Regulation

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EPA undeterred by mercury ruling; lawyers divided on carbon rule impact

It was unclear Monday what practical effect would come of the Supreme Court's ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency should have taken cost into account before deciding to regulate power plant mercury emissions, as the agency said the ruling didn't contest its authority to regulate the emissions and the rules are already having their intended effect anyway.

But legal experts, while calling the ruling a setback for the agency, were divided on what it might mean for the agency's imminent rule to limit carbon emissions from existing plants.

New York formalizes ban on fracking

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on Monday, concluding a seven-year environmental and health review that drew a record number of public comments.

"After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said in announcing the decision. "High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated."

Armenian president suspends electricity hikes behind protest

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The president of Armenia on Saturday suspended hikes in household electricity rates in an effort to end the protests that have blocked the capital's main avenue for six straight days. The demonstrators, however, didn't disperse.

President Serzh Sargsyan said the government would bear the burden of the higher electricity costs until an audit of the Russian-owned power company could be completed. At least some of the money appeared to be coming from Moscow, where the protests have caused great concern.

Legal experts seek carbon rule hints in health care ruling

Source: 
E&E

Environmental lawyers are combing the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act for hints on how the court might rule in future challenges to the Clean Power Plan, and specifically the administration's scope to interpret conflicting language in the Clean Air Act, E&E reports.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Branstad, Nixon: Oil's 'deep pockets' won out over farmers in RFS levels

The newly proposed blending levels for the Renewable Fuel Standard “protect the deep pockets of big oil” at the expense of farmers, two Midwestern governors charged Thursday.

At the Environmental Protection Agency's Kansas City, Kansas field hearing on the proposals for 2014, 2015 and 2016, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, tore into the agency's decision to use its waiver authority to set blending volumes for ethanol and other biofuels below the levels set by Congress.

AP PHOTO

House approves state opt-out for existing plant rule

Defying a White House veto threat, House Republicans moved forward Wednesday with a plan to block a key element of President Barack Obama's strategy for fighting climate change, approving the Ratepayer Protection Act by a vote of 247 to 180.

Lawmakers approved the bill, introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., which would allow states to opt out of the Obama administration's plan to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants if the state's governor determines it would cause significant rate hikes for electricity or harm reliability of service.

The bill also would delay the climate rule until all court challenges are completed.

Obama renominates McCabe, Kopocis for EPA jobs

The White House on Wednesday renominated two stalled candidates to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's offices of Air and Radiation and Water, tasked with overseeing the most controversial of the agency's regulations.

Obama tapped Janet McCabe, currently serving as acting administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, to serve as full assistant administrator. She was first nominated in 2013.

EPA methane leak rule getting final review at OMB

Source: 
The Hill

Regulations targeting methane leaks in the oil and gas industry have gone to the White House Office of Management and Budget for a final review, The Hill reports.

Office of Gov. Mike Pence

Pence to Obama: Change carbon rule or Indiana won't comply

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence threatened to make his state the second to boycott the Obama Administration's pending power plant carbon regulations, unless “demonstrable and significant” changes are made.

In a letter to President Barack Obama Wednesday, Pence, one of the country's most conservative Republican governors, said the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule for existing power plants would “fundamentally change the way electricity is dispatched," sacrificing affordability and reliability for the sake of emissions reduction.

Federal judge stays BLM's fracking rule

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge in Wyoming has postponed new federal rules for oil and gas drilling on federal land a day before they were set to take effect.

The stay issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl means new rules for the practice of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands now won't take effect until at least mid-August.

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