Regulatory Activity

Clean Power Plan

Last week, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) finally published in the Federal Register the final Clean Power Plan. This regulatory action is one of the keystones of the Obama Administration climate change initiative, which it sees as an important part of the President’s legacy. With this announcement, the EPA is accepting comment on a proposed “Model Rule” which is intended to provide states with a road map for developing their plans to meet intended air quality goals. EPA is also accepting comments on its proposed “Federal Plan” which is envisioned to be implemented in states that fail to write their own plans. Of note, the Federal Plan contains the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), on which the EPA is also accepting comments. EPA is soliciting broad comments on a host of items impacting the CEIP including: requirements for quantifying renewable energy generation for the purpose of Emission Rate Credits (ERCs); and comments on all metering, measurement and verification with regard to renewable energy resources (including relevant size and distribution of resources) that should qualify for issuance of ERCs for use in Clean Power Plan compliance. EPA also issued a separate memo to states outlining how to file for an extension request. States are expected to submit their plans by September 6, 2016. Comments on the Model Rule, Federal Plan and CEIP are due by January 21, 2016.

Hazardous Waste

The EPA is has announced a new Proposed Rule that will make changes to the current practices of exporting and importing hazardous wastes to and from the United States. EPA intends for the rules to be more in line with those followed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  In addition, EPA foresees that changes in the rule will enable “electronic submittal of all export and import-related documents” and “electronic validation of consent in the Automated Export System (AES) for export shipments subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) export consent requirements.” Comments are due December 18.

Legislative Activity

This Week’s Hearings:

Mining

  • On Tuesday, October 27, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee oversight hearing to examine “the development and potential implementation of the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement’s proposed Stream Protection Rule.” Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Janice Schneider, will testify.

Federal Lands

  • On Wednesday, October 28, the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Federal Lands, will hold a hearing to examine the discussion draft of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2015.

Nuclear Waste

  • On Wednesday, October 28, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, will hold a hearing to consider low-level radioactive waste disposal issues. Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) recently released a press releaseindicating their future plans, noting that getting answers “will help provide the foundation to identify the path forward for the permanent disposal of nuclear materials.”