A new report says the stage is set for some dramatic confrontations over proposed regulations that will pit the White House and the EPA against a Republican Congress.
Bloomberg BNA’s 2015 Environment and Energy Policy Outlook focuses on some of the most hotly debated issues in Congress.
“From climate change to Keystone XL to hydraulic fracturing, environment and energy issues are front and center this year — and White House and EPA priorities in these areas are under assault by a Republican Congress that warns against negative impacts on business,” said Larry Pearl, director of the environment, health and safety news division at Bloomberg BNA. “With President Obama highlighting energy and the environment in the recent State of the Union, these issues will be at the forefront of debate on Capitol Hill.”
Climate change: The EPA is slated to finalize landmark climate regulations governing carbon emissions from power plants, an issue being closely watched by industry. The prospects for a global U.N. climate change treaty being signed in Paris this winter are also highlighted. This accord could for the first time commit developed and developing nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Water quality: A final rule clarifying the definition of the “waters of the U.S.” is likely to garner the most attention from Congress and industry. The rule could significantly expand the scope of the Clean Water Act and may be challenged by the Republican-controlled Congress.
Air quality: The EPA will complete several significant air regulations, including a final decision on national ozone standards. This is a priority issue for industry groups, which are concerned that a more stringent standard could be the most costly regulation the EPA has ever issued, and public health and environmental groups, which support a more rigorous standard.
Energy: Interior Department regulations to update standards on oil and gas drilling and production, including hydraulic fracturing, will help keep tensions high among the federal government, industry and state governments on energy regulation in 2015. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is strongly supported by the Republican-controlled Congress, but getting enough Democratic support in the Senate to override a promised veto from President Obama remains doubtful. And with Republicans in control of the Senate, a proposed repository for radioactive commercial spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada might advance.
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