A bipartisan group of senators today asked U.S. EPA to give the public more time to comment on its existing power plant greenhouse gas draft rule, citing its complexity and potential to overhaul the U.S. power grid. The letter, spearheaded by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), asked EPA to extend its Oct. 16 deadline by 60 days.
A Montana legislative committee has agreed to maintain an existing renewable energy standard. The move will require the state’s utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by next year.
The hearing, which featured testimony from state agency heads and public utility commissioners, focused primarily on states’ concerns over technical aspects and the overall feasibility of the Clean Power Plan (Greenwire, Sept. 9). But it also gave Democratic and Republican lawmakers a forum to place the issue in line with their parties’ platforms — for Democrats as an important environmental safeguard, and for Republicans as a burdensome piece of federal overreach.
Harvesting homegrown wind power improves our energy security and reliability by diversifying our energy mix and keeping energy costs low for consumers. For Americans to continue reaping these benefits, however, Congress must extend the renewable Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit as soon as possible. That will provide wind power with the critical policy stability Congress has provided to other energy sources for the last 100 years.
Fifteen GOP governors say President Obama’s signature climate change regulation on carbon pollution from existing power plants “exceeds the scope of federal law.” In a letter to Obama, the governors from states including North Carolina, Alaska, Arizona and Wisconsin said the rule, which requires the nation’s fleet of existing power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030, is an overreach of authority.
A split federal appeals court panel ruled yesterday that Exelon Corp. cannot force a Texas utility to buy power from its wind farms. In a 2-1 vote, judges on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that several units of Chicago-based Exelon cannot force a subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc. — Southwestern Public Service Co. — to buy wind power under a 1970s law aimed at bolstering renewables.
Senate Republicans today accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of trying to micromanage nominations to critical agencies tasked with overseeing the grid and energy infrastructure and asked two Obama nominees for assurances they would not bend to the senator’s political will.
A majority of Americans are skeptical of federal energy mandates but still favor tax breaks for wind power and other forms of renewable energy, according to a poll released today by the pro-business American Energy Alliance. The survey found that 60 percent of respondents oppose renewable energy standards for consumers and 77 percent don’t trust Congress to hand out corporate tax breaks. At the same time, 51 percent of respondents said they support a production tax credit for wind power. And 62 percent said they believe U.S. EPA should require states to produce alternative sources of energy.
Governors of 15 fossil fuel-heavy states took swings yesterday at U.S. EPA’s proposed climate rule for existing power plants, targeting the proposal’s legal underpinnings and practical feasibility. In a letter to President Obama, the governors warn that EPA had built its draft rule on a shaky legal foundation.
California climate policy luminaries are meeting today in Sacramento to argue that regional cooperation on reducing emissions is possible, even in the face of international gridlock. The three-hour conference is organized by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and will feature veterans from the state, federal and international levels of climate policy, including Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Rajendra Pachauri, Gov. Jerry Brown (D), former U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.