Friday, June 29, 2012

"Proposed Final Program" For 5-Year OCS Leasing 2012-2017

Jun 28: Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy Beaudreau announced the release of a proposed final offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012-2017 which they said "makes all areas with the highest-known resource potential -- including frontier areas in the Alaska Arctic – available for oil and gas leasing in order to further reduce America's dependence on foreign oil."

    According to an announcement, consistent with the President's direction, the Obama administration's Proposed Final U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program makes available areas focused on the most likely recoverable oil and gas resources that the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is estimated to hold. It schedules 15 potential lease sales for the five-year period, including 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska.

    Secretary Salazar said, "Put simply, this program opens the vast majority of known offshore oil and gas resources for development over the next five years and includes a cautious but forward-looking leasing strategy for the Alaska Arctic. President Obama has made clear his commitment to expanding responsible domestic oil and gas production in America as part of this all-of-the-above energy strategy, and with comprehensive safety standards in place, this plan will help us to continue to grow America's energy economy and further reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while protecting marine, costal and human health."

    The "Proposed Final Program" is designed to account for the distinct needs of the regions across the OCS, and considers a range of factors, including current and developing information about resource potential, the status of resource development and emergency response infrastructure, recognition of regional interest and concerns, and the need for a balanced approach to the use of the Nation's shared natural resources.

    BOEM Director Beaudreau said, "Offshore oil and gas leasing should not be 'one size fits all. For example, the area-wide leasing model that works for the Gulf of Mexico, where there is a long and consistent history of offshore exploration and development, is not suited to the Arctic. Within the Arctic, where significant resource potential exists, there are also substantial environmental challenges, and social and ecological concerns that warrant a different and more targeted approach that will focus leasing to offer the greatest resource potential while minimizing possible conflicts with environmentally sensitive areas and the native Alaskan communities that rely on the ocean for subsistence use."

    The 15 scheduled potential lease sales contained in the plan will occur in six planning areas – the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico, the portion of the Eastern Gulf Of Mexico not currently under Congressional moratorium, and the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea and Cook Inlet Planning Areas offshore Alaska.

    The release indicates that the Proposed Final Program re-affirms existing protections for Arctic coastal areas by continuing to exclude certain areas from leasing, including a 25-mile buffer area near the coast of the Chukchi, as well as two subsistence whaling areas in the Beaufort near Barrow and Kaktovik, Alaska. The program also identifies an additional exclusion area in the Chukchi, near Barrow, that will not be made available for leasing because of input received from Native Alaskan communities and because the area is known to be of particular importance for subsistence hunting and fishing. With respect to all other areas in the Arctic that are open to oil and gas exploration and development in the Proposed Final Program, BOEM will identify targeted areas to offer in the lease sales based on information the agency will gather about industry interest, resource potential, subsistence hunting and fishing, wildlife, and environmental sensitivities.

    Secretary Salazar said, "We are taking a cautious approach to leasing in the Arctic that accounts for the Arctic's unique environmental resources and the social, cultural and subsistence needs of Native Alaskan communities, and draws from the best available science as well as any new information that we may learn from activity on current leases. When it comes to domestic production, the President has made clear he is committed to producing more oil and natural gas safely and responsibly. The numbers speak for themselves: every year the President has been in office, domestic oil and gas production is up, imports of foreign oil are down, and currently the nation is producing more oil than any time in the last eight years."

    As is mandated by the OCS Lands Act, the Proposed Final Program has been submitted to Congress. The Secretary may implement the Program in 60 days, however no further action is needed prior to its implementation, and BOEM is on track to hold the first sale under the new program later this year. Earlier this month, BOEM held a lease sale for nearly 39 million acres in the Central Gulf of Mexico, which attracted more than $1.7 billion in high bids for more than 2.4 million acres. That follows on a Western Gulf of Mexico lease sale held in December 2011, in which 21 million acres were offered for lease.

    The American Petroleum Institute (API)Group Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito described the Interior plan as "a continuation of the administration's discouraging pattern of delay and unnecessary restraint." He said, "Today's proposal will not allow us to realize the full benefits from safe and responsible development of America's oil and natural gas resources, continuing a pattern of delay and unnecessary restraint. For example, this plan pushes back the 2015 Beaufort lease sale, where leasing has already occurred, and makes more areas off limits than it makes available. A sensible long-term strategy would embrace and promote expanded oil and natural gas exploration and development to create new jobs and secure critical energy supplies for future generations. . .

    "We must move past policies that undermine the mission of supplying Americans with the energy they need. While vitally important, the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico areas included in this proposed offshore program are not 'new' areas. We look to the administration and Congress to begin working on a new plan that opens areas in the Eastern Gulf, the Pacific, and the Atlantic, such as offshore Virginia and South Carolina, where we continue to see bipartisan support for new offshore leasing."

    U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee commented on the plan saying, "The leasing plan released today falls far short of what's needed to get America's faltering economy back on track. It removes nearly 90 percent of the acreage previously available for energy exploration. While it offers the possibility of two lease sales in the Arctic, it substantially delays them and raises the possibility that they might not happen at all. The final plan unilaterally takes millions of acres in the Arctic off the table, in the form of buffer zones and so-called 'study areas.'
    "The administration also continues to ignore calls for lease sales off the coast of states such as Virginia and South Carolina, despite strong support from those states. While the administration resists opening any new acreage, nearly every country bordering our waters is showing no such hesitation. Cuba, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada and Russia are all moving ahead. It's time to roll up our sleeves and put Americans back to work producing the energy we need to be competitive. Hesitation and delay will not right our economy."

    House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) said the Plan "closes 85 percent of America's offshore areas to energy production." He said, "The Obama Administration has neglected their duty to provide a roadmap for America's offshore energy future by tossing aside a plan to expand production and failing to produce a plan of their own for three and a half years. Today, the Obama Administration has announced a bleak future for American energy production by keeping 85 percent of America's offshore areas under lock and key and refusing to open any new areas to drilling. This plan re-imposes the drilling moratoria lifted in 2008, hurts job creation and keeps new areas of American energy production sidelined. . ."

    Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member on the Natural Resources Committee, praised the DOI Plan for offering a "balanced five year oil and gas drilling plan for America's oceans."  He said, "At a time when U.S. oil production is at an 18-year high, this drilling plan is the responsible way to continue to support domestic production, while leaving time to put in place proper safety and environmental protections. While Republicans pass bills in Congress to give away all of our public lands available to drill within just a few short years, the Obama administration knows that an 'oil-above-all' policy serves no one's interests, unless you are an oil company executive. By keeping the East Coast off limits to drilling, this plan also recognizes the widespread opposition to placing oil rigs up and down our Atlantic Coast."

    House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) issued a statement saying, "The U.S. is home to some of the largest energy reserves in the world, yet today the Obama administration announced it will lock away the vast majority of these resources for another five years. This plan essentially reinstates the offshore drilling ban that was lifted in 2008. The president's plan is a step backwards, opening no new areas for energy leasing and only further delaying domestic production projects. While the president claims to support 'all of the above,' his policies seem more accurately described as advancing 'nothing from below.'"

    Oceana's senior Pacific director, Susan Murray said, "Today's news is a mixed bag. BOEM has taken one step forward by stating a commitment to better science, but it has taken two steps backward by including lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.  It is just common sense -- we should not be proceeding without basic science or demonstrated response capability." Jacqueline Savitz, VP for North America at Oceana said, "Sadly, our government has released yet another plan on how to drill for more oil and gas, without making any effort to develop a plan for the desperately needed transition to clean energy. We have known for a decade that we need to shift from fossil fuels, yet there is still no analysis of how to minimize our reliance on oil and gas. Instead the government keeps promoting risky offshore drilling that jeopardizes the health of the entire Gulf and Arctic regions. Encouraging clean energy investments would create jobs without risking people's lives and livelihoods. Instead, this plan sets us up for another devastating oil spill, which endangers human lives, coastal economies and marine life."

    Access a release from DOI with links to complete and extensive information on the Proposed Final Program (click here). Access the Five Year Program website for more information including alternative and mitigation tracking table and regionally-tailored interactive maps (click here). Access the release from API (click here). Access a release from Sen. Murkowski (click here). Access the statement from Rep. Hastings (click here). Access the statement from Rep. Markey (click here). Access the statement from Rep. Upton (click here). Access a release from Oceana (click here). [#Energy/OCS)

32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals

Thursday, June 28, 2012

House & Senate Strike Tentative Deal On Transportation Bill

Jun 27: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced that House and Senate conferees are concluding a bicameral, bipartisan agreement on a major transportation bill. Representative Mica said the measure focuses on unprecedented reforms by cutting red tape and consolidating federal transportation programs. On the Senate side, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member, issued a statement on the agreement which they say has been reached on the transportation conference report. They indicate that the agreement provides funding at current levels through the end of fiscal year 2014, which was one of the highly contentious disagreements between House and Senate bills.

    There were substantial differences between the two versions of the reauthorization of the Highway Surface Transportation program that have resulted in a political standstill. The House version, H.R.4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, provided a short-term extension and included highly controversial provisions requiring approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and relaxed standards for the management and reuse of coal ash. The Senate version, S.1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), provided a two-year $109 billion surface transportation reauthorization and passed the Senate with 74 votes. The Conference Committee held their first meeting on May 8 [See WIMS 5/09/12]. Funding for the Surface Transportation program which was set to expire on March 31, was extended 90-days to June 30 [See WIMS 3/30/12].

    In the latest developments, Representative Mica said, "This agreement will help strengthen our nation's construction industry and provide stability to highway, bridge and infrastructure projects across the country." He called it a "tentative agreement" that establishes federal highway, transit and highway safety policy and keeps programs at current funding levels through the end of fiscal year 2014. Unlike the last transportation bill, which contained over 6,300 earmarks, he said this bill doesn't include any earmarks. He said the bill also does not increase taxes.

    Rep. Mica continued saying, "This is the jobs bill for the 112th Congress. The unprecedented reforms in this legislation -- cutting red tape, truly making projects 'shovel ready,' shrinking the size of the federal bureaucracy, attracting more private sector participation, and giving states more flexibility to address their critical priorities -- will ensure that we more effectively move forward with major highway and bridge improvements and put Americans back to work. The Highway Trust Fund is going bankrupt, and this paid-for measure provides necessary, real reform that focuses our limited resources on critical infrastructure needs. This legislation is specifically designed to reform and consolidate our transportation programs, streamline the bureaucratic project process, and give states more flexibility to save taxpayers' hard-earned money."

    Senator Boxer said, "I couldn't be more pleased to announce, along with my partner Senator Inhofe, that we have a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a transportation bill which saves and creates millions of jobs. Not only will this reform bill provide a boost to the economy and the construction industry, but it is a big win for the middle class, business, and our environment. This agreement provides stability and flexibility for the nation's transportation planners, invests in America's crumbling roads and bridges, and puts people back to work. I want to thank Senator Inhofe, Rep. John Mica, Rep. Nick Rahall [D-WV], and all the other conferees, and leadership in both the House and Senate for working virtually non-stop to finish this bill."

    Senator Inhofe said, "The agreement struck on the highway conference report is great news for jobs and economic growth in Oklahoma and across the nation. I would like to thank Chairman Boxer for her leadership and the House and Senate conferees for their hard work and for their dedication to getting this bill done. As with any compromise we didn't get everything we wanted, but I believe we truly have a good bill -- one conservatives can be proud to support. Throughout the conference, we strove for solid conservative reforms: we reduced the number of programs by 2/3; eliminated or consolidated those that are duplicative or don't serve a national transportation goal; got rid of numerous bureaucratic hurdles; we were able to slash the lengthy and often duplicative environmental review process from an average of 15 years down to 7; we found ways to increase the role of state and local governments while working to get the federal government out of the way at every opportunity; and we made sure that states were able to spend highway money on their highest priorities rather than being forced to address Washington's priorities. I look forward to Congress passing this bipartisan jobs bill as soon as possible."

