Regulation

EPA releases updated biogenic emissions framework

Read the full story from Biomass Magazine.

On Nov. 19, the U.S. EPA released a revised framework for assessing biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary sources. According to a notice published by the EPA, the second draft of the framework will undergo further review. The agency has also issued a memo providing regulatory guidance on how the updated framework will impact the Clean Power Plan and Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program.

Within 2 years, a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions are likely to be priced

Read the full post at Grist.

It often surprises people to hear that big companies like Exxon use a “shadow carbon price” when assessing future investment opportunities (in other words, they assume a price on carbon even where/when there isn’t one). After all, if you only pay attention to the headlines, it sounds like the big story on climate change is that nobody’s doing anything and we’re all doomed. Why would Exxon think carbon will be priced any time soon?

Well, it turns out that carbon is getting priced, not in the big, dramatic, simple way climate hawks would prefer, but incrementally, piecemeal, country-by-country, region-by-region, still inadequately but in a way that’s starting to add up.

Remaking American Power: Potential Energy Market Impacts of EPA’s Proposed GHG Emission Performance Standards for Existing Electric Power Plants

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This report seeks to help inform federal and state policymakers, energy producers, investors, and consumers about the potential impact of state and federal policy decisions associated with the Clean Power Plan as proposed.

Final Report: Implications of EPA’s Proposed “Clean Power Plan”: Analyzing consumer impacts of the draft rule

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This report has been prepared by Synapse Energy Economics (Synapse), pursuant to a grant from the Energy Foundation, to enable National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) members to better understand the consumer impacts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan.

Consumers will ultimately shoulder most of the costs of new environmental initiatives. NASUCA’s members are designated by the laws of their respective jurisdictions to represent the interests of utility consumers in their states. Robust participation by NASUCA members in the decision-making processes which form and implement the Plan is therefore essential to assure that costs are not incurred unnecessarily and to assure that consumers receive the best possible value for money spent.

Recognizing that stakeholders have a wide range of reactions to the EPA’s Plan, the intent of this report is not to take positions as to the Plan’s substance or to comprehend every conceivable issue consumers in a particular state might face. Nor does the report in any way represent the distilled opinions of NASUCA’s membership. Just as individual states will vary in their responses to the Plan, the intent of this report is to be a common resource to help all of NASUCA’s members think through a broad range of potential implications of various compliance approaches to their respective consumers whatever their individual state’s positions.

State Implementation of CO2 Rules: Institutional and Practical Issues with State and Multi-State Implementation and Enforcement

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This Release 2.0 of our Section 111(d) White Paper incorporates feedback from the original paper, and also updates the analysis to include the Notice of Data Availability (NODA), issued by EPA on October 28, 2014. Release 2.0 also synthesizes our thinking from the three additional white papers addressing existing state legislation, general state institutional issues, and specific issues with municipal utilities and cooperatives.

We continue to foresee significant institutional challenges for the states. States will still need to:

  • Pass enabling legislation to implement the proposed rule at the state level.
  • Construct institutional arrangements between the universe of regulators (public utility commissions (PUCs), environmental regulators, gubernatorial energy offices) in a state statutory and administrative context.
  • Obtain and concentrate jurisdiction in the appropriate regulatory bodies over all affected entities, including in many states non-jurisdictional entities like cooperatives and municipal utilities.
  • Institute carbon-driven resource planning and dispatch in restructured markets to ensure adequate capacity and reliability.
  • Structure enforceable and constitutional multi-state Section 111(d) plans with interstate enforcement mechanisms, which may well require Congressionally-approved interstate compacts to satisfy EPA state plan approval criteria.

This Release 2.0 focuses on developments since the initial release, specifically individual state institutional
analyses, reliability issues, and potential changes to the proposed CO2 Emission Guidelines from the NODA.

House passes bill to reform EPA science panel

Read the full story in The Hill.

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Passed 229-191, the measure, H.R. 1422, would change the process of selecting members of the Scientific Advisory Board and the terms of office.

Among other provisions, the measure would require the Scientific Advisory Board, which consults the EPA on its regulations, to have at least ten percent of members from state, local or tribal governments.

The bill is part of the House GOP’s package of legislation this week to limit the EPA’s ability to issue new regulations. Later this week, the House will vote on bills to require the EPA to make public its scientific data to justify regulations and limit updates to air pollution rules.

See also:

Farmers, environmentalists at odds over proposed EPA water rule

Listen to the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

In middle of the 20th century, America’s rivers were in rough shape. Decades of urban growth and industrial pollution had turned many of them into dumping grounds for everything from hazardous chemicals to human waste.

A burgeoning environmental movement and high profile events like the 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River finally pushed Congress to take action. In 1972, it passed the Clean Water Act, giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate water pollution.

But which waterways the agency can regulate has been a source of conflict and confusion. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule it says clarifies its jurisdiction.

Environmentalists say it will close loopholes that allow pollution into streams and wetlands go unchecked.  But farm bureaus in many states including Michigan are saying the rule goes too far and could hurt the agricultural industry.

Current State talks with Laura Campbell, Manager of Agricultural Ecology at the Michigan Farm Bureau, and John Rumpler, Senior Attorney for Environment America.