EPA Says Its Climate Plan Will Help Natural Gas—So Why Does the Biggest Oil and Gas Lobby Hate It?
Natural gas would be a winner in coming years under EPA's new plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants, a proposal that would push electricity production away from coal and toward cleaner-burning gas and renewables.
But that doesn't mean the Beltway's most powerful oil and gas lobbying group is going to endorse the proposal, or even stay neutral. Instead, the American Petroleum Institute has come out guns blazing, even though the rule is projected to boost demand for natural gas for several years (and the U.S. barely uses oil to make electricity anymore).
"The uncertainty created will have a chilling effect on energy investment that could cost jobs, raise electricity prices, and make energy less reliable," API President Jack Gerard said.
In contrast to API, America's Natural Gas Alliance, a group that represents large independent gas producers, offered an agnostic take that steered clear of any criticism and notes that ANGA looks forward to working with the administration on the rule as the "process moves forward."
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TOP ENERGY NEWS
EPA SCIENCE ADVISERS SHOW CARDS ON SMOG LIMITS. In a teleconference today, members of EPA's scientific advisory panel voted to recommend the agency tighten limits on ozone pollution to between 60 and 70 parts per billion, down from the current level of 75 ppb. The upper limit of 70 ppb—in line with what EPA proposed in 2011 before the White House snuffed out the revision—might not sit well with green groups, who sought a standard as low as 60 ppb. The advisory board will issue a formal recommendation soon and EPA is expected to issue a proposal by Dec. 1.
HOW KEYSTONE GOT LABELED A TERRORIST THREAT. Environmentalists are launching a campaign to classify the Keystone XL pipeline a national security threat. NextGen Climate has commissioned a report detailing the potential for a terrorist attack on the proposed oil-sands project. Its author? Dave Cooper, a senior operative from the U.S. special forces team that took down Osama bin Laden. (Clare Foran, National Journal)
TRANSCANADA HAS SHARP WORDS FOR STEYER. The company hit back on the terrorism threat assessment, saying that NextGen should have looked at threats to the entire network of U.S. pipelines and energy infrastructure if it wanted to present a fair report. TransCanada also said that comparing the potential for attacks on U.S. pipelines to attacks on pipelines abroad was an "apples-to-oranges" comparison.
EPA CHIEF DUCKS ZOMBIE INQUIRY. Most transparent administration ever? Try telling that to the Reddit user who asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about the odds of a zombie apocalypse. "Probably a better question for the CDC!," McCarthy replied during an "Ask Me Anything" session on the website about EPA's draft rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants.
OBAMA'S PLAYING THE LONG GAME ON CLIMATE. The climate rule rollout ahead of the 2014 elections may not be a politically well-timed move. But the president isn't following the political calendar when it comes to taking action on global warming. He's following a regulatory timeline. (Lucia Graves, National Journal)
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GERMANY EYES NEW FRACKING RULES. The country will soon issue regulations to restrict hydraulic fracturing from taking place near protected wetlands and waterways. The proposed regulatory regime is also expected to call for mandatory environmental assessments of fracking sites. (Markus Wacket, Gernot Heller, Madeline Chambers, Reuters)
CHAMBER HITS BACK AMID CLIMATE-RULE CRITICISM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken a lot of heat for its analysis of the carbon rule that was calculated before the draft rule was formally released. The chamber hit back on Wednesday with a lengthy defense. In short, the chamber states that it was working with its best guess of what the rule would look like based on stated administration carbon-reduction targets. It goes on to say that since the carbon cuts could be made deeper, and many environmentalists are hoping they will be before the rule is finalized, the report may end up being a more accurate prediction of price increases than critics say. Read the entire rebuttal here.
TRANSCANADA CHARGES AHEAD ON PIPELINE. But not the one you think. On Wednesday the company announced that it will move forward with the Merrick Mainline pipeline, a $1.74 billion project, that will move natural gas to the Pacific Coast. TransCanada has already inked contracts with Chevron and Apache to transport gas through the pipe. (Carolyn King, Wall Street Journal)
AN OIL COMPANY IS ONE STEP CLOSER TO DRILLING NEAR A PANTHER REFUGE. A state administrative judge ruled Tuesday that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection can issue a permit to a Texas-based company to drill an exploratory well in southwest Florida near the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge. (Marina Koren, National Journal)
CORRUPTION CLOUDS VENICE FLOOD PROJECT. Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni was arrested as part of a corruption case linked to a massive flood-protection plan known as Project Moses. (Jim Yardley and Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times)
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
GRIMES TAKES AIM AT OBAMA. Kentucky Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes teed off against the administration with a new radio ad Wednesday aimed squarely at Obama. The ad attacks the climate rule, saying, "Mr. President ... your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie in the sky regulations that are impossible to achieve." The radio hit is part of a six-figure ad buy aimed at distancing the Democrat from the commander in chief on coal.
RAHALL FACES ATTACK OVER CLIMATE RULE. Fossil-fuel advocacy group American Energy Alliance starts running television and online ads Wednesday in West Virginia slamming Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall for failing to protect the state from EPA regulations. Watch the ad here.
#NOTASCIENTIST. Left-leaning advocacy group Americans United for Change wants to turn the latest conservative talking point on climate change into a political liability. The group released an ad on Wednesday that features a round-up of Republicans from Sen. David Vitter to Rep. Don Young claiming that they aren't qualified to assess the science behind global warming. Watch the video here.
WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING
WILL THE CLIMATE RULE CREATE WINNERS AND LOSERS? What power sources stand to gain a leg up in energy markets once the regulations have been set in stone? What staples of the U.S. power supply stand to suffer?
"Coal-fired power plants are our nation's largest and dirtiest source of carbon emissions. The primary thing we stand to lose from regulating them is the tons and tons of extra carbon emissions in our atmosphere." —Jamie Rappaport Clark, president, Defenders of Wildlife.
POWER-PLANT RULE SEMINAR. Resources for the Future holds a seminar on "Making Sense of EPA's Proposed Rule for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Power Plants."
CARBON BRIEFING. The United States Energy Association holds a briefing on "U.S. Geological Survey National Assessment of Geologic CO2 Storage Resources and Associated Research."
CLIMATE CONFERENCE. The American Association for the Advancement of Science holds a conference on "Climate Change Resilience: Governance and Reforms."
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