    Martin Hayden, vice president for policy and legislation at Earthjustice, issued a statement on the announced deal saying, "Senate Democrats prevailed in getting toxic coal ash and the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline dropped from the final transportation bill. The Senate deserves credit for rightly rejecting plans passed by the House of Representatives that would have put millions of Americans living near coal ash dump sites at risk. . . However, we are very disappointed that the Senate agreed to include a significant weakening of the National Environmental Policy Act, a bedrock environmental law that provides for public information and participation, as it applies to transportation construction projects. Some of these provisions will shut out nearly all stakeholders -- including low-income residents and communities of color, landowners, business owners, and local governments -- from transportation projects affecting the health, economy, and environment of their local communities."

    The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) indicates in a release on the deal that it also includes the RESTORE Act, the legislation that directs BP fines and penalties to go to Gulf Coast restoration. NWF president and CEO Larry Schweiger said, More than two years into the worst oil disaster in America's history, Washington is finally delivering on its promise to make the Gulf whole again. Once BP's fines and penalties have been established, the RESTORE Act will represent one of the most important investments in natural resources in America's history, a critically-needed commitment to Gulf Coast ecosystems and the people who depend on them. All of us now have the responsibility to make sure every dollar is invested in restoring the Gulf's impacted communities and wildlife habitat." NWF also pointed out that the package also includes provisions to reform the National Flood Insurance Program which includes "critical new protections for floodplains and wetlands that provide clean water, wildlife habitat, and the first line of defense against floods and the impacts of a changing climate, while saving taxpayers an estimated $4.7 billion over the next 10 years."

    Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Legislative Director Scott Slesinger issued a statement saying, "Senate Democrats wisely stood up to House Republicans' attempts to use the transportation bill to ram through unrelated, anti-environmental provisions on the Keystone tar sands pipeline and coal ash disposal. But unfortunately, the Senate also agreed to damaging and unnecessary concessions that weaken environmental reviews of highway projects – reducing public oversight and excluding some from review entirely. They also made concessions that cut funding for transportation choices that would reduce traffic, reduce our dependence on oil and improve our health and environment. Given that the House could not even manage to pass a complete bill while the Senate had approved a bipartisan measure, the American people had every reason to expect a better outcome."
    Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune said in part, "Unfortunately, House Republican ideologues sabotaged this chance, proving again they are willing to sacrifice millions of jobs to advance their radical agenda. By being willing to walk away from three million American jobs, House Republicans extracted concessions that will keep our transportation system stuck in reverse. By rolling back critical environmental review laws, they'll curtail the public's ability to have a say on highway and bridge projects in their communities. By undermining efforts to make biking and walking safer and keep our roads and bridges in good repair, they've done their best to ensure we remain dependent on oil and a crumbling infrastructure. When you have extremists in Congress willing to derail the country to push their reckless ideology refusing to negotiate with Senate leaders who want to act to save jobs, the results are grim. Now, we're left with a must-pass bill stripped of its potential. One of the few good things you can say about this bill is that it could have been worse." 

    If a majority of House and Senate conferees approve the conference report, both bodies are then expected to take up the measure before the end of the week, prior to the expiration of the current extension of transportation funding on June 30.

    Access the statement from Rep. Mica (click here). Access the statement from Sens. Boxer and Inhofe (click here). Access the 599-page compromise bill (click here). Access the Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of the Conference and a 91-page summary (click here). Access a release from Earthjustice (click here). Access a release from NWF (click here). Access a release from NRDC (click here). Access a release from Sierra Club (click here). Access links to a number of articles on the transportation deal (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.4348 (click here). Access legislative details for S.1813 (click here). [#Transport]

32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professional

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

GOP & Industry Groups Say GHG Decision Is "Devastating Blow"

Jun 27: As WIMS reported yesterday the unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit in the case of Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. U.S. EPA, and related consolidated cases upholding EPA authority to regulated greenhouse gases (GHG) under the Clean Air Act [See WIMS 6/26/12] was widely applauded by Democratic leaders and environmental organizations. Reactions from Republican leaders and industry groups were not available at press time. The following reactions of Michigan's Representative Fred Upton, Senator Inhofe and the industry coalition involved in the lawsuits were released later in the day.
    House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) issued a statement in response to the ruling saying, "While some in Washington may claim today's court ruling is a win for the Obama administration, it delivers a devastating blow to the U.S. economy and American consumers. After enduring 40 consecutive months of higher than eight percent unemployment, we cannot afford the EPA's continued expansion of red tape that is slowing economic growth and threatening to entangle millions of small businesses. EPA's rules will impose billions of dollars in compliance and delay costs and represent an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that has the potential to affect virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household. We have a legislative solution that stands up for American workers. The House passed my bill, H.R.910, to stop this power-grab by the Obama administration and block EPA's cap-and-trade agenda that threatens to drive energy prices higher, destroy jobs, and hamstring our economic recovery.
    Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and a major critic of the Administration's GHG regulations and climate change science commented the decision saying, "This 'big win' for the Obama EPA is a huge loss for every American, especially those in the heartland states which rely on fossil fuel development and the affordable energy that comes with it. EPA's massive and complicated regulatory barrage will continue to punish job creators and further undermine our economy. This is the true agenda that President Obama is trying to hide under disingenuous reelection rhetoric about an 'all of the above' approach to energy.

    "And what will Americans get in return for this regulatory nightmare? Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that these rules will have no effect on the climate so it will be all pain for no environmental gain. Today's court ruling should be a wake-up call for the United States Senate to do its job and prevent what an author of the Clean Air Act amendments, Representative Dingell, called a 'glorious mess.' Last year 64 Senators went on record as wanting to stop these devastating greenhouse gas regulations from taking effect -- it's time they actually do so."

