What You Missed In Environmental Policy News: Week Ending Jan. 8


Obama and presidential seal

One week into the new year, environmental, industry and governmental officials began to outline what their priorities would be for the last year of President Barack Obama’s administration.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said her agency was “not slowing down” its regulatory efforts in 2016 and would also work to ensure an international climate change agreement reached in December was “cast in stone” for the next president. Fresh off a victory on crude oil exports, the oil and natural gas industry’s largest trade group said it would turn its attention to rolling back the renewable fuel standard. And one of the nation’s biggest environmental groups pledged to defend the president’s climate change efforts against legal challenges, while pushing the administration to complete a host of regulatory actions before leaving the White House.

Here are some other stories you may have missed this week:

Natural gas continues to leak from a reservoir below the Los Angeles neighborhood of Porter Ranch and the ongoing crisis has caught the attention of Congress. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared a state of emergency this week and Southern California Gas Co., the company that operates the leaking gas storage facility, predicts a fix to the leak is still weeks away (story for subscribers by Alan Kovski).

In her first public comments this year, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said 2016 is “not going to be a year we slow down” on regulatory efforts. The agency will now focus on implementing its Clean Power Plan and ensuring the U.S. delivers on commitments made in the international Paris Agreement (free story by Andrew Childers and Andrea Vittorio).

It appears highly likely, even inevitable to some, that the EPA’s attempt to clarify the bounds of the Clean Water Rule will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. But many attorneys believe lawsuits challenging the regulation may reach the nation’s highest court on procedural grounds first (story by Amena H. Saiyid).

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), one of the House’s most senior Republican energy experts and former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told Bloomberg BNA how he helped orchestrate the lifting of the nation’s decades-old ban on exporting crude oil (free story by Ari Natter).