Thursday, July 24, 2014
Natural Gas Update

Environmentalists Seek TSCA Fracking Rule As Alternative To FracFocus

Echoing administration advisors, environmentalists are urging EPA to ensure that its pending Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rulemaking for obtaining data on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing processes creates a stricter -- and mandatory -- alternative to FracFocus, the controversial voluntary disclosure system created by states and industry.

Climate Change Update

Industry Warns Of Legal Challenges If EPA Fails To Modify Climate Rule

A coalition of utilities, refiners, and large industrial manufacturers is threatening litigation if EPA does not make significant changes to its proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants, arguing that the rule as proposed would harm the nation's economy and grid reliability.

Coal Update

Iowa Air Law 'Nuisance' Ruling May Spur New Push For High Court Review

Industry officials say a recent Iowa high court ruling that says the Clean Air Act does not preempt state law nuisance claims against polluters could be a vehicle for asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue, after justices in June rejected a petition seeking review of a similar case allowing a nuisance case against a Pennsylvania utility.

Vehicles/Fuels Update

Auto Companies Urge California To Alter ZEV Rules To Boost Plug-In Hybrids

Four of the world's largest auto companies are proposing that the California air board overhaul the state's landmark zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation by crediting companies for miles driven by plug-in hybrid and other electric vehicles they sell, in order to provide more parity with "pure" battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Renewables Update

Novel Air Permit Suit May Set BACT Levels For Geothermal Power Plants

Environmentalists and labor unions are challenging air permits for geothermal power facilities, the only form of baseload renewable generation, that could set best available control technology (BACT) standards for new geothermal facilities and provide guidance on whether individual plants within a complex should be considered one source of emissions for regulatory purposes, according to sources.

Congress Watch

GOP Eyes FY15 Omnibus Bill To Resolve Fight Over EPA Funding, Policies

House Republicans are pushing ahead with approving fiscal year 2015 funding bills for EPA and other agencies in order to trigger conference negotiations with the Senate on an omnibus spending package, which could be the vehicle for resolving fights over whether to cut EPA's budget and provisions that would block key agency policies.
Related Story: House FY15 Bill Would Cut EPA Budget By $717 Million, Block Key Policies

House Panel To Probe FERC Role In Assessing Reliability Impacts Of ESPS

The House Energy & Commerce Committee is probing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) involvement, or lack thereof, in evaluating reliability impacts of EPA's recently proposed climate rule for existing utilities, planning a hearing for late this month to press FERC commissioners on the effects of the EPA rule.

Industry Says EPA Plan To Issue FIP For Existing Drilling Sites Is Unlawful

Energy industry groups are warning that EPA suggestions that it is considering crafting a federal implementation plan (FIP) for curbing emissions from existing minor sources at oil and gas sites on tribal lands -- largely in Western shale plays -- would be unlawful and EPA must instead address those sources on a case-by-case basis.

Advocates, Industry Spar Over DOE Report Downplaying Gas Export GHGs

Environmentalists and gas industry officials are clashing in new comments over a Department of Energy (DOE) analysis downplaying the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of natural gas exports, with advocates saying the analysis significantly underestimates the impacts from exports and some industry officials suggesting the analysis is "reasonable."

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Clean Energy Wire

Western States Seek 'Co-Regulator' Status

Western states are urging EPA to recognize them as "co-regulators" in developing federal Clean Air Act rules and involving them earlier and more substantially in the rulemaking process in order . . .

Ameren Seeks To Tie ESPS To NSR Case

Attorneys for Ameren Missouri are seeking to tie its defense against an EPA new source review (NSR) enforcement case to a key part of the agency's recently proposed greenhouse gas . . .

D.C. Circuit Rejects Bid To Limit Future RFS Suits

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected the biodiesel industry's bid to curb the ability of refiners to bring future challenges to EPA's renewable . . .

IG Resists GOP Challenge To Fracking Review

EPA's Office of Inspector General (IG) is resisting Republican lawmakers' charges that it lacks authority to review EPA and states' responses to potential threats to water resources from hydraulic fracturing . . .