    "The Obama administration is attempting to regulate greenhouse gases in the absence of legislation. Congress and the American people rejected cap-and-trade legislation, but unelected bureaucrats at the EPA are pushing through harmful regulations that will serve as a massive energy tax on American businesses and families. H.R.910 will reassert Congress' authority to direct public policy and will protect Americans from EPA's overreach."

    National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released a statement on behalf of the industry coalition on the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit saying, "Today's ruling is a setback for businesses facing damaging regulations from the EPA. The Clean Air Act was not designed to regulate greenhouse gases, and even the EPA said that it could not comply with the statute as written to implement these regulations.

    "The EPA's decision to move forward with these regulations is one of the most costly, complex and burdensome regulations facing manufacturers. These regulations will harm their ability to hire, invest and grow. By moving forward, the EPA is adding to the mounting uncertainty facing manufacturers of all sizes. We will be considering all of our legal options when it comes to halting these devastating regulations. The debate to address climate change should take place in the U.S. Congress and should foster economic growth and job creation, not impose additional burdens on businesses."

    In a release, NAM said it is "reviewing the court's decision and will consider further legal options on appeal. The EPA's greenhouse gas regulations will eventually require new burdensome permitting requirements for more than 6 million stationary sources, including 200,000 manufacturing facilities, 37,000 farms and millions of other sources such as universities, schools, hospitals and even American homes -- impacting every aspect of our economy."

    The members of the coalition include American Frozen Food Institute; American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers; American Petroleum Institute; Brick Industry Association; Copper & Brass Fabricators Council, Inc.; Corn Refiners Association; Glass Association of North America; Glass Packaging Institute; Independent Petroleum Association of America; Indiana Cast Metals Association; Michigan Manufacturers Association; Mississippi Manufacturers Association; National Association of Home Builders; National Association of Manufacturers; National Oilseed Processors Association; NFIB Small Business Legal Center; North American Die Casting Association; Specialty Steel Industry of North America; Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Western States Petroleum Association; West Virginia Manufacturers Association; and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

    Access the statement from Rep. Upton (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Inhofe (click here). Access the NAM release (click here). Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Climate, #Air, #MIAir, #MIClimate, #CADC]

32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Appeals Court Rules Unanimously In Favor Of EPA GHG Regulations

Jun 26: Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. U.S. EPA; American Chemistry Council v. U.S. EPA; and various intervenors including the State of Michigan, et al. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 09-1322, consolidated with a number of cases. On Petitions for Review of Final Actions of the Environmental Protection Agency. And, consolidated with dozens of cases and involving hundreds of attorneys. This is a highly controversial, complicated and critically important decision regarding U.S. EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. A unanimous Appeals Court has provided an complete ruling in support of U.S. EPA and Administration.
    The Appeals Court outlines the history as follows: Following the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007) -- which clarified that greenhouse gases are an "air pollutant" subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act (CAA) -- U.S. EPA promulgated a series of greenhouse gas-related rules. First, EPA issued an Endangerment Finding, in which it
determined that greenhouse gases may "reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." See 42 U.S.C. § 7521(a)(1). Next, it issued the Tailpipe Rule, which set emission standards for cars and light trucks. Finally, EPA determined that the CAA requires major stationary sources of greenhouse gases to obtain construction and operating permits. But because immediate regulation of all such sources would result in overwhelming permitting burdens on permitting authorities and sources, EPA issued the Timing and Tailoring Rules, in which it determined that only the largest stationary sources would initially be subject to permitting requirements.
    Petitioners, various states and industry groups, challenge all these rules, arguing that they are based on improper constructions of the CAA and are otherwise arbitrary and capricious. The Appeals Court rules, "But for the reasons set forth below, we conclude: (1) the Endangerment Finding and Tailpipe Rule are neither arbitrary nor capricious; (2) EPA's interpretation of the governing CAA provisions is unambiguously correct; and (3) no petitioner has standing to challenge the Timing and Tailoring Rules. We thus dismiss for lack of jurisdiction all petitions for review of the Timing and Tailoring Rules, and deny the remainder of the petitions."
    The Appeals Court explains the organization of the seven part, 82-page decision saying, "This opinion proceeds in several steps. Part II explains why the Endangerment Finding was neither arbitrary nor capricious, while Part III does the same for the Tailpipe Rule. Turning to stationary source regulation, Part IV examines whether any petitioners may timely challenge EPA's longstanding interpretation of the PSD statute. Because we conclude that they may, Part V addresses the merits of their statutory arguments, and explains why EPA's interpretation of the CAA was compelled by the statute. Next, Part VI explains why petitioners lack standing to challenge the Timing and Tailoring Rules themselves. Finally, Part VII disposes of several arguments that have nothing to do with the rules under review, and thus are not properly before us."
    On the issue of the scientific basis for the endangerment finding, the Appeals Court said in part, "State and Industry Petitioners next challenge the adequacy of the scientific record underlying the Endangerment Finding, objecting to both the type of evidence upon which EPA relied and EPA's decision to make an Endangerment Finding in light of what Industry Petitioners view as significant scientific uncertainty. Neither objection has merit. . . Based on this scientific record, EPA made the linchpin finding: in its judgment, the 'root cause' of the recently observed climate change is 'very likely' the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. . . EPA had before it substantial record evidence that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases 'very likely' caused warming of the climate over the last several decades. . ."
    On the subject of the Endangerment Finding being arbitrary and capricious and "just a "subjective conviction" of EPA, the Appeals Court said in part, "EPA relied on a substantial record of empirical data and scientific evidence, making many specific and often quantitative findings regarding the impacts of greenhouse gases on climate change and the effects of climate change on public health and welfare. Its failure to distill this ocean of evidence into a specific number at which greenhouse gases cause "dangerous" climate change is a function of the precautionary thrust of the CAA and the multivariate and sometimes uncertain nature of climate science, not a sign of arbitrary or capricious decision-making."
    On the subject of standing, the Appeals Court summarizes the arguments and its ruling as follows: "Petitioners fall far short of these 'irreducible constitutional . . . elements' of standing, id. at 560. Simply put, Petitioners have failed to establish that the Timing and Tailoring Rules caused them 'injury in fact,' much less injury that could be redressed by the Rules' vacatur. Industry Petitioners contend that they are injured because they are subject to regulation of greenhouse gases, Coalition for Responsible Reg. Timing & Tailoring Br. 14. State Petitioners claim injury because they own some regulated sources and because they now carry a heavier administrative burden. State Pet'rs' Timing & Tailoring Br. 22–23. But as discussed above, see supra Part V, the CAA mandates PSD and Title V coverage for major emitters of greenhouse gases. Thus, Industry Petitioners were regulated and State Petitioners required to issue permits not because of anything EPA did in the Timing and Tailoring Rules, but by
automatic operation of the statute. Given this, neither the Timing nor Tailoring Rules caused the injury Petitioners allege: having to comply with PSD and Title V for greenhouse gases."
    Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a brief statement saying, "The Appeals Court's decision to unambiguously affirm EPA's clean air efforts to reduce dangerous carbon pollution is a big victory for the health of the American people."
    Representative Ed Markey (D-MA.), Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released a statement saying, "Today's ruling is a grand slam for the EPA and the health of the American people, and another strikeout for the fossil fuel special interests trying to block clean energy progress. The DC Appeals Court now joins the Supreme Court in saying that climate science is sound and the EPA has the authority to regulate dangerous heat-trapping emissions under the Clean Air Act. Three years ago today, the House passed the Waxman-Markey climate and clean energy bill, and the problems addressed by that legislation remain with us today. With the science affirmed and the authority granted, EPA should continue their important work to address the greatest challenge of our generation in dealing with global warming. At the same time, Congressional Republicans should stop denying the science and start working with Democrats to craft more comprehensive and bipartisan responses to the threat posed by global warming."
    Sierra Club issued a release on the decision calling it "a sweeping victory for public health and clean air." Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club said, "Today's decision is a huge victory for American families and everyone concerned about protecting the air we breathe and the health of our children. The role of the Clean Air Act in protecting our families from dangerous carbon pollution and climate disruption should never have been in doubt, and this decision is a big step forward in putting the well-being of Americans before the boundless profits of big polluters. Carbon pollution is dangerous to our planet and our health. The Environmental Protection Agency has the right and the duty to keep our communities healthy and now the path is clear for them to curb this dangerous pollution, which threatens our families and planet. We applaud the court's decision and stand with the EPA as they continue to fight for the health of American families."
    Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said, "Today's ruling by the court confirms that EPA's common sense solutions to address climate pollution are firmly anchored in science and law. This landmark decision will help secure a healthier and more prosperous future for all Americans. Today is a good day for climate progress in America and for the thin layer of atmosphere that sustains life on Earth." EDF's outside legal counsel Sean Donahue, who presented oral arguments to the court in defense of these protections said, "EPA's reasonable steps to reduce climate pollution will benefit our environment, our economy, our health and our national security. Today's court ruling will help our country move forward toward a clean energy future."
    [Note: No immediate reaction to the ruling was available from industry or state government participants at press time.]
    Access the complete opinion (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Boxer (click here). Access the statement from Rep. Markey (click here). Access a release from Sierra Club (click here). Access the statement from EDF (click here). [#Climate, #Air, #MIAir, #MIClimate]
32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals

Monday, June 25, 2012

Two Reports On U.S. Atlantic & Pacific Sea Level Rises

Jun 24: Two separate reports, one by the U.S. Geological Survey and the other by the National Academy of Sciences, warn of rising sea levels along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the fact that levels are rising at faster than average rates.
    The report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), published in Nature Climate Change, indicates that the rates of sea level rise are increasing three-to-four times faster along portions of the U.S. Atlantic Coast than globally. Since about 1990, sea-level rise in the 600-mile stretch of coastal zone from Cape Hatteras, NC to north of Boston, MA -- coined a "hotspot" by scientists -- has increased 2 - 3.7 millimeters per year; the global increase over the same period was 0.6 – 1.0 millimeter per year. Based on data and analyses included in the report, if global temperatures continue to rise, rates of sea level rise in this area are expected to continue increasing.
    USGS indicated that the report shows that the sea-level rise hotspot is consistent with the slowing of Atlantic Ocean circulation. Models show this change in circulation may be tied to changes in water temperature, salinity and density in the subpolar north Atlantic. USGS Director Marcia McNutt said, "Many people mistakenly think that the rate of sea level rise is the same everywhere as glaciers and ice caps melt, increasing the volume of ocean water, but other effects can be as large or larger than the so-called 'eustatic' rise. As demonstrated in this study, regional oceanographic contributions must be taken into account in planning for what happens to coastal property."
    USGS said that though global sea level has been projected to rise roughly two-to-three feet or more by the end of the 21st century, it will not climb at the same rate at every location. Differences in land movements, strength of ocean currents, water temperatures, and salinity can cause regional and local highs and lows in sea level.
    A separate report from the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) National Research Council (NRC), released on June 22, indicates that the sea level off most of California is expected to rise about one meter over the next century, an amount slightly higher than projected for global sea levels, and will likely increase damage to the State's coast from storm surges and high waves.  Sea levels off Washington, Oregon, and northern California will likely rise less, about 60 centimeters over the same period of time.  However, the report warns that an earthquake magnitude 8 or larger in this region could cause sea level to rise suddenly by an additional meter or more. 


