Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Carbon Rule Goes to White House, Ryan Budget Attacks ‘War on Coal’
The White House has received the EPA’s draft regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants, according to Office of Management and Budget records cited by The Hill. President Obama set a June deadline for the proposal, a cornerstone of his climate change plan.
An EPA finding from earlier this month, released on Friday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, urges FERC to weigh indirect greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental effects when making decisions on Sempra Energy’s proposed liquefied natural gas export project. The DOE approved the exports in February, but the plant still needs FERC approval. Reuters called the EPA assessment “a fresh angle” in the LNG export debate.
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his 2015 budget proposal, which seeks to cut about $5.1 trillion in spending over the next decade. The budget pushes for more oil and gas exploration in Alaska, the outer continental shelf and the west, and spends nearly two out of its 100 pages attacking the EPA’s carbon emissions rules as a war on coal, The Hill reports.
The House yesterday passed a bill that would require US weather agencies to focus more on predicting storms and less on climate studies. The bill’s prospects in the Senate are uncertain, the New York Times reports.
EPA administrator Gina McCarthy will appear today at a joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanels on energy and environment, speaking on the agency’s 2015 budget request.
Secretary of energy Ernest Moniz will testify tomorrow at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on energy and power, speaking on the DOE’s proposed 2015 budget request.
The House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow on the Department of the Interior’s budget proposal for 2015. Interior secretary Sally Jewell and deputy secretary Michael Connor are scheduled to testify.
West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill yesterday requiring above-ground chemical storage tanks in critical areas near public water supplies to be registered with the state Department of Environmental Protection. The agency will perform annual inspections, Reuters reports.
The House Natural Resources Committee’s subpanel on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs will hold a legislative hearing tomorrow on HR 69, which aims to strengthen enforcement of fishing regulations; HR 2646, which would direct the secretary of commerce to issue a fishing capacity reduction loan; and an unnumbered bill aimed at deterring illegal fishing through state measures.
Texas-based FleetPride has entered into a settlement agreement with the California Air Resources Board, agreeing to pay $418,500 in penalties for supplying illegal windshield washer fluid to retailers throughout the state, CARB said. The fluid contained smog-causing chemicals at levels considered illegal in all areas of California, the agency said.
Republican Sens. John Hoeven (ND), John Barrasso (WY), and Lisa Murkowski (AK) yesterday proposed an amendment tying the Keystone XL pipeline and natural gas exports to a jobless aid bill, The HIll reports.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration approved Exxon’s plan to restart operations on the Texas leg of the Pegasus pipeline, which spilled crude oil into an Arkansas neighborhood last year. Exxon plans to run the 210-mile Texas segment at 80 percent of the operating pressure allowed before the spill, the Dallas Business Journal reports.
A federal district court Monday found in favor of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, which required the agency to decide whether to protect 757 species under the Endangered Species Act. The National Association of Home Builders and other industry groups had filed suit to overturn the agreement, eNews Park Forest reported.
The California Air Resources Board will tomorrow hold the second public workshop for the FY 14-15 funding plan for the Air Quality Improvement Program.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the proposed direct transfer of operating licenses from Constellation Energy Nuclear Group subsidiaries to Exelon Generation, for five commercial nuclear power reactors and three spent fuel storage installations.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct an open house tomorrow to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant.
The EPA plans to conduct five-year reviews, required by law, to ensure that cleanup of 10 Superfund sites is working as intended and continues to protect public health and the environment. The sites are:
- In Arkansas: South 8th Street Landfill; Vertac, Inc.
- In Louisiana: Central Woods Preserving Co.; Madisonville Creosote Landfill
- In Oklahoma: Mosley Road Sanitary Landfill
- In Texas: Air Force Plant #4 (General Dynamics); Garland Creosoting; Longhorn Ammunition Plant; Pesses Chemical Co; and State Road 114 Groundwater Plume.
The EPA has issued an order to the Pathway Investment Corp. of Englewood, N.J., to stop the sale of plastic food storage containers that have not been tested or registered with the EPA, in what the agency called a violation of federal pesticides law. The EPA also directed Amazon, Sears, Wal-Mart and other large retailers not to sell the products. The company’s Kinetic Go Green Premium Food Storage Containers and Kinetic Smartwist Series Containers both contain nano silver as an active ingredient, and the company markets other products as containing nano silver, which the company claims helps reduce the growth of mold, fungus and bacteria. Such claims can only be made on products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA.
The EPA announced legal agreements with Clifton 2003, Hampshire Generational Fund and WEA Enterprises Co. to repay $2.1 million that the agency spent to clean up contamination at Abrachem Chemical, a former bulk chemical packaging facility in Clifton, N.J. The EPA says that when it began its investigation and cleanup of the site in 2008, it reeked of caustic chemicals and solvents that were leaking from rusted and mislabeled drums. Sampling of the contents of over 1,600 drums revealed the presence of hazardous materials, including corrosive and flammable chemicals, benzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and volatile organic chemicals.
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