Weekly Climate Change Policy Update - March 22, 2010

Profession:Van Ness Feldman

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

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COMMENTARY March Madness arrives in Washington as Senators Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham invite environmentalists and businesses to the "dance" . . . The rough draft of the KGL entry in the climate bracket includes a 2012 utility cap with a 2016 industrial phase-in, energy intensive industry-friendly allowance allocation, incentives for coal, gas, and nuclear as well as consumers . . . Talk of the tournament: state preemption . . . GHGs in transportation to take the court "very soon" as the auto industry weighs in to oppose scuttling their GHG deal with Administration and states . . . And regulators announce intention for joint GHG plans for the auto industry post-2016 . . . States grab RGGI climate revenues to fill budget gaps.

Executive Branch

Plans for Post-2016 Vehicle GHG Standards to be Announced "Very Soon." Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the Obama Administration is outlining a plan for regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel economy for vehicles in model years 2017 and later, and would announce those plans "very soon." The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are expected to issue joint GHG and fuel economy regulations later this month that will cover vehicles in model years 2012 through 2016. Vilsack Tells Farmers Climate Bill Will Help Agriculture Community. Speaking to members of the National Farmers Union (NFU), Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that a "properly structured" federal climate change program would provide "enormous benefits to our agricultural economy" in the form of offset credits for biological sequestration activities. Vilsack said this conclusion was supported by recent analyses by the Department of Agriculture as well as the Department's own conservation efforts. In addition, Vilsack pledged that the Administration would work with Congress to ensure that pending climate change legislation will create significant income opportunities for farmers and ranchers. In contrast to the American Farm Bureau, the NFU offered tentative support for the Waxman-Markey climate change bill passed by the House last summer. Adaptation Task Force Releases Interim Report. An interagency task force studying the efforts of over 20 federal agencies to adapt to climate change released an interim report concluding that the government's response contains "significant gaps." The task force was convened pursuant to an executive order signed by President Obama last fall, and will submit its final recommendations to the President in October of this year. The report did commend EPA's efforts to assist water utilities and estuaries in preparing for climate change, and the Department of Transportation's study of the risks climate change poses to Gulf Coast infrastructure. The report also recommended that the Administration prepare...

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