In docket R.20-05-003, its Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) proceeding, the California Public Utilities Commission is considering its preferred portfolio of new resources for the next ten years. A lengthy administrative law judge ruling issued August 17, 2021 set out a suggested Preferred System Plan (PSP) for the proceeding, including a suggested resource portfolio through 2032,
On December 21, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) set forth its plans to amend the state’s clean air rules to adopt Low-Emission Vehicles (LEV) and Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) standards, known as the Clean Cars Minnesota rule. As described in MPCA’s Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules with a Hearing, the LEV standard would require automobile manufacturers to deliver for sale in Minnesota only those vehicles that can meet California’s more stringent greenhouse gas and other air pollutant emissions standards. The ZEV standard would further require automobile manufacturers to deliver for sale in Minnesota a certain percentage of vehicles with no tailpipe emissions. Automobile manufacturers could comply with the ZEV standard through the delivery of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. If approved, the rule would apply to new passenger cars and light trucks beginning in 2024.
The rule’s LEV standard will prohibit motor vehicle manufacturers from exceeding the fleet average non-methane organic gas plus oxides of nitrogen emission values and fleet average greenhouse gas emission values contained in the California Code of Regulations. A vehicle manufacturer will have to submit an annual report to MPCA demonstrating that it did not exceed the fleet average emissions.
Continue Reading Minnesota drives forward with EV rules
Yesterday, California’s Third District Court of Appeal heard oral argument in the related cases California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board and Morning Star Packing Co. v. California Air Resources Board. The three-justice panel actively questioned both sides as lawyers for the State, the Chamber, Morning Star, and Environmental Defense Fund made…
The U.S. Supreme Court’s order on February 9, 2016 staying EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) will create at least a year of uncertainty about the shape of the future electric power regulatory framework, with implications for states, utilities and other electric power providers, and for the many other stakeholders potentially affected by the CPP. The CPP is the regulatory program issued by EPA on October 23, 2015, that requires states to develop plans to reduce carbon (CO2) emissions by meeting either state-specific mass caps (tons/year) or state-specific emission rate intensity limits (lb/netMWh). The CPP seeks to establish a whole new style of regulation using authority under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.
Supreme Court Halts CPP Implementation
Twenty-nine (29) states and a number of utilities, labor unions and trade associations challenged the legality of the CPP. These appellants sought a stay of the rule from the D.C. Circuit in November 2015. The petition for a stay was denied on January 21, 2016. The appellants then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court — a move that most pundits thought was futile as it is extremely rare for the Supreme Court to grant such a stay. In order to grant a stay, the Court needed to find that if the D.C. Circuit were to uphold the CPP, (1) there is a reasonable probability that four Supreme Court Justices would vote for review of the D.C. Circuit opinion; (2) there is a fair prospect that a majority of the Supreme Court would vote to reverse the D.C. Circuit’s opinion upholding the CPP; and (3) that there is a likelihood that immediate, irreparable harm would result from the denial of a stay. By granting the stay, it appears that five of the nine Supreme Court justices (Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas) indicated that they believe there is a fair prospect that they would vote to overturn the D.C. Circuit were the D.C. Circuit to uphold the CPP. The Court’s action prevents EPA from further implementation of the CPP until the petitioners’ appeal is decided. The underlying challenge to the CPP is proceeding on an expedited schedule with oral argument set for June 2 and 3, 2016.
In addition, another factor in the Court’s stay decision was likely the pending deadlines for states to take compliance actions. The deadline for states to submit initial plans demonstrating how they would comply with the CPP was September 6, 2016. While virtually all states were likely to request an extension for plan submittal until September 2018, states still needed to show progress on their plans by this September, and many states, including several of the 29 appellant states, were beginning the planning process.
Next Steps: Back to the D.C. Circuit
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan Implementation: Next Steps
Nebraska filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court on Wednesday, challenging the agency’s newly proposed standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. Nebraska argues that EPA’s proposed regulation, officially released last week, violates the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Act prohibits EPA from considering new technology or a level of emissions reduction to be “adequately demonstrated” under the Clean Air Act where the emissions reduction is achieved ‘solely by reason of the use of the technology’ by one or more facilities receiving funding under the Act. Under the Clean Air Act, any new source performance standard (NSPS) must be based on the “best system of emissions reduction” that EPA determines has been “adequately demonstrated.”
EPA has proposed a greenhouse gas NSPS for new fossil fuel-fired boilers, including coal-fired power plants, based on the partial implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS). EPA’s notice of the proposed NSPS cites to various facilities that have successfully implemented CCS, adequately demonstrating the commercial viability of the technology as a basis for the stringent greenhouse gas emissions standard of 1,000 to 1,100 lb CO2/MWh. The flaw, Nebraska argues, is that the very CCS projects that support EPA’s determination have all received significant funding under the Energy Policy Act, which prohibits EPA from considering such technology as “adequately demonstrated.” Nebraska, and other critics of the proposed standard, argue that the proposed NSPS would severely limit the construction of any new coal-fired plants in the U.S.
Nebraska’s lawsuit may be more of a political statement than anything, however. The suit challenges the proposed rule under the Administrative Procedure Act as a “final” action of EPA. The “proposed” NSPS was just released, however. The proposed rule is open for public comment until March 10, 2014 and may not be finalized by EPA until mid-2015. The Nebraska suit is wide open to challenge on the basis that the case is not ripe for judicial review until a final NSPS has been issued by EPA.
For more details on the proposed NSPS, including the standards proposed for natural gas-fired facilities,Continue Reading Nebraska Sues U.S. EPA Over Proposed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for New Power Plants
After a full day of testimony and deliberation on December 16, 2010, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the state’s Cap-and-Trade Program on a 9-to-1 vote. The Program is promulgated under the California Global Warming Solutions Act (A.B. 32) as a market-based compliance mechanism to help achieve reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG)…
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued its proposed greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, pursuant to the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). The proposed regulation builds on the conceptual framework for ARB’s cap-and-trade program, released in November 2009. The 45-day public comment period on the regulation opened yesterday and closes on December 15, 2010. Whether by design or happenstance, ARB released this latest on the cap-and-trade program just before Californians will vote today on whether to suspend AB 32 under ballot box Proposition 23. Proposition 23 would suspend AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.5% or less, for four consecutive quarters. Given that the state’s current unemployment rate is about 12%, and the unemployment rate has been below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters only three times since 1980, Proposition 23 could halt the implementation of AB 32 indefinitely.Continue Reading California’s Proposed GHG Cap-and-Trade Program Out for Public Comment
The U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) have established new federal rules for greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions standards for all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the US. The rules improve fuel efficiency, could save the average buyer up to $3,000 over the life of a 2016…
In response to a letter drafted by eight democratic senators and general industry adverse reactions, the EPA announced on February 22, 2010 that there would be delays to implementation of the regulation of green house gases as stationary source emissions under the Clean Air Act, …
As described in a previous alert, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") voted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 to adopt an interpretive release to provide guidance on existing public company disclosure requirements as they apply to business or legal developments relating to climate change. The SEC has now distributed the interpretive release itself, which can…