Top Five Stories for the Week Ending Jan. 24

Carbon Capture Plant Photo Credit Adam Berry/Bloomberg News

The following Energy and Climate Reportstories about carbon capture and storage technology, greenhouse gas regulations and statements by Environmental Protection Agency officials regarding climate change were the top five for Jan. 20-24.

1. Carbon Capture Needs No Further Review, EPA Science Advisory Board Concludes

This Jan. 21 story covers a determination by the EPA's Science Advisory Board that no further review is needed of the science underlying carbon capture technology that would have to be used under a proposed new source performance standard for new power plants. However, the advisory board said it still has concerns that the agency has not adequately evaluated the viability of carbon sequestration. Furthermore, while carbon capture would be regulated under the proposed rule, underground storage of carbon would be regulated by the agency's Office of Water as part of the underground injection program. Although the SAB said it had concerns about the feasibility of sequestration on the scale required, it ultimately accepted that sequestration was outside  the proposed rule's scope.

2. GHG Permitting Program Consistent With Clean Air Act, EPA Tells Supreme Court

The EPA's brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on its interpretation that the Clean Air Act's prevention of significant deterioration provision applies to all regulated pollutants, including greenhouse gas emissions, is covered in this Jan. 22 story. All sources that are required to comply with prevention of significant deterioration permitting requirements for emissions of criteria pollutants are also required to install best available control technology (BACT) for their greenhouse gas emissions, the agency said. Additionally, sources that would trigger the permitting requirements based solely on their greenhouse gas emissions must undergo the BACT review, it said. The EPA said it was compelled by the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources after it issued similar standards for vehicles.

3. Perciasepe Says EPA Seeks Integrated Planning for Cities on Climate Adaptation

According to this Jan. 23 story, Bob Perciasepe, deputy EPA administrator, said the agency may adopt a model for climate change adaptation similar to the integrated planning process that has been developed for municipalities seeking guidance on how to make decisions on upgrading water infrastructure. He also said that strengthening the relationship and increasing cooperation between the agency and local, state and tribal communities is a "high priority" for EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We want to change the way we solve problems together,” Perciasepe said. “We think we need to come together on plans as opposed to one-way streeting it. I think it might be time to turn ourselves to the issue of climate change resilience and adaptation.”

4. Podesta 'Surprised' by Advocates' Letter Questioning Obama on Climate Commitment

Remarks by senior White House adviser John Podesta concerning a letter from environmental groups questioning President Barack Obama's commitment to climate change action are detailed in this Jan. 21 story. The groups wrote that Obama's commitment to boosting domestic oil and gas production through an all-of-the-above energy policy could harm progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Podesta returned to the White House in January to take on roles that include helping to implement Obama's energy and climate agenda.

5. EPA Carbon Regulations Could Provide Opportunity for Bill, Sen. Whitehouse Says

This Jan. 21 story covers remarks made by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a leading politician on climate change issues, who said the EPA's proposed carbon dioxide limits for new power plants could renew hopes for a bill to address climate change. While he acknowledged that the current political situation does not favor congressional action, he said large emitters of carbon dioxide facing new and costly regulations might view new efforts in Congress to place a price on carbon as the “lesser of two evils.” Along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Whitehouse launched a caucus in mid-January to defend the EPA against attacks in Congress over Obama's Climate Action Plan that calls on the agency to finalize limits on emissions from new power plants in a "timely fashion" and from existing power plants by June 2015.