By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia - 07/18/11 11:11 PM EDT
The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing EPA’s final rule that would toughen a Bush-era standard issued in 2008.
EPA is defending the decision to rewrite the Bush standard, citing the potential for further cuts in pollution that’s responsible for tens of thousands of emergency-room visits annually for asthma and other bronchial conditions, as well as other woes.
But business groups, as E2 reported last week, are trying to put the spotlight on the White House, setting up the rule as a test case of President Obama's pledge to ensure regulations don't hinder competitiveness.
NRC to review task force's recommendations: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet Tuesday at its Rockville, Md., headquarters for a briefing on a federal report that calls for sweeping new rules aimed at improving U.S. reactor safety.
A task force made up of NRC staff unveiled the report last week as part of a broad nuclear safety review ordered by President Obama in the aftermath of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The 90-day report calls on the NRC to implement new regulations aimed at ensuring that power plants are protected from major disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.
The meeting comes as NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko is pressing his fellow commissioners to review the report’s recommendations within the next three months and implement any necessary regulatory changes over the next five years.
That’s a speedy pace for an agency known for its deliberate and slow regulatory process.
It remains to be seen whether the other members of the NRC will buy into Jaczko’s plan to fast-track the regulatory overhaul. Asked Monday whether he has the support of his other commissioners, Jaczko said, “We’ll see.”
Jaczko outlined to commissioners and NRC staff what he called his “roadmap” for reviewing the task force’s recommendations. The roadmap, provided to The Hill by an NRC source, includes a series of public meetings aimed at getting input from key stakeholders.
Reid to host energy summit in August: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will host a slew of top energy experts at his fourth annual “Clean Energy Summit” in Las Vegas on Aug. 30.
The summit, which is co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress and others, will include remarks from Center for American Progress President John Podesta, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), among others.
Sanders praises Vermont Yankee decision: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) praised a federal judge's decision Monday to deny Entergy Corp.’s effort to keep the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant open while the state fights a federal decision to extend the plant’s license.
Vermont officials have pushed to close the plant, but the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted to extend its license.
“The ruling is good news for the people of Vermont,” Sanders said in a statement. “The law is very clear that Vermont has the right to close the plant based on economic and other considerations.”
Here’s more on the decision from The Associated Press.
ON TAP TUESDAY
Senate panel to review MIT gas report: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will gather to discuss a major Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that concludes abundant natural-gas reserves can play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades.
Forum to explore China’s clean energy surge: The think tank Third Way and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute will host a Capitol Hill forum on “China’s growing dominance in the clean energy sector and learnable lessons for how the United States can compete and win the clean energy race.”
Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) will be among the speakers.
Senate panel to vet water nominee: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the nominations of Kenneth Kopocis to be the EPA's top water official and Rebecca Wodder to be assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks at the Interior Department.
Farm energy in focus: The Environmental Law and Policy Center joins the Environmental and Energy Study Institute for a Capitol Hill forum on energy provisions in the Farm Bill.
The event will focus on the Rural Energy for America Program. An advisory notes that “big decisions” loom in the next Farm Bill.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Here’s a quick roundup of Monday’s E2 stories:
— NRC chief calls for fast-tracking safety overhaul of nation's nuclear system
— Nuclear industry: Safety review by regulator lacks ‘rigorous analysis’
— Canadian oil industry bolsters DC lobbying presence