Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Obama-Utility Meeting, Efficiency Bill, EPA in Court

by | May 8, 2013

President Obama will meet with electric utility CEOs and power industry trade associations today to discuss lessons learned and actions taken since Hurricane Sandy, with an eye on the upcoming hurricane season, the Hill reports.

The EPA yesterday defended its climate change regulations in two cases at the US Court of Appeals, GreenWire reports. In one, Texas, Wyoming and industry groups argue that EPA rushed its review of state implementation plans (SIPs) and threatened a ban on new facility construction to “coerce” states into compliance. In the other, Texas is challenging the EPA’s decision to revoke its permitting authority after the state refused to include greenhouse gases in its SIP.

Europe’s environment committee has proposed fitting all new vans with devices to limit their top speed to 120 km (75 miles) per hour, in an effort to cut carbon emissions and improve fuel economy, Reuters reports. Under the plan, which needs approval by EU member states, automakers would have to start fitting the devices from January 1 of next year.

Canada lost its appeal against a World Trade Organization finding that Ontario’s preference for locally produced renewable energy equipment discriminated against foreign firms. The EU and Japan brought the case. Monday’s appeal decision did revise a small part of the December ruling, Reuters reports.

The American Petroleum Institute has accused the EPA of violating procedural rules in a rush to enact auto emissions regulationsthe Hill reports. The oil and gas industry group says the agency violated Clean Air Act rules requiring the EPA to publish regulations in the Federal Register prior to accepting public comments or holding public hearings.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee will consider Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman’s (R-OH) energy efficiency bill on Wednesday, the Hill reports. The committee will also discuss several bills related to hydropower: S. 306, S. 545, HR 267 and HR 678.

Energy and environment ministers from France, Germany, the UK and four other countries have signed a statement urging a new vote on backloading, or temporarily withdrawing, EU carbon permits to prop up prices. Prices fell to new lows last month after legislators rejected a backloading proposal, the Financial Times said.

The House appropriations committee will today hold a rescheduled budget hearing with acting EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe. The hearing was originally scheduled for April 21.

The Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow entitled “American Energy Security and Innovation: Grid Reliability Challenges in a Shifting Energy Resource Landscape.” Witnesses will include representatives of Dominion Energy, the Electric Power Supply Association, Industrial Energy Consumers of America and the American Wind Energy Association.

Keller Transportation has agreed to pay $83,500 to settle Clean Water Act claims related to a 2008 tanker truck spill that resulted in more than 6,300 gallons of gasoline entering springs along Flathead Lake, Montana. The spill affected groundwater as well as the lake itself, and sampling shows there are still high levels of contamination in the main spill pathway, the EPA said.

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