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Wednesday, June 21, 2012
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In This Issue
House Passes Controversial Domestic Energy & Jobs Act; 248-163
U.S. Delegation Reports On Rio+20 Sustainable Development Meeting
Senate Passes Farm Bill; 64-35
Barnes & Thornburg Alert On EPA's Proposed PM2.5 Standards
Statement On Progress Of Surface Transportation Bills
House Dems Support Action On Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
Pacific Rivers Counsel v. US Forest Service 

National / International News
House Passes Controversial Domestic Energy & Jobs Act; 248-163 - Jun 21: The U.S. House passed the Republican sponsored Domestic Energy and Jobs Act (H.R.4480), a legislative package comprised of a series of bills which they say "aim to increase access to American energy resources and prevent misguided federal policies that will drive energy prices higher." [See WIMS 6/7/12]. The bill passed largely along party lines with a vote of 248-163, with 21 Representatives not voting. Nineteen Democrats joined 229 Republicans to approve the bill.
    Yesterday (June 20) on the House Floor, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman delivered a statement in support of H.R.4480, saying in part, "The price of gasoline and the unemployment rate both remain far too high, and American families are struggling as a result. That’s why I support H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. This bill is truly a win-win -- the steps it takes to expand supplies of affordable domestic energy will create many jobs in the process.

    “It’s no secret that I don’t see eye-to-eye with President Obama on energy policy, but perhaps the most inexplicable energy policy move this administration has made was the June 2011 decision to withdraw 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with no plan to replace them. It is hard to understand why the President would take oil from the nation’s emergency stockpile while at the same time keeping off-limits the far greater amounts beneath federally controlled lands and offshore areas. It’s like a couple pawning their wedding rings for cash while ignoring a major gold discovery in their backyard. The amount of untapped oil in areas kept out of reach by the Obama administration is estimated to exceed the entire Strategic Petroleum Reserve dozens of times over. . ."

