The Supreme Court recently issued a stay of the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s signature regulation addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants.

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) imposed the first-ever national standards to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. The CPP relies on Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 111(d) and established interim and final CO2 emission performance rates for fossil fuel-fired (mainly coal or oil) electric generating units. States are required to develop and implement plans to ensure that power plants achieve the interim CO2 emissions performance rates over the period of 2022 to 2029 and the final CO2 emission performance rates by 2030. The initial state plan was due on September 6, 2016 with final, complete state plans submitted no later than September 6, 2018. Continue reading “The CPP Meets SCOTUS”

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules Causes More Harm Than Good

In what will likely disrupt energy production and raise the price of electricity while doing very little to combat ‘climate change,’ the Obama Administration recently moved forward to finalize its regulations of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  On August 3, EPA issued the final Clean Power Plan rule for new and existing plants. Continue reading “EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules Causes More Harm Than Good”

The Keystone XL Pipeline Passes The President’s Red-Line On Climate

Avoiding a favorable decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline got a bit harder for the Obama Administration as the US State Department issued a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Pipeline in January. Overall, the Final Supplemental EIS supports the issuance of the necessary permits mainly because it establishes that the Pipeline meets and exceeds President Obama’s stated test for approval.

The Pipeline will stretch 875 miles and carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day originating in Western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, where it will proceed through existing pipelines to refineries on the Gulf Coast. TransCanada first filed for the presidential permit (required because of the international aspect of the Pipeline) in 2008. The latest permit request includes a pipeline route that avoids the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills Region in Nebraska, which was a source of criticism of the previous application. Continue reading “The Keystone XL Pipeline Passes The President’s Red-Line On Climate”

There is a Growing Resistance to Climate Change Proposals

Although temperature data shows that there has been a sixteen (16) year pause in global warming, the Obama Administration continues its push for more regulation of greenhouse gases. In fact, President Obama has flatly stated that, for the balance of his term, his administration would continue to combat climate change as one of its “key priorities” and focus on “strategies … that are lowering … dangerous carbon pollution.” Speech, July 24, 2013. In addition to the ongoing ‘war on coal,’ the continuing decrease in amount of oil and gas production from federally-controlled lands, and the implementation of emission standards for fracking, the administration has proposed and/or implemented ideas to make good on its promise. Continue reading “There is a Growing Resistance to Climate Change Proposals”

Keystone Pipeline Decision Looms

According to most polls, there is general support for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Most people are familiar with the basic facts about the pipeline. It will have the capacity to transport over 800,000 barrels of oil per day from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to the refineries of the Gulf Coast, significantly reducing dependence on oil from Venezuela and the Middle East. It will create thousands of jobs in the construction and pipe fabrication fields, providing a boost to a sluggish economy. Overall, the project will add billions to the gross domestic product of the country.

TransCanada’s original application was filed in 2008 and re-filed in May, 2012. The governor of Nebraska approved the pipeline’s revised route through his state so that an important source of drinking water was protected. In March, 2013, the US State Department released a Draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement which concluded, among other things, that “there would be no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed [pipeline] route.” Continue reading “Keystone Pipeline Decision Looms”

Costly Rules Will Move Forward Now That Election Is Over

Now that the national election has passed, many of the environmental regulations that were delayed or put on hold before the election are moving or will move forward. These are regulations that were in various stages of development prior to the election but which were delayed for various reasons. Many said at the time that the Obama Administration was not willing to face the economic consequences of these rules at a politically inconvenient time.

The ozone standard provides a general example of the regulations to be implemented over the next four years. In March, 2008, the ozone standard was lowered to 0.075 parts per million (ppm) from 0.080 ppm. However, in 2009, the Obama Administration announced it would review that action because it was not stringent enough. EPA claimed that the standard should be between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm to be fully protective of human health. Eventually, the EPA settled on 0.070 ppm, which would create a situation in which at least 650 counties violate the lower standard and would thus be subject to more stringent permitting (and economically costly) regulations. However, in 2011, at the outset of the election cycle, it was announced that the review would be put on hold until 2013, the next mandated review period. It was widely reported at the time that the decision to delay the review until 2013 was politically motivated. In other words, the administration did not want to implement the lower standard because it would negatively impact employment at a politically sensitive time.
Continue reading “Costly Rules Will Move Forward Now That Election Is Over”