Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The countdown to the Christmas holiday proved to be a surprisingly busy time for environmental policy news this week, especially for Washington-based lawyers. Attorneys filed major new litigation on two of the Environmental Protection Agency’s biggest regulations, the nation’s newly revised ozone standards and its Clean Power Plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

Here are some stories you might have missed while escaping for the holidays with family and friends.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is preparing to reduce staff and re-orient its mission to align with the fewer-than-expected new nuclear reactor applications it has received over the years, the commission’s chairman tells Bloomberg BNA (Story by Rebecca Kern).

Dozens of new groups and entities jumped into the legal fray over the EPA’s Clean Power Plan as the deadline for lawsuits passed. The National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and several large cities jumped to the EPA’s defense, while the American Forest & Paper Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity were among the newest detractors (Story for subscribers by Andrew Childers).

Newly proposed revisions to the EPA stormwater permitting program would give cities and suburbs with up to 100,000 people three options for soliciting public comment on how to comply with their permitting requirements (Story for subscribers by Amena H. Saiyid).

Congress ended 2015 without confirming any additional EPA officials, but the Senate passed a motion preventing nominees from having to return to square one next year. Prospects for confirmation are still grim, but a Senate committee may finally be able to move some additional nominations forward (Story by me for subscribers).