Kenneth J. Markowitz Stacey H. Mitchell Dario J. Frommer Christopher A. Treanor November 21 2022 Climate change policy update: reducing methane pollution, Biden's clean energy plans and midterms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP | Environment & Climate Change - USA Kenneth J. Markowitz, Stacey H. Mitchell, Dario J. Frommer, Christopher A. Treanor Environment & Climate Change Biden-Harris administration reinforces proposal to reduce methane pollutionEmployment change may disrupt Biden's clean energy plansWhite House hopes to streamline environmental permittingClean energy efforts impacted by midtermsCalifornia's updated grid planFirst carbon allowance launch and WCA contract createdThis article outlines pertinent legal and policy climate change developments in the United States during the past week.(1)Biden-Harris administration reinforces proposal to reduce methane pollutionOn 11 November 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed methane rule. If finalised, the updated rule "would provide more comprehensive requirements to reduce climate and health-harming air pollution, including from thousands of existing oil and gas sources nationwide". Additionally, the rule seeks to "promote the use of innovative methane detection technologies and other cutting-edge solutions". Finally, the update would "establish a super-emitter response program that would leverage data from regulatory agencies or approved third parties with expertise in remote methane detection technology". The EPA is accepting comments on the proposal on 13 February 2023 and will provide virtual training sessions in November 2022 prior to issuing a final rule in 2023.Employment change may disrupt Biden's clean energy plans On 10 November 2022, Senator Joe Manchin's team explained that Manchin is not comfortable holding a nomination hearing for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Richard Glick. With his nomination to head the agency for an additional four years hinging on the Senate, Manchin's hesitation may derail President Biden's clean energy and climate agenda and cause democrats to lose their five-person commission majority.White House hopes to streamline environmental permitting Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that the White House hopes that Congress will aid Manchin in his effort to streamline environmental permitting as part of a pending defence authorisation package during the upcoming session. Manchin has previously expressed a desire to incorporate his permitting reform language into the National Defense Authorization Act as well.Clean energy efforts impacted by midterms While state legislatures largely remain in republican control, democrats gained, maintained, or deepened control in key states, thus enabling new state policies to promote clean energy in power grids, buildings and cars. However, republicans in Texas lost no positions and will likely defend fossil fuel production, thus opposing the Biden administration's clean energy policies.California's updated grid planThe California Public Utilities Commission released an updated plan for the state's solar incentive programme, amending a proposal that would have charged customers with solar rooftops a monthly fee. The new proposal seeks to overhaul current net metering incentives, which offer customers financial credit for the power generated via their rooftop solar panels. The update includes a more dynamic tariff that varies based on the electricity system's needs.First carbon allowance launch and WCA contract createdNodal Exchange and IncubEx announced a 5 December 2022 launch date for the Washington Carbon Allowance (WCA). The WCA will be the first exchange listed and cleared contract corresponding with the newest regional carbon market in North America. The WCA contract is now one of North America's listed carbon products on the Nodal Exchange, along with California Carbon Allowance futures and options, California Carbon Offset futures and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative futures and options.For further information on this topic please contact Kenneth J Markowitz, Stacey H Mitchell, Dario J Frommer or Christopher A Treanor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP by telephone (+1 202 887 4000) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP website can be accessed at www.akingump.com.Leila Fleming, public policy specialist, assisted with the preparation of this article.Endnotes(1) For further updates, including upcoming congressional hearings, federal agency climate news and events, click here. For the previous week's update, click here.