The Week Ahead: Public Hearings on EPA's Proposed Power Plant Rule, Congressional Hearings on Agenda


The Environmental Protection Agency will hold four, two-day public hearings on its proposed carbon dioxide standards for existing power plants in the week ahead. The hearings will be held July 29 and July 30 in Atlanta, Denver and Washington D.C., and July 31 and Aug. 1 in Pittsburgh.

On July 28, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will hold a media call to "discuss the importance of public input" on the proposed standards. According to the agency, it has received approximately 300,000 comments on the proposal and about 1,600 people are expected to give oral comments during the hearings. 

As covered in a June 17 Energy and Climate Report article, the proposed rule would establish unique carbon dioxide emissions rates for the power industry in each state. The EPA anticipates its proposal could reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the existing fleet of power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 at a cost to the power industry of $5.4 billion to $8.8 billion in 2030.

The comment period on the proposal ends Oct. 16.

Senate to Hold Hearings

On July 29, the House Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a hearing on "Examining the Threats Posed by Climate Change."

Witnesses include Carl Hedde, head of risk accumulation for Munich Reinsurance America Inc; Kristin Jacobs, commission of Broward County, Fla.; Bill Mook, president of Mook Sea Farm; Bjorn Lomborg, adjunct professor for the Copenhagen Consensus Center at the Copenhagen Business School; and Raymond Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Also on July 29, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on "The Costs of Inaction: The Economic and Budgetary Consequences of Climate Change."

Witnesses include Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, an advocacy group that pushes for sustainable investing, and Alfredo Gomez, the Government Accountability Office's director of Natural Resources and Environment.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also will hold a hearing July 29 on "Breaking the Logjam at the Bureau of Land Management: Examining Ways to More Efficiently Process Permits for Energy Production on Federal Lands."

House Hearings on Agenda

Bob Perciasepe, outgoing EPA deputy administrator, will testify July 30 before the House Small Business Committee during a hearing on "Regulatory Overreach: Is EPA Meeting Its Small Business Obligations?" On July 17, Perciasepe announced he is leaving his post to become president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).

On July 30, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on "EPA's Carbon Plan: Failure by Design."

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing July 29 on "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Perspectives: Questions Concerning EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan and Other Grid Reliability Challenges."

FWS to Hold Public Meetings

The Fish and Wildlife Service will hold public meetings July 29 in Albuquerque, N.M., and July 31 in Denver to gather input on its proposed rule to allow operators of wind farms to receive permits to allow for incidental killing or harm to eagles by operators of wind farms.

As covered in a June 20 article, the proposal would revise permit regulations to implement a final rule issued in December 2013 to facilitate development of renewable energy and other projects that are intended to operate for decades, as long as companies adopt measures designed to minimize harm to eagles. The proposed rule would replace the five-year limit on permits in the service's 2009 rule with a new 30-year limit.

An additional meeting will be held Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C. On July 22 and 24, meetings on the proposal were held in Sacramento, Calif., and Minneapolis.

Other Climate, Energy Events

From July 29-30, the Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office will hold its seventh annual biomass conference on "Growing the Future Bioeconomy."

The National Academies' Transportation Research Board will hold a webinar July 28 on "Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events and the Highway System."

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host an event July 29 in Washington on "National Security and Climate Change; What Do We Need to Know?"

Speakers include Alice Hill, White House senior advisor for preparedness and resilience; Ian Kraucunas, deputy director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division; and John Marburger, climate change affairs officer for the Navy's Task Force for Climate Change.

On July 31, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold its "17th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum" in Washington.


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