Weekly Climate Change Policy Update - March 1, 2010

Profession:Van Ness Feldman

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Article by Kyle Danish, Shelley Fidler, Kevin Gallagher, Megan Ceronsky and Tomás Carbonell


Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman floated a trial balloon this week, suggesting that they will be releasing draft legislation in March and that it will depart from the economy-wide cap-and-trade model in favor of an approach that uses different policy designs for different sectors . . . In an exchange of letters with Sen. Rockefeller and a group of other Senate Democratic moderates, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson outlined a new plan for delayed implementation of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program. It now looks as though Senator Rockefeller will seek to codify that plan, or a plan with further regulatory deferrals, in legislation. One question is whether this new framework will be sufficient to give wavering Senate Democrats a basis for voting against the Murkowski disapproval resolution . . . California and a group of other states sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid warning that passage of the Murkowski disapproval resolution would scuttle an agreement between the Obama Administration, automakers, and the states – the result would be a patchwork of state vehicle standards . . . State Department Climate Envoy Todd Stern said that the goal for Cancún is a binding international agreement.

Executive Branch

President Obama Discusses Climate Legislation With Business Roundtable. Addressing a gathering of approximately 100 business executives belonging to the Business Roundtable, President Barack Obama emphasized that climate change legislation would provide businesses with much-needed regulatory certainty and improve the competitiveness of the American economy. "The only certainty of the status quo," said the President, "is that the price and supply of oil will become increasingly volatile [and] that the use of fossil fuels will wreak havoc on weather patterns and air quality." The President also said that the Administration would work with the business community to help industries that face "significant potential transition costs" from the shift to clean energy sources. In addition, the President insisted that he would continue to pursue comprehensive legislation combining clean energy initiatives with regulation of GHG emissions, rather than separate bills. EPA Suggests Slower Implementation of PSD for GHGs. Responding to a letter from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and other centrist Democratic Senators, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson indicated for the first time that the agency would defer its deployment of new Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements under the Clean Air Act. The PSD program requires new and modified facilities to obtain preconstruction permits, and install "best available control technology," for all pollutants subject to Clean Air Act regulation – which will include greenhouse gases (GHGs) once EPA finalizes vehicle GHG emission standards in March of this year. Last September, EPA issued a proposed "tailoring rule" that would modify the emission thresholds that ordinarily trigger PSD and Title V requirements under the Clean Air Act. In the letter, Jackson stated that PSD requirements for GHGs would not take effect until...

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