Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Carbon Standards, Efficiency Bill, Biofuel Cap

by | Sep 13, 2013

The EPA’s forthcoming greenhouse gas standards will set the carbon limit for new natural gas plants at 1,000 pounds of CO2 per MW, as previously proposed, but will relax the standard slightly for smaller gas plants. The standard for coal plants will be as high as 1,300-1,400 pounds, up from the originally proposed 1,000 pounds, the Washington Post said, citing anonymous sources. The administration is due to unveil the carbon standards for new power plants by September 20, Reuters reports.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Wednesday that the Senate would turn its attention from Syria to the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill – but almost immediately Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) threatened to block the bill by demanding a vote on his ObamaCare measure. Meanwhile Senators are trying to attach a variety of amendments: Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) would seek to ensure that EPA climate rules can be met with “commercially available” equipment; John Thune’s (R-SD) would keep the Energy Department from restarting a green vehicle loan program; John Barrasso’s (R-WY) seeks to block EPA climate rules; and Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) would repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Hill reports.

The European Parliament voted to set a cap on the use of fuels made from food crops, at 6 percent of transport fuel demand in the EU in 2020. If finalized, the decision would keep biofuel producers from increasing current output, Reuters reports. The parliament also said the EU should set a new 2.5 percent, 2020 sub-target for the use of fuels from algae or agricultural waste.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) have asked EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to explain why EPA agents carried guns and wore body armor while investigating alleged Clean Water Act violations at a mine near Chicken, Alaska. The EPA’s claim that the raid dealt with human and drug trafficking has been challenged by state officials, the senators said.

The Department of Energy and the EPA have released a new label that features EPA fuel economy estimates and CO2 estimates for used vehicles sold in the United States since 1984. Consumers may create the new label electronically as part of a new tool on FuelEconomy.gov. This electronic graphic can be downloaded and included in online advertisements on the web, while the paper label may be printed and affixed to the vehicle window.

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