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An interview with Stanley Meiburg, who came out of retirement after a 36-year career with the Environmental Protection Agency to become acting deputy administrator, was the top Energy and Climate Report story for the week ending Oct. 31. The second, third and fourth most read stories covered EPA's proposed carbon rules for power plants, followed by a story on compliance by U.S. industry with upcoming European Union sustainability reporting rules.

1. New EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Meiburg on What Brought Him Back

In this interview, Bloomberg BNA reporter Anthony Adragna spoke with newly announced EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Stanley Meiburg on his leadership style and what drew him back to the agency. Below are the interview’s first question and answer.

Bloomberg BNA: How were you approached about coming back to the agency, and what drew you back?

Meiburg: I had in fact retired, as I think people know—and was quite happy doing that—but in late July I got a call from the administrator who said, “Would you be interested in coming back?” I thought about it, and there were really three things that decided the issue for me.

The first was my admiration for the administrator. She's a tremendous leader and so effective and very compelling as a leader of EPA. So that was the first thing.

Second thing was that you work for an agency for 36 years, [and] it kind of gets in your blood. I really believe with all my heart that EPA's organizational success is important to both the nation and to the world. So the notion that I could contribute to that and help build and strengthen EPA—pushing ahead to what will come after—was very compelling. I felt like it was maybe a chance for me to give something back for everything the agency gave to me.

And then the third factor was I became convinced after talking to the administrator that I could hopefully do some good. That the years of experience I've had at the agency—adding both a headquarters and regional perspective on things—would be valuable at this particular point in the agency's history. So those were really the three things that decided the issue for me.

2. EPA Works to Respond More Quickly to Industry Critiques of Power Plant Rule

The EPA is trying to move quicker to counter what it considers to be erroneous industry claims about the cost of its carbon dioxide regulations for power plants, said a senior agency official, whose remarks are covered in this story.

Opposition to the EPA's push to regulate greenhouse gases, particularly from power plants, is driven more by economic concerns than genuine disputes over the science of climate change, Joel Beauvais, associate administrator for the EPA's Office of Policy, said at a forum sponsored by the New York University School of Law's Institute for Policy Integrity.

Beauvais said the EPA is trying to do more “rapid response” to counter industry studies that suggest regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants will be prohibitively expensive and threaten the economy. Beauvais said the EPA expects industry attacks on the rule will intensify as it nears finalization in June 2015.

3. EPA Seeks Input on Power Plant Rule, Proposes Carbon Rule for Tribal Lands

As detailed in this story, the EPA highlighted additional issues for comment in its proposed carbon dioxide standards for existing power plants, while also proposing similar emissions targets for four utilities on tribal lands.

The EPA announced a notice of data availability that seeks additional comments on the proposal on issues such as allowing states to take credit for early actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, expanded use of natural gas-fired power plants and the possibility of setting a multiyear baseline for state emissions rates.

The EPA also is proposing carbon dioxide emissions rates for power plants on tribal lands as well as in Puerto Rico and Guam. The agency developed the emissions rates using the same factors it used to determine emissions rate targets for states.

4. Sustained Lobbying Push on EPA Standards for Power Plants Continues, Records Show

At least 120 groups varying from public health advocacy associations to large publicly traded companies reported lobbying Congress during the third quarter of 2014 to express their views on the EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards for power plants, public records show, as detailed in this story.

The standards for new and existing power plants have drawn significant congressional interest since their introduction, and many industry groups have urged Congress to step in and block their completion. Many of the groups lobbied on legislation that would effectively do that, including the Electricity Security and Affordability Act (H.R. 3826; S. 1905) and the Coal Country Protection Act (S. 2414).

Data have shown strong, consistent lobbying of Congress on the standards. At least 110 groups have reported lobbying on the carbon pollution regulations for the previous three quarters, as congressional debate on the standards has intensified.

5. U.S. Companies Advised to Get Ready for EU Sustainability Reporting Rules

Companies in the U.S. should take steps now to make sure they are ready to comply with new European Union requirements for sustainability reporting, according to analysts, whose remarks are covered in this story.

The requirements, adopted as an amendment to the EU's accounting directives in April, will apply to about 6,000 large companies in the EU that meet certain criteria.

One of those criteria is being listed on an EU stock exchange. That means some U.S. companies listed on EU stock exchanges might also need to report if they meet the rest of the directive's criteria.

The requirements, which mandate public reporting on environmental, social and other nonfinancial issues in annual management reports, won't go into effect until 2017. But U.S. companies that don't already report on sustainability should “be on the cautious side and start now,” Chiara Ferracioli, policy coordinator for the Global Reporting Initiative, said.



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