    Global sea level rose during the 20th century, and projections suggest it will rise at a higher rate during the 21st century. A warming climate causes sea level to rise primarily by warming the oceans -- which causes the water to expand -- and melting land ice, which transfers water to the ocean. However, as also indicated in the USGS paper, sea-level rise is uneven and varies from place to place. Along the U.S. west coast it depends on the global mean sea-level rise and regional factors, such as ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns, melting of modern and ancient ice sheets, and tectonic plate movements. California Executive Order S-13-08 directed State agencies to plan for sea-level rise and coastal impacts and asked the Research Council to establish a committee to assess sea-level rise. Oregon, Washington, and several Federal agencies joined California to sponsor the study.  The report estimates sea-level rise both globally and for those three states for the years 2030, 2050, and 2100.  


    The committee that wrote the report projected that global sea level will rise 8 to 23 centimeters by 2030, relative to the 2000 level, 18 to 48 centimeters by 2050, and 50 to 140 centimeters by 2100. The 2100 estimate is substantially higher than the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's projection made in 2007 of 18 to 59 centimeters with a possible additional 17 centimeters if rapid changes in ice flow are included. 


    The NAS report indicates that extreme events could raise sea level much faster than the rates projected by the committee. For example, they say an earthquake magnitude 8 or greater north of Cape Mendocino, which occurs in this area every several hundred to 1,000 years with the most recent in 1700, could cause parts of the coast to subside immediately and the relative sea level to rise suddenly by a meter or more. 


    The report indicates that most of the damage along the west coast is caused by storms, particularly the confluence of large waves, storm surges, and high tides during El NiƱo events. Significant development along the coast -- such as airports, naval air stations, freeways, sports stadiums, and housing developments -- has been built only a few feet above the highest tides. For example, the San Francisco International Airport could flood with as little as 40 centimeters of sea-level rise, a value that could be reached in several decades. The committee also ran a simulation that suggested sea-level rise could cause the incidence of extreme water heights in the San Francisco Bay area to increase from about 9 hours per decade, to hundreds of hours per decade by 2050, and to several thousand hours per decade by 2100.


    Access a release on the USGS report and link to the complete report (click here). Access a release on the NAS report and link to the complete report (click here). [#Climate, #Water]


32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rio+20 Adopts "The Future We Want" Declaration

Jun 22: At the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012, the Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives, from more than 190 countries issued a 53-page declaration entitled, "The Future We Want.'' So early reactions to the widely publicized meeting are included below from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). A link to the full declaration is provided below.
    UCS released comments on what they called the "political declaration" Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at UCS issued a statement saying:
"The political declaration issued by leaders in Rio has no hope of giving the peoples of the world 'the future we want.' Without much stronger action, we are clearly headed for a future we can't live with -- and quicker than most leaders realize.
"The message from scientists and other experts is crystal clear: humanity is placing stresses on the Earth's carrying capacity that threaten the health and wellbeing of both current and future generations. The response to this threat from world leaders in Rio is totally inadequate, as many of them would readily admit. Today's declaration is the result of several factors: the focus of most leaders on current short-term economic challenges, the untoward influence of corporate polluters over public policy, and sharp divisions among countries on key issues such as equity and finance.
"But Rio also saw numerous initiatives launched and commitments made by countries, companies and other actors. More than 400 companies which comprise the Consumer Goods Forum pledged to achieve zero net deforestation in their supply chains by 2020. While collectively these initiatives are significant and offer some hope, they simply aren't adequate to the scale of the challenges we face.
"Fortunately, we have the solutions we need, and they are far more affordable than the impacts we will suffer if we don't implement them.  For example, the cost of electricity from clean renewable sources has dropped significantly in recent years, and there are tremendous opportunities to use energy more efficiently in every sector of our economies. What's in short supply is political will by leaders to rise above pressure from polluters and their own short-term thinking, and do the right thing for the future of all of us. 
"Despite the disappointing outcome in Rio, we will continue to press for the actions  to move us onto the sustainable path the people of the world deserve." 
    NRDC President Frances Beinecke commented on the overall summit saying:

"Government negotiators at the Rio+20 Earth Summit did not produce the prescription for the planet that is needed. But you can't save the planet with a document.

"That does not mean Rio+20 was a failure. Some 50,000 people attended and hundreds of thousands more participated virtually to make their voices heard like never before. Countries, communities and companies worldwide announced hundreds of individual commitments to instigate real change - irrespective of any United Nations document.

"It's unequivocally clear now that we can't depend only on the slow wheels of bureaucracy and government negotiators to address the urgent problems our planet faces.

"But it's also clear from what we witnessed in Rio that we can – and must - harness the collective power and will of individuals worldwide to hold our government leaders accountable while simultaneously taking real action on our own to leave a better world for our children.

"Rio+20 showed us what we can and must do. It's just the starting place for real action."

    Access the complete Rio+20 declaration (click here). Access a release from UCS (click here). Access the release from NRDC which includes additional comments from the NRDC delegation (click here). Access the Rio+20 website for complete details (click here). Access more information on Rio+20 (click here). [#Sustain, #Climate, #Energy]
32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals

Thursday, June 21, 2012

House Passes Controversial Domestic Energy & Jobs Act; 248-163

Jun 21: The U.S. House passed the Republican sponsored Domestic Energy and Jobs Act (H.R.4480), a legislative package comprised of a series of bills which they say "aim to increase access to American energy resources and prevent misguided federal policies that will drive energy prices higher." [See WIMS 6/7/12]. The bill passed largely along party lines with a vote of 248-163, with 21 Representatives not voting. Nineteen Democrats joined 229 Republicans to approve the bill.
    Yesterday (June 20) on the House Floor, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman delivered a statement in support of H.R.4480, saying in part, "The price of gasoline and the unemployment rate both remain far too high, and American families are struggling as a result. That's why I support H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. This bill is truly a win-win -- the steps it takes to expand supplies of affordable domestic energy will create many jobs in the process.

