One of President Trump’s early campaign promises was to dismantle the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the Obama administration’s regulation asserting federal power over navigable bodies of water and aiming to replace polluting coal-fired power plants with clean energy facilities. Now, thanks to a district court ruling in D.C., Trump may be one step closer to actualizing that promise. To learn more about this ruling and its impact, read on!

Continue Reading Federal Court Halts Lawsuit Consideration over Obama’s Clean Water Rule; Pruitt Recruits Governors to Shape New EPA Water Regulation

Last week, the White House unveiled its $1.65 trillion blueprint for the FY2018 federal budget, which prioritizes discretionary defense spending, with an increase of $54 billion to $603 billion, by reducing total non-defense discretionary funds to $462 billion. Among the agencies targeted for budget cuts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would see its annual funding drop by 24 percent from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion, and since much of that funding already goes to states and localities via grants, the reduction could have a significant impact on the agency’s primary functions. Along with direct funding cuts, the White House may reduce EPA staff by 20 percent, from about 15,000 to roughly 12,000. To learn more about which EPA programs could be cut and other effects the proposed budget could have on environmental and energy policy, read on!

Continue Reading White House’s Budget Blueprint Includes Significant Cuts to the EPA

Mintz Levin Strategies recently published its Washington Outlook for 2016, and it contained a variety of insights for the energy technology industry.  Some of the most important items to keep an eye on in the coming year include fallout from Congress’ omnibus appropriations and tax extenders agreements, TSCA reform, action on climate change following COP21, and EPA regulatory efforts.  Add to that an ongoing presidential election that will no doubt shape the political environment, and you have a recipe for an exciting year.  For a more detailed breakdown on what to expect in 2016, read on!

Continue Reading ML Strategies Releases its Comprehensive Washington Outlook for 2016

In Washington this week, the energy and climate front was packed with hearings, proposals, and negotiations in preparation for several happenings at the end of the year. Both chambers of Congress continue their talks on a full fiscal 2016 budget, with both tax extenders and lifting the 40 year old crude oil export ban on the negotiating table. Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power continued Congressional scrutiny of the Clean Power Plan in a hearing entitled “EPA’s CO2 Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants: Legal Perspectives.”

Meanwhile, the White House continues preparations for the U.N. Climate Summit. On October 19 the Obama Administration hosted 68 companies that signed on to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. At the Department of Energy, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy announced October 7 up to $30 million for the Single-pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Designs program to reduce heat-loss for improved building efficiency by developing innovative materials that are transparent and insulating to retrofit existing single-pane windows. For more D.C. highlights, read this week’s update from ML Strategies.

Tom Burton, Chair of Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice, will publish a weekly installment providing insight into the challenges and possible solutions that, if implemented, promise a bright future as clean energy moves America forward. In this series, Tom will include one challenge per week and the potential solution(s). This is the third installment of the series. Click to read Part I and Part II.

On August 3, the Obama Administration released the much anticipated final Clean Power Plan (CPP). The nation’s first ever standard to address power plan pollution has an ambitious overall goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. The plan’s third building block specifically calls for increasing generation from renewable energy sources. States are expected to develop and implement their own plans. They are to choose from either an emissions standards model, based on direct emissions requirements, or a state measures model, which employs a mix of measures, that incorporates the three building blocks.

States that do not file a plan with EPA by their September 2018 deadline will face a federally imposed model called the Federal Implementation Plan (FIP). The FIP the Administration currently proposes would realize similar emissions reductions through cap and trade. EPA would either assign an emissions cap or require states to meet a rate across their power plant fleet. Currently, EPA is accepting comments on the FIP and will decide on an approach next summer. It’s been characterized as both a guide path as states craft plans and also a warning for non-compliers.

The Clean Power Plan comes with some intimidating issues, but offers several attractive opportunities for states, businesses, and consumers.

Continue Reading Policy and Legal Implications of Implementing Renewable Energy at Scale: Getting the Most Out of The Clean Power Plan (Part 3 of 6)

The Obama Administration’s release of the final Clean Power Plan kicked off a busy second half of the year for climate and energy policy issues. As climate issues increasingly become an important part President Obama’s legacy, and as we march closer and closer to the end of the year international climate negotiations in Paris, read on for a list of the upcoming high level energy and climate events that are sure to transform the industry:

Continue Reading Energy and Climate Happenings – Overview for the Remainder of 2015

This week in Washington was filled with long awaited energy and climate developments. The Obama Administration revealed the final Clean Power Plan after a lengthy rulemaking and comment process. Congress was also active as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved its bipartisan broad energy package and the House moved on its own broad legislation. Read more on these and other pieces of energy and climate news from ML Strategies.

In the final full week before the July 4 recess, energy policy is taking center stage in both the legislative and executive branches. The Senate continues to piece together a broad bipartisan energy package, while the House takes on the EPA’s funding, the Clean Power Plan, and listens to officials on advanced battery storage. At the White House, the Obama administration continues efforts to spur global climate action. Read more in this week’s update from ML Strategies

On June 11, EPA held a public meeting on its Proposed Rule imposing one-time electronic reporting and recordkeeping requirements on manufacturers and processors of certain nanoscale materials under Section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Five key stakeholders commented at the hearing on issues including the definition of reportable chemical substances, whether and how to require reporting for discrete forms of nanomaterials, the length of the 135-day review period, the need to align with the Canadian approach, and whether the information required by EPA is readily available. Public comments are due July 6, 2015, with a final rule tentatively coming in late 2016. Click here for the full report!

While much of the focus in Congress is on the National Security Agency, fiscal year 2016 appropriations, and the trade promotion authority, energy and environmental policy also made headlines both before and after the Memorial Day Recess. Among other happenings, the EPA’s much anticipated Renewable Fuel Standards were released, Congress considered coal ash regulations, and President Obama focused on climate in the context of national security. Read this week’s update from ML Strategies here.