WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is stepping into a new case about Obama administration environmental rules, agreeing to review a ruling that upholds emission standards for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants.
The justices on Tuesday said they would hear arguments from industry groups and states that are challenging Environmental Protection Agency rules designed to clean up chromium, arsenic, acid gases, nickel, cadmium as well as mercury and other dangerous toxins.
The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., upheld the rules in April.
One judge on the appeals court complained then that the EPA didn't consider costs in deciding whether regulation of hazardous air pollutants from power plants is appropriate.
Release of the Interior Department’s mountaintop mining stream buffer rule is to come in April instead of December, and the Security and Exchange Commission’s rule on mandatory foreign disclosure won’t be published until October 2015, according to latest edition of the Unified Agenda, which lays out a timeline for Obama administration regulations, The Hill reports.
With the failure of the Keystone XL pipeline bill in the Senate last week, Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell has already vowed to bring back the bill quickly after taking control in January.
GOP lawmakers are depending on pro-Keystone Democrats to come to their side then, and regardless of the outcome of the Louisiana runoff on Dec. 6, they should be able to count on 63 votes, three more than needed to get past a Democratic filibuster.
What remains to be seen is the way Republicans bring the bill forward to the floor for that pivotal vote. Lead Republican sponsor Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota said late last week that the GOP may try to combine the approval bill with legislation Democrats would support to boost the total, but wasn't saying what might be dangled as a lure.
Refiners and biofuels groups will have to wait until next year to find out the final 2014 mandate for ethanol use in transportation fuel stocks, following the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to delay action on the Renewable Fuel Standard.
In a Federal Register notice, EPA said Friday it would seek to complete 2014 rulemaking next year, and added separately that it would pursue a three-year rule that would run through 2016.
The delay was welcomed by biofuels groups opposed to the agency's plan to cut required ethanol use this year, but heavily criticized by refiners who have been fighting the RFS.
All said the additional delay, coming more than year after EPA was to have completed its 2014 rule, added new uncertainty to the implementation of the mandate. EPA will also miss the Dec. 1 deadline to complete action on a 2015 proposal, and said it would extend the compliance deadline for 2013 into the new year.
The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities’ Nearman-1 unit needs an extra six months to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, according to an order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is concerned about electricity reliability in the region, Platts reports.
Though a repeal lobbying effort has failed to yield results on Capitol Hill, U.S. oil refiners will be back in 2015 trying to convince lawmakers to end the Renewable Fuel Standard biofuels program, the head of its trade group said Wednesday.
"We're again going to ramp it up," said Charles T. Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, noting that talk of a repeal has been on a "hiatus" because of the mid-term elections.
The Environmental Protection Agency wouldn’t be able to set new regulations without making public the scientific data to justify them, under a measure -- H.R. 4012 -- approved on a mostly party-line vote in the Republican-controlled House Wednesday, The Hill reports.
Locked in a closely watched election runoff, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has lost her fight to win Senate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. But Republicans are promising to bring the project back up when they take control of the Senate in January.
After a week of lobbying her colleagues, Landrieu and her co-sponsor Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., saw the approval bill on Tuesday fall one vote short of the 60 needed for passage under the terms of a deal she struck to bring it to the floor.
Federal agencies would have to assess the impact projects would have on climate change as part of their reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, under draft guidelines the White House released Thursday, National Journal reports.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah and the next chairman of the House Oversight Committee, says Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., will head up a new subcommittee charged with monitoring Obama administration environment and energy policies, The Hill reports.
In the Texas legislature, Rep. Phil King has introduced measures that would require local fracking bans to get approval from the state Attorney General, with communities having to bankroll impact studies and reimburse lost tax revenue, FuelFix reports.
The slump in oil prices resumed Thursday, with analysts predicting they could go even lower. U.S. benchmark crude for January delivery dropped $2.36 to settle at $54.11 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London February Brent was back under $60, finishing $1.91 down at $59.27, Reuters reports.
Shell’s decision on whether to proceed with Arctic drilling, expected sometime between now and March, will likely be made more on the basis of court rulings and government reviews rather than oil prices, officials have told Platts.
The National Hockey League has a big climate change goal for its current season: To work with Constellation, an energy services firm, to cut carbon emissions and offset the rest in order to achieve carbon neutrality, National Journal reports.
Bhavesh V. “Bob” Patel – a vice president in LyondellBasell’s international manufacturing operations, will take over as chief executive officer of the chemical company when James Gallogly retires on Jan. 12, FuelFix reports.
Jon Carson, ex-Obama campaign strategist, will be helping SolarCity to find creative ways of persuading people to put solar panels on their roofs, instead of relying on traditional advertising, The Washington Post reports.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan unveiled earlier this year, which would encourage development of wind, solar and geothermal projects over millions of acres in California, says little about how the generated power will be distributed, which could see battles over siting new transmission lines, The Desert Sun reports.