    Following approval today, Representative Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) sponsor of the package of domestic energy production legislation, said, "The package of seven bills enjoyed bipartisan support in the House," and urged the United States Senate to consider the legislation. He said, “There is no reason for the United States Senate not to consider the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act and send it to President Obama’s desk this summer. The seven bills in this package provide an opportunity for job growth and energy security. These bipartisan pieces of legislation make sure that we move forward on oil and gas development in the western United States and on federal lands, and that we take steps to ensure our nation relies on American made energy, provided by American jobs."
    However, it is unlikely the Democratically-controlled Senate will consider the bill and the White House has already issued a Statement of Administration Policy on the bill saying that if the bill were presented to the President, White House senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill [See WIMS 6/19/12]. The White House said the bill would, ". . .undermine the Nation's energy security, roll back policies that support the continued growth of safe and responsible energy production in the United States, discourage environmental analysis and civic engagement in Federal decision-making, and impede progress on important Clean Air Act (CAA) rules to protect the health of American families. H.R. 4480 would threaten energy security and broader national security by attaching conditions to the drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that could hinder the President's ability to respond appropriately and lawfully to a disruption in the Nation's energy supply. . . H.R. 4480 also would reverse Administration oil and gas leasing reforms that have established orderly, open, efficient, and environmentally sound processes for energy development on public lands. . ."
    Bills included in House-passed Domestic Energy and Jobs Act:
  • Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, H.R. 4480 (Rep. Cory Gardner, CO)
  • Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012, H.R. 4471 (Rep. Ed Whitfield, KY)
  • Planning for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R.4381 (Rep. Scott Tipton, CO)
  • Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R 4382 (Rep. Mike Coffman, CO)
  • Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2012, H.R. 4383 (Rep. Doug Lamborn, CO) 
  • National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, H.R. 2150 (Rep. "Doc" Hastings, WA) 
  • BLM Live Internet Auctions Act, H.R. 2752 (Rep. Bill Johnson, OH)
    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, "Today, the House will pass the Domestic Energy & Jobs Act, which will help create good-paying jobs by expanding American energy production. This is the latest in a series of more than 30 House-passed jobs bills that have removed government barriers to economic growth and stopped policies that are driving up gas prices. I also want to be clear about something: House Republicans want to get a highway bill done. We want a bill, and our colleagues are working toward producing a bill. We just want to make sure it’s a bill that includes real reforms, to ensure that taxpayer funds are paying for legitimate projects that support economic activity -- not planting more flowers and beautification projects around the country. We also continue to support bipartisan, job-creating initiatives like the Keystone pipeline.”
    House Democratic environmental leaders, Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) indicated that they "denounced the bill as yet another large-scale giveaway to oil companies by House Republicans, who have established the most anti-environmental and pro-oil company agenda in the history of Congress." They said the bill would transfer hundreds of thousands of square miles of America’s public lands to oil companies, while protecting the $4 billion in subsidies the biggest oil companies receive from taxpayers each year."
    Rep. Markey, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee said, "Republicans passed a bill that would cede nearly all of America’s public lands to oil companies within just a few short years, but wouldn’t even allow a debate on wind, solar, and a real ‘all of the above’ energy strategy. This debate was a sham, this legislation is a scam, and the American people need to know these are the ‘oil above all’ policies that a Mitt Romney administration would put into place. Rep. Waxman, the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee said, “This bill is a stealth attack on the Clean Air Act. It might be great news for big oil, but it means more pollution for the American people.” They said, while the bill will not be considered further it, "contains a dangerous preview of the policies that would be implemented if Mitt Romney and Republicans retake the White House and Congress."
    The American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Executive Vice President Marty Durbin applauded the House action saying, "Greater access to domestic energy resources combined with smarter policies that boost our refining industry will benefit consumers in the long run. More home grown energy is good for all Americans. . . The legislation would establish an ‘all the above’ energy program for federal lands that would open up more areas for energy production while streamlining the permitting process. . . KXL [Keystone XL pipeline] will put thousands of Americans to work. It has and continues to be one of the greatest shovel-ready projects awaiting approval. We urge the transportation conferees to include the Keystone provision in the final Highway bill agreement. Unemployment remains high, now is not the time to deny good paying energy jobs. We cannot have regulations that are solutions in search of a problem. Consumers should be informed about the costs certain regulations have on the price of producing gasoline and diesel.” 
   Sierra Club issued a statement saying, "John Boehner and his House Republicans have regurgitated Big Oil’s playbook and called it a jobs plan. If you’re looking for an example of why Congress’ approval rating is dipping to all-time lows, look no further. This disgraceful legislation is just their latest attempt to put oil above all -- especially the needs of American families. While Americans are paying more for gas, House Republicans are more concerned about coddling Exxon and BP and forking over our public lands for more drilling and destruction. While families are struggling to make ends meet, Boehner and his ilk are turning over billions in tax giveaways to companies already making record profits. If we’ve learned one thing this Congress it’s that House Republicans are asking ‘how high?’ before Big Oil even asks them to jump.”
    Access the floor statement and video from Rep. Upton (click here). Access a release from Rep. Gardner (click here). Access the statement and video from Speaker Boehner (click here). Access the joint release from Reps. Markey and Waxman (click here). Access the statement from Sierra Club (click here). Access the statement from API (click here). Access the floor consideration and amendment votes for H.R.4480 (click here). Access the roll call vote details (click here). Access the Policy Statement for H.R.4480 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.4480 (click here). [#Air, #Energy]
U.S. Delegation Reports On Rio+20 Sustainable Development Meeting - Jun 19: Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, serving as chief negotiator at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development -- Rio+20 -- taking place June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil held a teleconference press briefing on June 19, following preliminary negotiations on the "outcome document." In brief summary, Stern reported:
"I think the outcome that we finish today will help advance goals in this area. It is a negotiated outcome, a negotiated document with a lot of different views from a lot of different players. So, it obviously isn’t everything to everybody. I think everybody here — I think Minister Patriota mentioned this — everybody had things they were more pleased about and less pleased about, and certainly some things could have been improved, but I think it was a good strong step forward.

"We have done some important things institutionally, including significantly strengthening UNEP in the UN system, also establishing a new high-level forum on sustainable development in the UN in New York focusing on a variety of ways to manage our vital natural resources more effectively and efficiently. And I think all of these things will not in any sense by themselves-but we hope push in a direction where sustainable development proceeds and we more and more have the ability, as was first discussed in the 1987 Brundtland Report, to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. And that is a nice kind of summary of what sustainable development is all about.

