Clean Air Act Digest, 9.27.13
The Senate today (Friday, September 27) passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the federal government operating past the end of the fiscal year on Monday, September 30. Since the Senate made changes to the bill as passed by the House—most notably, the majority voted to strip out a provision defunding “Obamacare”—the amended bill now must return to the House for another vote. If the House does not pass it in its current form, and Speaker Boehner has indicated that is unlikely, a government shut-down is highly likely.
With the federal government now predicted to reach the limit for federal borrowing on October 17, the House Republican leadership drafted a bill that would tie an increase in the debt ceiling while tying it to a long list of legislative proposals favored by most Republicans. The proposals include several related to the Clean Air Act: a measure to block carbon pollution standards, and several so-called “regulatory reform” proposals that would stymie federal standards to prevent air pollution and protect public health. As of press time, with the most extreme members of the House Republican caucus not yet satisfied, the Republican leadership had not secured enough votes to pass this bill, and the bill text had not been released to the public.
The bipartisan Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill (S. 1392) is still on hold—after being set aside due to the proposal of a number of highly controversial amendments. It is unclear when or if the bill will return to the floor, as Senators have now turned their attention to the Continuing Resolution to enact a stopgap spending bill by the end of the month.
On September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a revised proposal for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants (see Administration section below for more details). While many Democratic members of the House and Senate have published reactions in support of the newly proposed standards, Republican and several Democratic members from coal producing states have reacted strongly in opposition. Rep. McKinley (R-WV) already has 38 supporters (37 Republicans and 1 Democrat) of H.J.RES.64, introduced on September 25, which would disapprove the re-proposed standards for new power plants. Rep. Rahall (D-WV), one of the cosponsors of McKinley’s resolution, is also a cosponsor of H.R.2127 which would not allow the EPA to finalize any rules to cap carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired power plants until CCS technologies are more readily available. Rep. Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of the House Energy and Power subcommittee, also plans to introduce legislation to block the EPA’s new power plants standards. In the Senate, minority leader McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Saving Coal Jobs Act (S. 1514), which would prevent EPA from issuing carbon pollution standards for power plants, among other provisions.
On September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a revised proposal for standards to limit dangerous carbon pollution from new power plants. This was the first big step to implement President Obama’s ambitious Climate Action Plan, announced in June. Under this new proposal, new plants will have to limit their carbon pollution to virtually the same levels as EPA originally proposed in 2012. For large new combined-cycle gas plants–the predominant type being built–the standard will be 1000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generation (lbs/MWh). Smaller combined-cycle gas plants will be allowed 1100 lbs/MWh. And new coal plants will also be limited to 1100 lbs/MWh, a level that can be met with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Right now there is no limit on how much carbon power plants can pump into our atmosphere; therefore, the standards proposed last week are an important step in regulating dangerous carbon pollution from new power plants. See USCAN’s Carbon Pollution Standards webpage for selected reactions and related resources. Show your support by submitting a public comment to the EPA on the newly proposed standards for new power plants (see Action Alerts section below).
Add your Voice: Demand Limits on Carbon Pollution from New Power Plants
Last week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised proposal to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants. This is an important step in protecting American families from harmful, unregulated carbon pollution and protecting the future of our planet.
Join the 3.2 million voices that have already urged the EPA to support a limit on carbon pollution!
Demand Limits to Carbon Pollution, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Alert
Fight Back Against Climate-Destroying Carbon Pollution, Sierra Club Action Alert
Stand Up to Big Polluters: Support the EPA’s Action on Climate Change, League of Conservation Voters Action Alert
The 6th Climate Action Report (CAR6), US Department of State Report, 9.26.13
The 6th Climate Action Report (CAR6) Fact Sheet, US Department of State Fact Sheet, 9.26.13
Environmental Community Opposes Damaging Environmental Riders to Debt Bill Sign-on Letter, Community Sign-on Letter, 9.26.13
House Debt Ceiling Plan Polluted with Special Interest Favors, National Wildlife Federation Press Release, 9.25.13
A Slow-Motion Disaster: One Community’s Fight to Save Itself from Climate Change, Climate Progress Article, 9.25.13
Republicans to EPA: Pay for Climate Rules or Don’t Do Them, The Hill Blog, 9.24.13
Cutting Carbon Emissions Could Save 3 Million Lives Per Year by 2100, Study Finds, Climate Progress Article, 9.23.13
Managing the Climate Risk, World Wildlife Fund Blog, 9.23.13
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:
Clean Air Act Digest is a publication put together by US Climate Action Network and Natural Resources Defense Council. Please contact Lara Levison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Click here for past issues.