Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Exxon, Chevron join climate group | EPA looks to rescind rule for refrigerants | Regulators detail exemptions for ethanol rule

BIG U.S. OIL COMPANIES JOIN CLIMATE INITIATIVE: Three of the United States's largest oil and natural gas companies are joining a major fossil fuel-backed international coalition to battle climate change.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. all announced that they're joining the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) Thursday, in the lead-up to the major Climate Week event in New York City next week, where the group will have a meeting.

The group was launched in 2014. Initially, United States-based companies avoided the initiative, and it was dominated by foreign companies like BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell.

"It will take the collective efforts of many in the energy industry and society to develop scalable, affordable solutions that will be needed to address the risks of climate change," Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon Mobil, said in a statement.

"Our mission is to supply energy for modern life and improve living standards around the world while minimizing impacts on the environment. This dual challenge is one of the most important issues facing society and our company."

Chevron CEO Michael Wirth said the company wants "to work constructively on addressing the risks of climate change."

Read more.

 

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EPA TO REPEAL REFRIGERANT RULE: The Trump administration is planning to do away with an Obama-era regulation that restricted a known greenhouse gas from being used as a refrigerant in household appliances.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) late Wednesday announced it's proposing a rule to rescind a 2016 regulation that would have phased out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in appliances. The chemical is frequently used as a refrigerant substitute in air conditioners and refrigerators.

EPA said the new rule is based off the agency's own determination that the previous rule "exceeded its statutory authority" by extending a refrigerant management requirement meant for ozone depleting substitutes to the gas, which in itself does not contribute to ozone depletion.

The agency added that the new rule does not affect current requirements for other ozone-depleting refrigerants.

Taken to task over the legality of the Obama regulation by two refrigerant manufacturing companies, the Trump administration defended the rule but lost in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in August 2017.

Environmentalist groups, among other organizations, appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court, but the Trump administration announced last month that the appeal was unnecessary as it planned to change the regulation and asked the court to not take up the case.

Read more.

 

EPA SHARES MORE FUEL STANDARD DATA: The EPA is publishing more data on how it implements the federal mandate to blend ethanol into gasoline.

The new data portal on the EPA's website is meant, in part, to allay complaints from the ethanol industry that the agency has been too opaque about how many small refineries are getting exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In addition to data about refinery exemptions, the portal also includes the average weekly trading prices of renewable identification numbers -- the tradable credits fuel refiners use to demonstrate compliance with the mandate -- and the weekly volume of the trades.

"For the first time, EPA is providing new information to the public on small refinery exemptions and RIN trading," acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

"Increasing transparency will improve implementation of the RFS and provide stakeholders and the regulated community the certainty and clarity they need to make important business and compliance decisions."

Read more.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Duke Energy confirmed that another North Carolina coal ash pond has spilled, the News & Observer reports.

Lawmakers from New York and Connecticut are joining with environmentalists to fight a federal plan to sell Plum Island in Long Island Sound, the Norwich Bulletin reports.

A new paper says engineers should consider building walls on the ocean floor to stop undersea glaciers from moving, The Guardian reports.

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION SECTION: Brenda Shaffer of Georgetown University's Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies predicts that world oil prices will increase due to factors like war and sanctions.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories ...

- EPA publishes more ethanol mandate data

- EPA to abandon restrictions against chemical linked to climate change

- PETA releases Halloween costume of Trump Jr. with bloody leopard trophy

- Exxon Mobil, Chevron join climate initiative

- Industry wins big in methane rules rollback

 

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