Ahead of markup, White House takes aim at Interior, EPA funding bill

House legislation to fund the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department for fiscal year 2016 would undermine efforts to combat climate change and poses a threat to states, the economy, public health and national security, the top White House budget official said Monday.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan wrote a letter to House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., slamming the bill for cuts that bring spending nearly $3 billion below President Barack Obama’s budget request, saying it adheres to sequestration funding levels which the administration will not support.


White House knocks 'self-defeating' wildfire budgeting, launches new drought aid

The Obama Administration announced a new round of aid to states suffering through the drought as officials called on Congress to adopt bipartisan legislation to fix what they called a “self-defeating” fire management budget.

President Barack Obama and key aides held a video conference with the leaders of seven western states to brief them on federal drought planning. The White House announced $110 million in new initiatives aimed at drought relief and wildfire prevention efforts, but White House Senior Adviser Brian Deese told reporters the current wildfire response system was tying agencies' hands.

Republicans aim at Clean Air Act to counter ozone moves

The Hill

GOP-backed legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency to consider more than public health and look at the economic impact and feasibility of tighter ozone standards, The Hill reports.

EPA water rule broader than proposal: Farm group

The Hill

The Environmental Protection Agency did not respond well to farmers’ criticism of its water rule, the American Farm Bureau Federation complains, declaring that the final version, with broader definitions, is worse than what had been proposed originally, The Hill reports.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

EPA memo on RFS offers fuel for ethanol industry arguments

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard proposals for 2014, 2015 and 2016 hit the Federal Register this week, and a supporting document is helping to drive the ethanol industry’s calls for stronger blending requirements.

EPA’s proposals drew fire from all sides when they were unveiled two weeks ago. The ethanol industry said the blending targets were a handout to oil companies and refiners, because it acknowledged a 10-percent biofuel blend wall. Foes of the standard, however, charged that EPA set an unrealistic projection for biofuel growth in its 2016 proposal.

Appeals court OKs Interior's handling of Shell Arctic plans


Interior Department regulators were right when they subjected Shell’s Arctic drilling plans to a streamlined analysis, according to a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that's being seen as a setback for environmentalists, FuelFix reports.

Gage Skidmore Photo

Inhofe, Sullivan see nominees as leverage in water rule fight

Taking their first opportunity this Congress to vet nominees to the Environmental Protection Agency, Republicans on Thursday suggested that they could put the brakes on the process until the agency fulfills requests for information about its Clean Water Rule.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, raised the possibility of slowing the nominations through holds during a hearing for three agency officials, who had in the previous Congress won committee backing without controversy.

Office of Sen. Barrasso

GOP advances two-front blitz against EPA regs

Republicans in both chambers on Wednesday kept up a campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory agenda, advancing bills aimed at curtailing its reach through budget cuts in the House and a Senate attempt to roll back a controversial water oversight rule.

A House Appropriations subcommittee advanced a funding bill for EPA and the Interior Department that makes steep cuts to the agency's budget and restricts its regulatory actions. And the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a bill from Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., that would require EPA to withdraw and rewrite its Clean Water Rule, finalized two weeks ago, under a set of requirements designed to limit the rule's scope.


EPA makes first move on airplane carbon emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday issued a proposed  finding that greenhouse gas emissions from commercial airliners “contribute to the pollution that causes climate change endangering the health and welfare of Americans.”

The agency also issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for potentially adopting the International Civil Aviation Organization's international emissions standards for domestic aircraft.

The endangerment finding, if approved following a 60-day public comment period, would allow the agency to regulate such emissions under Section 231 of the Clean Air Act. The finding doesn't mean that the agency is proposing regulations on airline emissions at this time, EPA said. 

Today's actions do not apply to small piston-engine planes, used for recreational purposes, or to military aircrafts.


Carbon rule plaintiffs to EPA: We'll be back

The Environmental Protection Agency scored a victory Tuesday when a federal appeals court dismissed petitions to block its proposed rule to slash carbon emissions from existing power plants, on the grounds that the rule hasn't yet been finalized. But the coal company and states that brought the challenges vowed to bring the agency back to court as soon as the final version is released.

“The Obama EPA has promulgated a clearly illegal rule in its so-called Clean Power Plan,” Murray Energy spokesman Gary Broadbent said in a statement. “While we were disappointed by the Court’s decision, we will fully litigate the rule once it is formally finalized by the Obama EPA and we will prevail.”


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