Regulatory Activity

Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)

Following the regulatory process, on Friday, April 3, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its proposed rule concerning the “Definition of the Waters of the U.S” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review.  At that time, EPA also released a statement about the proposed rule.  Of interest to cities and counties, in its statement, EPA noted that for municipal separate storm sewer systems, the agency does not intend to change how those waters are treated and “has considered ways to address this concern.”  EPA also noted that in response to municipal comments that it will “continue to encourage the use of creative solutions like green infrastructure and low-impact development.”  EPA’s statement did not address how it would define terms such as “ditches, “other waters,” “significant nexus” and “tributaries,” only that it is still working to clarify those definitions.  There has been no information provided as to how long OMB is expected to take to conduct its assessment, however, EPA has reiterated that it is still committed to a release date for its final rule for “spring 2015.”

Clean Power Plan Update

EPA plans to propose its federal plan for meeting Clean Power Plan goals for public review and comment by “Summer 2015.”At that time EPA is also expected to release the final rules for its “Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants in States, Indian Country and U.S. Territories” and its “Carbon Pollution Standards for New, Modified and Reconstructed Power Plants.”  EPA has targeted for “Summer 2016” to issue provide due date for states to submit compliance plans to the agency – the agency has stated that these can be “complete plans or initial plans with requests for 1- or 2-year extensions.”  At that time, EPA will provide a finalized federal plan for meeting Clean Power Plan goals for areas that do not submit plans.”  The anticipated beginning of the compliance period is “Summer 2020.”

Wind

On Wednesday, April 15, the Department of Energy will host a webninar addressing issues with sitting windmills and radar. Click here to register.

Legislative Activity

UN Climate Change

On Monday, April 15, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on President Obama’s pledge to the UN on climate change. Jake Schmidt, Director of the International Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, will testify.

Land and Water Conservation Fund

On Wednesday, April 22 the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is used to make federal land acquisitions in order to protect public lands to provide for outdoor recreational opportunities.

Use of Natural Resources

It will be an active week for the House Natural Resources Committee. On Monday, April 13, the Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing titled, “Federal Water Grabs.” On Wednesday, April 15, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands plans to hold an oversight hearing on federal land acquisition. Also on the same day, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing  to examine the Administration’s Offshore Energy Plan.

Power Plants

On Tuesday, April 14, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing to examine EPA’s Proposed 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants, and the proposed “Ratepayer Protection Act.” Janet McCabe, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator Office of Air and Radiation, will testify.

Toxic Substances

On Wednesday, April 15, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing to examine the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015.