OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA 2, challengers 0

EPA NOTCHES COURT VICTORIES: Two federal courts Tuesday took actions backing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate air pollution.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the agency's decision to not implement new nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide rules to prevent acid rain, beating back a green group’s claim that the agency is obligated to set the new standards.

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EPA considered a complex algorithm for pollution limits tailored to specific regions, but concluded that it didn’t have the science to prove that it would work.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, refused to take appeals from circuit courts in Oklahoma and North Dakota on haze limits set by EPA. The lower courts in those cases deferred to EPA’s calculations.

Such deference afforded to the EPA may be useful if other rules that President Obama has prioritized, like greenhouse gas limits for existing power plants due to be released next week, are challenged.

Read more here and here.


DATAPALOOZA: The Energy Department is hosting its 2014 Energy Datapalooza on Wednesday.

The event will focus on harnessing data to build a clean energy economy and combat climate change.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, White House science adviser John Holdren, and John Podesta, adviser to the president, will participate in the event.


CARBON REGS: On Wednesday, opponents and advocates will start to rally people to their cause ahead of the EPA's most forceful proposal under President Obama to act on climate change.

On Monday, the EPA is expected to unveil the nation's first carbon emissions limits for existing power plants, but not before industry and green groups have a say.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy will release a new report on Wednesday that assesses the impact of the coming carbon regulations.

Later on Wednesday, Earthjustice will host a call with a number of groups that support the coming EPA rule for existing power plants. The national leaders on the call will bolster their case for carbon pollution limits, and call the coming proposal the "most effective action to curb climate pollution in history."

President of the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, Mark Magana, and director of advocacy for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Stacy Martin, will participate in the discussion. 


NEWS BITES:

Keystone XL... The Associated Press reported Tuesday that federal safety regulators "quietly" added two new conditions to the Keystone XL pipeline’s construction, requiring third-party construction monitoring and a quality management program.

TransCanada shot back at the report. In a press release Tuesday, the Keystone XL pipeline developer said that the addition of two more conditions on the State Department's final environmental statement "was anything but 'quiet.'"

"All of the issues that TransCanada identified and voluntarily reported to PHMSA have been addressed. Every one of these weld defects was either repaired or cut out entirely.  After significant investigation following the Warning Letter, PHMSA determined that the project met all codes and special conditions and could proceed to operation," TransCanada said in a statement.

Still, green groups blasted TransCanada Tuesday for the two additional conditions needed for the pipeline, which has yet to be built. They considered the conditions another tally in the long list of reasons Keystone XL is not safe, or in the nation's best interest.


Nuclear... A report from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Inspector General (OIG) faulted DOE and its National Nuclear Security Administration for not properly heeding warnings that the cost of its plutonium-processing facility in South Carolina would increase drastically.

The Tuesday audit report called for new measures to rein in the costs of the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) facility and clamp down on management through the facility’s contractor, MOX Services.


AROUND THE WEB:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) refused to say whether he believes in man-made climate change, the Miami Herald reports.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is beginning the process to formally withdraw from a northeastern state cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions, the Star-Ledger reports.

European leaders didn't get too excited after Ukraine's successful presidential election due to the country's deeper energy problems with Russia, Bloomberg reports.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories...

- USDA launches water conservation program
- Group: $12.3B water bill 'opens door for privatization'
- Interior takes step toward resuming Arctic exploration
- Oil lobby warns ozone rule will hurt businesses
- Supreme Court won't review EPA haze cases
- SEC revives payment disclosure rule for oil, mining firms
- Court: Green group's acid rain suit 'ridiculous'
- 'Veep' star presses administration on seismic testing
- Top automakers reduce vehicle emissions
- China to scrap millions of older cars
- Ukraine, Russia near deal to avoid gas cutoff
- Greenpeace activists board Statoil rig
 
Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.