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Enviros fret as Senate restores FERC; EPA methane emissions rule back in effect


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Enviros fret as Senate restores FERC; EPA methane emissions rule back in effect

Energy industry celebrates, environmentalists fret as Senate restores FERC

The energy industry welcomed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission back to full function after the U.S. Senate confirmed Republicans Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson as commissioners, but environmental groups were unhappy that the voting quorum allows the commission to again approve natural gas infrastructure projects.

With lots on their plate, new FERC members will have to quickly get up to speed

After six months of lacking the three-member quorum needed to vote on major matters, FERC will soon regain that authority given that the U.S. Senate late on Aug. 3 voted to allow Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to join Acting Chair Cheryl LaFleur on the five-member commission.

State Department notifies UN of intent to withdraw US from Paris climate deal

The Trump administration took a formal step toward severing U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change, submitting its intent to withdraw from the deal to the United Nations on Aug. 4. The move follows President Donald Trump's announcement in June that he would pull the U.S. out of the international pact, calling the agreement a bad deal for U.S. workers and the economy.

Federal judge sides with environmental groups, against TVA in coal ash suit

A federal judge has sided with a coalition of environmental groups in a case over coal ash byproduct contamination stemming from the Tennessee Valley Authority's Gallatin fossil plant in Sumner County, Tenn.

EPA to seek Clean Power Plan repeal based on perceived statutory conflicts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is said to be preparing a rulemaking to repeal the Clean Power Plan that would cite a perceived conflict between two sections of the Clean Air Act, an argument that a federal appeals court seemed skeptical of in a September 2016 hearing of the rule.

Utilities open to inside the fence replacement for Clean Power Plan

The EPA is said to be planning a replacement for the Clean Power Plan that would require power plants to become more efficient, and utilities appear to be supportive of this approach, so long as the agency keeps within the bounds of the Clean Air Act and cannot tighten the standards later on.

Power producers ratchet up pressure on Senate to approve FERC nominees

The nearly six-month lack of a quorum at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding up billions of dollars in energy projects and "must be rectified immediately," a group of electric power producers told U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

EPA methane emissions rule back in effect despite industry, agency objections

The EPA is again responsible for enforcing Obama administration methane regulations for new and modified oil and gas industry sources under a July 31 court order.

EPA reverses plan to delay 2015 ozone designations

The EPA made a surprise announcement Aug. 2 that it will stick with designating attainment and nonattainment areas for its 2015 ozone standard in October, reversing its decision in June to delay that deadline by a year.

EPA integrity board clears Pruitt in Sierra Club complaint

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been cleared in a complaint made by the Sierra Club over his March comments on climate change.

Environmentalists frustrated as utilities, states step back from effluent rule

Three and a half months since the EPA told states they did not need to meet compliance deadlines associated with a 2015 rule requiring utilities to curtail the discharge of toxic metals from power plants into the nation's waterways, environmental groups are frustrated that many of them have have stopped their compliance efforts even they could have continued with that work.