Policy & Enforcement Briefing: FERC Nominees, Navajo Generating Station, Aviation

by | Sep 27, 2013

The White House is considering new nominees to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, after fully half the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee lined up against the nomination of Ron Binz. The lack of committee support effectively kills Binz’s nomination, Bloomberg says.

The EPA announced a supplemental proposal to reduce emissions from the 2,250 MW coal-fired Navajo Generating Station, one of the largest sources of nitrogen oxide emissions in the country. In addition to the proposals the EPA made in February to reduce the station’s visibility impact on 11 national parks and wilderness areas, it is proposing a third option developed by a technical work group, and asking for public comment. The Department of the Interior has separately pledged to achieve 80 percent clean energy for the federal share in NGS by 2035.

A State Department report released yesterday said the nation is poised to fall short of President Obama’s goal of a 17 percent cut in emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, USA Today reports. Based on measures in place in September 2012, the report predicts a drop of only 4.6 percent. It says the US had made progress by doubling the amount of generation from wind and solar, and establishing strong fuel efficiency standards, but says more steps – including cutting emissions from power plants – will be needed.

The US has backed a proposed market-based system for cutting carbon emissions from the global aviation industry starting in 2020. But a US official said that broad support for that goal is undercut by disagreements over measures to lower emissions in the interim, Reuters reported.

The Interior Department will today publish a notice asking which areas in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska’s northern coast, it should auction in a 2016 oil lease sale. The department says its plan tries to strike a balance between resource access and environmental protection, the Hill reports.

Most Americans – 65 percent favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. But the exact same margin also favors stricter limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

A US appeals court yesterday rejected an effort by Ecuadorean villagers to have a judge removed from a trial next month, Reuters reports. At the trial, part of a decades-long dispute between the Ecuadoreans and Chevron, the company will seek to prove that the villagers and one of their lawyers used fraud and bribery to achieve an $18 billion pollution award against Chevron in an Ecuadorean court.

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