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Trump picks Perry for DOE; EPA calls for emissions cuts at 14 Texas plants


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Trump picks Perry for DOE; EPA calls for emissions cuts at 14 Texas plants

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is Trump's pick for DOE

President-elect Donald Trump selected Rick Perry as his nominee for secretary of energy, saying in a Dec. 14 statement that the former governor of Texas will lead the administration's efforts to "take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy independent and create vast new wealth for our nation." During a November 2011 debate, Perry famously forgot that he had previously pledged to scrap the U.S. Department of Energy should he become president.

EPA calls for SO2 emissions upgrades at 14 Texas power plants

The U.S. EPA proposed emissions cuts for 14 coal- and natural gas-fired power plants in Texas, which will now have to upgrade or install scrubbers to meet the regional haze rule for sulfur dioxide. Issued on Dec. 9, the proposed rule is the latest development in a legal battle centering on the EPA's decision to partially deny a regional haze plan for Texas and impose a federal implementation plan on the state.

Arizona Commissioner Tobin wants to replace renewable energy standard

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin has joined ACC Chairman Doug Little's earlier call to change the state's renewable energy standard. But while Little wants to double the standard, Tobin called for moving away from what he termed an obsolete commitment to arbitrary renewable energy goals.

EPA drops efforts to finish Clean Power Plan's model trading rules

The EPA is walking away from efforts to finalize the draft model trading rules and other projects associated with the Clean Power Plan before the new administration takes over. In a Dec. 19 blog post, Janet McCabe, the EPA's acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, explained that the agency decided to withdraw the Clean Power Plan's model trading rules and other related projects and post the work that has been completed as a working draft.

EPA argues 'expert judgment' in emissions reduction rule

The EPA filed a court brief defending a cap on the amount of emissions new power plants can produce. "EPA reasonably exercised expert judgment in concluding that the best system of emission reduction for newly constructed steam generating units includes the use of a highly efficient boiler implementing partial CCS," said the document filed on Dec. 14 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Feds approve $900,000 settlement for water violations at Southern Coal mines

The EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to a $900,000 civil penalty for Southern Coal Corp. to settle violations of the Clean Water Act at Appalachian coal mines across five states. The penalty is part of a $6 million settlement reached earlier this year, in which the company agreed to spend $5 million on comprehensive upgrades at its mining and processing operations to "prevent discharges of polluted wastewater from their mines in Appalachia."

US has broken link between CO2 emissions, economic growth

More than 30 states managed to decouple growth from carbon emissions between 2000 and 2014, according to analysts at the Brookings Institution, confirming that economic growth does not necessarily require a hike in emissions. But the think tank doubts that this trend will be helped by the incoming presidential administration.

Federal regulators issue 30-year eagle 'take' rule

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule that will allow wind project developers and other industries to obtain permits to kill or disturb bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years. Until now, such permits were limited to five years.

'21st-century book burning': Scientists race to copy climate data ahead of Trump

People all around the nation are burning the midnight oil trying to prepare for potential fallout from the incoming Trump administration's pledge to do away with "politicized" research related to climate change. In an effort to preserve existing information in that area, a community of scientists has begun backing up public databases to ensure they remain available for years to come.

EPA adjusts course, points to limited threat to water in final fracking report

The EPA found in its final report on hydraulic fracturing that the practice "can impact drinking water resources in the United States under some circumstances," following the advice of its scientific review panel despite the intense opposition of the oil and gas industry.

Conservatives call on Trump to repeal over 200 rules, policies in 1st 100 days

The House Freedom Caucus rolled out a list of over 200 rules, regulations and policies it wants President-elect Donald Trump to repeal in his first 100 days in office, several of which are focused on energy and climate change. The list, which Caucus chairman U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., released Dec. 14, calls for the incoming administration to eliminate 26 regulations issued by the Energy Department.

Duke Energy to recycle nearly 6 million tons of ash at HF Lee complex

Duke Energy Corp. plans to excavate and recycle nearly 6 million tons of coal ash at its retired H.F. Lee Energy Complex in Wayne County, N.C., the company announced Dec. 13. "After evaluating a variety of locations, our experts have determined that H.F. Lee is an ideal site for a project of this nature based on a number of factors including proximity to market demand, the volume of ash at the site, ash quality and the site's current closure deadline," Duke Energy said in a news release.