Weekly Climate Change Policy Update - March 29, 2010

Profession:Van Ness Feldman

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


Extraordinary activity on the climate front last week while most were focused on basketball brackets, health care, and taking the temperature of voters . . . Plans for release this week of long awaited EPA rules along with expansion of EPA interest to natural gas, sequestration and fluorinated gases . . . Senators weigh in (in print) on considering climate legislation this year and on what they want to see in the Kerry/Graham/Lieberman (KGL) proposal . . . Coalition requests KGL consider deforestation . . . Others ask Cantwell/Collins to include offsets to encourage less costly GHG reductions.

Executive Branch

White House Officials Meet With Senate Leadership to Plan for Climate Bill. Carol Browner, Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, and Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Democratic committee chairmen to discuss plans for passing a climate change bill in the Senate this year. According to the trade press, the White House officials promised to cooperate with the committee chairmen once text of the bill being developed by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is available. EPA Proposes Expansion of Reporting Rule to New Industry Sectors. Building on the mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rule it finalized last December, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to require reporting of GHG emissions from three additional source categories: fugitive and vented GHG emissions from oil and natural gas systems; GHG emissions from underground carbon dioxide injection and geologic sequestration facilities; and emissions of fluorinated GHGs from electronics manufacturing and other facilities. In a departure from an earlier version of the rule for oil and gas systems (proposed last year but never finalized), EPA proposed to require reporting of emissions from onshore natural gas production facilities (including wells and gathering pipelines), as well as local natural gas distribution companies. EPA also proposed to expand the geographic scope of the rule to include facilities on or under the Outer Continental Shelf and in U.S. territorial waters. The rules are expected to be finalized by September of this year; a sixty-day public comment period will commence once the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register. The rules are available at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/proposedrule.html . EPA Clarifies Timing of GHG Rulemakings. EPA provided further details on the timing of three imminent Clean Air Act rulemakings on GHGs. The agency said it expects to complete work on its reconsideration of the "Johnson Memorandum" – which will determine when GHGs are "subject to regulation" for purposes of the Clean Air Act's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V programs – by April 1. In a recent letter to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson suggested that the Agency might delay the effectiveness of the PSD and Title V requirements for GHGs until 2011; that decision may be announced in the reconsideration of the Johnson Memorandum....

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