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Energy

Senators’ Call For EPA IG Probe Signals More Trouble For Hunton, Wehrum

EPA air chief Bill Wehrum and his former law firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth, appear to be facing new problems with two Democratic senators intensifying their call for an agency inspector general (IG) ethics inquiry into Wehrum after written comments from Hunton were adopted verbatim in an EPA memo easing utility air permit requirements.

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EPA To Defend RFS Waivers While Mulling Requests For More Exemptions

EPA is preparing for May 7 oral argument to defend several waivers it issued to small refiners relieving them of fuel production mandates under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and is separately fighting biofuels producers’ push for a court injunction barring the agency from making a final decision on dozens of still-pending waiver requests.

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Inslee Floats Detailed Plan For Deep GHG Cuts In Power, Transport, Buildings

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is floating a broad and ambitious climate change platform that has the most detail from any 2020 presidential contender to date, touting an array of goals and policy proposals for slashing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, vehicles and buildings.

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Senators’ Call To Cut Ethanol Volumes Signals Upcoming RFS Reset Fight

A group of 15 GOP senators is urging EPA to cut ethanol blending volumes required under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) in the agency’s forthcoming proposal to “reset” statutory volumes for low-carbon cellulosic, signaling a coming fight with biofuel groups that are calling for EPA to increase corn ethanol volumes under the reset.

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Officials Face Risk As They Weigh Appeal On Ruling Reinstating Drilling Ban

Top Trump administration officials are debating whether to appeal a precedential federal court ruling reinstating an Obama-era ban on offshore drilling in much of the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic, a decision that could carry major legal and political risks for the administration’s deregulatory agenda and its efforts to encourage fossil fuel development.

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5th Circuit Judges Appear Split On Suit Over Delay Of Utility Effluent Rule

Appellate judges at May 1 oral argument appeared split on environmentalists’ suit over EPA’s delay until 2020 of two provisions in the Obama-era power plant effluent rule, with one judge strongly backing the government and a second judge appearing to favor critics of the delay -- leaving the third judge hearing the case as a swing vote.

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EAB orders new environmental justice review of contested UIC permit

The decision requires EPA to justify its permit limits for a Michigan oil and gas well in light of the surrounding area’s low-income population, potentially setting a higher bar for equity considerations.

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D.C. Circuit Wrestles With Venue For Suit On EPA Air Permit Policy Change

Appellate judges at May 1 oral argument wrestled with which circuit court has jurisdiction to hear environmentalists’ suit claiming a major Trump administration shift in Clean Air Act permitting policy barring the agency from “second guessing” states’ permit decisions is unlawful, but the judges did not indicate how they might rule.

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Exxon Faces Test In Bid To Delay Novel Climate Suit For New EPA Permit

Oil giant ExxonMobil is facing a key test as it seeks to stay a novel climate change suit to allow EPA to issue a new water permit that the company hopes will address most of the plaintiff's concerns and moot the first-of-its-kind suit, which alleges the company is violating permit terms because it is not doing enough to prevent releases caused by climate impacts.

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Wheeler taps former Colorado PUC head as EPA Region 8 chief

Gregory Sopkin is replacing Doug Benevento, who now has a job at EPA headquarters, in the agency’s Denver office.

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