers (“RINs”) that were actually produced and available … Continue Reading

ECOS Releases Comprehensive Clean Air Act Memo With GHG Implications

In accord with the President’s June 2013 Climate Action Plan, EPA plans to use existing Clean Air Act authority to develop greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) standards for new and existing sources.  The scope of EPA’s authority under existing law is important given the lack of Congressional action to specifically address GHGs. The Environmental Council of … Continue Reading

White House Releases Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions

On March 28, 2014, the White House released its “Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.”  The plan summarizes the Administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions from several sources.  The strategy includes proposing new standards, new rules, new voluntary strategies and programs and new regulations.   The plan outlines measures to reduce emissions and … Continue Reading

Proposal: Manage Impacts of Clean Air Rules on Regional Bases

EPA’s current efforts to curb CO2 emissions from power plants are controversial due to their potential impacts on the cost of electricity and the reliability of the grid given the announced retirements of many coal-fired plants. The ISO/RTO Council (IRC), representing the operators of the regional electricity grids, has made two proposals for managing regional … Continue Reading

EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board Rejects Attempt to Require Additional Greenhouse Gas Limits in a Natural Gas Power Plant Permit

EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board has rejected the Sierra Club’s attempt to require certain greenhouse gas (GHG) limits in a preconstruction permit for a new natural gas power plant, in one of the first EAB decisions to address this issue.  In re: La Paloma Energy Center, LLC, PSD Appeal No. 13-10 (EAB Mar. 14, 2014).  In … Continue Reading

Changes Coming to Petition Process for Approval of New Renewable Fuels Pathways

This month, the EPA announced that it is improving the petition process for obtaining approval of new renewable fuel pathways.  When the initial pathways were approved, there was recognition that a process must be in place to evaluate improvements in existing processes and entirely new pathways.  The Renewable Fuel Standard regulations specify the existing approved … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Explores the “Glorious Mess” — Can the Clean Air Act Provide a Comprehensive and Orderly Solution to Climate Change?

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States again delved into the world of climate change and greenhouse gas regulation, hearing oral argument in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA.  It is perhaps fitting that the Court’s consideration happened on the very same day that Congressman John Dingell announced that he would be retiring after … Continue Reading

Proposed Rules Requiring Carbon Capture at New Coal Power Plants Would Nearly Double Costs

Carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) technologies, used for decades in industries that could produce revenue from the use of CO2 to offset the high costs, have more recently come to the forefront of clean energy policy as a way to reduce CO2 emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants. In 2013, President … Continue Reading

EPA Approves Texas Clean Air Act SIP

After years of controversy, EPA has announced it is planning to approve Texas’ Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan (SIP).  EPA had previously rejected Texas’ SIP, contending that is program was incompatible with federal requirements.  In particular, Texas objected to EPA’s requirement that they install a permitting regime for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. However, in … Continue Reading

President Obama’s State of the Union Continues a Central Focus on Energy and the Environment

Tonight’s State of the Union highlighted that energy and environmental issues will continue to play a central role in the Washington agenda over the next year.  From the President’s early reference to workers building fuel efficient cars, to his extensive discussion of next steps on energy and the environment, it is clear that the President … Continue Reading

EPA Proposes New Power Plant Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rules

EPA has formally proposed restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, which include a requirement that new fossil fuel-fired plants implement partial carbon capture and sequestration.  EPA published the proposal in the Federal Register on January 8, 2014.  79 Fed. Reg. 1,430 (Jan. 8, 2014).  Comments on the proposal are due by March … Continue Reading

EPA’s Science Advisory Board May Review EPA’s Proposed Rule Requiring Carbon Capture & Sequestration at New Coal-Fired Power Plants

On December 4 and 5, EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) discussed whether to review the scientific basis for EPA’s requirement that new coal-fired power plants implement partial carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), which is included in EPA’s recently-proposed rule for such power plants.  See Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Stationary Sources: … Continue Reading
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