OVERNIGHT REGULATION: Big Oil warns of fuel standard flip-flop

Another Wednesday is in the books, and with it a full day of federal regulation and news from Washington. You’ll find all the most important headlines, analysis – and a preview of tomorrow’s biggest storylines – here in The Hill’s OVERNIGHT REGULATION. Click here to sign up for the newsletter: http://bit.ly/1pc6tau

 

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Industry thought leaders and federal policy makers will gather at The Hill's Sept. 16 Aviation Policy Summit, sponsored by Airlines for America, to debate the policies and regulations shaping the future of flight. Featured keynotes: Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. Register here.

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THE BIG STORY

Tensions are growing as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to levy a new renewable fuel standard. http://j.mp/1tLkL3h

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The EPA has dropped hints of late that it will raise the amount of ethanol that must be mixed in with gasoline and diesel fuels, after initially proposing to lower the standard.

This has the oil industry ramping up pressure on the Obama administration over what it says would be a monumental flip-flop by the EPA. Industry groups say too much ethanol can harm car engines.

--Here's what you need to know:

1) The American Petroleum Institute is accusing the Obama administration of caving to political pressure. The industry group suggests the EPA is raising the standard merely to help Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) in his campaign to fill retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) seat. Iowa is a big farming state that grows much of the corn used to create ethanol. RFS is a big issue for voters there, and raising the standard could boost Braley.

2) Braley wrote to the Obama administration last month, requesting that it reject any attempt by the EPA to lower the ethanol mandate, which he says has created 75,000 jobs in Iowa. 

"I urge you to reject any rule that cuts biofuels, recognizing that this would be detrimental to our nation's energy supply and consumer choice at the pump," Braley wrote. http://j.mp/1qMad00

3) All of this follows an EPA proposal last November to lower the RFS standard for ethanol to 13 billion gallons from 14.4 billion gallons in the original rule. But API is expecting a reversal when the new standard is released.


ON TAP FOR THURSDAY:

Congress is in session, and lawmakers on Thursday will mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, while responding to President Obama’s Wednesday night speech laying out his strategy to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

On the heels of his speech, Obama will deliver remarks at a private ceremony for loved ones of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks at the 9/11 memorial outside the Pentagon.

The National Association of Federal Credit Unions continues its three-day Congressional Caucus. Highlights from Thursday’s speaker lineup include: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and Jason Furman, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers

Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) will hold a briefing in support of a bill that could expedite Food and Drug Administration approval of ingredients for sunscreens. The measure is meant to counter regulatory delays that have kept widely used products in other countries out of the United States.

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY:

The Obama administration will publish 180 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Thursday's edition of the Federal Register.

Here's what to watch:

—The Department of Energy (DOE) may issue new efficiency standards for yet another kitchen appliance. 

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says it is considering updating the efficiency standards for commercial pre-rinse spray valves, which haven't been updated since 2005. 

Commercial pre-rinse spray valves are often used by restaurants to rinse the food off of dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. But the new regulations would further limit the water these devices use.

The EPA says of the current standards: "If all commercial food service establishments in the U.S. installed and used a WaterSense labeled pre-rinse spray valve, we could save more than $225 million in water and energy costs across the country annually." http://j.mp/1lUdwTO

Meanwhile, the Energy Department will also take another look at efficiency standards for automatic commercial ice-makers.

The DOE proposed new rules for these ice-makers in March, but says new information has come to light about the potential economic impact that could result from additional energy savings for these devices. http://j.mp/1rIBdeG

—The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will delay a new rule for airport hangars that are used to store airplanes when they're not in service.

After learning that these hangars are often used to store other items, such as household goods, taking up space that airports could otherwise be using, the FAA proposed a rule in July that would prevent airlines from storing anything other than their airplanes in hangars.

But the FAA will extend the comment period through Oct. 6 to give industry more time to comment on the rule. http://j.mp/1BsUffY

—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may loosen requirements for states to monitor air pollution in their jurisdictions. The agency will propose rules that it says would simplify the process of monitoring ambient air quality. http://j.mp/1lUfWC4

—The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will issue new rules for returned mail that will affect companies and commercial businesses. The changes go into effect on Sept. 15. http://j.mp/1nM3XC7

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

THE COST OF DOING BIZ: A new study from the National Association of Manufacturers contends that the annual cost of federal rules has eclipsed $2 trillion. The NAM study prompted swift pushback from groups that defend stronger health and safety protections.http://j.mp/1qLEsnI

MORE MORTGAGE RULES COMING: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray previewed a set of forthcoming mortgage regulations Wednesday at the first day of the NAFCU conference. The latest in a series of rules for mortgage lenders, the next round centers on disclosure forms required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. http://j.mp/1qGyFl4

SPEAKING OF THE CFPB, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is calling on the agency to protect consumers from excessive overdraft fees at banks. http://j.mp/1qMbgwV

SAVE THE DATE: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has scheduled a September 17 vote on Obama’s nomination of Sharon Block for a slot on the National Labor Relations Board, committee staffers tell OVERNIGHT REGS. Block was among a trio of labor board members whose recess appointments were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this summer. Republicans oppose confirmation, but Dems are backing her and have the numbers on their side. http://j.mp/1wcxPiQ

E-CIG OVERREACTION? A group of London-based researchers is pushing back against global criticism of the burgeoning electronic cigarette industry, calling the attacks “misleading.” According to BBC News. http://j.mp/1smJrwR

ON TRACK: The freight rail lobby is arguing against new rules, claiming that the current regulatory framework is working just fine. http://j.mp/1wggyoY

RECORD BACKLASH: The Federal Communications Commission has received 1.47 million comments on its controversial plan for new net neutrality rules, breaking the record set by Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl. http://j.mp/1smPd1v

STATES REVOLT AGAINST CLIMATE RULE: Fifteen governors are arguing that the EPA is overstepping its authority with its proposal to impose new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. http://j.mp/1pQsVjh

BOAT SAFETY: The Coast Guard is floating new regulations requiring commercial sailboats to maintain enough lifejackets for every passenger on board. http://j.mp/1pQu0Y8

ICYMI: From The Hill’s list of 100 players to watch in Washington this fall, here are five officials who will help shape the regulatory landscape: http://j.mp/1wgfNfL

 

BY THE NUMBERS

37,022: The number of rules examined as part of the National Association of Manufacturers study on the cost of federal regulation.

$2.028 trillion: The total estimated price tag of federal red tape, according to the NAM report.

12: Percentage of the nation’s GDP reflected by the sum.

$19,564: The per-employee cost that the overall total represents for manufacturing businesses, according to the report.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Consumers will not be bamboozled by tricky tactics.” – Cordray on the aim of the looming mortgage disclosure regulations.

 

We’ll endeavor to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, via bgoad@thehill.com or tdevaney@thehill.com. And follow us at @ben_goad and @timdevaney.