States, industries make final pleas to Supreme Court

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

Dozens of states, utilities and coal groups Friday made their final arguments in an attempt to urge the Supreme Court to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The request to the court to step in and block the controversial rule as a lower court weighs the case is widely seen as an unusual legal maneuver, but that shouldn’t stop the court from taking action, a coalition of more than two dozen states led by West Virginia said in its filing to the justices.

Obama using final budget request to push for action against climate change

Source: By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

Barack Obama called on Congress to double funding for clean energy research on Saturday, using his final budget request – and one of the last high-profile moments of his presidency – to push for action against climate change. The president said his final budget on Tuesday would propose doubling clean energy research spending from $6.4bn to $12.8bn by 2020.

NYC mayor wants to boost solar power capacity five-fold

Source: BY JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Friday, February 5th, 2016

Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to increase the solar power capacity of city-owned buildings five-fold from what it is now, mayoral aides said Wednesday. The push comes as part of an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the country’s most populous city by 80 percent by 2050. De Blasio plans to make the announcement in his State of the City address Thursday in the Bronx.

Lawmakers Warn Buffett’s Coal May Hurt California’s Goals

Source: By Mark Chediak, Bloomberg News • Posted: Friday, February 5th, 2016

California lawmakers expressed concerns in a letter Thursday that allowing a utility of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. to join the state’s power grid may undermine the state’s clean energy goals by connecting it to coal plants. Adding Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp utility to the grid run by California Independent System Operator Corp. would bring with it states “heavily invested in coal and other high greenhouse gas emitting resources,” according to the letter to California Governor Jerry Brown. It was signed by six state lawmakers including Democratic State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De Leon and Speaker-Elect of the State Assembly Anthony Rendon.

Obama proposes $10-a-barrel oil tax to pay for clean tech

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 5th, 2016

President Obama will ask Congress to set a $10-per-barrel oil tax to help invest in clean transportation infrastructure, the White House announced today. In a preview of the president’s fiscal 2017 budget, which will be released Tuesday, the White House outlined a plan to make oil companies pay fees that would then be used to invest in enhanced transportation options like low-carbon technologies and intelligent transportation infrastructure.

EPA urges Supreme Court to deny ‘unprecedented’ request

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 5th, 2016

The Obama administration yesterday urged the Supreme Court to reject a bid to halt U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, calling the appeal to the high court “extraordinary and unprecedented.” In a document sent to the high court, the administration’s solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, ticked off a number of arguments as to why the justices shouldn’t step in to freeze the regulation aimed at slashing power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama to Propose a $10-a-Barrel Fee on Oil

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Friday, February 5th, 2016

President Obama’s budget request to Congress will include a new fee on oil companies, requiring them to pay $10 to the federal government for every barrel of oil they produce, the White House said on Thursday. The money, which could bring in up to $32 billion in new federal revenue annually, would be spent on a variety of transportation and infrastructure projects, including bridges and highways, high-speed rail and research on advanced vehicles such as electric and self-driving cars.

Senate bill limps on after Democrats’ filibuster

Source: Geof Koss and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, February 5th, 2016

Democrats today blocked a pair of procedural votes to end debate on the Senate’s bipartisan energy bill, buying time to continue negotiations over federal aid to help the town of Flint, Mich., recover from its lead-contaminated drinking water crisis. The Senate rejected cloture on the substitute amendment to the bill, as well as the underlying bill (S. 2012), on 46-50 and 43-54 roll call votes, respectively.

Senate Democrats Block Energy Bill in Impasse Over Flint

Source: By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Friday, February 5th, 2016

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked the first bipartisan energy bill in almost a decade after majority Republicans balked over sending hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency aid to Flint, Michigan, to fix and replace the city’s lead-contaminated pipes. The impasse hardened an increasingly partisan response to the water crisis in Flint as Democrats press for swift help for a majority African-American city of 100,000 and point to the past, rapid response of Republicans to natural disasters in Texas and Florida. Republicans maintained that it was premature to send money until Michigan figures out what it needs and wrong to stall the energy bill.

RGGI gets mixed signals on mingling with other states

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, February 4th, 2016

The nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is continuing to weigh linking its cap-and-trade system with other states that will use carbon markets to comply with federal climate change regulations. RGGI officials yesterday heard a range of views from companies and advocates invested in the program. They ranged from enthusiastic proponents of carbon trading who say the system should set an example for other states to more wary environmental groups worried that expanding trading could water down the program’s climate benefits.