As a follow up to yesterday’s post, President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order (the “Order”) has now been posted on the White House website, a summary of which can be found here. Over the last week, many pundits and industry insiders have speculated on its contents, with many having a fairly clear crystal
Section 1 of the Order sets forth various policy objectives, many of which (e.g., clean, reliable, affordable, safe energy) are goals that should garner bi-partisan support. How these policies are interpreted by the various heads of agencies will be one factor guiding America’s energy future. Another policy factor may be critical, contained in section 1(d), that “all agencies should take appropriate actions to promote clean air and clean water for the American people, while also respecting the proper roles of Congress and the States concerning these matters in our constitutional republic.” This interplay between various states’ initiatives (and those states’ renewable portfolio standards) and the direction in the Order may impact the overall direction and tone set in the Order.
Continue Reading Brief Overview of President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order
President Trump and four executives of his administration held a press conference this afternoon in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Map Room. Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy), Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator), and Vice President Michael Pence provided opening remarks, flanked by coal mining representatives. Secretary Perry started by noting it…
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson granted himself a continuance last week to make his decision on whether to grant Texas Governor Rick Perry’s request for a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). As an attorney accustomed to living with deadlines, I certainly appreciate the lure of being able to grant oneself a continuance. Like many others participating in the biofuels industry, however, it is somewhat frustrating to encounter yet another delay on the policy front.
To be fair, Administrator Johnson has his work cut out for him in resolving this issue. Advocates on both sides see potentially substantial impact from a decisive ruling on the waiver. The waiver provision has been described as a pressure relief valve for the RFS. The interesting thing about this pressure valve is that no one knows what pressure the valve will withstand before it releases. Oil industry advocates would prefer a “hair trigger” type pressure release valve whereas biofuel advocates would like to see a more robust fixture.
Governor Perry’s request has some unique attributes. He actually based his request not on the RFS causing difficulty for the petroleum industry- which would have been difficult since ethanol has typically been less costly than gasoline and in ample supply- but on food and livestock supply arguments. Governor Perry’s request also precedes the ramp up period in the RFS when the real challenges will likely begin and thus his request could be viewed as an early attempt to hobble the RFS.
Let us hope that cooler heads prevail. Given the tremendous energy security and cost issues presently caused by our fossil fuel dependence, now is not the time for the EPA to start buckling on the RFS. As noted by the NBB’s CEO, Joe Jobe, "If the RFS is waived or cut in half in 2008, then the growth of all biofuels, including ‘advanced biofuels’ such as biodiesel, will be severely hindered." As Jobe and others have noted, these advanced biofuels may hold the real key to relieving the pressure on both fuel and food prices in the future. Continue Reading EPA Stalls Regarding RFS Waiver