Policy & Enforcement Briefing: GHG Rules, EU ETS, Lightweight Metals
The EPA is issuing a notice of data availability in support of its proposed greenhouse gas rules for new power plants. The NODA asks for comment on the EPA’s interpretation of the provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, including limits on the EPA’s authority to rely on information from facilities that received assistance under the act. The EPA believes those provisions do not alter its determination in the proposed rule that the best system of emission reduction for new fossil fuel-fired generators is partial carbon capture and sequestration.
President Obama has announced two new manufacturing innovation institutes led by the Department of Defense, including one Detroit-area consortium of businesses and universities focusing on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing. Fuel efficiency is a key factor behind the drive for such metals. The two centers will receive $140 million in federal money and over $140 million in other funds. The president also plans to launch a competition for a new innovation institute to build US strength in manufacturing advanced composites.
The EU has enacted measures to prop up carbon prices via backloading measures, which keep it on track to withdraw up to 400 million permits this year. A March start would allow the 400 million total, but an April start would allow only 300 million units to be withdrawn, Reuters reports.
The Department of Transportation yesterday ordered shippers to properly test and classify Bakken crude oil before loading it onto trains, the New York Times reports. It was the department’s fourth emergency order or safety advisory on oil trains in the past seven months.
The EPA has threatened sanctions for Pennsylvania, the only state that has not complied with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead, The Hill reports. The agency says its notice starts a clock that will result in sanctions in 18 months – including fines and the EPA impsoing its own attainment plan – if the state does not comply
NASA is partnering with the California Department of Water Resources to develop and apply new technology and products to better manage and monitor the state’s water resources and respond to its ongoing drought. Along with other agencies and university researchers, they will apply advanced remote sensing and improved forecast modeling to better assess water resources, monitor drought conditions and water supplies, plan for drought response and mitigation, and measure drought impacts.
The EPA and US Magnesium have voluntarily entered into an administrative order on consent, requiring USM to address a release of about 8,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid from its magnesium production facility onto its own and adjacent Bureau of Land Management property.
A resident of Shijiazhuang, Hebei province has become the first person in China to sue the government for failure to reduce air pollution, Reuters reported, citing a state-run newspaper.
The energy and mineral resources subpanel of the House Natural Resources Committee is meeting today for an oversight hearing titled “American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Veterans.” Scheduled witnesses include representatives from Baker Hughes, Little Red Services, Clean Power Finance, and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) has asked the Government Accountability Office to probe the State Department’s review of the Keystone XL pipeline. The GAO said it will make a decision whether to investigate in a few weeks, The Hill reports.
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the longest-serving member of Congress in history, announced he plans to retire early next year, the Detroit Free Press reports. Dingell, 87, is a member and former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The House Natural Resources Committee’s panel on fisheries, wildlife, oceans and insular affairs will hold a legislative hearing tomorrow on several bills that would amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981. HR 3105 would exempt animals accidentally included in shipments of aquatic species produced in commercial aquaculture; HR 3280 would limit the application of the act to certain imported plants and finished plant products; HR 3324 would “reduce burdensome paperwork”; and HR 4032 would exempt certain water transfers by the North Texas Municipal Water District and the Greater Texoma Utility Authority.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking for private companies to help make its huge amounts of data on air, oceans and climate available to the public, The Hill reports.
The public health workgroup of the California Air Resources Board’s Climate Action Team will hold a meeting tomorrow. The agenda includes updates on the drought and on the 2009 California Adaptation Strategy, as well as the Department of Public Health’s climate change and health adaptation grant program.
The senate passed HR 2431, the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act. The bill passed in the House February 10.
In the House, Rep. Shuster (R-PA) introduced HR 4076, which seeks to address shortages and interruptions in the availability of propane and other home heating fuels.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is pushing to revive Japan’s nuclear energy program. Yesterday it announced details of a proposal designating nuclear as an important long-term energy source, the New York Times reports. The plan would restart reactors closed after the Fukushima disaster, and would leave the door open to building new nuclear plants.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is closing a rulemaking proposing additional regulations on loading and unloading of cargo tank motor vehicles. Instead, PHMSA says it will issue a guidance document to provide best practices, and will conduct research to understand human factors that contribute to hazardous materials incidents.
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