Policy & Enforcement Briefing: California Fracking Rules, Tax Breaks, John Podesta

by | Dec 16, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry returned to the Mekong River in Vietnam for the first time since 1968 to discuss the impacts of climate change on the region. He also expressed concerns about plans by China to build four more dams along the Mekong to generate power for its rising economy, projects that will have a disastrous downstream impact on Cambodia and Vietnam, according to environmental specialists.

The New York Times reports California drillers eager to use hydraulic fracturing to tap the nation’s largest oil shale formation will face comprehensive regulation for the first time under rules that take effect on Jan. 1.

According to The Hill, The American Petroleum Institute and more than a dozen other groups say that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’s recent draft discussion would hurt their abilities to recover costs and invest in the economy. A draft discussion released by Baucus (D-Mont.) would roll back a tax break that allows companies to write off property more quickly than it depreciates.

Newly appointed adviser John Podesta is expected to play a central role helping agencies and departments implement President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, unveiled earlier this year. “He will advise on a range of issues with a particular focus on issues of energy and climate change,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) wants to lead the debate on whether the U.S. should break with its decades-old ban on crude oil exports, as soon as mid-January. She plans to release a white paper on the pros and cons of US export policy on crude, one of her top aides told The Hill.

The EPA is approving revisions to the State of Michigan’s Clean Air Act New Source Review State Implementation Plan, including the Part 1 general provisions rules and the Part 19 rules for major sources in nonattainment areas. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality submitted the revisions to address, among other things, the Federal NSR reform rules.

The Department of Energy is extending the public comment period for the Champlain Hudson Power Express Transmission Line Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0447). The Draft EIS evaluates the environmental impacts of DOE’s proposed Federal action of issuing a Presidential permit to the Applicant, Champlain Hudson Power Express, Inc. to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a new electric transmission line across the US/Canada border in northeastern New York State.

The EPA has proposed a settlement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act with SKF USA, Inc. SKF is potentially liable for response costs incurred at or in connection to Paul’s Tank Cleaning Service Superfund Site, located in Burlington County, New Jersey. Under the agreement, SKF agrees to pay $100,000 to EPA for past and future response costs.

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