"Just one other brief comment. I've been focusing on negotiations along with my team. While we've been doing that, there has been a heck of a lot of other stuff going on in Rio. This conference is about much more than the negotiated text. We have seen the emergence of new public-private partnerships like the Corporate Sustainability Forum showcasing private sector innovation. There have been all sorts of gatherings of civil society, private sector leaders. There have been sustainable development dialogues, which I saw occasionally on the screens when I was walking from one building to the next, and I kind of wished that I could be in one or two of those. There has been a lot going on. There is a lot that is going to continue to go on the next few days, and while I am not the best spokesman to talk about all of those things since I've been on the negotiating front, I think they're terribly important and it looks to me quite impressive.

    In a separate release from the U.S. delegation, the U.S. announced its support for the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. The release indicates that the SE4ALL initiative "represents an important opportunity for the international community to address issues critical to the future of sustainable development, energy access, and economic growth. Expanding the use of efficient and clean energy technologies is a priority of the Obama Administration, domestically and internationally, and increasing energy access is a central challenge facing the world.

    "The United States supports the principles of the Global Action Agenda developed by the SE4ALL High Level Group through existing and planned activities across a broad range of U.S. Government agencies. As reported elsewhere in official documents, the U.S. is providing substantial grant, loan and loan guarantee resources, from both Congressionally-appropriated funds and under loan and loan guarantee authorities, of about $2 billion in FY11 for clean energy. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on activities in FY12 that will build on and sustain this USG priority. These funds are helping to create a sound policy, regulatory and institutional framework for project investment and financing from private and international sources as well as directly leveraging investment. Support for innovation and energy technology partnerships is also an important focus. In building viable and sustainable energy markets, U.S. support helps create opportunities for American exports in renewable energy, power generation and energy efficiency technologies." The release provides a listing of specific examples of on-going and planned U.S. Government support for the SE4All Global Action Agenda.

    Access the complete press teleconference (click here). Access the release on the U.S. support for the SE4ALL initiative (click here). Access the draft outcome document that will be finalized at the Rio+20 meeting (click here). Access the SE4ALL website for more information (click here). Access document, issue briefs, daily journals and more (click here). Access the State Department Rio+20 website for more information (click here). Access the EPA Rio+20 website (click here). Access events at the US Center which are being live streamed (click here). Access the Rio+20 website for complete details (click here). Access more information on Rio+20 (click here). [#Sustain, #Climate, #Energy]

Senate Passes Farm Bill; 64-35 - Jun 21: The U.S. Senate plodded its way through amendments to the Farm Bill, S.3240, and a final vote of approval occurred just a short time ago. The bill passed with a vote of 64-35. The House has not yet passed a Farm Bill. On June 18, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and sponsor of the bill issued a statement regarding the bipartisan agreement on over 70 amendments that will allow the Senate to move forward with Farm Bill. 
    She said, “This bill was developed through bipartisan collaboration, passed committee with broad bipartisan support, and we now have a bipartisan agreement to move forward with a bill that affects 16 million American jobs. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand we must act as soon as possible to give farmers the certainty they need to keep growing the economy. This Farm Bill is unlike any other before it -- it cuts spending, ends subsidies, improves accountability and strengthens healthy food systems. We are now closer than ever to achieving real reform in America’s agriculture policy.”
    Today (June 21) the Senate considered the following roll call votes requiring 60 votes to be approved. Toomey #2247 (paperwork); Sanders #2310 (genetically engineered food); Coburn #2214 (convention funding); Boxer #2456 (aerial inspections); Johanns #2372 (aerial inspections); Rubio #2166 (RAISE Act); and Passage of S.3240, the Farm bill, as amended. Thus far, the Johanns and Boxer amendments, relating to aerial surveillance to inspect agricultural operations, have been rejected. Additionally, the Toomey, Sanders, and Rubio amendments were rejected. The Coburn amendment was approved.
    Access the Senate roll call votes on recent Farm Bill amendments (click here). [Note: the final vote on approval of the bill will be posted soon]. Access a listing of the amendments that were considered today and links to further details (click here). Access a listing of amendments previously considered and the outcome of their consideration (click here). [#Access the legislative details for S.3240 (click here). [#Agricultue, #Land, #Water, #Energy]

Barnes & Thornburg Alert On EPA's Proposed PM2.5 Standards - Jun 20: Barnes & Thornburg LLP (BTLaw), one of the WIMS corporate sponsors, has issued an Environmental Law Alert on U.S. EPA's proposal to strengthen the PM2.5 fine particulate matter standard [See WIMS 6/18/12]. The Alert indicates that, "On June 15, 2012, U.S. EPA proposed stricter standards to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act for fine particulate matter. The proposed rule, which is the result of a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Washington D.C Circuit brought by environmental groups and certain states, proposes to tighten the annual standard for particulate matter under 2.5 microns (PM 2.5) from 15 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) (the 2006 standard) to between 12 and 13 ug/m3. The rule also proposes a new separate standard for improving visibility in urban areas of either 28 to 30 'deciviews,' a measurement of visibility. The proposed rule and 'fact sheets' provided by the Agency make clear that EPA is not proposing a change to the existing 24-hour and secondary standards for fine and course particulate matter set in 2006.

