By Timothy Cama and Laura Barron-Lopez - 04/29/14 06:54 PM EDT
EPA TRIUMPHS: The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a key pillar of the Obama administration’s regulations on power plant emissions.
In a 6-2 vote the court ruled in favor of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that allows for the regulation of power plant air pollution that crosses state borders.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a resounding victory for public health and a key component of EPA’s efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe," EPA chief Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyEPA aims to improve environmental protections for minorities Administration should finalize proposed changes to strengthen the Regional Haze Rule Global climate pact may bump into Senate roadblock MORE said on Tuesday.
White House adviser John Podesta touted the decision as a victory for the administration, which is working double time to implement key EPA rules central to President Obama's climate change legacy.
The ruling may embolden the administration to continue without hesitancy on its other rules which seek to limit carbon emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants.
Republicans vowed to keep the administration in check.
"The administration’s overreaching regulation will drive up energy costs and threaten jobs and electric reliability," Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said in a statement. "We cannot allow EPA’s aggressive regulatory expansion to go unchecked."
KEYSTONE VOTE: There is noise on Capitol Hill that when Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidFive takeaways from New Hampshire Senate debate Democrats pounce on Cruz's Supreme Court comments Senate Democratic super PAC sets fundraising record MORE (D-Nev.) tries to bring energy efficiency legislation to the Senate floor next week, an amendment on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will come with it.
Reid said on Tuesday that he is talking with Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuTrump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race Louisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator La. Senate contender books seven-figure ad buy MORE (D-La.) — a strong advocate for the pipeline — and Republicans about how a vote on Keystone would proceed.
Democrats who oppose the oil-sands pipeline expressed some concern that an amendment would derail the energy efficiency bill's chance for passage.
Republicans may also try to attach other amendments to the bill, including one to expedite liquified natural gas exports, and another that would block EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants.
ON TAP WEDNESDAY: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold its vote on a bill proposed by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) which seeks to speed up exports of natural gas to Ukraine and Eastern European countries.
Debate on the legislation began on Tuesday evening, but a vote by the committee will be held on Wednesday.
Rest of Wednesday’s agenda:
While Energy and Commerce is marking up the bill to expedite LNG export applications Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee’s subpanel with authority over energy will host a hearing about the issue of LNG exports and their effect on foreign policy. Two top Energy Department officials will testify, representing the fossil energy and energy diplomacy offices.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, Senators will hear testimony Wednesday about a bill to encourage American Indian tribes to develop energy resources on their land. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the bill’s sponsor, said it would “cut red tape and make it easier for Indian tribes to develop their own resources.” The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will first hear from a panel of federal government officials, followed by a panel of Indian tribe leaders.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) will hold a press conference Wednesday to unveil the Department of Defense Energy Security Act, which they say “will help the Defense Department achieve its energy and cost goals while speeding the development of life-saving military technologies.”
SCOTUS reaction: Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) blasted the Supreme Court ruling on the EPA cross-state air pollution rule Tuesday.
“This is a devastating ruling from our nation’s highest court that sets the precedent for federal bureaucrats to take great liberties in interpreting and implementing the Clean Air Act," Vitter said.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), on the other hand, applauded the decision.
"The Cross State Air Pollution Rule is a critical public health safeguard which reduces deadly air pollution that crosses state lines and threatens the health of the American people," Boxer said. "Today’s Supreme Court’s decision will enable EPA to protect public health by reducing air pollution from some of the dirtiest sources."
Keystone XL: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) poked at Senate Democrats that back approval of the pipeline.
“The Senate Democrats who say they support the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline should be demanding that Majority Leader Reid allow a binding vote during the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency debate or as a stand-alone vote," Thune said. "It’s easy to talk the talk, but it’s time for all members to walk the walk on the Keystone XL pipeline. We ought to have a vote that matters.”
AROUND THE WEB:
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) Tuesday signed an order asking a task force to recommend a market-based process to reduce carbon dioxide pollution and directing the state government to work with utilities to transition away from coal power, the Associated Press reports.
NRG Energy Inc. and MidAmerican Energy have completed construction of the Agua Caliente solar project in Arizona, the largest solar facility in the world, ReNews reports.
Oil giant BP said its first-quarter profit dropped 23.5 percent compared with a year prior, and blamed the lower earnings on falling production and asset sales, the New York Times reports.
Less than half of the $3.6 million donated after the West, Texas, chemical plant disaster has been given out a year after the incident, the Dallas Morning News reports.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out the energy and environment stories that ran in The Hill Tuesday:
- Waxman suggests 'scaling back' chemical reform bill
- Inhofe: EPA may have delayed carbon rule to help Dems in election
- Grassley: Canada is ‘smarter’ than US on energy
- Supporters optimistic about natural gas export bill
- GOP lashes out at EPA chief over 'secret science'