The Week Ahead: EPA Faces Deadline for House Energy and Commerce Committee Request


While Congress remains out of session for the second week of the spring state and district work period, the Environmental Protection Agency faces an April 5 deadline set by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to explain what climate change actions it expects to take during the rest of President Obama's second term.

Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and subcommittee chairmen sent a letter March 14 to acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe requesting details of greenhouse gas regulations that the agency intends to issue, citing concerns about increasing energy prices.

According to observers, as detailed in a March 22 Energy and Climate Reportarticle, electric utilities--and coal-fired power plants in particular--are the next major source of greenhouse gas emissions to be targeted by EPA.

California to Hold Low-Carbon Fuel Workshops

Proposed revisions to California's low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) will be discussed during an Air Resources Board public workshop April 3 in Sacramento. Adopted in 2009, the standard seeks to cut the carbon intensity of transportation fuels statewide 10 percent by 2020.

As detailed in a Jan. 23 article, a court ruling against the standard has been appealed by CARB to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Goldsten, 9th Cir., No. 12-15135, 4/23/12). A lower court ruled that the standard discriminates against out-of-state and foreign crude oil producers.

CARB also will hold an LCFS public workshop April 4 in Sacramento on sustainability provisions. The board is working with other state agencies, environmental advocates, and other stakeholders to implement sustainability provisions to ensure the production and delivery of alternative fuels does not harm air, land, water, or other natural resources.

EPA, DOE Webinars

On April 2, EPA's Green Power Partnership will host a webinar on "Innovative Approaches to Climate Goals: Microsoft's Internal Carbon Fee." A Feb. 27 article includes a discussion of Microsoft's commitment to be carbon-neutral by placing a price on carbon through billing each business group according to its greenhouse gas emissions generated from electricity use, air travel, and other activities.

The Department of Energy's Technical Assistance Program will host a webinar April 3 on state energy planning. Representatives from the National Association of State Energy Officials will discuss their analysis of 39 state energy strategic plans and the accompanying Guide to State Energy Planning.

Also on April 3 DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program will host a webinar on "Combined Heat and Power (CHP): Enabling Resilient Energy Infrastructure." CHPs, also known as cogeneration units, produce electricity and heat from a single fuel source, such as biogas, biomass, coal, ethanol, natural gas, or oil, to generate electricity and waste heat for onsite use. Surplus electricity also may be sold to regional power grids.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The World Resources Institute and the International Monetary Fund will hold an event April 2 in Washington, D.C., featuring climate economist Nicholas Stern, who will give a presentation on "Fostering Growth and Poverty Reduction in a World of Immense Risk."

On April 4, WRI will host an event in Washington, D.C., to launch a working paper, Clearing the Air: Reducing Upstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Natural Gas Systems.