    "EPA claims that the new standard will come at an annual cost of between $2.9 million and $69 million (depending upon a final standard of 12 or 13 ug/m3), but claims these costs are outweighed by alleged health benefits of $220 million to $5.9 billion. EPA is also claiming that all but six counties in the United States should be able to meet the new standards without additional action. However, San Bernadino and Riverside Counties in California, Santa Cruz County in Arizona, Wayne County in Michigan, Jefferson County in Alabama, and Lincoln County in Montana - are all expected to need to reduce fine particulate emissions to attain the new standards.

    "Under state and federal Clean Air Act regulations, counties that are out of attainment with the NAAQs can be subject to special 'Retro-active Control Technology' (RACT) requirements, and new sources of fine particulate emissions will need to obtain 'offsets' prior to construction among other requirements. In addition to the new proposed standards, EPA is also proposing changes to monitoring requirements for fine particulate matter including the addition of fine particulate ambient air monitors especially along urban highways."

    Barnes & Thornburg LLP notes that, "EPA's proposed rule comes during an election year and is expected to draw broad criticism from Republicans and industry groups. Environmental groups are already praising the new proposed lower standards." The new proposed rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register. Comments on the new proposed rule are due within 63 days of publication in the Federal Register.

    Access the complete BTLaw Environmental Alert (click here). Access the a release from EPA with links to a map showing counties in attainment in 2020 and more information including the proposed rule, fact sheets and support documents (click here). Access the BTLaw environmental practice website for further information (click here). Access information on becoming a WIMS Corporate Sponsor (click here). [#Air, #MIAir]

Statement On Progress Of Surface Transportation Bills
- Jun 21: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Representative John  Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued a brief statement regarding the surface transportation bill that is currently stalled in Conference Committee [See WIMS 6/20/12]. 
    The two said, "The conferees have moved forward toward a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a highway reauthorization bill. Both House and Senate conferees will continue to work with a goal of completing a package by next week."
    There are substantial differences between the two versions of the reauthorization of the Highway Surface Transportation program remain at a political standstill. The House version, H.R.4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, provides a short-term extension and includes highly controversial provisions requiring approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the management and reuse of coal ash. The Senate version, S.1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), provides a two-year $109 billion surface transportation reauthorization and passed the Senate with 74 votes. The Conference Committee held their first meeting on May 8 [See WIMS 5/09/12]. Funding for the Surface Transportation program which was set to expire on March 31, was extended 90-days to June 30 [See WIMS 3/30/12].
    Access the statement (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.4348 (click here). Access legislative details for S.1813 (click here). [#Transport]

House Dems Support Action On Short-Lived Climate Pollutants - Jun 19: House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA), Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Edward Markey (D-MA), and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA) praised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her work on calling international attention to addressing short-lived climate pollutants [See WIMS 6/4/12] and urged her to focus on the issue at the G20 Summit in Mexico and to make progress at the Montreal Protocol’s Meeting of the Parties in November.

     In the letter, the members wrote, “Climate change is an enormous challenge. We appreciate your dedication to addressing this problem and look forward to working with you to harness the full potential of the Montreal Protocol and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to help meet this challenge.”

    Their letter indicates, "Unlike carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for millennia, short-lived climate pollutants have a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere of a few days to a few decades.  Yet they are responsible for nearly half of current global warming. As a result, cutting short-lived climate pollution can significantly reduce the current rate of global warming, particularly in the Arctic, where it can reduce the rate of warming by an estimated two-thirds in the next thirty years. Implementation of measures to cut emissions of short-lived climate pollutants has the potential to reduce the planetary warming expected by 2050 by half a degree Celsius. Such action would substantially reduce the risk of crossing the dangerous threshold of more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of global warming. Because ground-level ozone and black carbon also harm human health and agriculture, emissions reductions could save millions of lives each year and increase annual crop yields by tens of millions of tons. . ."  

