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Climate Policy Watch

Utilities depart UARG after Wehrum probe begins

Four utilities have recently left the power sector lobbying group that focuses on coal generators, with their dues representing nearly 20 percent of the group’s overall budget in 2017.

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Court Scraps DOI Royalty Rule Repeal, Signaling Warning For EPA Rollbacks

A federal district court has vacated the Trump administration’s repeal of an Obama-era rule to determine fossil fuel royalties after it found the Interior Department (DOI) failed to state valid reasons for the new policy, with sources saying the ruling could serve as a warning for several pending EPA rollbacks of the prior administration’s policies.

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EPA Staff Crafts New Analysis Of Flaws, Possible Fixes For Vehicle GHG Plan

EPA staff has prepared a new draft review that includes possible remedies for widely criticized assumptions in the Trump administration's proposed freeze of vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards, assumptions that critics say artificially boost the safety, cost and other benefits of the proposal while understating its environmental impacts.

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D.C. Circuit Expected To Order FERC To Broaden Pipeline GHG Reviews

Appellate judges are expected to require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand consideration of greenhouse gas emissions when approving natural gas pipelines with a known upstream producer, which would extend a two-year-old precedent requiring FERC to address downstream GHGs when the end user is known.

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DOJ Launches Push To Kill Controversial Judicial Theory Driving TMDLs

The Justice Department (DOJ) is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to overturn a district court ruling and forcefully reject a controversial judicial theory on when EPA must develop a waterbody cleanup plan, or if the appeals court believes the theory is binding in the 9th Circuit, to find the theory does not apply to excess water temperature that is expected to be exacerbated by climate change.

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EPA Moves To Reveal More Information On Small Refiner RFS Waivers

EPA is proposing to publish more data on small refinery waivers from renewable fuel standard (RFS) exemptions, as the agency comes under renewed scrutiny from biofuels advocates and their congressional supporters for its increased issuance of waivers, which biofuel industry groups blame for “destroying demand” for their product.

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EPA's final GHG inventory confirms slight emissions cut

Overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were 0.5 percent lower than in 2016, though the rate of decline is much slower than in previous years.

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House Democrats launch inquiry on EPA ties to utility group

Top Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee are asking a power sector group and eight of the group's member utilities about ties with several current and former Trump EPA officials.

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Oil & Gas Sector Faces New Scrutiny Over Air Pollution In Western States

The booming oil and gas industry is facing new scrutiny over its Clean Air Act permits covering methane and air toxics emissions in Western states, particularly in Colorado where Democrats are codifying sweeping new limits on drilling and more than a dozen companies are facing citizen suits over their allegedly lax air permits.

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Vehicle Technology Shifts Tee Up Long-Term Emissions Puzzle For EPA

Multiple potentially transformative technological shifts among passenger vehicles are creating a long-term challenge for EPA as it tries to limit carbon and conventional air emissions from the sector, with one top agency official warning of a possible pollution “dystopia” if increased vehicle trips from ride hailing are not paired with vehicle electrification.

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