Source: The Hill | Timothy Cama | May 22, 2015
This summer will be busy for the Obama administration’s energy and environmental regulators, with numerous high-profile rule releases planned.
Between June and August, regulators hope to fill out the Obama administration’s agenda with major rules on greenhouse gases, the oil and natural gas sectors, coal production, and other policy priorities, according to a rule-making schedule released by the White House late Thursday.
The administration’s main climate change rule from the Environmental Protection Agency, which would slash greenhouse gases in the power sector by 30 percent, is due out in August.
That aligns with the timeline EPA officials, including Administrator Gina McCarthy, have been giving since January, saying the final version of the rule will come out in “mid-summer.” States will have about a year after that to submit plans to comply.
A complementary rule limiting emissions from newly built coal- and gas-fired power plants will also be unveiled in August, the White House said.
Accompanying those rules will be a proposed regulation from the EPA explaining how it would impose compliance plans for states that refuse to write their own strategies to cut power plant emissions.
The EPA will take other actions earlier in the summer to cut greenhouse gases.
June will see a proposed rule to further cut carbon from large trucks and buses, a rule that the administration hopes to make final in January 2017 — the last month President Obama is in office.
Also in June, the EPA will decide whether to pursue rules on greenhouse gases from aircraft, fulfilling a court settlement it made last year with environmental groups.
The EPA’s controversial rule to redefine its jurisdiction over waterways is due out in the coming days.
This summer, the EPA will also propose rules setting ethanol blending mandates for 2014 through 2016, and standards for reducing methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sectors.
The Interior Department is hoping this month to wrap up an early look at how it might reform the way it calculates federal royalties for oil and natural gas leases on federally owned land.
In June, the Interior Department will start to gather input on coal royalties on federal land. It will also finalize a rule to protect streams in Appalachia from mountaintop removal coal mining.
The department’s piece of the Obama administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions will come out in July under the White House’s schedule.
That proposal will seek to reduce methane output from oil and natural gas wells on federal land.
The agency is also under a September deadline to finish reviewing a slew of animal species to determine whether they deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Thanks to a 2011 settlement, the Fish and Wildlife Service, which is a part of the Interior Department, must complete reviews by September for species like the Washington ground squirrel and the Florida bonneted bat.
The Energy Department, meanwhile, will move forward this summer on a number of standards for energy efficiency affecting equipment like small electric motors, pool heaters and fluorescent lamp ballasts.