    On June 3, Secretary of State Clinton addressed the participants at the second formal meeting of the international coalition -- the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) -- to address the subject of short-lived climate pollutants or SLCPs, held in Stockholm, Sweden which has grown from six to 16 countries, plus the European Commission, UNEP, and the World Bank. She said SLCPs ". . .are responsible for more than 30 percent of current global warming. And because they are also very harmful to human health and to agriculture, we can save millions of lives and tons of crops as well by acting now. This is what we call a win-win for sure. . ."

    Access a release and the complete letter (click here). Access the address by Secretary Clinton (click here). Access the CCAC website (click here). [#Climate, #Air]

Pacific Rivers Counsel v. US Forest Service - Jun 20: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 08-17565. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The Appeals Court indicates that, "This court’s opinion filed on February 3, 2012, and reported at 668 F.3d 609 (9th Cir. 2012) [See WIMS 2/6/12], is withdrawn, and is replaced by the attached Opinion and Dissent. . . The full court has been advised of the petition for rehearing en banc and no judge of the court has requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc. . . The petition for rehearing and the petition for rehearing en banc, filed on April 18, 2012, are denied."
    According to the Appeals Court, Plaintiff-Appellant Pacific Rivers Council (Pacific Rivers) brought suit in Federal district court challenging the 2004 Framework for the Sierra Nevada Mountains (the Sierras) as inconsistent with the National Environmental
Protection Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Appeals Court said, "The gravamen of Pacific Rivers’ complaint is that the 2004 EIS does not sufficiently analyze the environmental consequences of the 2004 Framework for fish and amphibians." On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court granted summary judgment to the Forest Service.
    The Appeals Court rules, "Pacific Rivers timely appealed the grant of summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the Forest Service’s analysis of fish in the 2004 EIS does not comply with NEPA. However, we conclude that the Forest Service’s analysis of amphibians does comply with NEPA. We therefore reverse in part, affirm in part, and remand to the district court."
    In a lengthy dissenting opinion, one Justice concludes, ". . .the majority makes two fundamental errors: First, it reinvents the arbitrary and capricious standard of review, transforming it from an appropriately deferential standard to one freely allowing courts to substitute their judgments for that of the agency. . . Second, the majority ignores the tiering framework created by NEPA. Because the majority ignores such framework, it fails to differentiate between a site-specific environmental impact statement (EIS) and a programmatic EIS that focuses on high-level policy decisions. . ."
    Access the complete opinion and dissent (click here). [#Land, #Water, #Wildlife, #CA9]

Federal Register Highlights
The following is a summary from our Daily REGTrak Bulletin* for:
Thursday, June 21, 2012. 
Federal Register
Vol. 77, Issue 120
    1. AIR - PR/NM/Comment Extension. EPA. National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines; New Source Performance Standards for Stationary Internal Combustion Engines PDF | Text |
    2. AIR - NS. EPA. Proposed Settlement Agreement; Re: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (the RICE NESHAP) PDF | Text |
    3. ENERGY/Pipeline - NM. DOT/PHMSA. Pipeline Safety: Notice of Public Workshop To Discuss Implementing Incorporation by Reference Requirements of Section 24 of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 PDF | Text |
ANPR - Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; FR - Final Rule; FRD - Direct final rule; FRI - Interim final rule; ICR - Information Collection Request; ND - Notice of data, information, reports, etc. availability; NF - Notice of Funding Opportunity; NM - Notice of Meeting; NS - Notice of administrative/court settlement; PR - Proposed Rule; ROD - Record of decision
*If you need further information on the above announcements you may want to subscribe to our REGTrak service. Subscribers receive a complete Federal Register summary of nationally applicable environmental announcements, contact information and direct links to the full-text of each announcement (pdf & html) before 8 AM each day for $139 per year (click here). You can also access our Federal Regulatory website and follow the links from there (click here).
Article Coding:   [Air] = Air; [All] = Cross-Media, ecosystems; [Climate] Climate Change; [Drink] = Drinking Water; [Energy] = Energy; [GLakes] = Great Lakes; [Haz] = Hazardous Waste; [Land] = Land Use, Forests; [P2] Pollution Prevention, Sustainability; [Remed] = Remediation, Brownfields; [Tanks] = AST, UST; [Toxics] =Toxics, Pesticides; [Transport] = Transportation; [Solid Waste];  [Water] = Water; [Wildlife] = Wildlife, Endangered Species.


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