Weekly Climate Change Policy Update - March 15, 2010

Profession:Van Ness Feldman

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


President Obama met with a bipartisan group of moderate Senators to survey their asks for climate change legislation . . . Senator Murkowski is mulling whether Senator Rockefeller's bill delaying EPA regulation of stationary sources under the Clean Air Act by two years is sufficient for her to set aside her disapproval resolution (which would remove EPA's regulatory authority under the Clean Air Act altogether). The Chamber of Commerce and twenty governors want her to stick to her guns . . . But who needs the Clean Air Act if you have the Clean Water Act? In a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity, EPA agreed to take certain actions to address the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on ocean acidification . . . China and India formally endorsed the Copenhagen Accord . . . Will there be a split in the circuits on tort lawsuits based on climate change? The Fifth Circuit has decided to rehear the Comer decision, but the Second Circuit has decided to put its pen down on the Connecticut v. AEP decision.

Executive Branch

Obama Meets With 14 Key Senators on Climate Change Legislation. President Barack Obama convened a bipartisan group of 14 key Senators at the White House to discuss prospects for passing climate change and clean energy legislation this year. At the meeting, the President pledged to make concessions on oil and gas exploration and support for nuclear power in exchange for the Senators' support for a binding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cap. The group of Senators comprised seven Democrats, six Republicans, and one independent, including: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME); Jay Rockefeller (D-WV); Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Richard Lugar (D-IN); George LeMieux (R-FL); Joe Lieberman (I-CT); John Kerry (D-MA); Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Judd Gregg (R-NH); and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Also present were the Administration's top energy and environmental officials, including Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson. OMB Clears Extensions of Reporting Rules, Begins Review of Vehicle GHG Standards. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which assesses major regulations proposed by EPA and other federal agencies, has completed its review of three proposed additions to EPA's rule requiring mandatory monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions across the economy. The three source categories that would be newly subject to the reporting rule include fugitive and vented emissions from oil and gas facilities; geologic sequestration sites; and sources of fluorinated GHGs. OMB's completion of its review suggests that the proposed rule will be released shortly. In a separate but related development, OMB has also begun its review of the final version of EPA's first-ever tailpipe GHG standards for passenger cars and light duty trucks, which are expected to be promulgated by the end of the month. These standards, proposed in a joint rulemaking with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in September 2009, would fulfill an agreement negotiated last spring between the Obama Administration, the major automakers, and the State of California. Ex-Im Bank Issues New Climate Change Strategy. The government's official export credit agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), finalized a sweeping new climate change policy at its annual meeting last week. The policy includes a loan guarantee program for renewable energy projects, which is expected to support $250 million in financing each year; a due diligence process for highly carbon-intensive projects, including a requirement that projects generating between 700 and 850 lbs CO2 per MW adopt "best appropriate technology"...

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