News

Biden’s climate playbook: Propose strong rules, then soften them

Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

“The Supreme Court is hovering over EPA like a hungry cat at a mouse hole,” said Jeremy Symons, an EPA climate policy adviser in the Obama administration who is now a consultant. “EPA knows that the most effective regulations are the ones that will hold up to scrutiny from a hyperactive Supreme Court majority that is actively searching for the weak link in every rule.” EPA is trying to outfit its “regulatory mice in Kevlar” to withstand judicial scrutiny, even if it means slower progress toward Biden’s climate targets, he said.

North Dakota Republicans tackle eminent domain issue for carbon pipelines

Source: By Jeff Beach, North Dakota Monitor • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

The North Dakota Republican Party will vote on a resolution that backs the rights of landowners and objects to using eminent domain for carbon capture pipelines. The resolution was one of several approved by a committee this month and targets a project that Gov. Doug Burgum and some Republicans have supported – the carbon capture and storage project from Summit Carbon Solutions. While the project was not named in the resolution, it is the only large-scale carbon capture project in the state at the permitting stage, with the North Dakota Public Service Commission set to start a rehearing for the pipeline next month.

Electric Cars Pass the Tipping Point to Mass Adoption in 31 Countries

Source: By Bloomberg • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

New technologies have a tendency to blindside. When color TVs were introduced in the 1950s, for example, they seemed like a flop. The devices were expensive, programming was scarce, and after a decade on the market few homes had one. Then suddenly prices dropped, a ratings war ensued, and in just a few years most US households were watching The Jetsons in its futuristic palette. 

Exxon Says US Jet Fuel Policy Is Needed to Boost Investment

Source: By Michael Hirtzer, Bloomberg • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

Clearer policy from the Biden administration is needed to spur investment in green jet fuel and help bring down emissions for the aviation sector, according to Exxon Mobil Corp. The White House wants to increase output of so-called sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, but earlier in March missed a self-imposed deadline on guidelines on how crop-based forms of the fuel would qualify for tax credits. The administration has delayed setting rules as it tries to balance conflicting views from environmentalists and farmers during an election year.

Tester bill on small refineries irks ethanol lobby

Source: By Marc Heller, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

A bill introduced by Sen. Jon Tester raises a contentious point for the biofuel industry: How small does a fuel refinery have to be to sidestep biofuel-blending mandates? Tester, a Montana Democrat facing a tough reelection in a Republican state, proposed legislation this month that he said would better define which refineries qualify for the waivers issued for reasons of economic hardship, meaning they can temporarily skip federal renewable fuel standard requirements. Big, multinational companies would no longer be able to wiggle out of the requirements, he said.

Why some conservatives think EVs are bad for the environment

Source: By Francisco "A.J.” Camacho, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

Research that shows electric vehicles shed tires more quickly than their gasoline-fueled peers has been touted by conservative media outlets to suggest the environmental virtues of EVs are overblown. But the researcher behind that study says that while his work shows that battery-powered models do in fact wear down tires more quickly than their lighter gas-fueled counterparts — and that does produce particulate pollution — electric cars and trucks still produce far less carbon dioxide than internal combustion engine vehicles.

EPA extends credits for automakers, further relaxing car rule

Source: By Jean Chemnick, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

The EPA vehicle pollution standards released last week gave automakers more time than originally proposed to cut tailpipe emissions. But the March 20 final rule contains less-noted change that also helps car companies by extending two programs making it easier for manufacturers to meet emissions standards. EPA had proposed in April to phase out by 2031 an obscure yet crucial program that rewards automakers for vehicle features that aren’t measured in tailpipe tests, such as solar roofs and energy-efficient lighting.

Minnesota regulators approve Xcel’s scaled-back EV-charging plan

Source: By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

The Minnesota Public Utility Commission approved a slimmed-down plan from the state’s largest utility Thursday to boost electric vehicle adoption. Xcel Energy’s $44.5 million plan includes various initiatives aimed at eliminating barriers to expanded EV charging, as part of an effort to slash tailpipe emissions. The PUC unanimously voted to approve it, with slight modifications.

Can a race car save Biden’s EV agenda?

Source: By David Ferris, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

On a bluebird day last summer at Portland International Raceway, a banner at the fan village proclaimed: “Progress Is Unstoppable.” Kids pedaled stationary bicycles that charged their phones. Families lounged on pink beanbags while upbeat electronic music thumped. At the hydration station, smiling attendants offered water in compostable cups and — wait a minute, compostable cups? Where were the red plastic cups sloshing Budweiser and the country music? And why weren’t my nostrils tingling with the sweet and poisonous aroma of engines burning benzene? Just then a noise came from the direction of the track — a whistling sound like a boiling teakettle. A candy-colored race car blurred by, and the sibilant noise branched into a deep whoom. The spectators swiveled their heads open-mouthed. “Damn, they are catching some speed!” exclaimed a guy with a red beard. This is Formula E, the globe’s premier electric car race. Founded in a Paris cafe in 2011 by two environmentally conscious European businessmen with deep ties to Formula 1, Formula E was envisioned as a way to normalize electric vehicles by inventing a competition that would be part technology incubator, part public relations tour.

Iowa House passes eminent domain bill for pipelines

Source: By Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch • Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2024

A bill approved by the Iowa House on Thursday would allow landowners who are subject to eminent domain requests by carbon dioxide pipeline companies to challenge the legitimacy of those requests in court earlier in the permit proceedings. House File 2664 was approved by a bipartisan, 86-7 vote. Its future in the Senate is unclear.