OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Industry, green groups brace for soot rule

STATE OF PLAY: Green and industry groups have been busy making last-second appeals to the White House regarding soot standards the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to finalize Friday.

The White House Office of Management and Budget held court for several groups on the issue Wednesday and Thursday, ranging from the American Petroleum Institute to the American Lung Association.

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Those groups are two examples of warring sides on the rule, which would affect fine particulate matter of less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. EPA has a court-mandated Friday deadline for sealing the rule.

Oil refineries, factories and power plants emit the air pollutants, which are formally known as fine particulate matter. They have been linked to heart and lung damage, along with premature death and cancer.

Industry groups argue the new rule would increase business costs, especially for electric utilities and manufacturing.

Health and green groups argue the rule’s public health benefits outweigh any economic cost associated the new rule.

More on the rule here.


THE REST OF FRIDAY'S AGENDA:

Former administration officials make energy predictions, recommendations

Former administration officials will discuss the future of energy policy at a Friday National Press Club event in Washington, D.C.

The panelists will make recommendations — and predictions — for how the winners of the 2012 campaign should handle energy and national security, climate, the environment and the economy.

Speakers include Jim Connaughton, who chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality for former President George W. Bush and is currently senior policy adviser and executive vice president with Exelon Corp; Gen. James Jones, former national security adviser under President Obama; and former Sen. Tim Wirth (D-Colo.), who is currently president of the United Nations Foundation.

OurEnergyPolicy.org, which is hosting the 8:30 a.m. event, has more information here.

Insurers offer ways to mitigate extreme weather damage

The insurance industry will delve into how it is affected by extreme weather events, and what the U.S. can do to mitigate those threats.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host the 11 a.m. Capitol Hill event. More information, and a link to the webcast, can be found here.

Speakers include Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, and Lindene Patton, chief climate product officer with Zurich Financial Services.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out what ran on E2-Wire Thursday . . .

Innovation focal point for incoming Senate Energy member
— Sen. Wyden names top Energy Committee staffer
— Report: Judge approves BP’s $525M settlement with SEC
— Conservative groups press lawmakers to reject proposals for a carbon tax 


NEWS BITES:

Wind incentive critics unfazed by phaseout

The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) phaseout plan for a wind energy incentive failed to move the pegs with many of its GOP critics.

AWEA on Wednesday proposed extending a 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour credit for wind power production one year, then ramping it down to end after five.

The one-year extension for the credit, which expires Dec. 31, has support from Democrats and Republicans in windy districts. Many other Republicans have yet to offer an opinion on the issue.

The phase-out plan was likely intended to curry favor with the numerous House Republicans who have yet to weigh in on the credit. But a number of GOP lawmakers have called for an immediate end to the credit.

Those lawmakers rejected AWEA’s olive branch, saying the federal government cannot afford an extension or phaseout given the deficit situation.

“I think they’ve called this a ‘phase-out’ because billions more dollars will be phased out of taxpayers’ pocketbooks over the next decade so wind developers can produce puny amounts of electricity and give it away for free while collecting a generous tax credit. It is long past time to end this subsidy,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in a Thursday statement.

And Corry Schiermeyer, spokeswoman with House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), said the Kentucky congressman believes the credit “is simply a cost we cannot afford.”

Upton, Stearns press EPA's Jackson on email accounts ...

House GOP energy leaders sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday asking for more information on her alleged use of a separate internal email account.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) sent the letter.

They said press reports indicated Jackson might have used an email account under the alias “Richard Windsor” to conduct official government business.

The lawmakers want to know whether such internal email accounts and aliases exist, and how they are used.

... and do the same to Chu — but for federal loan guarantees

In a separate letter Thursday, Upton and Stearns asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu for an update on the financial condition of the department’s federal stimulus loan guarantees.

The lawmakers initially asked for such information following the September 2011 bankruptcy of solar panel maker Solyndra. The California firm had received a $535 million federal loan guarantee through the program in question.

“Since the October 6, 2011, letter, Beacon Power and Abound Solar declared bankruptcy, making them the second and third recipients of a Section 1705 loan guarantee to do so. Recent reports have indicated that several other recipients remain in unstable financial condition,” the letter said.


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