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Pruitt affirms EPA's endangerment finding; 'reverse RPS' bill filed


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Pruitt affirms EPA's endangerment finding; 'reverse RPS' bill filed

Pruitt: Endangerment finding the law of the land and must be respected

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said during his Jan. 18 confirmation hearing that the U.S. EPA's finding that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases constitute a threat to human health and welfare and therefore need to be regulated is the law of the land and "must be respected." Some critics of Pruitt's nomination to become the next administrator of the EPA have worried that his participation in litigation against the endangerment finding may suggest Pruitt could roll back that ruling if he becomes the administrator of the agency. But Pruitt told Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., that the endangerment finding "is there and needs to be enforced."

Wyo. legislators file 'reverse RPS' bill to keep utilities burning coal

In one of the strongest state-level moves against renewable energy to date, Wyoming senators and representatives are jointly sponsoring a bill that would forbid utilities from selling power to Wyoming customers from utility-scale wind and solar installations. The measure would affect PacifiCorp's Rocky Mountain Power division and Black Hills Corp. subsidiary Black Hills Energy.

Consent decree lays out path for EPA to review NOx, SOx standards

The U.S. EPA has agreed to a timeline for reviewing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, referred to as NOx and SOx, respectively, after the Center for Biological Diversity complained that the agency is years late in completing a review of the standards. Under a consent decree published in the Federal Register on Jan. 17, the EPA by July 14 will review the primary NOx standard and issue a proposed decision on whether that standard should be changed, with a final decision due April 6, 2018.

Protecting Obama's legacy, EPA moves to deny requests to review Clean Power Plan

The U.S. EPA for the most part intends to deny 38 petitions for review of the Clean Power Plan, reserving complaints about how the carbon-cutting rule handles biomass and waste-to-energy facilities to be addressed at another time. The agency also brushed aside 22 petitions for an administrative stay of the rule.

US Supreme Court agrees to hear venue challenge in Clean Water Rule case

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the National Association of Manufacturers' challenge to a federal appeals court's decision that it can hear legal challenges to the Obama administration's Clean Water Rule. The court granted certiorari to NAM's petition Jan. 13, meaning that it will review whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit is the proper venue for the case.

Defense officials urge Trump to pursue renewables for energy security

Days before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, defense officials urged the incoming administration to stick with a security initiative to deploy advanced energy technology, including renewables, at military installations.

Feds plan NC offshore wind auction

The federal government in March will give wind project developers a chance to bid on 122,405 acres off the North Carolina coast. Nine companies qualified to compete in a lease sale for an area offshore Kitty Hawk on North Carolina's Outer Banks, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Jan. 17.

DOE publishes draft consent-based siting process for nuclear waste storage

The U.S. Department of Energy has released a draft process for pursuing community-supported alternatives to Yucca Mountain for storing nuclear waste. The long awaited draft report, released Jan. 12, details DOE’s current thinking regarding specific steps and broader design principles for implementing a consent-based process for siting interim storage and permanent repositories for spent nuclear fuel.

House passes bills to roll back Dodd-Frank regulations and restrict new ones

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would reauthorize the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission through fiscal year 2021, but could also roll back financial regulations and restrict the implementation of new ones. H.R. 238, The Commodity End-User Relief Act, was introduced Jan. 4 by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and was approved by the Republican-controlled House on Jan. 12 by a vote of 239-182.

ISO-NE seeks to update new entry costs, use different reference plant technology

The ISO New England Inc. asked FERC to approve new values to be used in establishing capacity market clearing prices and screening for attempts to exercise market power. In a Jan. 13 filing, the RTO asked FERC to approve updates to the cost of new entry, the net cost of new entry and the offer review trigger price values that it will use for its 12th forward capacity auction, which will be for the 2021-2022 capacity commitment period.

Yucca Mountain, DOE loans to get close look at Perry confirmation hearing

U.S. Senate lawmakers could probe Energy Secretary-nominee Rick Perry on a wide range of issues during his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing, including a possible revival of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage project and the future of the U.S. Department of Energy's loan guarantee program. The former Texas governor, who, as a GOP presidential candidate in 2011, said he would abolish the Energy Department if elected, could drive a major shift in the department's priorities.

EPA to deny states' request to expand ozone transport region

The U.S. EPA believes that nine Northeastern states seeking federal assistance to address ozone pollution that drifts across state borders have more than enough tools under the Clean Air Act to handle the problem without expanding the ozone transport region.

Obama administration gives $500M to Green Climate Fund

The Obama administration has contributed another $500 million to the Green Climate Fund, which supports climate change programs and initiatives to help protect vulnerable populations and developing nations to become more resilient to the phenomenon. U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a Jan. 17 statement that this is the second payment in that amount made by the U.S. to the GCF as part of an overall $3 billion pledge made by President Barack Obama in 2014.

Former Treasury Secretary pans Trump infrastructure plan

Republican President-elect Donald Trump's plan to boost infrastructure investment is "wholly ill conceived" and would mostly benefit projects that would be developed even without new incentives, Harvard University professor and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said.