House Republicans are getting more aggressive in their effort to transform obscure provisions of a 2005 energy law into the strands that unravel EPA’s carbon-emissions rules for newly constructed power plants.
The Energy and Commerce Committee’s GOP leaders, in a new letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, demand the names of people at EPA who determined that the proposed emissions rules don’t run afoul of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
The letter also seeks a slew of internal documents.
Here’s what the fight is about: The 2005 law authorizes tax credits and Energy Department funding for projects using technology that traps carbon emissions from coal-based energy projects.
But provisions in the same law say a technology can’t form the basis for future EPA regulations simply because it’s deployed at these “clean-coal” projects.
EPA rules proposed in September would require future coal-fired power plants to trap and store a substantial amount of their carbon emissions.
The 2005 provisions suddenly matter because EPA has pointed to Energy Department-backed projects when making the case that carbon capture and storage is far enough along to form the basis for the rule.
But EPA says it’s in the clear, because this handful of projects backed under the 2005 law are far from the sole basis for the agency’s determination that CCS is ready for prime time.
The agency, in a detailed memo released several weeks ago, said it also reviewed projects that aren’t funded under the 2005 law and other information.
But Republicans say they’re not convinced. The letter seeks expansive documentation from EPA on the topic, such as internal emails and communications with other agencies.
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The Signal app is fast becoming the new favorite among those who are obsessed with the security and untraceabilty of their messaging. Just ask the Democratic National Committee. Or Edward Snowden. As Vanity Fair reports, before news ever broke that the DNC's servers had been hacked, word went out among the organization that the word "Trump" should never be used in their emails, lest it attract hackers' attention. Not long after, all Trump-related messages, especially disparaging ones, would need to be encrypted via the Snowden-approved Signal.
The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.
According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.
"GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution" on the budget this fall "that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays." As usual, however, the House Freedom Caucus may throw a wrench in Speaker Paul Ryan's gears. The conservative bloc doesn't appear willing to accept any CR that doesn't fund the government into 2017.