Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Clean Air Act Digest, 9.13.13

Clean Air Act Digest



On Wednesday, September 11, the Senate began debate on the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill (S. 1392). Senators Shaheen (D-NH) and Portman (R-OH) have put forward a bipartisan, consensus-based energy efficiency bill which the Obama Administration supports, as it will save consumers money and cut pollution. Thus far, only positive, bipartisan amendments have been debated on the floor, but some Senators are expected to offer anti-science, anti-health poison pill amendments, including one stating that the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest.  Multiple amendments to block or weaken EPA’s Clean Air Act authority to reduce carbon pollution are expected. Senators Donnelly (D-IN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) unveiled the first such amendment on Thursday; their amendment goes beyond carbon pollution to hamper standards for a number of other categories of air pollution, as well. Another proposed bad amendment, offered by Sen. Barasso (R-WY), opposes the use of the “Social Cost of Carbon” (SCC), a calculation that the Administration is using to estimate the monetary benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A number of groups have sent a letter opposing attacks on the “Social Cost of Carbon,” more appropriately called the “real cost of carbon.” Groups also sent a letter to the Senate urging support for a clean bill. See the Action Alert below to help advocate for a clean bill.

Note: S. 1392 was previously named S. 761


On September 18, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Representative Whitfield (R-KY), will hold a hearing to examine the President’s Climate Action Plan, unveiled on June 25. While the President’s plan does not call for approval from Congress, Rep. Whitfield and his colleagues in the majority are expected to use this hearing to attack pieces of the plan that they argue will harm the economy, including carbon emission standards for power plants. Thirteen federal agencies were asked by the Republican leadership of the committee to provide witnesses to testify at the hearing. At this point, only the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy have agreed to testify; the subcommittee has sent out follow-up letters requesting the remaining 11 agencies to send witnesses. Additional details will be posted here as they become available.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee majority is also working on legislation that would restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate coal-fired power plants. Republican leaders are not pushing for this bill to strip the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases, as this issue is expected to be up before the Supreme Court by the first week of October at the request of industry groups. Rep. Whitfield also noted that stepping back from the push to strip greenhouse gases from EPA’s regulatory powers under the Clean Air Act could potentially bring in more support from Democrats in the Senate. The committee plans to release the bill tackling regulations on coal-fired power plants before November (E&ENews PM, Sept. 10).


On September 20, the Administration is expected to release a revised proposal on reducing carbon pollution from new power plants.  This intention, along with a plan to move forward with reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants, was announced in a memorandum issued by President Obama on June 25, the same day he released his full Climate Action Plan. The proposal is expected to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with technology to capture greenhouse gases. After the new proposal is issued on September 20, there will be a public comment period that is expected to include one or two public hearings.


Urge your US Senators:  Keep Energy Efficiency Bill Clean

A good bipartisan bill (S. 1392) that would increase energy efficiency is making its way through the Senate.  Unfortunately, it has become a target for harmful amendments that would undermine clean energy and the President’s recently announced Climate Action Plan.

Ask your Senators to oppose amendments that would weaken the integrity of the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill!


Urge your Senator:  Protect the President’s Climate Plan, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Alert

Tell your Senators:  Keep Shaheen-Portman Clean!, Sierra Club Action Alert

This is Our Chance for a More Efficient America, Alliance to Save Energy Action Alert

Don’t Let a Good Bill Go Bad, League of Conservation Voters Action Alert

Take Action: Keep Energy Efficiency Clean, Environmental Defense Fund Action Alert

Note: S. 1392 was previously named S. 761


Hearing: “The Obama Administration’s Climate Change Policies and Activities”

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing to examine the administration’s current and proposed climate change activities, including the President’s Climate Action Plan. The hearing will take place on September 18, 2013 at 10 AM in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is open to the public.


Counting the Benefits of Cutting Carbon Pollution: Questions and Answers on the “Social Cost of Carbon”, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Fact Sheet, 9.11.13

America’s Dirtiest Power Plants: Their Oversized Contribution to Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, Environment America Report, 9.10.13

Study: Man-made Climate Change Helped Set Stage for Flooding, Heat and Other Wild 2012 Weather, Washington Post Article, 9.5.13

Dealing in Doubt: the Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science, Greenpeace USA Report, 9.13

Power Sector Opportunities for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions: North Carolina, World Resources Institute Fact Sheet, 9.13

New Materials Related to S. 1392:

Oppose – Any Amendment to Block or Undermine President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Environment America Fact Sheet, 9.13.13

Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Bill Held Up by Political Games, the Wilderness Society Blog, 9.12.13

UCS Shaheen-Portman Sec. 433 Amendment Opposition Letter, Union of Concerned Scientists Letter, 9.12.13

Oppose Anti-Climate Amendments to S. 1392: Derailing the President’s Plan to Protect the Next Generation Before it Gets Started isn’t Right and it isn’t Safe, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Fact Sheet, 9.11.13

Oppose – DOE Appliance Standards Exemption for Voluntary Industry Standards, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Fact Sheet, 9.11.13

Oppose the “Social Cost of Carbon” Amendment to S. 1392, Joint Sign-on Letter, 9.11.13

NWF Letter on S. 1392 – Energy Savings Industrial Competitiveness Act, National Wildlife Federation Letter, 9.11.13

Shaheen-Portman Hits Senate Floor, Alliance to Save Energy Blog, 9.11.13

Stakeholder Letter in Support of S. 1392, Alliance to Save Energy and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Letter, 9.11.13

Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013: A Bipartisan Energy Efficient Effort for Government, Industry, and Buildings, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Issue Brief, 9.13

Above is a sampling of the most recent resources related to upholding the Clean Air Act. Don’t forget USCAN has a series of pages that compile items like these and much more:

Congressional Attacks on the Clean Air Act

Industrial Carbon Pollution Standards

Standards for Power Plants and Other Major Emitters

Clean Vehicle Standards

Clean Air Act Digest is a publication put together by US Climate Action Network and Natural Resources Defense Council. Please contact Lara Levison at for more details. Click here for past issues.