The Week Ahead: EPA to Hold Hearing on Power Plant Rule; Vote on Farm Bill Expected


The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a hearing Feb. 6 in Washington on proposed new source performance standards that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

As detailed in a Jan. 7 Energy and Climate Report article, the standards aren't expected to result in significant emissions reductions directly because the power sector has been investing in cheaper, cleaner natural gas-fired units, rather than coal-fired units. However, finalizing new-plant performance standards would trigger a requirement under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act for the EPA to issue similar emissions guidelines for existing power plants, which are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

The agency is accepting comments on the proposed rule, which was published Jan. 8, until March 10 (79 Fed. Reg. 1,430).

Farm Bill Vote Expected

The Senate is expected to vote during the week of Feb. 3 on a farm bill that includes mandatory funding for biofuels programs.

As covered in a Jan. 29 article, the House approved the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642) as recommended by a House-Senate conference report. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the five-year reauthorization bill would cost $956 billion over 10 fiscal years.

House to Hold Energy Hearing

On Feb. 5, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on "Energy in America: The Bureau of Land Management's Red-Tape Run Around and Its Impact on American Energy Production."

Moniz, McCarthy to Speak at Conference

Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy are scheduled to speak Feb. 5 and Feb. 7, respectively, at the National Association of State Energy Officials' Energy Policy Outlook Conference in Washington. The conference, which will take place Feb. 4-7, will focus on energy and economic opportunities in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The Fifth Biennial C40 Mayors Summit will be held Feb. 4-6 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The summit will feature roundtable discussions and working sessions focused on greenhouse gas emissions measurements and climate adaptation. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Parks Tau will lead the summit.

PwC's Investor Resource Institute will hold a webcast Feb. 6 to discuss five megatrends that may have implications for corporate strategies. In addition to climate change and resource scarcity, other topics will be demographic shifts, shifts in economic power, accelerating urbanization and technological breakthroughs.

The Environmental Law Institute will hold a panel discussion Feb. 5 in Washington on "Key Legal Issues Facing the Administration in 2014: Environment, Energy and Natural Resources." Panelists include Scott Fulton, principal of Beveridge & Diamond P.C. and former general counsel for the EPA; Gary S. Guzy, senior counsel at Covington & Burling LL and former deputy director and general counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Sheila Slocum Hollis, partner at Duane Morris and former director for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Office of Enforcement; and William H. Meadows, counselor and former president of the Wilderness Society.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance, along with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, will host a briefing Feb. 6 in Washington on the release of the "2014 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook."

On Feb. 4, Bloomberg BNA will hold a webinar on "Unfracked Territory: Legal and Regulatory Changes Impacting Shale Gas Development."