    "It's no secret that I don't see eye-to-eye with President Obama on energy policy, but perhaps the most inexplicable energy policy move this administration has made was the June 2011 decision to withdraw 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with no plan to replace them. It is hard to understand why the President would take oil from the nation's emergency stockpile while at the same time keeping off-limits the far greater amounts beneath federally controlled lands and offshore areas. It's like a couple pawning their wedding rings for cash while ignoring a major gold discovery in their backyard. The amount of untapped oil in areas kept out of reach by the Obama administration is estimated to exceed the entire Strategic Petroleum Reserve dozens of times over. . ."

    Following approval today, Representative Cory Gardner's (R-CO) sponsor of the package of domestic energy production legislation, said, "The package of seven bills enjoyed bipartisan support in the House," and urged the United States Senate to consider the legislation. He said, "There is no reason for the United States Senate not to consider the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act and send it to President Obama's desk this summer. The seven bills in this package provide an opportunity for job growth and energy security. These bipartisan pieces of legislation make sure that we move forward on oil and gas development in the western United States and on federal lands, and that we take steps to ensure our nation relies on American made energy, provided by American jobs."
    However, it is unlikely the Democratically-controlled Senate will consider the bill and the White House has already issued a Statement of Administration Policy on the bill saying that if the bill were presented to the President, White House senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill [See WIMS 6/19/12]. The White House said the bill would, ". . .undermine the Nation's energy security, roll back policies that support the continued growth of safe and responsible energy production in the United States, discourage environmental analysis and civic engagement in Federal decision-making, and impede progress on important Clean Air Act (CAA) rules to protect the health of American families. H.R. 4480 would threaten energy security and broader national security by attaching conditions to the drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that could hinder the President's ability to respond appropriately and lawfully to a disruption in the Nation's energy supply. . . H.R. 4480 also would reverse Administration oil and gas leasing reforms that have established orderly, open, efficient, and environmentally sound processes for energy development on public lands. . ."
    Bills included in House-passed Domestic Energy and Jobs Act:
  • Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, H.R. 4480 (Rep. Cory Gardner, CO)
  • Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012, H.R. 4471 (Rep. Ed Whitfield, KY)
  • Planning for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R.4381 (Rep. Scott Tipton, CO)
  • Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R 4382 (Rep. Mike Coffman, CO)
  • Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2012, H.R. 4383 (Rep. Doug Lamborn, CO) 
  • National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, H.R. 2150 (Rep. "Doc" Hastings, WA) 
  • BLM Live Internet Auctions Act, H.R. 2752 (Rep. Bill Johnson, OH)
    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, "Today, the House will pass the Domestic Energy & Jobs Act, which will help create good-paying jobs by expanding American energy production. This is the latest in a series of more than 30 House-passed jobs bills that have removed government barriers to economic growth and stopped policies that are driving up gas prices. I also want to be clear about something: House Republicans want to get a highway bill done. We want a bill, and our colleagues are working toward producing a bill. We just want to make sure it's a bill that includes real reforms, to ensure that taxpayer funds are paying for legitimate projects that support economic activity -- not planting more flowers and beautification projects around the country. We also continue to support bipartisan, job-creating initiatives like the Keystone pipeline."
    House Democratic environmental leaders, Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) indicated that they "denounced the bill as yet another large-scale giveaway to oil companies by House Republicans, who have established the most anti-environmental and pro-oil company agenda in the history of Congress." They said the bill would transfer hundreds of thousands of square miles of America's public lands to oil companies, while protecting the $4 billion in subsidies the biggest oil companies receive from taxpayers each year."
    Rep. Markey, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee said, "Republicans passed a bill that would cede nearly all of America's public lands to oil companies within just a few short years, but wouldn't even allow a debate on wind, solar, and a real 'all of the above' energy strategy. This debate was a sham, this legislation is a scam, and the American people need to know these are the 'oil above all' policies that a Mitt Romney administration would put into place. Rep. Waxman, the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee said, "This bill is a stealth attack on the Clean Air Act. It might be great news for big oil, but it means more pollution for the American people." They said, while the bill will not be considered further it, "contains a dangerous preview of the policies that would be implemented if Mitt Romney and Republicans retake the White House and Congress."
    The American Petroleum Institute's (API) Executive Vice President Marty Durbin applauded the House action saying, "Greater access to domestic energy resources combined with smarter policies that boost our refining industry will benefit consumers in the long run. More home grown energy is good for all Americans. . . The legislation would establish an 'all the above' energy program for federal lands that would open up more areas for energy production while streamlining the permitting process. . . KXL [Keystone XL pipeline] will put thousands of Americans to work. It has and continues to be one of the greatest shovel-ready projects awaiting approval. We urge the transportation conferees to include the Keystone provision in the final Highway bill agreement. Unemployment remains high, now is not the time to deny good paying energy jobs. We cannot have regulations that are solutions in search of a problem. Consumers should be informed about the costs certain regulations have on the price of producing gasoline and diesel." 
   Sierra Club issued a statement saying, "John Boehner and his House Republicans have regurgitated Big Oil's playbook and called it a jobs plan. If you're looking for an example of why Congress' approval rating is dipping to all-time lows, look no further. This disgraceful legislation is just their latest attempt to put oil above all -- especially the needs of American families. While Americans are paying more for gas, House Republicans are more concerned about coddling Exxon and BP and forking over our public lands for more drilling and destruction. While families are struggling to make ends meet, Boehner and his ilk are turning over billions in tax giveaways to companies already making record profits. If we've learned one thing this Congress it's that House Republicans are asking 'how high?' before Big Oil even asks them to jump."
    Access the floor statement and video from Rep. Upton (click here). Access a release from Rep. Gardner (click here). Access the statement and video from Speaker Boehner (click here). Access the joint release from Reps. Markey and Waxman (click here). Access the statement from Sierra Club (click here). Access the statement from API (click here). Access the floor consideration and amendment votes for H.R.4480 (click here). Access the roll call vote details (click here). Access the Policy Statement for H.R.4480 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.4480 (click here). [#Air, #Energy]
32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

