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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 14th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

HOUSE VOTES TO BLOCK EPA METHANE REG: Lawmakers approved an amendment Wednesday to block funding for a key Obama administration methane pollution rule.

The House voted 218-195 to strip funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) effort to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas drilling sites. Eleven Republicans voted against the amendment, and 3 Democrats voted to block funding for the regulation.

The EPA finalized its methane rule in early 2016 as part of an Obama administration effort to reduce emissions of the pollutant. But under President Trump, the EPA has aimed to scale back the rule, proposing a two-year delay on the regulation while it conducts a further review.

The oil and natural gas industry consider the rule burdensome, and Republicans have worked hard to defund and undo the regulation.

That effort culminated this week in Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-Okla.) spending bill amendment designed to block EPA funding for implementation of the rule.

“This rule is currently facing litigation and uncertainty, and Congress must act to block this job-killing regulation estimated to cost the U.S. economy $530 million annually,” he said during debate last week.

Read more here:  thehill.com/policy/energy-environ…

EPA DELAYS TOXIC WATER POLLUTION STANDARDS: The EPA followed through Wednesday on its proposal to delay by two years some parts of the 2015 regulation on toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The extra two years for compliance, announced Wednesday, are intended to give the EPA time to revise the provisions of the Obama administration regulation, which it said last month it would do. Utilities that operate coal plants had asked for a rollback of the regulation earlier this year.

“Today’s final rule resets the clock for certain portions of the agency’s effluent guidelines for power plants, providing relief from the existing regulatory deadlines while the agency revisits some of the rule’s requirements,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

The delays specifically apply to two provisions in the 2015 regulation that mandated limits or pretreatment for flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport waste, which both come from the burning of coal.

Power plants would have had to start complying with those requirements by as early as November 2018.

Read more here:  thehill.com/policy/energy-environ…

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