Regulatory Activity

Deepwater Horizon Spill Restoration

The Department of the Interior’s draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments regarding the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill currently proposes 10 early restoration projects. The Department is extending the public comment period on its draft until July 6.

Greenhouse Gas

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation announced a proposed rule to increase fuel efficiency for medium and heavy duty vehicles – which largely includes heavy trucks and trailers as well as school buses among others. According to the EPA, the proposed rule intends to impact the following four categories of vehicles: (1) Combination Tractors; (2) Trailers Pulled by Combination Tractors; (3) Heavy-duty Pickup Trucks and Vans; and (4) Vocational Vehicles. Of important note for cities and counties, vocational vehicles consist of “a wide variety of truck and bus types, including delivery trucks, refuse haulers, public utility trucks, transit, shuttle, and school buses. This segment also includes specialized vehicles such as emergency vehicles, and cement and dump trucks. Vocational vehicles represent about one fifth of the total medium- and heavy-duty fuel consumption.” The EPA is accepting comments now on the proposed rule.

Legislative Activity

Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday, June 24, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Environment and the Subcommittee on Energy to examine potential impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The hearing will discuss a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Dr. Howard Gruenspecht, Deputy Administrator of the EIA, will testify.

Gas and Crude Oil

On Tuesday, June 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, will hold a hearing concerning titled “American Energy Exports: Opportunities For U.S. Allies and U.S. National Security.”

Minerals

On Thursday, June 25, the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, will hold a hearing to consider H.R. 1937, the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015.” According to sponsors of the legislation, the bill is intended to improve the permitting process in the U.S. in order to “more efficiently develop domestic sources of the minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to United States economic, national security and manufacturing competitiveness.”

Flooding

On Tuesday, June 23, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a full committee oversight hearing to review the National Flood Insurance Program.

Wind and Solar

On Tuesday, June 24, the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, will hold a hearing concerning BLM’s management of wind and solar reclamation bonds.

Air Quality

On Tuesday, June 23, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, will hold a hearing titled “The Impacts of EPA’s proposed Carbon Regulations on Energy Costs for American Businesses, Rural Communities and Families.”