The Week Ahead: Senate Committee to Get States’ View on Clean Power Plan

Capitol Photo 3.6

On March 11, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to examine state regulators' perspectives on President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Witnesses include Thomas Easterly, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management;  Todd Parfitt, director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality;  Michael Myers, chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Affirmative Litigation Section within the  Environmental Protection Bureau; Ellen Nowak, chairman of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin; and Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board.

The proposed power plan would establish unique carbon dioxide emissions rates for the power sector in each state. The EPA rule would be implemented by states, which would determine how best to achieve the emissions targets.

The House will be in recess the week of March 9 for a district work period.

RGGI to Hold Auction

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will hold its next quarterly auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances March 11.

As covered in a Dec. 5 article, during its last auction, allowances sold for a record high of $5.21.

The auction, which was RGGI's 26th, raised $94.8 million for the nine states participating in the program—Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

New Mexico State Lands Office

New Mexico’s State Lands Office will hold public hearings March 10 in Deming, N.M., and March 11 in Socorro, N.M., on the siting of a $2 billion infrastructure project designed to promote wind and solar power development in the Southwest.

As covered in a Feb. 13 article, the SunZia Southwest Transmission is designed to travel more than 500 miles through Arizona and New Mexico.

However, the project is coming under fire from environmental groups over concern about the impact the project would have on the ecosystem around the San Pedro River, the Southwest's largest undammed river.

Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing March 9 in Casper on a proposal to increase the minimum distance between oil and gas wells and occupied structures to 500 feet.

As covered in a Jan. 12 news brief, the proposed amendments would increase the surface setback distance between wells, drilling equipment and associated production facilities and occupied structures such as homes, schools and hospitals to 500 feet from the current 350 feet.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

On March 11, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is scheduled to release a final “Integrated Resource Plan,” which is expected to show that the state’s pursuit of renewable energy programs is yielding less expensive and cleaner energy.

As detailed in a Dec. 12 article, a draft of the plan showed that long-term contracts signed with large wind, solar and biomass facilities are expected to save Connecticut ratepayers more than $235 million over the next two decades.

Other Energy, Climate Events

The Council on Foreign Relations will host Environmental Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy March 11 in Washington to discuss the agency's efforts to improve international climate policy and increase global environmental sustainability.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a technical conference March 11 in Washington to discuss the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, including issues related to electric reliability, wholesale electric markets and operations and energy infrastructure.

On March 11 in Washington, the Diesel Technology Forum will hold an event on "Driving the Future: Technologies Are Ready to Meet Future Fuel Economy and Clean Air Goals; What About Policies?”

The University of the District of Columbia will hold a "World Green Energy Symposium" March 12 in Washington.

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