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ML Strategies Energy and Environment Update: Week of 9/2/2014


With Congress preparing to return to Washington, efforts are underway to fill the two-week session with negotiations on a continuing resolution and votes on several pre-election issue favorites.

In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will hold his seventh annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas September 4. Hillary Clinton will serve as keynote speaker. Other speakers include White House adviser John Podesta, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, among others.


NRDC Influence Investigated
House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senate Environment and Public Works Ranking Member David Vitter (R-LA) opened September 2 an investigation into the role the Natural Resources Defense Council played into the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed CO2 standards for existing power plants and Alaska’s Pebble Mine project. The congressmen are requesting documents and other materials from the agency and nonprofit regarding the group’s role in helping to shale the regulations. The agency immediately disputed allegations of undue NRDC influence on the Clean Power Plan.


Trash Burning Report
The National Center for Atmospheric Research released a study August 27 finding that open-air trash burning accounts for nearly 40 percent of garbage disposal worldwide and negatively impacts air quality. The practice adds particulates, carbon monoxide, and mercury into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change impacts. Trash burning is unlikely to be reported to national environmental agencies, and is thus excluded from national air pollution inventories. About 1.1 billion tons of trash are burned in pits every year.

2014 RFS Lobbying
With the White House Office of Management and Budget conducting its review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s final 2014 renewable fuel standard, lobbying has increased significantly in the last week as groups seek last minute changes. In the meantime, analysts predict that significant increases in the proposed volume obligations are unlikely, and the rule is expected to be published late this month or sometime in October.


CPP Opposition
Attorneys General from 13 states sent a letter August 25 to the Environmental Protection Agency claiming that the agency violated Section 307(d) of the Clean Air Act when it failed to include all of its supporting materials for proposed CO2 standards for existing and modified power plants in the docket when it published the rule. As a result, the group charges that the agency needs to withdraw its proposed rules, republish them with supporting technical documents, and extend the public comment period by another 120 days.

RFS to Increase
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy reiterated to the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference September 2 that the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements will be higher than proposed last November.

Methane Regs
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference September 2 that the agency Is considering opportunities to target methane emissions under the Clean Air Act, especially from the natural gas industry.

The weekly Energy & Environment Update from ML Strategies provides an overview of what’s happening on and off Capitol Hill and around the world that may impact energy and environmental policies and industry players. Read the update here.

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David Leiter