Regulatory Activity

White House Refuses to Rule Out Approval of Keystone XL Legislation

Last week, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told members of the White House press corps that President Obama will consider legislation requiring approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Mr. Earnest said: “We’ll consider any sort of proposals that are passed by Congress, including a rider like [Keystone], that, you’re right, does seem to pretty directly contradict the position that’s been adopted by this administration, the President.” He also noted that Congress has not sent any such legislation to the President’s desk, but when and if it does, the White House will consider the details. That response provided a slight opening beyond remarks issued by the President on Wednesday, November 5, where he refused to provide a direct answer as to how he would react to presentment of a Keystone bill. There, the President only said that there is an independent process underway at the State Department to review the Keystone application, and he is going to let that process play out.

EPA Releases Clean Power Plan Technical Guidance for States

On Thursday, November 6, the EPA published technical guidance for state governments to help them better understand the specific goals that each state will be required to achieve under the Clean Power Plan, which would require state governments to meet specific greenhouse gas emission reduction standards. A number of state governments complained in public comments that the proposed rule provided insufficient or confusing details regarding the emission reduction goals that states would be responsible for. The EPA issued the guidance document in part to respond to those concerns, and to provide state and local stakeholders with two examples to help guide implementation of the proposed rule. According to the agency’s fact-sheet supporting the guidance document: “As part of our efforts to respond to requests and provide information to all stakeholders, EPA is issuing a technical document that provides two examples of how a state, area of Indian country or territory could translate its rate‐based goal to total metric tons of carbon dioxide (a mass ‐based equivalent).”