Week ahead: EPA hits homestretch on climate rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is entering the homestretch on President Obama’s landmark climate regulation aimed at curbing carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants.

The public comment period will wrap up Monday, Dec. 1, meaning the agency will have to sift through the unprecedented amount of feedback as it tweaks, revises and polishes the rule to finalize it by summer 2015.

It is sure to be an intense effort to put the finishing touches on the controversial regulation, which requires the nation’s fleet of existing power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

The EPA proposal has already received substantial pushback from industry and Republicans, who claim it will hurt the economy and shutter coal plants, endangering grid reliability.

The agency contends the rule will prevent thousands of asthma, and respiratory problems among children and adults. The agency also claims that once fully implemented the rule will save consumers money on their electric bills.

As of Nov. 18, the EPA had collected roughly 1.6 million comments on the proposal, spokeswoman Liz Purchia said.

The comment period closed days after the EPA unveiled another significant regulation, targeting ozone pollution that causes smog.

While the EPA will need to work overtime to finish its proposed rules, the long-delayed smog standards signal Obama’s commitment to his environmental agenda, and resolve in the face of an incoming GOP Congress that has vowed to fight him on his climate change legacy.

And while the end of the year is a big time for the administration on climate, Congress has two weeks left in its lame-duck session.

During its first week back from the Thanksgiving holiday, the Senate will jump into hearings on carbon pollution and wastewater management.

On Tuesday, Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBarbara Boxer recounts harassment on Capitol Hill: ‘The entire audience started laughing’ 100 years of the Blue Slip courtesy Four more lawmakers say they’ve been sexually harassed by colleagues in Congress MORE (D-Calif.) will hold some of her final hearings as chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, before she hands the gavel to Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGOP senator on backing Moore: ‘It’s a numbers game’ Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator Senate panel advances controversial environmental nominee MORE (R-Okla.) in January.

The Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife on Tuesday will examine how local water treatment facilities are crafting better ways to manage local wastewater and water supplies.

Later that day, the full committee will consider the Super Pollutants Act of 2014, which will target non-carbon greenhouse gas emissions. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory Dem senator compares GOP tax bill to unicorns, Tupac conspiracy theories MORE (D-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (R-Maine).

On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee keeps the momentum going with a hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s implementation of recommendations from a Fukushima task force.

On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act of 2013.

Off Capitol Hill, the Russian embassy on Monday will host a discussion on the current and future status of Russian-American energy development.

On Tuesday, Resources for the Future will hold a webinar, taking a close look at the EPA’s carbon pollution rules.

Later that day, Ceres will hold a call with Nestle and others to announce support for the EPA carbon regulations on existing power plants.

Lastly on Tuesday, the Woodrow Wilson Center will host a conversation with the World Bank on a report about confronting the “new climate normal.”

The World Bank’s vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar, and Karin Kemper, senior regional adviser for the World Bank will participate.



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