The federal court hearing the challenges to President Obama’s carbon rule for power plants will “struggle” most over the issue of whether the Clean Air Act allows U.S. EPA to regulate beyond the fence line, a law expert today predicted. Ann Carlson, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a conference call with reporters the fence line argument is challengers’ strongest legal weapon against the Clean Power Plan.
Kevin Poloncarz has been talking aloud to himself all summer. On the ferry from his Marin County home to his San Francisco office, the Paul Hastings LLP attorney repeats talking points, hones inflection and perfects phrasing for a very big day in court. “If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, you know that someone talking aloud to him- or herself on the streets is not a strange sight, so, for the most part, no one tends to pay me any mind,” he says.
In a surprise twist to the legal battle over the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit expanded the panel of judges that will hear arguments next week. Judge Cornelia Pillard, who has sat out previous decisions on the litigation, will hear arguments Tuesday, according to an order issued Thursday morning. All the court’s active judges — except President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland — will participate in the en banc arguments, the D.C. Circuit order says.
More offshore wind action: Deepwater Wind opening New Bedford office, OffshoreMW survey boat arriving
Action in the offshore wind industry continued to pop Tuesday, as Deepwater Wind announced a downtown New Bedford office and a survey boat for OffshoreMW was expected to arrive at the Marine Commerce Terminal. Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind and New Jersey-based OffshoreMW are two of the three companies seeking to develop large-scale wind turbine farms in leased federal waters about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The third is Denmark-based DONG Energy, known in Massachusetts as Bay State Wind.
“These governors are leading. They’re attuned to economic development needs and deployment challenges in their states, and they’re looking to the federal agencies to help rather than hinder.” A bipartisan coalition of 20 US governors has called on President Barack Obama to take further steps to boost the development of onshore and offshore wind In a letter sent by the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, they asked the Obama administration to consider having the Coast Guard keep working on its Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the states.
Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. has for decades built hulking platforms to extract oil and natural gas from the seabed. With the collapse of offshore drilling, the company has turned to helping harvest another energy resource: wind. Gulf Island built all five turbine foundations for the first U.S. offshore wind farm, which is expected to go into service in November. Oil and gas services companies worked on almost every facet of Deepwater Wind LLC’s 30-megawatt project in Rhode Island, supplying engineers, deckhands, construction vessels and decades of expertise building massive structures at sea.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) took to the Senate floor yesterday to outline details of his plan for 100 percent renewable power as a tool to fight climate change. Merkley said his “100 by 50” plan would call for a carbon price and several other principles, including utilizing energy efficiency standards, converting “all electricity generation from fossil fuel electrons to green electrons,” and increasing research and development on new technologies. He said legislation, which was still in the drafting process, may also include “carefully constructed” carbon offsets to phase out fossil fuels.
Donald Trump yesterday pledged a broad regulatory rollback and new opportunities for natural resource production from federal lands and waters in a talk that echoed themes raised by some industry stakeholders but left others questioning how different a Trump administration might look from a Hillary Clinton administration.
The Obama administration built a framework this week for addressing the development of autonomous vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 116-page document outlines proposals that aim to walk the line between safety and innovation.
For a utility, guessing how much solar power its customers will build is devilishly hard. Over time, it will have a snowballing effect on the power grid, but it is made up of many unknowns: who will build, and where, at what size and in what year. A new report takes a look at the planning documents of 30 utilities around the country and compares the tools that they’re using to plan for distributed solar, as it’s known. Most of those power companies see rooftop solar as a problem, while a minority are beginning to view it as an agent that can solve problems.