Policy & Enforcement Briefing: WV Spill Hearings, Pump Efficiency, Monsanto and SCOTUS
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said the Senate will hold hearings on the West Virginia chemical spill that left 300,000 residents unable to drink their tap water. She said a hearing in early February will address the spill itself, and this will be followed by work on chemical safety reforms, The HIll reported. Meanwhile House Speaker John Boehner said the spill did not indicate a lack of appropriate regulations, and said Republicans will continue to focus on paring back rules that are cumbersome and hurt the economy, Reuters reports.
A rider in the omnibus spending bill would prohibit Export-Import Bank guidelines, announced in December, that curtail funding for coal-fired power plants abroad, The Hill reports. The bill contains other energy and environment-related provisions including a ban on light bulb efficiency standards.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow entitled, “Review of the President’s Climate Action Plan.” Witnesses will include EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley, General Services Administration chief Dan Tangherlini and US Fish and Wildlife Service director Daniel Ashe.
Seventeen Democratic senators and one independent formally announced, on Tuesday, the creation of the Senate Climate Action Task Force. The lawmakers said an early goal is to push climate change onto the agendas of Sunday news programs, The Hill reported.
The Supreme Court decided Monday not to hear a case by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, along with dozens of farmers, seed companies and activists, thereby upholding Monsanto’s biotech seed patents, Reuters reports. The plaintiffs sought to prohibit the company from suing farmers if their fields become contaminated with GMOs. Monsanto said it could not accept a blanket ban on suits, but it has no intention of suing farmers whose fields become inadvertent hosts to the company’s seeds or crops.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a letter to President Obama regarding what he called the administration’s failure to fully implement the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008, which was sponsored by then-senator Obama.
The energy and power subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved HR 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, 18 to 11. The bill now moves to the full committee for consideration.
President Obama has selected Heather McTeer Toney as regional administrator for EPA Region 4, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and six tribal nations. McTeer Toney is an attorney and the former mayor of Greenville, Mississippi.
The Department of Energy’s Commercial/Industrial Pumps Working Group will hold open meetings to negotiate proposed federal standards for the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial pumps. Two-day meetings will be held in January; twice in March; in April, May and June; and in July if necessary.
The EPA announced that its 2018 Emissions Modeling Platform data – including methods used to process emission inventories into a form that can be used for air quality modeling – are available for public review and comment. The platform, or portions of its data, may be used by the Office of Air and Radiation for the development of rules related to the transport of air pollution and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a meeting tomorrow to consider the nominations of Michael Connor for deputy secretary of the interior, Elizabeth Robinson for under-secretary of energy, Franklin Orr, Jr. for DOE under-secretary for science, Steven Croley for DOE general counsel, Esther Kia’aina for assistant secretary of the interior for insular areas, Tommy Beaudreau for assistant secretary of the interior for policy, management and budget, Christopher Smith for DOE assistant secretary for fossil energy, Jonathan Elkind for DOE assistant secretary for international affairs, Neil Kornze for director of the Bureau of Land Management, Marc Kastner for director of the DOE office of science, and Ellen Williams for director of the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
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