Risks to national security posed by a wind farm planned in Maryland was the most read Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report story for the week ending Nov. 7. Coming in second was a story on how the Republican takeover of the Senate may revive bills opposed by Democrats. The third top story concerned the Environmental Protection Agency’s response to a court challenge over the regulation of greenhouse gases, followed by how the Senate is likely to focus on reversing EPA regulations and options the agency has put forth for states to comply with proposed carbon standards for power plants.
1. Planned Maryland Wind Farm Poses Risk to National Security, Defense Official Says
As covered in this story, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work told another federal official in an Oct. 30 letter that a planned 150-megawatt land-based wind farm in Maryland “would constitute an unacceptable risk” to national security because it could interfere with operations at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, which is 30 miles away across the Chesapeake Bay.
The letter doesn't represent a final determination on whether the Great Bay Wind Energy Center will be cleared to move forward.
The correspondence was addressed to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in connection with the Federal Aviation Administration's pending “aeronautical study” of the proposed wind farm, one of several reviews required for the project.
2. Senate Republicans May Seek to Revive Blocked Bills With Reid Out of Majority Post
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who shepherded some big bills like the Affordable Care Act into law during his tenure, also has been adept at burying legislation he doesn't like, according to this story.
Reid used his absolute control over the Senate floor agenda to prevent a nuclear waste dump in Nevada, protect the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law and stymie the Keystone XL pipeline. What comes up, and whether or not it is subject to amendment—there are a lot of tools he has to block things,” said a former majority leader, Republican Trent Lott (R-Miss.).
A number of measures might have a chance of enactment once Reid is no longer the floor leader.
3. Supreme Court Decision Has No Bearing on State Permitting Case, EPA Tells Court
As detailed in this story, a U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the scope of the EPA’s greenhouse gas permitting program has no bearing on how those requirements apply to states, the agency told a federal appellate court.
The EPA as well as Connecticut and environmental groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to deny petitions from Texas, Wyoming and utilities seeking rehearing in lawsuits challenging rules that require states to update air pollution plans to address greenhouse gases, according to responses filed Nov. 5.
“There simply is no need for the court to rehear this issue merely to issue a new ruling with fine-tuned language that reflects the Supreme Court's ruling, and petitioners offer no reason why the court would need to rehear an issue on which all parties agree,” the EPA said in its response.
4. Senate Environment Committee to Focus on EPA Oversight Under Inhofe Chairmanship
As covered in this story, Republican control of the Senate means Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the chamber's leading skeptics regarding the human role in climate change, will lead the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
With Inhofe as chairman, the committee's focus is expected to depart sharply from the focus that current Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has put on climate change and other environmental safeguards, to oversight of the EPA and a raft of agency regulations that Inhofe has criticized regularly, according to current and former Republican committee staff members.
“It's going to be EPA front and center, right out of the block,” Marc Morano, a former committee aide who worked under Inhofe, told Bloomberg BNA. “I would expect many hearings on the impact and the science behind the EPA's climate regulations.”
5. EPA Outlines Options for State Conversions of Carbon Emissions Rates for Power Plants
As detailed in this story, the EPA has offered states two options for converting the proposed rate-based carbon dioxide emissions standards for existing power plants into mass-based standards for the purposes of emissions trading programs.
States will be able to develop a mass-based emissions standard by multiplying the EPA's proposed rate-based standard by electricity generation, according to a technical support document. The guidance offers states two options for quantifying the level of generation with examples of how to calculate each.
“This means that the only variable in the equation is generation,” the EPA said. “There are many ways to calculate generation, and the Clean Power Plan provides states, areas of Indian country and territories with the flexibility to identify an approach that best fits their situation.”
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