A court order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to respond to a lawsuit seeking to block carbon standards for existing power plants was the top story in Bloomberg BNA’s Energy and Climate Report for the week ending Sept. 26. The number two story covered Google’s announcement that it will cut ties with a political group opposing action on climate change, which was followed by a story on a White House estimate that global warming will cost the U.S. billions of dollars. The other top stories covered a House committee’s probe on the Energy Department’s involvement in the proposed carbon rule for new power plants and a request by Texas and Wyoming for a court to rehear arguments in a case tied to Clean Air Act permits for greenhouse gas emissions.
1. Court Orders EPA Response to Lawsuit to Block Power Plant Carbon Standards
As covered in this story, federal appellate court judges ordered the EPA to respond to a coal company's lawsuit seeking to block proposed carbon dioxide standards for existing power plants.
The EPA has until Oct. 20 to respond to a Murray Energy Corp. petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue an extraordinary writ to prevent the agency from finalizing the carbon dioxide standards.
Murray Energy had asked the D.C. Circuit to take the unusual step of blocking the EPA's proposed rule because it argued the rule is patently illegal. The coal company argued the Clean Air Act prevents the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants under Section 111(d) because power plants are already regulated under Section 112 of the act that regulates air toxic emissions.
2. Google Quits Conservative Political Group; Chairman Says ALEC Is Wrong on Climate
Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt—whose remarks are covered in this story—said the world's biggest Internet search company made a mistake in funding a political group that opposes U.S. action on climate change.
Schmidt said Google paid the American Legislative Exchange Council as part of a lobbying campaign on an unrelated issue. Without elaborating on Google's relationship with the group, Schmidt said facts about global warming aren't in dispute.
Google confirmed in a statement that it won't renew its ALEC membership at the end of the year.
3. Climate Denial Will Cost the U.S. Billions of Dollars, New OMB Director Say
Climate denial “will cost us billions and billions of dollars,” the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget said as covered in this story.
“Climate denial doesn't just fly in the face of the overwhelming judgment of science—it is fiscally foolish,” OMB Director Shaun Donovan said at a Center for American Progress event.
Donovan pointed to a recent report from the president's Council of Economic Advisers that showed delaying international policy action to mitigate climate change could impose extra costs on the global economy.
4. DOE Participation in EPA Power Plant Proposal Probed by House Committee
As detailed in this story, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is seeking records of discussions between the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to proposed carbon dioxide performance standards for new power plants.
The committee asked Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz whether his department advised the EPA about the status of Clean Coal Power Initiative projects funded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as the agency developed proposed carbon dioxide new source performance standards for newly built fossil fuel-fired power plants.
The committee is investigating whether the EPA's proposed performance standards violate the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which bars the agency from considering any carbon capture projects funded by the Energy Department when proposing standards that would require the technology for coal-fired units.5
5. Texas, Wyoming, Utilities Seek Rehearing in Greenhouse Gas Permitting Lawsuits
As covered in this story, Texas, Wyoming and several utility groups asked federal appellate judges to rehear arguments in lawsuits challenging EPA rules that require states to update air pollution plans to address greenhouse gases.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's June 2013 decision to dismiss the lawsuits directly conflicts with a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court limiting the scope of the EPA's greenhouse gas permitting program, the states and industry groups said in Sept. 22 petitions to have the lawsuits reheard.
That Supreme Court decision means the EPA did not have the authority to impose federal implementation plans for greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration permitting in Texas and Wyoming until the states had an opportunity to develop their own plans, the states and industry groups said in the petition asking for a rehearing.
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