Week ahead: Climate rule gets its day in court

The Obama administration will go to court next week to defend its signature climate change regulation.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon limits for existing power plants, which were proposed last June, will be the subject of oral arguments Thursday at the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Murray Energy Corp. is suing to stop the rule before it is even made final, arguing that the Clean Air Act expressly prohibits such a regulation.

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Thirteen states are also bringing their own lawsuit, challenging a court settlement the EPA entered that the states, led by West Virginia, say underpins the regulation.

Though it is highly unusual for a court to overturn a regulation before it is made final, the case nonetheless is an opportunity for the rule to be derailed before it takes effect.

House lawmakers will also focus on challenging the carbon limits, which aim to reduce the power sector’s carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power subpanel will hold a Tuesday hearing on the Ratepayer Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.), the panel’s chairman.

The bill would allow any state governor to reject a compliance plan under the regulation if it would hurt electricity prices, reliability or for a variety of other reasons.

The subcommittee will hear from the EPA’s clean air chief, Janet McCabe, along with six stakeholder representatives who oppose or support the rule.

Tuesday will be a busy day for hearings.

Apart from the hearing on the EPA rule, a subpanel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will discuss ongoing rule-making concerning railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials.

A subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will discuss the crude oil export ban, and a subpanel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on its efforts to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Across Capitol Hill on Tuesday, a subpanel of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hear from the inspectors general of the EPA and the Interior Department.

On the spending front, the House Appropriations Committee’s subpanel with authority over the Energy Department and water programs will meet to vote on its bill to fund those programs for fiscal 2016.

In the Senate, a subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee will hear from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on that agency’s budget request.

Off Capitol Hill, the BlueGreen Alliance, which represents the intersection of labor and environmental advocacy, is hosting its Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference Monday.

Vice President Biden will receive an award at the event and speak, and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTreasury says more rental aid is reaching tenants, preventing evictions 11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Senate Democrats seeking information from SPACs, questioning 'misaligned incentives' MORE (D-Mass.) will deliver the keynote.

A coalition of water advocacy groups will host their National Water Policy Forum Monday through Wednesday, which will include a Monday speech by EPA head Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyEPA finalizes rule cutting use of potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration Interior announces expansion of hunting and fishing rights across 2.1 million acres Time to rethink Biden's anti-American energy policies MORE.

 

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