The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Clean Power Plan” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from existing power plants will fundamentally shift the nation’s energy economy for generations to come. Broadly speaking, the proposal would require state governments to implement plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from existing power plants by 30 percent by 2030 using a 2005 emission level as a baseline. The proposal, which EPA estimates would cost between $7.3 billion and $8.8 billion to implement but lead to an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in public health and social benefits, represents a watershed moment in environmental policy. It will test market assumptions regarding the supply and demand of energy, how natural resources and underlying commodities are produced and procured, and how energy is consumed. In short, the proposal is likely the most significant change to environmental and energy policy since Congress enacted the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. Given the size and scope of the EPA’s proposal, the regulation will impact a number of stakeholder industries including state governments, local governments, utilities, rate-payers, private and public investors (including pension funds), manufacturers, technology companies, public health advocates and various energy production stakeholders, just to name a few. Read our detailed alert on the proposed rule here.
On Friday, June 6, EPA, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor released their report to President Obama regarding actions to improve chemical facility safety and address five areas of concern: strengthening community planning and preparedness; enhancing federal operational coordination; improving data management; modernizing policies and regulation; and incorporate feedback and development of best practices. The agencies continue to seek feedback going forward. Read the report here.
This Week’s Hearings:
Clean Water Act Changes
Wednesday, June 11: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will hold a hearing titled, “Potential Impacts of Proposed Changes to the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Rule.” The hearing will address EPA’s proposed rulemaking concerning defining “waters of the United States.” Testifying at the hearing will be the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer and related stakeholders.
Tuesday, June 10: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing titled, “Protecting Taxpayers and Ensuring Accountability: Faster Superfund Cleanups for Healthier Communities.” Testifying before the subcommittee will be Barry Breen, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, and EPA’s Region 2 Administrator, Judith Enck.
Tuesday, June 10: The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, will hold an oversight hearing to examine “Earthquake Early Warning System Development and Implementation.”
Federally Funded Research
Thursday, June 12: The House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Research and Technology will hold a joint hearing to address reducing the administrative workload for federally funded research. The subcommittees will hear testimony from the National Science Foundation, the National Science Board and a research university and related interested parties.