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The Week Ahead

Written comments are due this week on EPA’s controversial proposal to overhaul how it considers the costs and benefits of Clean Air Act policies. Meanwhile, the House and Senate are holding hearings on clean energy issues, including how to achieve a “net zero” economy.

Cost-Benefit Rule

Comments are due July 27 on EPA’s proposed rule reworking how it will balance the costs and benefits of its air policies -- a plan that industry praised as a route to transparency during a public hearing. Critics at the hearing attacked the rule as likely to result in a paralyzed rulemaking apparatus that would stymie future air policies, focusing in particular on how it would affect ozone emission limits.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has already signaled that he plans similar rulemakings for the agency’s other regulatory programs such as water, toxics and waste.

Clean Energy

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold a July 28 hearing on “Building a Vibrant and Just Clean Energy Economy.” According to the hearing notice, the discussion “will focus on ensuring a just, equitable transition to a net-zero clean energy economy that creates good-paying, high-quality jobs.”

Also on July 28, the full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on “large-scale deployment and development” of an array of technologies to reduce carbon emissions, including carbon capture and storage, on-site carbon utilization, and “technological and natural carbon removal.”

The National Academy of Sciences is hosting daily workshops on federal “clean energy innovation” this week, with speakers examining broad subjects like strategies for accelerating the development of new technologies as well as in-depth looks at work underway at the Departments of Defense and Energy.

The Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory will host a July 28 webinar on energy decarbonization including presentations from Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy’s operations in the state, and Colorado lawmaker Chris Hansen.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host its 2020 Congressional Clean Energy Expo & Forum online July 30, with panel discussion on environmental and economic implications of clean energy including building efficiency, environmental justice (EJ), workforce concerns, sustainable transportation and more.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will vote on S. 2610, which would reauthorize several tribal energy programs, during a July 29 business meeting.

Chlorpyrifos

Oral argument is set for July 28 in the court challenge filed by environmentalists, farmworker groups and Democratic attorneys general over EPA’s refusal to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, known as League of United Latin American Citizens, et al v. Andrew Wheeler. The case, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for 9th Circuit, continues petitioners’ suit over the Trump EPA’s reversal of an Obama-era proposed ban on the chemical, which the current administration has argued was based on research that does not meet standards for agency action.

ECOS Meeting

The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), which represents state environmental commissioners, will host its annual State Environmental Protection meeting as an online event July 29-30. The agenda focuses on “partnering” state and federal authorities to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), with discussions on methods of detecting and cleaning up contamination in water and waste.

Drinking Water

The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s panel on the environment will hold a July 28 hearing on potential reforms to nationwide drinking water standards.

Climate Change

EPA is taking comment through July 27 on its proposal to authorize the use of several hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) alternatives in heat pumps, residential air conditioners, retail refrigeration and foam. Environmentalists have welcomed the proposal as a way to speed transitions to more climate-friendly alternative HFCs at both the federal and state levels.

The American Bar Association will host two climate-focused panels as part of its online annual meeting July 30. The agenda includes a “showcase” of novel legal issues presented by climate change and potential approaches to them, and a “conversation” on climate change and EJ with environmentalist Kit DesLauriers.

The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a July 30 event to announce a “new initiative” focused on carbon reductions in the agriculture and forestry sectors.

Compliance

The law firm Foley & Lardner will host a July 28 webinar on “concerns and opportunities” for industry’s compliance with environmental mandates.

Water Reuse

EPA will host a July 29 webinar on water reuse for agricultural purposes.

Transportation

The National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Review Board Standing Committee on Environmental Analysis and Ecology will host a July 29 “virtual seminar” on “research and practical topics” related to environmental review of transportation projects, as the first part of a series that will run through Aug. 20.

Space

The Environmental Law Institute will host a July 30 webcast on the “intersection” between environmental law and laws that govern activity in space, including potential regulation of space exploration and mining, and how developments there could affect environmental protection on Earth.

Vessel Emissions

EPA is taking comment through July 27 on its intention to authorize a federal subcontractor to access data submitted to the agency under the Clean Air Act’s ship emissions policies that may be considered confidential busines information.

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