16 states ask EPA to put rules on hold”This request is a necessary first step and prerequisite to confronting this illegal power grab by the Obama administration and EPA,” Morrisey said in a statement. The effort includes predominantly Republican-led states. They are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming and West Virginia.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin — both Democrats — are being urged by their states’ congressional delegations, attorneys general and coal companies to not submit plans for complying with the rule for existing power plants. The governors have resisted, saying their states would fare better with their own emissions plans. This stance was eased by the fact that EPA’s 2014 draft assigned both states light targets. But that changed yesterday when EPA finalized a rule with significantly different state targets under which both Kentucky and West Virginia ended up with much heavier lifts.
President Barack Obama unveiled the final regulations in his plan to cut nationwide carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Obama touted it as a bold step to slow climate change, while opponents said it was federal overreach that will raise prices for electricity consumers. Here’s what you need to know about the impact of the new plan on the states:
Nebraska, while having one of the top four wind energy resources in the nation, remains hampered by rules governing the state’s power generation assets, which are 100 percent publicly owned, according to the analysis. “Consequently, Nebraska’s public power system creates these burdensome regulations that discourage wind energy development in the state, making it less competitive in the wind industry than neighboring states,” the analysis found.
In addition to the Clean Power Plan released yesterday, EPA also publicized a proposal revealing how it will handle states that refuse to submit their own plans for emission reductions from the power sector. The agency plans to impose a federally enforced carbon trading program. It would fall predominantly on conservative states. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has encouraged Republican governors to defy EPA’s rules, and a handful have vowed to decline to submit proposals. “I think it’s very questionable whether it’s legal to do backdoor cap and trade,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said yesterday. “It’s 1,600 pages of legislating through a regulatory agency. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.”
“Over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, the United States has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth,” Obama said. But absent from Obama’s remarks was one key reason for that carbon reduction: the broad, economically driven shift from coal to natural gas-fired power plants. The omission wasn’t an accident: While Obama and U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy have long embraced natural gas as a “bridge fuel,” the administration kept the focus on renewable power sources like wind and solar during the Clean Power Plan rollout.
In its quest to spend more without raising taxes, Congress has found a new piggy bank. It’s buried deep underground, protected by armed guards, and filled with a valuable commodity worth billions of dollars. It’s not a gold vault—it’s the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the country’s emergency stockpile of crude oil. Created in 1975 after Arab oil producers cut off exports to the U.S., causing gasoline prices to spike, the SPR was designed to immunize the country against supply shocks. Today it stores about 695 million barrels of crude in salt caverns in Texas and Louisiana.
President Obama later this month is slated to keynote retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s clean energy summit, just on the heels of U.S. EPA finalizing its long-awaited Clean Power Plan. Obama will speak at the Nevada Democrat’s eighth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on Aug. 24 at the Mandalay Bay Resort, where “the focus will be game changing clean energy investments.”
So who’s forcing Marchionne and all the other major automakers to sell mostly money-losing electric vehicles? More than any other person, it’s Mary Nichols. She’s run the California Air Resources Board since 2007, championing the state’s zero-emission-vehicle quotas and backing President Barack Obama’s national mandate to double average fuel economy to 55 miles per gallon by 2025. She was chairman of the state air regulator once before, a generation ago, and cleaning up the famously smoggy Los Angeles skies is just one accomplishment in a four-decade career.
In the early months of 2014, a group of about 30 corporate lawyers, coal lobbyists and Republican political strategists began meeting regularly in the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, often, according to some of the participants, in a conference room overlooking the White House. Their task was to start devising a legal strategy for dismantling the climate change regulations they feared were coming from President Obama. The group — headed in part by Roger R. Martella Jr., a top environmental official in the George W. Bush administration, and Peter Glazer, a prominent Washington lobbyist — was getting an early start.