Category Archives: Energy

EPA Opens Environmental Crimes Office in North Dakota

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened a Criminal Investigation Division (CID) office in North Dakota at the end of July. North Dakota has seen its oil production increase to over 1 million barrels a day over the last decade. The Bakken shale, located in the western part of the state, holds almost 11 billion barrels of oil, and production is increasing. EPA’s office is staffed by four agents who plan to investigate operations in the state’s western oil patch, ranging from drilling rigs to disposal sites and everything in between. EPA’s closest offices have been in Montana and Colorado Read more [...]

Vote For Us For Best Legal Blog

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The American Bar Association (ABA) is accepting entries for their 100 best legal blogs. If you enjoy the content we produce, we ask that you please take the time to submit our blog for consideration. You can do so by visiting their site: http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/blawg100_submit/. Thank you!

White House Set to Release Carbon Rules for Existing Power Plants

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President Barack Obama is expected to release rules that will put a cap on carbon emissions from existing power plants on June 2. The rules will likely provide many contentious issues. One to keep an eye on is how states handle the rules as they will likely be tasked with developing and implementing programs that comply with EPA guidelines. Another potential issue is how far the rules actually go to cap the greenhouse gas emissions. Will the owners of the power plants keep them open, retrofit them or close them based on how far the emissions limits go. Legal and congressional challenges will Read more [...]

Congressman Dingell Retiring

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Former Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) has announced that he will not seek re-election later this year. Dingell’s retirement, at the age of 87, will end a nearly 60 year career on Capitol Hill, which makes him the longest serving member of Congress in United States history. Dingell began his career in 1955, as he succeeded his father. His legacy will include his work on the Endangered Species Act, amending the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and many other environmental laws. Another legacy Dingell will leave is Read more [...]

Bi-partisan Group Seeks Probe Into RIN Market Manipulation

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A bi-partisan group of House members sent a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) asking for an investigation into the alleged manipulation of the market for ethanol credits. The group of Representatives, all from the Midwest, said in their letter that price volatility in the market over the last year could be due to trading outside normal supply-and demand forces. Renewable identification numbers (RINS) are used to identify the credits and were created to be traded in the fuel supply chain and not in financial markets. The prices per credit fluctuated over the year from a few Read more [...]

House Holds Climate Hearing

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The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing today entitled “The Obama Administration’s Climate Change Policies and Activities.” President Obama introduced his administration’s Climate Action Plan early this summer and the hearing focused on the plan and also what has been done previously to combat climate change and what has to be done in the future. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) in their opening statements thanked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz for attending the Read more [...]

Accelerating Appliance Efficiency Standards in California

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The California Energy Commission has been quite active in recent years tightening the energy efficiency standards of a whole host of appliances. See e.g., battery chargers. California state regulators just don’t think that the federal Energy Star program is strict enough and want to set a higher bar. Historically, the Energy Commission has taken one appliance at a time and considered it for several years before adopting new energy efficiency standards. But in 2013, they are taking a new approach and considering adopting standards for large groups of appliances. Below are the 16 product types Read more [...]

As Conservatives Win Australian Election, What Impact Will It Have on Carbon Markets

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Tony Abbott, the head of the Liberal National Party Coalition, has won the election in Australia to become the country’s new Prime Minister. Abbott has long vowed to scrap the carbon tax that the government implemented in 2012, going as far as declaring the election a “referendum on the carbon tax.” His plans to get rid of the carbon tax may have to wait until the new senators take their seats next July, as current Labor and Green party members plan to try and prevent the process while they can. Abbott hopes to introduce an incentive plan for taxpayers in an effort to make polluters operate Read more [...]

DOE Proposes Energy Efficiency Standards for Commercial Refrigerators and Walk-in Coolers and Freezers

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed energy efficiency rules for commercial refrigeration equipment and walk-in coolers and freezers. According to an analysis by the DOE, the proposed rule for commercial refrigeration equipment should reduce energy bills by up to $4 billion over 30 years and the rule for walk-in coolers should save an estimated $24 billion over the 30 year period. In total, the two rules should save $28 billion and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 350 million tons. Both rules will be open to public comment for 60 days once the rules are published in the Federal Register. Read more [...]

House Committee Schedules Climate Hearing

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The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, September 18 at 10:00am. The hearing will examine the Obama administration’s climate change policies and activities. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of the subcommittee, sent a letter to members of the EPA, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the State Department and other agencies asking officials to testify at the hearing. Issues that will likely be covered include: EPA’s greenhouse gas limits for newly constructed power plants, the Keystone XL pipeline, renewable Read more [...]