The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state. But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oiland gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.
As the dust settles in the wake of U.S. EPA’s comment deadline for its Clean Power Plan, state authorities who spent the last six months detailing technical questions and contentions with the draft rule are increasingly turning their attention toward the specifics of potential compliance pathways. A group of state energy officials and electric and air regulators are meeting behind closed doors in the Washington, D.C., area yesterday and today to discuss how energy efficiency programs could help states achieve required carbon emissions reductions, according to a meeting agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned senators that this week could be a long one. “Next week could be a long, long week spilling into the next week,” Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday night. “We have imperative things we have to do.” The Nevada lawmaker said the Senate has to pass a government funding bill and a defense spending measure before adjourning for the year. He also said he hopes to pass a tax extenders package, but he wasn’t sure if that would be possible.The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act and a one-year retroactive tax extension bill this week, but still has to pass the “cromnibus” — legislation that will prevent a government shutdown after Dec. 11.
But at this week’s public comments show, there is a deep partisan divide over the wisdom — indeed, the legality — of requiring states to reduce their power sectors’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. And if Republican governors refuse to cooperate with the rule, the end result may look a lot like the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In that scenario, the vast majority of Democratic-controlled states expanded Medicaid and created state-level health care exchanges, while most Republican states did nothing.
As Washington lawmakers consider extending clean energy tax incentives, how are states faring on their renewables policies? During today’s OnPoint, Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Clean Energy Program, discusses a new series of policy briefs analyzing state clean energy economies. Cuttino also weighs in on the heated congressional debate over the production tax credit.
Despite the protest, Honorable appeared to face no political pushback at the hearing and is seen as a strong bipartisan pick, receiving approving nods today from both Republicans and Democrats on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, including a letter of support from Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Landrieu — campaigning in Louisiana for the run-off election against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) — didn’t attend the hearing.
New U.S. oil and gas resources and a rebound in natural gas prices last year combined to push the nation’s proved oil and gas reserves to new highs in 2013, the Energy Information Administration announced today. Proved gas reserves went up 9.7 percent to reach a record 354 trillion cubic feet (tcf) at the end of 2013, EIA said in a new report, while proved crude oil and lease condensate reserves rose 9.3 percent to 36.5 billion barrels.
In trying to persuade lawmakers to extend a key renewable energy tax credit beyond the end of this year, supporters are arguing the additional wind power it would spur could put a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions and is a key piece of the broader strategy to fight global warming. Environment America today released a report, “More Wind, Less Warming,” making the case for expanding the credit. Among other findings, the report says additional wind installations would help replace coal-fired power and reduce emissions. For example, supplying 30 percent of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030 would reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions more than 40 percent compared with 2005, a level that would help states exceed targets from EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday night that the Senate might not be able to pass the House tax extenders bill before the end of the year. Reid said it was “imperative” for the Senate to pass a government funding bill and a defense spending measure before adjourning for the year, but that senators would have to wait and see if a tax deal makes it to the floor.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today announced that his department is updating its policies to ensure that environmental burdens don’t disproportionately harm minority and low-income communities. Speaking today at a tribal nations conference hosted by the White House, Holder announced that the Justice Department is releasing a revised environmental justice strategy and guidance “outlining how we will work to use existing environmental and civil-rights laws to help ensure that all communities, regardless of their income or demographics, are protected from environmental harm.”