OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Clock ticks on coal rule

CLIMATE AGENDA: There are only two weeks left before the Obama administration reaches its self-imposed deadline to unveil the proposed carbon emissions rule for existing coal-fired power plants.

A letter sent to Obama Wednesday by seven Senate Democrats, urging he reconsider the already proposed carbon limits on new coal plants, may be a clear indication of how opponents will react to the coming rule set to be proposed in early June.

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The rule for existing coal plants is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the utility sector by 25 percent, and will allow states to use existing carbon-cutting systems to reach the mandated goals, according to sources, the Washington Post and Reuters report.

The White House and EPA wouldn't speculate on the contents of the rule before its proposal, which EPA chief Gina McCarthy said Obama has "indicated his intent" to announce personally in June.

Still, if pro-energy Senate Democrats, and Republicans, aren't happy with the rule for new power plants, they definitely won't be please with the one for existing plants, which is a far more contentious regulation. Read more here.

FOR THE LOVE OF NEW MEXICO: President Obama formally created a new national monument at the Organ Mountains in New Mexico Wednesday, enraging Republicans.

Obama declared the area “a spectacular site” that includes massive mountain peaks, a wide array of flora and fauna and some significant historical sites.

But Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said Obama’s designation could harm border security by hampering the operations of officers who patrol the border with Mexico in that area. The GOP has filed the designation away in its “imperial presidency” folder. Read more here.

ON TAP THURSDAY: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will deliver remarks at a Detroit pre-college engineering event on energy efficiency LED streetlights that will be installed throughout the city.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The Environmental Law Institute will hold a seminar Thursday about the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States rule, which the agency proposed in April in an attempt to clarify its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The event will feature attorneys and officials from the EPA and the Army Corps, which together administer the Clean Water Act.

Rest of Thursday's agenda...

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a Capitol Hill briefing Thursday about the current and forecast impacts from climate change on the Southeast region. Officials from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration will speak.

Later in the day, the American Petroleum Institute will host a call about recent studies on the properties of Bakken crude oil and efforts to make the shipment of crude-by-rail safer.

NEWS BITES:

The First Walker...  In a move that seemed to surprise the White House press pool, President Obama walked the two or so blocks from the White House to the Interior Department for the Organ Mountains designation ceremony.

He took his time along the way and stopped to talk with tourists and wish an Israeli man happy birthday, according to the pool report, which declared him the “First Walker.”

Obama opened the ceremony by saying, “As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I thought I’d drop by to see what all the fuss was about.”

Climate rally... Senate and House Democrats threw a climate rally on Wednesday evening to add to the year's events surrounding action on climate change.

"The first thing we must do is stop the denial," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) "Second, we must stop attacking President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which is critical."

AROUND THE WEB:

Santa Cruz County has become the first county in California to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, Reuters reports.

Experts on all sides of the debate are questioning whether there’s any use beyond symbolism in divesting from coal investments, as Stanford University recently did, SNL Financial reports.

In a hearing today, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) said that the idea of new regulations on oil and gas operations in wildlife refuges is a “hare-brained idea,” the Huffington Post reports.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

- Senate passes bill aiding transport of home heating rules
- Senate Dems to Obama: Reconsider coal rules
- Obama creates national monument in N.M.
- Hatch: Environmental movement has 'stupidest people'
- Russia-China gas deal shows need for US nat gas exports, supporters say
- BP to appeal spill settlement case to Supreme Court
- Coal script flipped on McConnell
- Moniz: Energy efficiency bill failure reinforces need for presidential action
- GM touts 400th electric car charging station
- Ex-Bush official Ridge: Climate change poses 'a security challenge'
- CNN chief: People don't watch climate coverage
- China throws Russia lifeline with $400 billion natural gas deal
- Oil lobby, unions team up on Keystone push
- Officials cut Calif.'s Monterey Shale oil estimate 96%

 

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.

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