News

Washington yanks cap-and-trade proposal

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 29th, 2016

The state of Washington withdrew a plan today that would have set the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from large facilities. In a news release, the Washington Department of Ecology said it would update the plan based on feedback. The agency said it would issue a new proposed rule in the spring. “We appreciate all the helpful and constructive feedback we have received from stakeholders,” Sarah Rees, Ecology’s special assistant on climate change policy, said in a statement. “We’re listening and being responsive to the ideas on how to best move the rule forward.”

Washington Considers Nation’s First Carbon Emissions Tax

Source: By BY PHUONG LE, The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, February 29th, 2016

Washington could become the first state in the nation to impose a direct tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas. A ballot measure before the state Legislature would create a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of fossil fuel emissions burned in Washington, while reducing taxes. Lawmakers have until the end of the session on March 10 to enact Initiative 732, offer an alternative proposal or automatically pass the carbon-tax measure to voters in November as written. It’s not clear whether lawmakers will approve an alternative by the end of the session.

Obama Points to Florida Factory as Evidence That Stimulus Worked

Source: By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, The New York Times • Posted: Monday, February 29th, 2016

President Obama on Friday used a visit to a high-technology battery plant in Florida to argue that the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies he signed into law during his first days in office had bolstered the economy, transformed the nation’s energy sector, and positioned the United States for a strong rebound. But Mr. Obama’s trip to the Saft America factory here, opened in 2011 with a $95.5 million investment from the Department of Energy, also highlighted the challenges that have tempered the economic recovery and the difficulty that the president has had in claiming credit for it.

Achieving Clean Power Plan targets well ahead of schedule

Source: By Daniel S. Cohan, contributor, and Leah Y. Parks, The Hill • Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2016

The United States is racing toward achieving the goals of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), even as the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia raises the prospect of a deadlocked Supreme Court ruling. Achieving CPP carbon-dioxide emissions targets 14 years ahead of schedule is now likely thanks to a remarkable confluence of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies each achieving affordability after decades of developments.

U.S. wins WTO dispute against India’s solar rules

Source: By Tom Miles and David Lawder, Reuters • Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2016

The United States won a ruling against India at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday after challenging the rules on the origin of solar cells and solar modules used in India’s national solar power program. In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office called the ruling a significant victory that would hasten the spread of solar energy across the world and support clean-energy jobs in the United States.

EPA urges judges to reject charges of lobbyists’ influence

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2016

U.S. EPA doesn’t think a conservative legal group should be allowed to file documents in federal court alleging that lobbyists improperly helped write the agency’s Clean Power Plan. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday that EPA’s controversial greenhouse gas rule for power plants should be sent back to the drawing board because the agency crafted provisions of the plan through “backdoor dealings” with environmental lobbyists

Renewable energy growth could slow over 30% without climate plan

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2016

A new report predicts that the elimination of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan could mean that by 2025 a whopping 50 gigawatts of potential renewable energy generation could go unrealized, despite Congress’ recent extension of wind and solar tax credits. “The tax extenders alone provide a bigger medium term boost to renewables than just the [Clean Power Plan], but not as big as with both policies in place,” states the report, released today by the Rhodium Group.

States may plan discreetly to avoid ‘backlash’ — White House official

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2016

A special assistant to President Obama said that despite the Supreme Court’s decision to halt the Clean Power Plan, states are voluntarily working behind the scenes to piece together backup plans to comply with the electricity-sector greenhouse gas standards. “What some states have told us — and some that have not been public about it because they don’t want to see backlash from the right — is it’s conservative to work on this policy,” Rohan Patel, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs for the White House, told several dozen attendees at a Washington, D.C., symposium on the impacts of climate change on black communities.

Senate moves on as Flint deal stays stuck

Source: Geof Koss, Hannah Hess and George Cahlink, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture Thursday on legislation to address the opioid epidemic, after a handful of GOP senators held up a consent agreement that would have set up votes on the chamber’s bipartisan energy bill and a package for Flint, Mich. The Kentucky Republican lauded Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) for their efforts to break the logjam that has held up their energy bill (S. 2012). “Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Cantwell and many others continue to work diligently on a way to wrap up the energy bill and to deal with the Flint issue,” McConnell said before filing cloture on the opioid measure.

Flint aid package, energy bill may re-emerge next week

Source: George Cahlink and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2016

Senate leaders are hoping to reach an agreement to move the Flint measure in concert with a broader energy bill (S. 2012). Under the proposed deal, the energy legislation, along with a slew of agreed-upon amendments, would move first and then the chamber would consider the Flint relief. Senate leaders are hoping to reach an agreement to move the Flint measure in concert with a broader energy bill (S. 2012).