News

Fight over Obama pick could tie Senate in legislative knots

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 22nd, 2016

An early bellwether of the legislative outlook will be if the Senate returns this week to a broad energy bill that was sidelined earlier this month in a partisan dispute over attaching federal aid for the water crisis in Flint, Mich. Thus far, there is no sign of a deal on Flint, with Democrats seeking a far broader response than Republicans. A compromise on Flint would signal that not all bipartisan efforts have been sidetracked by the court fight. “I don’t think that energy legislation would be singled out for retribution in any way, but it could just be the case that everything that is discretionary gets submerged in the tsunami” of a court fight, Dorgan said.

In Britain, a Green Utility Company Sees Winds of Change

Source: By STANLEY REED, New York Times • Posted: Monday, February 22nd, 2016

The owner of the wind farm, the British electricity company SSE, has been betting big on turbines as well as other renewables for years, with multibillion-dollar investments that have made the utility the country’s leading provider of clean power. In theory, last year’s United Nations climate accord in Paris should have been a global validation of the company’s business strategy. But instead of doubling down, the utility is rethinking its energy mix, reconsidering plans for large wind farms and even restarting a mothballed power plant that runs on fossil fuel.

Nev. poses heightened climate test for Dems

Source: Evan Lehmann, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 22nd, 2016

The candidates will find a Latino population in Nevada that’s substantially more concerned about the impacts of global warming than the average voter. About 54 percent of Hispanics say that climate change is extremely or very important to them personally, compared to 37 percent of non-Hispanic whites, according to a national poll conducted last year by The New York Times and Stanford University.

Why Clean Energy Needs National Action

Source: By BEN DEJARNETTE, Pacific Standard • Posted: Monday, February 22nd, 2016

In December, San Diego became the latest (and largest) city in the United States to pledge to move entirely to renewable energy; in January, New York governor Andrew Cuomo launched a $5 billion clean energy fund; and this spring, lawmakers in Oregon are expected to vote on a measure banning the use of coal power. Increasingly, U.S. states and cities are choosing to go out ahead of the Feds on climate action. But according to research published last month in the journal Nature Climate Change, building a sustainable green-energy future might still require Congress’ help.

Scalia and Chevron: It’s complicated

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, February 21st, 2016

“Administrative law is not for sissies,” he told the Duke audience. Scalia went on to tout the so-called Chevron doctrine, holding that if Congress has been silent or ambiguous about how to tackle an issue, the courts should defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of the law.

Scalia’s death ‘puts all the action’ in D.C. Circuit

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, February 21st, 2016

When Supreme Court justices ruled to freeze the Obama administration’s climate rule earlier this month, many viewed it as a sign that it would ultimately be rejected by the high court (Greenwire, Feb. 9). But with the possibility now that the court could split 4-4 on the case — upholding a lower court’s opinion — all eyes are on what’s happening in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Appoint a senator? For Obama, options are limited

Source: Josh Kurtz, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 19th, 2016

As President Obama contemplates the monumental political task of replacing the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, some analysts have suggested that he nominate a member of the Senate to the high court — on the theory that it will be hard for senators to reject one of their own. But that argument only goes so far — especially in a closely divided Senate in an election year, especially with Republicans holding 31 of the nation’s 50 governorships and especially with ideological control of the court hanging in the balance.

Nominating appeals judge could grease Senate’s wheels

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 19th, 2016

How far to the center President Obama should lean when choosing a Supreme Court nominee remains an open question, with Senate Republican leaders still saying any pick would be dead on arrival. Without naming names, Democrats who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee have hinted that a candidate who has already been through the rigorous confirmation process may be more likely to move forward on the merits.

It’s ‘foolish’ for Calif. to heed high court stay

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 19th, 2016

As U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan weathers legal turmoil, at least one state is proceeding full steam ahead. California’s Air Resources Board released a white paper yesterday exploring ways to mesh the state’s existing climate change regulations with those envisioned under the federal rule for existing power plants.

Rule freezes ‘part of the landscape’ at EPA

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 19th, 2016

U.S. EPA is exploring new territory when it comes to the Supreme Court’s decision to freeze the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the Obama’a administration’s climate agenda, several former agency officials said this week. “Stays are quite unusual,” said Robert Sussman, who held positions in EPA during both the Obama and Clinton administrations. “I don’t think there are clear guideposts.”