G20 Leaders Address Energy & Climate Change At Mexico Meeting

Jun 19: The Leaders of the G20, meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico on 18-19 June 2012 adopted an 84 point Declaration that included statements relating to energy and climate change. We The G20 nations will next convene in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2013. The G20 includes 19 country members and the European Union, which together represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the world's population. The member countries include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The following are the statements related to energy and climate change:
  • We recognize that excessive price volatility in energy commodities is also an important source of economic instability. We remain committed to well-functioning and transparent energy markets. We will continue to work to improve the timeliness, completeness and reliability of JODI-Oil and look forward to a progress report next year. We will work on the JODI-Gas database on the same principles. We expect the International Energy Forum (IEF) report on improving the reliability of the JODI-Oil database and the report on transparency in international gas and coal markets submitted by the International Energy Agency (IEA), IEF, and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to be discussed by our Finance Ministers in November. We also look forward to IOSCO's recommendations to improve the functioning and oversight of Price Reporting Agencies in November 2012, which will be produced in collaboration with other mandated organizations (IEF, IEA and OPEC), and task Finance Ministers to take concrete measures in this area as necessary.
  • We commit to continue to help developing countries sustain and strengthen their development through appropriate measures, including those that encourage inclusive green growth. We will reaffirm our commitment to sustainable development at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). We commit to maintaining a focus on inclusive green growth as part of our G20 agenda and in the light of agreements reached at Rio+20 and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Climate change will continue to have a significant impact on the world economy, and costs will be higher to the extent we delay additional action. We reiterate our commitment to fight climate change and welcome the outcome of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN climate change conferences. We are committed to the full implementation of the outcomes of Cancun and Durban and will work with Qatar as the incoming Presidency towards achieving a successful and balanced outcome at COP-18. We emphasize the need to structurally transform economies towards a climate-friendly path over the medium term. We welcome the creation of the G20 study group on climate finance, in order to consider ways to effectively mobilize resources taking into account the objectives, provisions and principles of the UNFCCC in line with the Cancun Agreement and ask to provide a progress report to Finance Ministers in November. We support the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund.
  • In Cannes we committed to promote low-carbon development strategies in order to optimize the potential for green growth and ensure sustainable development in our countries and beyond. We therefore welcome the report on clean energy and energy efficiency technologies and acknowledge the G20 countries' efforts to foster investment in these technologies through the sharing of national experiences regarding challenges for technology deployment.
    The members also agreed on a globally coordinated economic plan to achieve those goals through their Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth. The plan incorporates and extends the Cannes Action Plan, and significantly intensifies the efforts to achieve a stronger, more durable recovery. The Los Cabos Growth and Jobs Action Plan starts from the premise that cooperation and coordination will result in better economic outcomes. The members said they are united in their commitment to take strong and decisive action to deliver on the itemized commitments.
    Access the complete 84 point Declaration (click here). Access an overview and link to the Los Cabos Growth and Jobs Action Plan (click here). Access the G20 Mexico website for complete information on the meeting (click here). [#Energy, #Climate]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

White House Recommends Veto For S.J. Res. 37 & H.R. 4480

Jun 19: The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued two Statements of Administration Policy on recent House and Senate measures to role back EPA air regulations, oil and gas leasing reforms and regulate the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The Policy Statements indicate that White House senior advisors would recommend that the President veto S.J. Res. 37 that would overturn EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS, or Utility MACT) and H.R.4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act.
    Regarding S.J. Res. 37, sponsored by Senator Inhofe (R-OK), a June 18, statement indicates the measure would, "overturn long-overdue national clean air standards limiting power plant emissions of toxic air pollution, including mercury. As a result, this resolution would cause substantial harm to public health and undermine our Nation's longstanding commitment to clean up pollution from power plants. . . S.J. Res. 37 would undermine more than forty years of CAA progress by blocking the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first national standards to protect American families from harmful power plant emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gases, nickel, and chromium. . ."
    The Statement indicates that, "The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will ensure that the Nation's power plants install modern, widely available technologies to limit harmful pollution -- leveling the playing field for power plants that already have such controls in place. The standards are achievable; pollution control equipment that can help meet them already is installed at more than half of the Nation's coal-fired power plants. Numerous studies, including analysis by the Department of Energy, have projected that the standards can be met without adversely affecting the adequacy of electric generation resources in any region of the country."
    Additionally, the Statement notes that, "if a rule is disapproved under the Congressional Review Act, an agency may not issue a rule that is 'substantially the same.' In this case, because EPA has adhered closely to its narrowly circumscribed authority under the CAA in promulgating these standards, the enactment of S.J. Res. 37 could effectively prevent EPA from ever limiting mercury and air toxics pollution from power plants."
    Regarding H.R.4480, sponsored by Representative Gardner (R-CO) and 21 cosponsors, a June 19 statement indicates the bill would, ". . .undermine the Nation's energy security, roll back policies that support the continued growth of safe and responsible energy production in the United States, discourage environmental analysis and civic engagement in Federal decision-making, and impede progress on important Clean Air Act (CAA) rules to protect the health of American families. H.R. 4480 would threaten energy security and broader national security by attaching conditions to the drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that could hinder the President's ability to respond appropriately and lawfully to a disruption in the Nation's energy supply. . .
    "H.R. 4480 also would reverse Administration oil and gas leasing reforms that have established orderly, open, efficient, and environmentally sound processes for energy development on public lands. Specifically, this bill would favor an arbitrary standard for leasing in open areas over leasing on the basis of greatest resource potential. . . H.R. 4480 also would impede progress on important protections for the health of American families. The bill would undermine the longstanding principle of the CAA that air quality standards must be set at levels requisite to protect public health, based first and foremost on sound science. The bill also would impose an unnecessary and redundant requirement for analysis of certain regulations, including some that have never been proposed. . ."
    Access the Policy Statement for S.J. Res. 37 (click here). Access the Policy Statement for H.R.4480 (click here). Access legislative details for S.J. Res. 37 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.4480 (click here). [#Air, #Energy]
32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals