Overnight Energy — Presented by the American Forest & Paper Association — EPA eases emissions reporting for farmers
EPA SIGNS OFF ON RULE EXEMPTING FARMERS FROM EMISSIONS REPORTING: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that it is implementing recently passed legislation that exempts farmers from having to report emissions derived from animal waste and other pollutants.
The final rule, signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Monday, codifies the most recent version of the FARM Act, which exempted many farmers from reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste.
Signed into law in March, the act made changes to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which critics said went too far by regulating emissions from farms much like it regulated Superfund sites.
Lawmakers added the provision to the FARM ACT after a Supreme Court decision in 2008 that struck down an EPA rule that tried to exempt farmers from the same reporting requirements.
Read more here.
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FOUR ENERGY NOMINEES ADVANCE: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Tuesday to advance four nominees for senior Department of Energy positions, sending them to the full Senate for consideration.
The panel approved Teri Donaldson to be DOE’s inspector general; Karen Evans to lead its now cybersecurity office; Christopher Fall to head the science office; and Daniel Simmons to head the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The first three nominees passed with a voice vote, but Democrats asked for a recorded vote on Simmons.
Simmons was previously vice president at the Institute for Energy Research, a conservative think tank. He and the group fought policies meant to help renewable energy and efficiency and sought to boost fossil fuels.
Simmons got “yes” votes from all of the panel’s Republicans and Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
DOE FAST TRACKS ‘SMALL-SCALE’ GAS EXPORTS: The Trump administration is expediting the approval process for projects that are meant to export small amounts of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG).
In a final regulation released to the public Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) said it will automatically approve gas export applications if they would be at or below 51.75 billion cubic feet of exports per year and do not rise to the level of requiring an environmental review.
“DOE has determined that small-scale natural gas exports are consistent with the public interest,” the agency said in its regulation, citing the Natural Gas Act’s requirement that exports can only be approved if they are in the United States’ public interest.
“In sum, DOE has thoroughly analyzed the many factors affecting the export of U.S. natural gas, as well as the unique characteristics and minimal adverse impacts of the emerging small scale natural gas market,” the department said, concluding that the public interest standard has been met.
The regulation is due to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, starting a 30-day clock before it takes effect.
Read more here.
WHEELER APPROVES NEW BIOFUELS FROM SORGHUM OIL: EPA acting head Andrew Wheeler approved a new set of biofuels made from sorghum oil to be eligible for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credits.
At an EPA headquarters event with lawmakers from sorghum-heavy states and industry representatives, Wheeler signed a final regulation to approve new RFS “pathways” using sorghum oil, a byproduct of producing ethanol from the grain.
“This action sets the stage for more homegrown fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard and adds diversity to our nation’s biofuels mix,” Wheeler said in a statement.
Producers will now be able to make biodiesel, heating oil, jet fuel and liquefied petroleum gas from sorghum and get credits as biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels.
Ethanol made from corn or soy is the dominant biofuel produced under the RFS.
ON TAP WEDNESDAY:
The House Natural Resources Committee’s subcommittee on energy and mineral resources will hold a hearing on management of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
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OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery
Three bison calves were born in Canada’s Banff National Park this month, the first bison babies born there in 140 years, the Canadian Press reports.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out Tuesday’s stories …
-EPA signs off on rule exempting farmers from reporting emissions
-Trump to end policy ordering developers pay for damage to public lands
-Lawmakers clash over future of coal
-Railroad company settles for $2.2 million over fiery derailment and oil spill
-Energy Department clears ‘small-scale‘ natural gas exports for fast approval
-GOP scrambles to reform Endangered Species Act before midterms
-House GOP chairman introduces draft of infrastructure plan