Sunday, April 20, 2014
Climate Change Update

Environmentalists End Bid For Refinery Climate NSPS As EPA Delays Rule

Environmentalists are informally dropping their push for EPA to set a first-time greenhouse gas (GHG) standard for refineries and will not enforce a settlement committing the agency to issue a rule, after EPA indefinitely delayed the rule and advocates are pursuing GHG limits at higher-emitting sources, including power plants and oil and gas drilling.

Renewables Update

Draft DOE Loan Program Signals New Focus On Energy Efficiency Projects

A draft Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee solicitation for low-carbon energy projects appears to signal a new Obama administration focus on promoting energy efficiency and smaller-scale renewable energy developments compared to DOE's previous focus on loan funding for large-scale wind and solar projects, sources say.

Natural Gas Update

EPA Eyes Drilling Methane Controls But Sees Limits For Oil Well Regulation

EPA is floating draft white papers that suggest first-time controls on methane emissions from several aspects of the oil and gas sector -- including liquids unloading and compressors -- could be workable, but it is reiterating major hurdles to requiring controls on oil wells and those that "co-produce" both oil and natural gas.

Congress Watch

GAO Report On Limited NEPA Analysis Data Renews Debate Over Reform Bid

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding limited data available from federal agencies on their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses is renewing debate over whether to reform the law, with critics saying the report underscores claims that the analyses are unclear and are delaying key energy projects.

Coal Update

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA's Utility MACT, Easing Path For Continued Adoption

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a 2-1 unsigned order has upheld EPA's utility maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule, rejecting a slew of legal challenges filed by environmentalists, industry, states and others, after finding EPA's justification for the rule is reasonable.

Vehicles/Fuels Update

EPA Agrees With GAO Call For Plan To End Annual Delays In Issuing RFS

EPA is agreeing with the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) call to develop a plan for ending annual delays in issuing renewable fuel standard (RFS) production targets, with GAO noting that some refiners are warning that a late RFS creates industry uncertainty and increases costs because refiners cannot plan fuel production effectively.

GOP Lawmaker Cites DOE Funding To Fault EPA's Utility CCS Requirement

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) is bolstering arguments that the 2005 energy law prohibits EPA from relying on Department of Energy-funded carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects to justify its proposed CCS mandate for new power plants, saying the law's funding criteria shows CCS is not a commercially viable technology.

EPA Review Of Low Number Of GHG Permit Applications May Inform Rule

EPA is evaluating why the actual number of facilities that have applied for greenhouse gas (GHG) permits is far below the estimates the agency used to justify elevating GHG permitting thresholds, and the results of the review could inform the agency's pending rulemaking that could lower the thresholds to require permits at more facilities.

Biomass Sector Criticizes Advocates' Push For Stricter EPA Air Permitting

Biomass industry officials are criticizing environmentalists' call for stricter EPA Clean Air Act permitting of bioenergy facilities to impose more stringent emissions limits on their conventional pollutant and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rejecting advocates' claims that pollution from the facilities is higher than from some coal-fired utilities.

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Clean Energy Wire

FERC Sees Surge In Wind, Solar Energy Generation

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is accelerating its work to implement new regulations to ease integration of renewable power sources into the grid, as a new report from the . . .

Biofuels Sector Fights Bid To Sever 2013 RFS Suit

Biofuels groups are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reject a recent request by EPA and refiners to sever and hold in abeyance . . .

EPA Delays Cooling Water Rule To May 16

EPA will not finish its long-awaited rule governing cooling water intakes at power plants and other industrial facilities by a court-mandated April 17 deadline, according to a Department of Justice . . .

EPA Vows To Improve Refinery Enforcement Oversight

EPA is vowing to improve its oversight of Clean Air Act consent decrees that require petroleum refineries to cut emissions in order to resolve alleged air law violations, following an . . .