ICYMI: Energy & Environmental News Roundup

Environmental

Environmental Protection Agency Announces Drinking Water Action Plan

On Wednesday, November 30, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced its Drinking Water Action Plan (Plan), designed to improve water quality standards.  The Plan emerged partly in response to concerns over corrosion and lead contamination of drinking water infrastructure.  Among other items, the Plan proposes to improve water infrastructure in environmental justice communities, introduce electronic reporting of water quality and revise the Lead and Copper Rule.  The Drinking Water Action Plan can be found here.  Background on the EPA’s formulation of the Plan can be found here.

EPA Releases New List of Substances For Safety Review

On Tuesday, November 29, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of substances it proposes to review for unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.  Among the items on list are asbestos, tetrachloroethylene (commonly used in dry-cleaning), and solvent 1-Bromopropane.  More information on the EPA review can be found here.

Wisconsin AG Leads Multi-State Challenge to Cross State Air Pollution Regs

On Wednesday, November 30, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed suit against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to challenge emissions standards for nitrous oxide (NOx).  Those new standards, Schimel argued, impact Wisconsin disproportionately since NOx from neighboring states would flow to Wisconsin, which is both an upwind and downwind state, resulting in significant compliance costs.  Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, and Wyoming have also joined the litigation.  More information can be found here and here.

Oil & Gas

Wyoming and Montana Sue to Block Anti-Natural Gas Flaring Regulations

On Tuesday, November 22, state authorities in Montana and Wyoming sued the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to stop enforcement of a newly-issued regulation designed to curb the use of flaring, which is a method of controlled burning of natural gas that is unmarketable.  In the past, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expressed concern over emissions from flaring.  More information about the suit can be found here and more information on flaring can be found here.

Utilities

FERC Requested to Expand Its Antitrust Review of Utility Companies

In public comments released on Tuesday, December 29, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) counseled the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consider whether potential mergers would allow a utility to raise energy prices.  More information can be found here.

Sale of Carlyle-Funded Cogeneration Plant in Virginia Obtains FERC Approval

On Tuesday, December 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the sale of the 114.8 Megawatt James River cogeneration plant by subsidiaries of the Carlyle Group LP to City Point Energy Center LLC.  City Point plans to switch the James River plant from using coal to a combination of natural gas and landfill gas in order to generate steam for industrial use and electricity.  More information on the James River project can be found here and here.

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