Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House indicates ethanol mandate could go up

GOT BIOFUELS? If so, White House adviser John Podesta’s meeting with Senate Democrats on Thursday may have brought good news.

Podesta met with a group of Senate Dems to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable fuel mandate for the amount of biofuels that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

{mosads}Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who helped organize the meeting, said Podesta left the senators feeling confident that the administration planned to increase the blending volumes in its final rule. The EPA cut the amount of biofuels that refiners would need to mix into their fuels, marking the first time the agency lowered the target.

“I believe the numbers will be bigger and that’s based not only on conversations with [Podesta] but my conversations with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy,” Franken said. “He certainly led us to believe there will be higher numbers in each piece of it than was in the preliminary [Renewable Fuel Standard].”

Franken also said his one-on-one conversations with President Obama about the fuel mandate have helped ease his mind as well.

Franken said he requested the meeting with Podesta because it was clear the adviser is “definitely a part of the decision making process on the [fuel mandate.]”

That may mean Podesta’s signal — that the levels of ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels will be increased in the EPA’s final rule — is as good as gold. If so, the EPA will have an infuriated oil industry on its hands. 

Read more here.

NEW YORK CLIMATE SUMMIT: The United Nations summit on climate change in New York is coming up Sept. 23, and it can add a new high-profile name to it’s guest list — President Obama.

The White House confirmed Thursday that Obama will attend the event where global leaders will be able to share the actions they have taken in their countries to mitigate climate change. The summit is meant to encourage countries to establish climate agendas heading into next year’s talks in Paris.

The UN will work with nearly 120 countries at the Paris talks to sign a global climate pact.

ON TAP FRIDAY: The Environmental and Energy Study Initiative will host a Capitol Hill briefing on climate resiliency in the Northeast. The event will feature experts on climate resiliency and representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and New York City’s government.


The Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy shot back Thursday against criticism from the League of Conservation Voters about its analysis of the EPA’s power plant carbon rule. The analysis was based on assumptions that turned out not to be true.

“The Chamber’s study on the impact of EPA power plant regulations was based on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s analysis and President Obama’s publically stated climate goals, as we clearly noted when it was released,” Matt Letourneau, a spokesman for the Chamber, said in a statement.

“We understand that it is difficult to defend one of the most complicated, expensive and costly rules in American history, but taking our study out of context and using over the top rhetoric to attack the Chamber is  both ‘desperate and dangerous,’ ” he said, mocking a phrase from the green group’s ad.


Reporters for the Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News tried for months to get an interview with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Janet McCabe, to no avail.

A new study is challenging the popular notion that Antarctic sea ice has expanded in recent decades, saying there may be an error in how satellite data are converted, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Religious and business groups are joining opposition to a Utah utility’s plan to charge fees to customers who use rooftop solar panels, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.



Check out Thursday’s stories…

– Report: Nuclear industry’s safety measures are ‘inadequate
– Rep. Gardner: Support for gas export bill came from states without fracking
– Greens launch ad campaign to back EPA climate rule
– Ethanol mandate: Going up?
– Foxx defends oil train regs from environmental, industry critics
– EPA climate rule economically feasible, study says
– White House gets new energy, climate spokesman
– Energy nominee highlights nuclear weapons experience
– Podesta to meet with Senate Dems on biodiesel mandate
– McConnell calls for amendments to outsourcing bill
– Europe clears Germany renewable energy law
– Obama to attend UN climate summit in NY


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

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill @lbarronlopez @Timothy_Cama

Tags Al Franken Biofuels Climate change Environment Protection Agency Ethanol John Podesta United Nations

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