E2 Morning Roundup: Texas refuses to issue climate permits, battle over EPA smog rules, Obama touts energy in 2011, LCV offers staff help to vulnerable Dems, and more

A political delay?



EPA is expected to soon finalize rules it floated in January. Feldman suggested the Obama administration might be delaying their completion for political reasons. “It’s ... possible EPA wants to get on the other side of the elections,” he said on the call.



EPA plans to impose an ozone standard somewhere between 60 and 70 parts-per-billion (ppb).  A manufacturing industry study last month claimed the toughest option — 60 ppb — would create $1 trillion in annual attainment costs between 2020 and 2030 and result in more than 7 million lost jobs by 2020.



Greens fight back 



More than two dozen environmental and health groups are urging EPA to stand firm on the ozone proposal.



“It’s our air, but big polluters treat it like they own it. They dump millions of tons of dangerous pollution into our air, threatening the health of all Americans,” states an ad running this week in The Hill and Politico from the American Lung Association, the American Public Health Association, Earthjustice and others.



“Now they’re also dumping millions of dollars into a lobbying war against America’s clean air laws — even as millions suffer from asthma attacks and other health impacts, especially the young and the elderly,” it adds, urging EPA to “stand up for all Americans, including the most vulnerable.”



EPA said in January that the proposal would yield health benefits worth $13 billion to $100 billion annually by 2020, depending on how strictly the standard is set. The costs of the regulations would be $19 billion to $90 billion in 2020, according to an agency summary.

LCV deploys staff to help embattled Democrats

The League of Conservation Voters are deploying staff to help out 20 Democratic incumbents and challengers amid increasingly dire predictions for the party on Election Day. Those receiving LCV staff help include Democratic Reps. Allen Boyd (Fla.-2), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.-7), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.-8), Gary Peters (Mich.-7), Gerry Connolly (Va.-11), John Adler (N.J.-3), John Hall (N.Y.-19), Loretta Sanchez (Calif.-47), Melissa Bean (Ill.-8), Mike McMahon (N.Y.-13), Ron Klein (Fla.-22), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.-24) and Tim Bishop (N.Y.-1).

House Democratic candidates Ami Bera (Calif.-3), Bill Keating (Mass.-10), Colleen Hanabusa (Hawaii-1), Dan Seals (Ill.-10) and Joe Garcia (Fla.-25) will receive help, as well as Senate Democratic candidates Chris Coons in Delaware and Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut.

“These races were chosen because they are competitive races in which we have endorsed and where our help may make a difference,” an LCV spokeswoman said.

Perriello, Hurt target ethanol, EPA

Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) and his Republican opponent Robert Hurt in a debate Wednesday both offered ways to cut federal spending that would reduce federal energy and environmental oversight.

Hurt said he would reduce the power of EPA, later stating his position on clean air and water is that there “needs to be a balance in the context of protecting the needs of business and the needs of the environment,” according to Roanoke NBC affiliate WSLS.

Perriello retorted, “The irony of Senator Hurt’s approach is that it was a conservative on the Supreme Court that just handed regulation of carbon emissions back to the EPA.”

The vulnerable freshman Democratic representative reiterated a position he has stated in prior debates that he would cut subsidies for corn-based ethanol to reduce federal spending.

Perriello is a favorite among environmental groups for his unabashed support for last year’s House cap-and-trade bill. President Obama is also giving him some last-minute help and will campaign for him in Charlottesville, Va., Friday.

Fiorina returns home, readies for campaign trail

California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina returned home Wednesday after two days in the hospital following an infection resulting from her treatment for breast cancer. Fiorina is set to return to the campaign trail Thursday as she seeks to defeat Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Boxer received help Wednesday from first lady Michelle Obama — who headlined a private luncheon for Boxer. Obama and Jill Biden — wife of the vice president — publicly campaigned Tuesday for Boxer. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden held fundraisers for Boxer recently, as well, further underscoring that Democrats are concerned about the competitiveness of the race. Recent polls have Boxer leading in the high single digits, while internal Republican polls have the race essentially even.

Poll shows offshore drilling support



A new Pew Research Center poll shows increased support in recent months for offshore oil-and-gas drilling.

“Currently, 51% of Americans favor allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters while 41% are opposed. In June, during the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, there was more opposition (52%) than support (44%) for increased offshore drilling,” states a summary of the poll released Wednesday.

“Support for expanded offshore drilling is still lower than it was in February, before the Gulf oil leak, when the public backed more offshore drilling in U.S. waters by a two-to-one margin (63% favor, 31% oppose). From the fall of 2008 to early this year, opinion about offshore drilling had been fairly stable,” Pew notes.

On tap Thursday: Merkley, vets talk of oil dependence

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) joins retired military officials on a 1:15 p.m. conference call to talk about a report outlining security implications of U.S. oil dependence. The report — from Operation Free and the Truman National Security Project — will also praise EPA for issuing and proposing new fuel and greenhouse gas restrictions for cars, light trucks, SUVs and big heavy-duty trucks. Both groups generally back Democratic Party policies. 

On Tap Thursday Part 2: Natural gas outlook probed

Richard Newell — head of the Energy Information Administration, the independent research arm of the Energy Department — will discuss the 2011 outlook for natural gas at a noon event at the University Club hosted by the American Gas Association.

In case you missed E2 yesterday

Our Wednesday posts included:

Poll: Tea Party more skeptical on climate than Republicans overall

Study: California's Prop 26 undermines green, health laws

Poll: Belief in warming holding steady over past year, but below 2006-2008 levels

Al Gore: Tea Party making climate science a ‘political football’

Barton vows probe of White House policies in move for Energy gavel

FTC will require EnergyGuide labels on TVs starting in 2011

Graham: GOP should work with Obama on energy

Administration: No regrets pushing health reform before climate

Florida’s Democratic gov. hopeful attacks White House spill response

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