Energy and Environment Update - June 26, 2011

by Mintz Levin
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Energy and Climate Debate:

The Senate will hold floor debates this week on several bills. The House will not meet for legislative business this week, but have planned two pro forma sessions—June 28 and July 1. The House will return to legislative business July 5.

The deficit reduction talks that have dominated Washington for the last month are consistently at an impasse, but the impasse has manifested itself in many different settings and with many different players. On June 23, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced his departure from Vice Presdient Biden lead group over President Obama’s indecision over whether tax increases would likely be included in a final deal.

Congress:

Rep. Whitfield to Introduce Bill aimed at Slowing Down EPA’s Utility Emission Standards; Bipartisan Debate Continues on Repealing Ethanol Tax Credit; Lugar Unveils Revised Energy Plan; Barton Plans to repeal “de facto” Ban on Incandescent Bulbs; EPA Regulatory Relief Act; House Committee Advances Keystone Pipeline Project; Republicans' Renewable Energy Bills Draw Opposition; House Members Urge EPA to Reconsider Ozone Standards; House Bill Would Ban the Export Of Electronic Waste to Developing Countries; and Upcoming Hearings.

Administration:

Cyberspace Policies Could Help Develop Smart Grid and Federal Officials “On Call” to Resolve Permitting Problems for Renewables Initiative.

Department of Commerce:

Lubchenco Defends Climate Service Proposal Amid Republicans Concern.

Department of Energy:

Global Energy Efficiency Standard Recognized; $137.76 Million Loan Guarantee; $1.4 Billion Loan Guarantee For Largest Solar Rooftop Project in the Country; and Group Files Suit Against DoE For Allegedly Obstructing Water-Energy Report.

Environmental Protection Agency:

Briefs Claim EPA Tailoring Rule Violates Air Act; EPA Calls for Renewable Fuel Increase In 2012, Lowers Cellulosic Biofuel Target; Comment Period for Utility MACT Extended, No Delay in Final Rule; and EPA Reconsiders Greenhouse Gas Rule On Reporting Electronics Makers’ Emissions.

Federal Trade Commission:

Investigation on Market Manipulation of Gasoline Prices.

GAO:

Report on Funding for Research and Technologies Related to Climate Change.

U.S. Supreme Court:

Supreme Court Declines Climate Change Law Suit.

Personnel:

The Obama Administration recently hired Sarah Bianchi as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Vice President and also as a Deputy Assistant to the President. Ms. Bianchi was previously employed with Eton Park Capital Management. Ms. Bianchi has also served as a policy advisor to Vice President Gore, and was the associate director at both the Democratic Policy Council and National Economic Council, during the Clinton Administration.

Miscellaneous:

S&P Asserts Midwest Wind Power Needs More Transmission Infrastructure On June 20, Standard & Poor’s released the report, “Renewable Energy Mandates Bring Winds Of Change To U.S. Midwest Power Transmission”, which argues that it is uncertain whether the booming wind industry in the Midwest will be able to succeed given deficiencies in the area of transmission infrastructure. “Given the state RPS mandates and recent proposals in the Midwest, we believe significant development of renewable power generation in the region is likely, and a related transmission build-out would then be inevitable,” S&P credit analyst Aneesh Prabhu said. The report argues that though Midwest states appear committed to their RPS mandates, it is unclear exactly what kind of transmission infrastructure will eventually emerge.

Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) signed legislation on June 17th that requires oil and gas companies to publicly disclose chemicals in hydraulic fracturing fluids used in the production process. The law will become effective September 1, 2011. Oil and gas well operators will be required to post information about the fracturing fluids on the internet chemical disclosure registry, FracFocus.org, beginning in 2012.

Please see full update below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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