A&WMA Newswire
Feb. 18, 2015

EPA hints it may change carbon rule's time frame
Environment & Energy Publishing
Acting Assistant U.S. EPA Administrator Janet McCabe didn't make any specific promises during her recent testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. But between the lines of her answers, the agency's top air quality official delivered a clear signal to the state officials charged with implementing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan: There's a strong chance EPA will back away from the interim 2020 goals many states have decried as unreasonable.More

Keystone pipeline bill heads to Obama, veto expected
CNN
VideoBrief President Barack Obama will have 10 days to issue a veto on a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline once it hits his desk, now that the House has passed a final version, 270-152. Twenty-nine Democrats voted with Republicans on Feb. 11 to pass the measure, which Obama has repeatedly said he will veto. He believes the decision to build the pipeline should rest with the executive branch. More

Experts: States can 'just say no' to the EPA's carbon rule
Power
According to Peter S. Glaser, partner with Troutman Sanders LLP, who practices in the energy and environmental law fields, saying "no" is an option that states have in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan proposal. Speaking during a panel discussion at George Mason University's Law and Economics Center on Feb. 4, Glaser suggested that just saying no was not only an option, but perhaps even the best course of action for many states.More

Title V Permitting: Maximizing Flexibility, Enhancing Compliance: Webinar series
A&WMA
Our next webinar series is entitled Title V Permitting: Maximizing Flexibility, Enhancing Compliance: 1-3 p.m. ET, May 17-19.

Other upcoming events include:

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Obama administration's mercury emissions rules will impact millions
The Intelligencer
The Obama administration's mercury emissions standards could force 60 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity offline by the year 2020, which leaves American Electric Power, FirstEnergy and grid operators scrambling to compensate for the lost power. One gigawatt can power as many as 1 million homes, according to FirstEnergy spokeswoman Stephanie Walton. If 60 gigawatts of electricity are retired by 2020, this would leave companies searching for ways to deliver power to as many as 60 million households.More

Coal-reliant Ameren offers support for EPA's Clean Power Plan in exchange for revisions
Environment & Energy Publishing
Coal-heavy electric utility Ameren Corp. is laying out changes U.S. EPA could make to its proposed Clean Power Plan to earn the company's support for the proposed rule. In a white paper released Feb. 11, the utility — which produces 70 percent of its power from coal-fired plants — doesn't hold back any criticism but is overall conciliatory, asking for revisions that mirror requests from both defenders and opponents of the power plant regulations.More

Ameren proposes alternatives to EPA Clean Power Plan
Environtment Leader
Ameren has drafted an alternate approach to the EPA's Clean Power Plan that the St. Louis-based electric utility says would achieve the same final CO2 emission reduction goals as EPA's proposal while saving Missouri customers $4 billion in costs and avoiding grid reliability problems related to the premature closure of key coal-fired power plants. In a white paper Ameren lays out its greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy.More

Biomass could make Western US carbon neutral
Domestic Fuel
A new study says that using biomass to make electricity could make the Western United States carbon-neutral. This article from the University of California-Berkley says researchers there have shown that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration, power generators could actually store more carbon than they emit.More

Lawyers: US 'clean coal' project demise shows EPA plan's weakness
Reuters
The U.S. government's move to suspend a trouble-plagued $1.65 billion carbon capture and storage project this month may have bolstered legal challenges to proposed environmental regulations on power plant carbon emissions, several legal experts said. The FutureGen project in Illinois would have been the first U.S. commercial-scale, near-zero emission coal plant to use technologies to capture carbon dioxide from major industrial plants and store it safely underground.More

Official: China must cut pollution by half before environment improves
Reuters
China needs to slash emission levels by as much as half before any obvious improvements are made to its environment, a senior government official said, underscoring the challenges facing the country after three decades of breakneck growth. Zhai Qing, China's deputy minister of environmental protection, told a briefing that pollutants had been cut by just "a few percentage points" since 2006 and had to drop much further if any progress is to be made.More

Toronto debates whether public or companies should pay for industrial pollution
Vancouver Observer
Toronto's budget committee is debating whether industries should pay the full cost of contaminants they release into the sewers. The cost is currently shared with households in a system that environmentalists say encourages pollution.More