Overnight Energy & Environment — Challenge to Biden’s Keystone move dismissed
Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
Today we’re looking at the dismissal of a suit challenging Biden’s Keystone XL revocation, the first substance the EPA has added to its hazardous air pollutant list since Congress created the list 30 years ago and New York’s governor backing a natural gas ban.
For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.
Let’s jump in.
Judge dismisses suit over Keystone
A federal judge in Texas dismissed a challenge to Biden’s decision to revoke a key permit for the Keystone XL pipeline — saying that the case is moot since the project has already been canceled.
Judge Jeffrey Brown cited a brief from pipeline owner TC Energy confirming that it was working to remove the pipeline’s border crossing segment.
“The court takes TC Energy at its word that Keystone XL is dead. And because it is dead, any ruling this court makes on whether President Biden had the authority to revoke the permit would be advisory,” wrote Brown, a Trump appointee.
“Thus, the court has no jurisdiction and the case must be dismissed as moot,” he added.
On his first day in office, President Biden revoked a border crossing permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The move spurred cheers from environmentalists, who had long despised the project that was slated to bring carbon-intensive tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S.
But Biden’s move was criticized by numerous Republicans, who argued that it was an attack on fossil fuels.
EPA adds air pollutant to hazards list
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding a new pollutant to a list of those it has deemed unsafe to breathe.
It added a chemical called 1-bromopropane (1-BP), normally used in dry cleaning, stain removers, adhesives and cleaners, to its list of hazardous air pollutants.
The listing, which was announced in a Wednesday Federal Register notice, represents the first time the agency added a substance to the list since it was created by Congress in 1990.
The move is expected to require industry to adhere to rules that regulate emissions of other hazardous air pollutants, sometimes called HAPs.
Some background info: In 2020, the EPA found that 1-BP presented “unreasonable” risks for consumers, bystanders and workers for most consumer and commercial uses of the substance.
It cited developmental issues from short-term exposure and both developmental issues and cancer from long-term exposure.
Environmental groups, which sued the EPA to get it to add 1-BP to the list, say the addition of the chemical will help protect communities, while industry has argued that it isn’t necessary.
HOCHUL BACKS NEW BUILDING GAS BAN
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) called for an end to the use of natural gas in new buildings in a policy blueprint released Wednesday ahead of her State of the State address.
In the blueprint, Hochul’s office outlined a plan to require zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions from new construction by 2027. The plan would also require energy benchmarking, or analyzing whether buildings are using more or less energy than those of similar sizes and occupancy levels, for large buildings.
“To make real progress on climate change, it’s time to tackle major sources of pollution head-on, ensure greener housing is available to all New Yorkers, and pave the way toward a more sustainable future,” Hochul said in a statement. “This transformative investment in green infrastructure will cement New York’s status at the forefront of climate action and ensure equity in our transition to a cleaner, greener state.”
Some background info: Although New York City implemented a similar citywide requirement for new buildings in December, Hochul’s plan would mark the first statewide requirement if implemented. Such a plan would have to pass the state Assembly, but Hochul’s backing strengthens its chances in the Democratic-majority legislature.
And what else? The governor’s blueprint also sets a goal of 2 million electrified homes by the end of the decade, with at least 800,000 of those homes for low- and middle-income residents.
Read more about Hochul’s announcement here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Fossil fuel firms among biggest spenders on Google ads that look like search result (The Guardian)
- Toxic gas kills six in India after illegal chemical dump (Reuters)
- California judge rules against environmental review for 16,000-acre Guenoc Valley resort (The North Bay Business Journal)
- Climate advocates hopeful after Manchin spending comments
- Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in anti-fogging sprays and cloths
- Intense winter conditions forecasted for 83 million people across country
And finally, something off-topic but important: Check out our colleagues’ coverage of the anniversary of the 1/6 attack here and here and watch them talk about their experiences here.
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s energy & environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.
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