Energy & Environment

Week ahead: EPA heads into battle on climate rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is heading into a battle with the coal industry next week over its landmark climate regulations.
The agency will hold eight daylong hearings at four locations across the U.S. to take comments about the proposed standards, which would limit emissions from power plants.
{mosads}More than 300,000 comments already have been submitted to the EPA since it unveiled its proposal on June 2. It expects to hear from about 1,600 people during the hearings in Washington, Atlanta, Denver, and Pittsburgh.
Interest groups on both sides of the issue are holding public events that touch on the EPA’s actions.
The Natural Resources Defense Council will hold a roundtable discussion on Monday to discuss the “trench warfare” in Congress on climate, water and air pollution. The group also plans to announce an update on its political action heading into the midterm elections.
The Heritage Foundation, which opposes the rules, hosts a discussion Monday on “extremism at the EPA.” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) will speak at the event.
On Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on power will hold a hearing on the carbon pollution rules. Commissioners from the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission are expected to testify on the impact the new rules could have on the reliability of the nation’s electric grid.
Republicans and pro-coal Democrats have expressed concern the rules will shutter coal plants, leaving utilities grasping for alternative sources to provide consumers with electricity.
Separately on Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee will dive into the costs of inaction on climate change. The panel will hear testimony from Alfredo Gomez of the Government Accountability Office, and Sherri Goodman, a former deputy undersecretary of Defense on environmental security.
The Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on clean air and nuclear safety will hold a hearing Tuesday on the threats posed by climate change.
And acting chief for the EPA’s office of air and radiation Janet McCabe will speak at the Natural Gas Roundtable on Tuesday. She’ll discuss the agency’s carbon emissions standards for existing power plants and explain how the U.S. is reducing its carbon footprint while increasing the country’s gross domestic product.
On Wednesday, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the EPA’s carbon pollution rules. It’s titled “failure by design.”
The committee has not announced witnesses for the hearing, but Republicans are sure to tear apart the agency’s proposal while Democrats come to its defense.
It isn’t a fight over the future of coal until Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chimes in.
On Wednesday, McConnell will be joined by Kelly for a news conference on the ramifications of the EPA’s power plant rule.
In other energy and environment news, the House Rules Committee on Monday will meet on Republicans’ endangered species transparency bill, which seeks to stop the federal government from placing designations on animals they say don’t need protection.
On Tuesday, a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee will consider revisiting the Restore Act, which helps respond to challenges in the cleanup and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The House Natural Resources Committee will consider bills on renewable energy projects on public lands and geothermal production on Tuesday, while the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will discuss ways to streamline energy production permits on federal lands at the Bureau of Land Management.
Off Capitol Hill, White House adviser on preparedness and resilience Alice Hill and Navy Rear Adm. Jonathan White will participate on Tuesday in a discussion hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center on national security and climate change.
On Thursday, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a renewable energy and energy efficiency forum.  Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Capt. James Goudreau will participate, along with Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).
Wrapping up the week on Thursday, the Center for Global Development will host a talk on taxing fossil fuels to make up for health and environmental costs. Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde will participate.

Tags Dave Reichert Mitch McConnell

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