Bishop Seeks EPA Carbon Rule Documents From CEQ

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By Anthony Adragna and Andrew Childers

July 14 — Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) escalated attacks on the Obama administration's plans to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by pressing the White House to disclose its rationale for failing to conduct an Endangered Species Act review of the proposals.

Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, asked the White House Council on Environmental Quality July 13 to provide copies of all “emails, documents and other communications” showing why the administration decided not to conduct any analysis on the impacts of its carbon pollution rules on endangered species.

“In promulgation of these Clean Air Act rules, EPA must carefully and lawfully consider all the effects of its rulemaking, including the effects on endangered and threatened species listed under the Endangered Species Act,” Bishop said. “However, as the rulemaking process concludes, it appears that EPA has not satisfied its obligations under Section 7 of the ESA.”

In particular, the letter sought records of communications between the CEQ, the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Endangered Species Act as related to the EPA's proposed carbon emissions limits for new and existing power plants.

Bishop's letter was sent to Christy Goldfuss, managing director of CEQ. Bishop requested a response by July 27.

The EPA has proposed regulating carbon dioxide emissions from both new (RIN 2060–AQ91) and existing (RIN 2060-AR33) power plants. The rules are expected to be finalized in August.

Bishop and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) raised similar concerns in a June 15 letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency responded to Bishop's letter July 13.

Carbon Emissions Declining 

Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are already declining in 42 states, according to a benchmarking report prepared for Ceres, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other business and power industry groups. The July 14 report said that 42 states have already seen carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector decline between 2008 and 2013.

The report, the 11th issued since 1997, tracks emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide from the 100 largest power producers. Those companies represent 85 percent of the electric power generated in the U.S. and 87 percent of the industry’s air emissions.

The 2014 iteration of the report found that carbon dioxide emissions from power plants increased 13 percent between 1990 and 2012, but between 2008 and 2012, carbon emissions from power plants decreased by 8 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Childers and Anthony Adragna in Washington at achilders@bna.com and aadragna@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

Rep. Rob Bishop's letter to the White House is available at http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=achs-9yeklu.

The Benchmarking Air Emissions report is available at http://www.nrdc.org/air/pollution/benchmarking/files/benchmarking-2015.pdf.