On June 20, Mintz Levin and ML Strategies were thrilled to host Gina McCarthy, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator under President Obama. McCarthy was the featured speaker at the Alliance for Business Leadership “Progressive Power Hour” held in our Boston office. During the course of the hour, McCarthy shared her optimism for the environmental progress state and local governments can make and emphasized the role businesses can play in serving the public good. To learn more about the event, read on!
Upcoming Event: Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Speaks at Mintz Levin
Mintz Levin and ML Strategies are thrilled to be hosting Gina McCarthy, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator under President Obama, in our Boston office on June 20. McCarthy will be the featured speaker at the Alliance for Business Leadership “Progressive Power Hour” from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.
With the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, questions are swirling about what this means for the environment, the economy, and our standing in the world. Alongside her four years as EPA Administrator, McCarthy has held lead environmental roles as a public official in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Boston native has served as an environmental advisor to five Massachusetts governors. Her unique perspective will bring valuable insight into what can and should be done at the state level over the next few years.
We look forward to hosting McCarthy and our guests for what is sure to be an engaging conversation!
One of President Trump’s early campaign promises was to dismantle the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the Obama administration’s regulation asserting federal power over navigable bodies of water and aiming to replace polluting coal-fired power plants with clean energy facilities. Now, thanks to a district court ruling in D.C., Trump may be one step closer to actualizing that promise. To learn more about this ruling and its impact, read on!
In late July, the Obama administration announced a collaboration with 50 federal and state agencies, electric utility companies, vehicle manufacturers, electric charging station companies, and others in the private sector to promote faster development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and increased numbers of electric cars on the roads.
This announcement, made in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Air Force and Army, comes just after the DOE’s first-ever Sustainable Transportation Summit. To learn more about the collaboration, continue reading!
The Senate and the House of Representatives are both on Spring Recess, with the Senate returning on April 4 and the House scheduled to return on April 12. Despite the recess, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has continued behind-the-scenes talks regarding the bipartisan energy bill, and remains optimistic that the bill will be passed by the Senate. In other news, Congress passed a three-plus-month reauthorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that runs through July 15 just before breaking for recess. The FAA extension, however, did not address extensions of the 2016 Investment Tax Credit for technologies that were excluded from last December’s agreement that extended the ITC for solar.
On March 14, the House introduced a bill entitled the Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act, which could negatively affect major portions of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and Superfund Law, and others. Elsewhere, the EPA released a report on March 23 on the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program, which showed that clean diesel grants aimed at cleaning up old diesel engines have improved public health by cutting harmful pollution. The DOE announced on March 22 investments of over $9 million in 16 facility- and community-scale clean energy projects in 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities. On March 25, the DOE also announced that it will participate in the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project, which will utilize low-cost wind generation resources in Oklahoma and Texas regions to deliver energy to more than 1.5 million homes. For more on these developments and the latest from D.C., read this week’s update from ML Strategies.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee remains optimistic that the bipartisan energy bill will advance potentially as soon as this week after completion of legislation related to GMOs, but more likely following the Senate’s return from next week’s recess. Before that can occur, comprises must still be reached regarding the Flint water crisis legislation and the amendment expanding offshore drilling revenue sharing. Additionally, negotiations are also ongoing to reconcile the differences between the House- and Senate-passed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bills.
On Tuesday the House Budget Committee released its $3.9 billion budget resolution that would rescind unobligated balances from stimulus green energy programs and reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. Elsewhere, the EPA announced last week its plans to regulate methane emissions from existing sources of oil and gas in order to help the U.S. meet its emission commitments under the Paris climate agreement. On March 11 the Department of Energy announced $25 million in funding for electric motor research, and the DOE is also proposing new energy efficiency standards for commercial package boilers and ceiling fans. For more on these developments and the latest from D.C., read this week’s update from ML Strategies.
The Senate’s bipartisan energy bill continues to be a focal point of legislative debate on Capitol Hill. After a long standstill due to disagreements on how best to address the water crisis in Flint, MI, progress came after a compromise agreement announced by Senator Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) regarding Flint. The Flint legislation (H.R. 4470) would strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to notify the public when lead levels in drinking water violate federal standards, and provide $250 million in aid to Flint and other places around the country with contaminated drinking water. A vote on H.R. 4470 would come after work on the energy bill is completed; however a hold on the energy legislation by Senators Lee (R-UT) and Vitter (R-LA) has slowed the process and the Senate Budget Committee has determined that the Flint proposal would increase federal spending and therefore needs to be changed before it can proceed.
While the legislative branch works on the energy bill, the Department of Energy released a report finding that incremental renewable energy capacity driven by the recent tax credit extension is estimated to peak at 53 GW in 2020. Additionally, tax credit extensions are expected to save 540 million metric tons of electric sector CO2 emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, said in a draft report released February 22 that domestic greenhouse gas emissions rose 0.9 percent from 2013 to 2014, with carbon dioxide accounting for 81 percent of overall greenhouse gas emissions. Overall emissions increased by 7.7 percent from 1990 to 2014, according to the draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. For more on the week in Washington, read this week’s update from ML Strategies!
The bipartisan energy bill, which Congress has focused on since the start of the new year, has been put on hold following a disagreement over federal aid to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The energy bill was debated on the Senate floor the past two weeks before coming to a halt last Thursday when senators could not agree on the size and scope of an aid package offered by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to help Flint, Michigan.
Meanwhile, President Obama released his fiscal year 2017 budget request on February 9, which includes $32.5 billion for the Department of Energy. The request calls on the agency to increase clean energy efforts and spending, including $7.7 billion for clean energy across several agencies, about 76 percent of which would go to the DOE for vehicle and building efficiency programs, weatherization, and ARPA-E. Also on February 9, the Supreme Court stayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan until all legal challenges are complete, thereby reversing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s January 21 decision. Lawsuits over the rule will continue at least into 2017, and the Supreme Court is expected to be the final arbiter of the regulation. For more on these developments and the latest from D.C., read this week’s update from ML Strategies.
President Obama unveiled the final Clean Power Plan (CPP) this past weekend – the first ever national standard to address CO2 pollution from power plants. The CPP sets strong standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 while maintaining energy reliability and affordability. For the plan highlights and analysis, read on!
While the potential Iran nuclear deal, the budget, and spending bills dominate Congress’ attention leading up to the Memorial Day recess, committees in both chambers have not forgotten about energy policy, with several hearings on the docket. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration used last week’s Earth Day celebration to reveal part one of the Quadrennial Energy Review along with several energy and environment executive actions. Read more in the latest Energy and Environment Update from ML Strategies.