Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

24 states, industry sue EPA over carbon rule

A coalition of 24 states and a mining industry group on Friday asked a federal appeals court to stay implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan for existing plants and to review its legality.

The lawsuits, in the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, come the same day the agency published its final power plant carbon rules in the Federal Register.

The head of the EPA said she is confident the rule will survive legal review.

Tennessee Valley Authority

First since '96: NRC approves Watts Bar 2 license

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday approved its first nuclear generating license in nearly 20 years, authorizing the Tennessee Valley Authority to run the second reactor at its Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, more than four decades after ground was first broken.

Supporters said it was a “hallmark day” for the nuclear industry, but one critic called Watts Bar 2 a “zombie reactor” and said its approval was merely an “anomaly” that doesn't represent a turnaround for the nuclear sector.

The license -- the first granted by NRC since Unit 1 at Watts Bar was authorized in 1996 -- allows Unit 2, under construction since January 1973, to operate until 2055.

EPA to publish carbon rule Friday, open gates for legal challenges

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced that it would move to publish its final Clean Power Plan in Friday's Federal Register, opening the door for industry and state governments to pursue legal action against the power plant carbon rules.

The federal government will publish the two rules: One for existing plants—which relies on state-specific carbon emission-reduction targets—and one for new fossil fuel-fired plants—which includes hard emissions limits. The rules seek to cut, by 2030, sector carbon pollution to 32 percent below 2005 levels.

Publication starts a 60-day countdown for states and industry to file legal action against the regulation and for Congress to act on any review process to attempt to block the regulations.

Alexa Rogals/The Associated Press

EPA mine spill could have been prevented, Interior concludes

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Government investigators squarely blamed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday for a 3 million gallon wastewater spill from a Colorado gold mine, saying an EPA cleanup crew rushed its work and failed to consider the complex engineering involved, triggering the very blowout it hoped to avoid.

The spill that fouled rivers in three states would have been avoided had the EPA team checked on water levels inside the Gold King Mine before digging into its entrance, Interior Department investigators concluded.

Interior HQ should go West, says candidate Bush

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Jeb Bush said Wednesday that he would rein in regulation at the Interior Department as president and try to move its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to the West, home to 90 percent of federally owned land.

"There is a tradition of having a secretary from the West," the former Florida governor said at a discussion organized by his presidential campaign. "But the folks that actually do the work ... all live in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and I think they ought to be living out amongst us."

Public Domain Photos

West Virginia to lay out legal case against Clean Power Plan

Republicans on a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Thursday will give West Virginia’s chief courtroom lawyer a platform to lay out his state’s argument against the Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan.

West Virginia Solicitor General Elbert Lin, who’s expected to lead the courtroom attack against the agency, is among the witnesses set to testify before the Energy and Power Subcommittee, where he plans to accuse the agency of developing a “contrived” Clean Air Act interpretation for its power plant carbon regulations.

Ordered to drop politics, ex-coal CEO shows views on trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An outspoken critic of President Barack Obama charged with conspiring to violate mine safety rules before a deadly explosion is under orders not to tell jurors he's being persecuted by Democrats.

The federal judge also warned former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship that safety rules are not on trial.

Flaring lobbying ramping up at the White House


Energy companies and environmentalists are pressing their rival positions as the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs reviews the Interior Department's proposal to impose new limits on the venting and flaring of natural gas at drilling operations on federal lands, FuelFix reports.

Office of Sen. Mike Rounds

GOP: EPA routinely overplays benefits and underplays costs of regs

The Environmental Protection Agency's Regulatory Impact Analyses for a string of major regulations have overstated the benefits while grossly underestimating the cost of compliance, Republican senators charged Wednesday.

“The EPA routinely fails to fully monetize the costs versus the benefits of their regulations, imposes unfunded mandates onto state and local governments, ignores the impacts of regulations on small businesses, and over-relies on ancillary benefits to justify their regulations,” said Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight.

EPA was not invited to the subcommittee hearing where its cost-benefit analyses were pummeled.

Bush would move Interior Department HQ to the West

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Jeb Bush said Wednesday that he would rein in regulation at the Interior Department and try to move its headquarters to the West if elected president.

The idea is part of Bush's proposal to better manage western land and resources, which he's expected to unveil at a policy round table discussion.


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