The Week Ahead: EPA to Hold Hearing on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard


The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing Dec. 5 in Arlington, Va., on its proposed renewable fuel standard for 2014.

As detailed in a Nov. 19 Energy and Climate Reportarticle, the standard, proposed Nov. 15, would require petroleum refiners to blend 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuels into their products in 2014. That is down from the 18.15 billion gallons required by the Energy Independence and Security Act.

If made final, it would be the first time the agency has used its Clean Air Act authority to reduce overall blending requirements as it takes steps to address the ethanol blend wall. The blend wall is the point at which the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the gasoline supply exceeds 10 percent, the maximum that has been approved for all vehicles and small engines.

McCarthy to Speak at Center

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to speak Dec. 2 at the Center for American Progress ahead of a planned trip to China, the group said. She is expected to discuss U.S.-China cooperation on the environment and climate pollution, as well as President Barack Obama's climate action plan.

National Research Council to Release Climate Study

The National Research Council will hold a public briefing Dec. 3 in Washington on the release of a study, “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises.” The study examines the likelihood of various physical components of the Earth system to undergo major and rapid changes, such as a shutdown of ocean circulation and ice sheet disintegration; reviews monitoring techniques to warn of abrupt changes; and identifies high-priority research needs.

RGGI to Hold Auction

On Dec. 4, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will hold it next quarterly auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances under its cap-and-trade program.

As covered in a Sept. 6 article, during its last auction, 38.4 million allowances were sold at  $2.67 each, raising $102.5 million. The proceeds will be used mostly for energy conservation, renewable energy and direct assistance programs.

States participating in RGGI are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Texas to Hold Hearing on Greenhouse Gas Permits

On Dec. 5, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is scheduled to hold a public hearing on proposed rules that would authorize the agency to issue permits for greenhouse gas emissions to the extent required by federal law.

As detailed in an Oct. 23 article, the proposed rulemaking implements legislation (H.B. 788) signed June 14 by Gov. Rick Perry (R). The bill gave the commission express permitting authority for greenhouse gas emissions.

Failure to adopt the rules would mean a federal implementation plan requiring sources to obtain permits for greenhouse gas emissions through EPA would remain in effect. If adopted, the rules also would have to be approved by EPA as part of a revised state implementation plan.

Other Energy, Climate Events

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy, in cooperation with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, will hold a congressional briefing Dec. 6 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington on "Renewable Energy Markets: Investment and Policy Trends." Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), will give an overview of global and U.S. market trends. A panel discussion will follow on trends and barriers to increased deployment and investment.

The Bipartisan Policy Center and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will host a public workshop in Washington on "GHG Regulation of Existing Power Plants under the Clean Air Act: Policy Design and Impacts." The workshop will include speakers from state organizations, industry and environmental organizations. 

The Center for Strategic & International Studies will hold two events in the week ahead in Washington. On Dec. 5, BNEF's Zindler and Carrie McKellogg, chief of access to basic services and green growth for the Inter-American Development Bank Group, will present "Climatescope 2013," a report, online tool and data resource on clean energy market and investment conditions in 26 Latin American and Caribbean nations.

On Dec. 3, the center will host Fatih Birol, chief economist for the International Energy Agency, to discuss the agency's "The World Energy Outlook 2013." As detailed in a Nov. 12 article, the outlook provides projections through 2035 on the use of oil, coal, natural gas, renewable energy and nuclear power. Energy security, climate change, economic development and universal access to energy also are covered.

The Public Policy Institute of California will hold a panel discussionDec. 3 in San Francisco on "Climate Change and California's Future." Speakers include Steven Chu, former energy secretary; Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board; and George Shultz, former   secretary of state.

During the week of Dec. 2, the Solar Energy Industries Association will hold two webinars. A Dec. 3 webinar will cover DOE's SunShot Initiative. A Dec. 5 webinar will be held on "Integrating Energy Storage Into the Grid: Expanding Solar Energy and Reliability."