Monday, August 25, 2014
by Regina Cline
Another lawsuit arguing
that the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have the authority to regulate
carbon dioxide emissions from power plants was the top Energy and Climate
Report story for the week ending Aug. 22. Hydraulic fracturing stories placed
second and third. A story on an EPA official’s testimony on the power plant
rule, followed by one on possible climate change gubernatorial actions rounded
out the top five stories list.
Energy Files Second Lawsuit to Block EPA Carbon Dioxide Standards
detailed in this story,
Murray Energy Corp filed a lawsuit Aug. 15 arguing that the EPA lacks authority
under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants
because it already regulates their toxic pollutants.
coal company, Murray said in its lawsuit, filed U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit, that the EPA is barred from regulating carbon
dioxide from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the act.
the air toxics rule “thus rendered any future attempt to regulate power plants
under Section 111(d) illegal,” Murray Energy said in its petition for review of
the EPA action.
is the second lawsuit Murray Energy has filed to block the EPA's proposed carbon
dioxide standards for existing power.
Associated With Fracking Less Intense, USGS Researcher Says
Earthquakes and tremors
related to hydraulic fracturing and other drilling shake the ground less than
naturally occurring earthquakes of the same magnitude, therefore causing less
damage, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research covered in this story.
USGS seismologist Susan
Hough analyzed 11 moderate earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. from
2011-2013, which are believed to be induced by the injection of fracking fluids
and drilling wastewater into deep injection wells.
Using a USGS database
known as the “Did You Feel It?” system, Hough said the observations of those
who experienced the quakes were “very straightforward—in every single case the
intensities are low.”
published online Aug. 19 in the “Bulletin of the Seismological Society of
America,” concludes that the hazards of these quakes are lower than what might
be expected, chiefly because induced events are 16 times weaker than natural
earthquakes with the same magnitude.
3. NRDC Asks EPA to Cancel West Virginia Authority For Underground Injection Well Permitting
As covered in this story, the
National Resources Defense Council has asked the EPA to withdraw West
Virginia's authority to issue underground injection control permits.
In an Aug. 14 letter to Shawn Garvin, administrator of EPA Region 3, NRDC said the state is allowing “unauthorized and illegal” underground injection of fracking wastewater to continue at two sites in Fayette County.
“Over the course of more than a year, we've repeatedly asked the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection act to protect water in West Virginia from contamination by underground injection of oil and gas waste,” NRDC said in a blog post about the letter to EPA.
The state's handling of underground injection of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing is allowing clear violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the blog post said.
EPA Clean Power Plan Offers Flexibility for States, McCabe Tells Legislators
The EPA’s proposed
carbon dioxide emissions for existing power plants will offer states
flexibility in meeting carbon reduction goals, the agency's top air official—whose
remarks are covered in this story—told the National
Caucus of Environmental Legislators on Aug. 15.
While the plan may set
out strategies for states to reduce their power plant carbon emissions, the
states themselves will determine how best to reduce pollution in their states,
Janet McCabe, the acting assistant administrator for air and radiation, said at
NCEL's National Issues Forum in Minneapolis.
The plan recognizes the
work that many states, cities and companies have done in reducing carbon
emissions, McCabe said, and the plan won't require states to implement
technology that doesn't exist, she said.
The proposed rule is
unusual, McCabe said, in that it builds on states' ongoing efforts to curb
emissions and recognizes the progress that states have made. It also recognizes
that states all use different power mixes and that they have different
opportunities for reducing emissions.
Scientists Bring Climate Change Case to Florida Governor, Seek State Policies
As covered in this story, climate
scientists made their case personally with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) about
the need for state policies to address climate change, yet Scott offered the
scientists no clues about his plans on the issue.
The governor is facing
election-year pressure on environmental issues. The front-runner to challenge
Scott in November is Charlie Crist (D), a former Florida governor and former
Republican, who was known for his efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
and promote energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Scott, meanwhile, has
expressed doubts about whether humans are causing climate change and more
recently has declined to offer a public opinion on the issue, stating
repeatedly when asked that he is “not a scientist.”
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