The Week Ahead: EPA to Hold Hearings on Carbon Dioxide Limits for Power Plants


The Environmental Protection Agency will hold two public hearings May 24 in Washington, D.C., and Chicago on Clean Air Act new source performance standards that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

As detailed in a World Climate Change Reportarticle, the proposed NSPS, issued April 12, would limit emissions from new fossil fuel-fired power plants with a generating capacity greater than 25 megawatts to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour.

The rule is expected to further the power industry trend toward cheaper and cleaner natural gas power plants.

Senate to Hold Hearings

On May 22, the Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to begin marking up the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The House version of the bill (H.R. 4310) has raised veto threats by President Obama over provisions that would limit the Defense Department's ability to procure biofuels.

Details of the bill are included in a May 16 article.

Also on May 22, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on "Catalyzing American Ingenuity: The Role of Government in Energy and Innovations." Witnesses include Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin; Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance; and Jesse Jenkins, director of energy and climate policy for the Breakthrough Institute.

The House is taking a constituent work break this week.

Science Advisory Board to Meet

The Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel of EPA's Science Advisory Board will hold a public teleconference May 23.

A March 20 article covers a report the panel is drafting that recommends EPA consider a certification process to ensure that biomass burned as fuel is carbon-neutral, rather than relying on complex calculations.

EPA is developing its Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions From Stationary Sourcesto account for greenhouse gas emissions from biomass that is burned as fuel. Sources that burn biomass have argued it is carbon-neutral and should not be regulated.

Workgroup to Address Water to Be Discussed 

The U.S. Geological Survey's Advisory Committee on Water Information will hold a teleconference May 23 to discuss the formation of an ad hoc workgroup to address water policy issues related to climate change.

The formation of the group was recommended in a report, National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate, released in October 2011 by the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force.

Details of the report are covered in an Oct. 31, 2011, article.

International Climate Talks in Bonn 

The final week of international climate talks will wrap up Friday in Bonn. Negotiators hope to make progress on agreements reached in Durban, South Africa, last December during the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Topics include how long a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol should continue, establishing a climate fund to help poorer nations deal with the effects of climate change, and selecting a group to host the U.N. Climate Technology Center.

California Meetings Scheduled

The California Air Resources Board will hold a meeting May 24 to hear ideas on investment strategies for money generated from sales of greenhouse gas emission allowances.

As detailed in a May 17 article, the meeting is the first step in CARB's effort to develop recommendations for state lawmakers to use in determining how the funds--which are expected to range from $600 million to $1.8 billion--will be spent.

CARB will also hold a board meetingMay 24-25 in Sacramento. The agenda includes an overview of black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants and research findings on their potential impacts.

The California Department of Transportation will hold a summit May 23 in Sacramento on development of its Interregional Blueprint Interim Report, which is due to the California Legislature and Transportation Commission by Dec. 31.

Under a bill passed in 2009 (S.B. 391), the state’s long-range transportation plan must meet goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act (A.B. 32). In response to these statutes, Caltrans is preparing the report, which will contain plans for an integrated, multimodal interregional transportation system that complements regional transportation plans and land-use goals.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The Natural Resources Defense Council will hold a conference call May 21 to discuss the upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainability in Brazil June 20-22.

As discussed in a May 16 article, climate negotiators in Bonn said Rio+20 could play an important role in U.N. efforts to secure international agreements on greenhouse gas emission reductions given the growing link between sustainability and climate change.

The Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions will hold a conference May 21-22 in Washington, D.C., on "Solving the Energy Equation: Demand, Supply, and Infrastructure."

On May 23, the Geothermal Energy Association will hold its "Fourth Annual International Energy Showcase" in Washington, D.C.