Monday, January 30, 2017

UPDATED: Trump Issues Order Requiring Repeal Of 2 Regulations For Every 1 New One Proposed

President Trump Monday issued an Executive Order putting a cap on new regulations issued by federal agencies.  It requires agencies to eliminate 2 old regulations if a new regulation is proposed, unless prohibited by law.
Trump also set an incremental cost of all new regulations at zero, unless otherwise required by law or consistent with advice provided in writing by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director).
The agencies were also ordered to offset the incremental cost of new regulations, to the extent permitted by law, with elimination of existing costs.  "Any agency eliminating existing costs associated with prior regulations under this subsection shall do so in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act and other applicable law."
The Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget will provide the heads of agencies with guidance on the implementation of the Order.  
“Such guidance shall address, among other things, processes for standardizing the measurement and estimation of regulatory costs; standards for determining what qualifies as new and offsetting regulations; standards for determining the costs of existing regulations that are considered for elimination; processes for accounting for costs in different fiscal years; methods to oversee the issuance of rules with costs offset by savings at different times or different agencies; and emergencies and other circumstances that might justify individual waivers of the requirements of this section.”
The Order does not address situations where regulations may be required by law which would have to be repealed if old regulations are eliminated, regulations required by court order, where methods of calculating costs and benefits are stipulated by law, it does not address balancing costs and benefits of a regulation or address the benefits of a regulation at all.
The Order ends by saying, “This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.”
A copy of the Executive Order is available online.  Click Here to track other Presidential actions.
As one environmental activist said in reaction, "So you'll protect my drinking water but only in exchange for allowing oil drilling in national parks and more lead in my paint?"
Trump Signs 2 for 1 Order To Reduce Regulations

U.S. EIA: Natural Gas Set To Expand Capacity In Electricity Generation By 8% In Next 2 Years

The U.S. Energy Information Administration Monday reported the electricity industry is planning to increase natural gas-fired generating capacity by 11.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 and 25.4 GW in 2018, based on information reported to EIA.
If these plants come online as planned, annual net additions in natural gas capacity would be at their highest levels since 2005.
On a combined basis, these 2017–18 additions would increase natural gas capacity by 8 percent from the capacity existing at the end of 2016.
[Note: In Pennsylvania, there are enough natural gas power plants now being reviewed by DEP that could replace all coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania.]
Depending on the timing and utilization of these plants, the new additions could help natural gas maintain its status as the primary energy source for power generation, even if natural gas prices rise moderately.
The upcoming expansion of natural gas-fired electricity generating capacity follows five years of net reductions of total coal-fired electricity generating capacity. Available coal-fired capacity fell by an estimated 47.2 GW between the end of 2011 and the end of 2016, equivalent to a 15 percent reduction in the coal fleet over the five-year period.
The electricity industry has been retiring some coal-fired generators and converting others to run on natural gas in response to the implementation of environmental regulations and to the sustained low cost of natural gas.
The cost of natural gas delivered to power generators fell from an average price of $5.00 per million Btu (MMBtu) in 2014 to $3.23/MMBtu in 2015 and averaged $2.78/MMBtu from January through October 2016, the latest available data.
Expanded production from shale formations is one of the main reasons that natural gas prices have remained low in recent years.
Many of the natural gas-fired power plants currently under construction are located in Mid-Atlantic states and Texas, where the nation’s major natural gas shale plays are located.
Expanding natural gas pipeline networks also help support the growth in natural gas-fired electric generating capacity.
Based on projections in EIA’s January 2017 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), natural gas prices are expected to increase in both 2017 and 2018. Rising natural gas prices could lead developers to postpone or cancel some of the upcoming power plant additions.
Construction timelines for these plants are relatively short: more than half of the natural gas-fired generating capacity scheduled to come online in 2017 and 2018 was not yet under construction as of October 2016.
Rising natural gas prices could also encourage power generators to lower their use of natural gas-fired capacity. Despite the additions to capacity in 2017, the STEO forecast share of total U.S. generation supplied by natural gas falls from 34 percent in 2016 to 32 percent in 2017. In contrast, coal’s share of generation is projected to rise from 30 percent to 32 percent.
By 2018, however, the scheduled expansion of overall capacity fueled by natural gas is expected to more than offset the effect of higher natural gas prices and potentially reduced utilization, resulting in a slight increase in natural gas’s share of total U.S. electricity generation.
U.S. EIA: Natural Gas Set To Expand Lead Over Coal In Electricity Generation By 8% In Next 2 Years

Monday Feds NewsClips

Click Here for Updated Environmental NewsClips & News
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips & News
Add Green Works In PA To Your Google+ Circle

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump Issues Memorandums On Environmental Reviews, Pipelines, Infrastructure

President Trump Tuesday signed a series of Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda in keeping with his promise to reduce the burden of regulations and expedite high priority energy and infrastructure projects that will create jobs and increase national security--
-- Presidential Memorandum Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing:  With this Presidential Memorandum, President Trump helps fulfill the campaign promise of boosting domestic manufacturing by determining a plan of action for expediting approvals for manufacturing and reducing regulatory burdens.
Under this Presidential Memorandum, the Secretary of Commerce will conduct outreach to stakeholders and solicit comments from the public concerning Federal actions to streamline permitting and reduce regulatory burdens affecting domestic manufacturers.
The Commerce Secretary will submit a report to the President identifying recommendations to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens affecting domestic manufacturers. The report should identify priority actions as well as recommended deadlines for completing actions.  
-- Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects: With this Executive Order, President Trump will establish a framework for expediting environmental reviews for high priority infrastructure projects.
         Delays and other inefficiencies in the environmental review and permitting process are severely impeding critically important projects to rebuild and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, such as highways, bridges, tunnels, the electrical grid, ports, water systems, airports, railways and pipelines.
         According to one study, our antiquated power rigs wastes the equivalent of 200 coal-fired power plants, water pipes leak trillions of gallons of water, and gridlock on roads and railroads wastes hundreds of billions annually.
-- Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline: With this Presidential Memorandum, President Trump will help fulfill the campaign promise of initiating the process for approving the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is an 1,100-mile crude oil pipeline to connect oil production in Alberta, Canada to refineries in the United States.
Construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as oil production and refining activities related to it, would create tens of thousands of jobs for American workers, enhance our nation’s energy security, support affordable and reliable energy for American families, and generate significant State and local tax revenues that can be invested in schools, hospitals, and infrastructure.
-- Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline: With this Presidential Memorandum, President Trump directed the relevant Federal agencies (including the Army Corps of Engineers) to expedite reviews and approvals for the remaining portions of the Dakota Access Pipeline., a $3.8 billion, 1,100-mile pipeline designed to carry around 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to oil markets in the U.S.  
At this time, DAPL is more than 90 percent complete across its entire route.  Only a limited stretch of the project is not yet constructed. Timely review and approval of energy pipelines is critical to a strong economy, energy independence, and national security.
-- Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of American Pipelines: In keeping with his commitment to “Buy American, Hire American”, President Trump directed the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with all relevant executive departments and agencies, to develop a plan under which all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines, inside the borders of the United States, including portions of pipelines, use materials and equipment produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law.  The Secretary shall submit the plan to the President within 180 days of the date of this memorandum.

Tuesday Feds NewsClips

Click Here for Updated Environmental NewsClips & News
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips & News
Add Green Works In PA To Your Google+ Circle