Canada PM won’t accept US rejection of Keystone pipeline
September 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm by Associated Press
By Rob Gillies
TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s prime minister said Thursday he “won’t take no for an answer” if the Obama administration rejects the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the Keystone XL project, a flashpoint in the debate over climate change, during a visit to New York City. The long-delayed project carrying oil from Canada’s oil sands needs approval from the U.S. State Department, and Harper’s remarks are some of his strongest to date.
“My view is that you don’t take no for an answer,” Harper said. “We haven’t had that but if we were to get that it won’t be final. This won’t be final until it’s approved and we will keep pushing forward.”
Capitol Hill: Republicans could force Keystone XL approval with must-pass debt bill
Harper, who made the remarks at a Canadian American Business Council event, said he’s been in regular contact with President Barack Obama. Harper said it will create 40,000 jobs in the U.S.
“The logic behind this project is simply overwhelming,” the prime minister said.
Harper said politics has cast doubt on whether the pipeline will be approved but said he’s optimistic it will be approved.
“Ultimately, over time, bad politics make bad policy,” he said. “The president has always assured me that he will a make decision that’s in what he believes is in the best interests of the United States based on the facts. I think the facts are clear.”
The Obama administration is considering whether to approve the pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta across six U.S. states to the Texas Gulf Coast. A decision late this year or early next year.
Pew: Americans support Keystone, oppose hydraulic fracturing
Republicans, and business and labor groups, have urged the Obama administration to approve the pipeline as a source of much-nee
Texas-based biofuels company plans expansion
September 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm by Associated Press
By Jeff Amy
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Texas-based company has announced that it plans to double the production capacity at its biofuels production facility in Columbus, Miss.
KiOR Inc., based in Pasadena, announced Wednesday in a news release that it will build a second plant in Columbus that converts wood products to diesel and gasoline.
The company has to raise $225 million to pay for it though, which would mean selling more stock or borrowing more money. KiOR said it has raised another $50 million from investor Vinod Khosla, who has been a major financier for the company.
The company missed its estimates of how much fuel it would make in the second quarter, although it said output rose in July and August. Because it was running out of cash, it had a compelling need to raise money.
Cellulosic fuel: KiOR ships first production of wood chip-based diesel
In moving ahead in Columbus, KiOR will put off the start of construction of a larger facility in Natchez, Miss., until late 2014. The company said in August it would cost $560 million to $600 million to build the Natchez plant.
When the state of Mississippi made a $75 million low-interest loan in 2010, KiOR pledged to develop three plants in the state by the end of 2015, including one in the southwest. The company also agreed to invest $500 million in land and buildings and spend $85 million on wages and contract by the deadline. The company is also supposed to create 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Spokeswoman Kate Perez said the company is still on track to meet the deadline. “Our plans will allow us to meet our contractual obligations with the state,” she said.
Perez declined to say whether the company would count the two Columbus phases as separate plants to meet the three-plant requirement.
“I think it’s a fair question to ask,” said Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Golden Triangle Development Li
Natural gas loses steam for power generation
September 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm by Emily Pickrell
The rising price of natural gas relative to coal is putting a drag on its attractiveness for power generation.
Natural gas used for electricity in the United States fell by 14 percent during the first seven months of 2013, compared with the same time period in 2012, according to a report this week from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The slowdown has come as U.S. natural gas prices have rebounded from a 2012 low of $2.39 per million British thermal units. Natural gas currently trades at about $3.50 per million British thermal units.
Even with the price increase, natural gas generation remains higher than before 2012, indicating a longer term, gradual shift away from coal. Coal now accounts for 39 percent of the fuel used to generate the nation’s power needs, down from 42 percent in 2011.
In Texas, the reduction of coal use has not been as dramatic as nationwide, because Texas power plants use a greater proportion of lignite coal, which is cheaper than the Powder River Basin coal used in many East Coast plants. Texas also has lower transportation costs for coal, making its use relatively more attractive than in other parts of the country.
The proposed tightening of emissions regulations also has encouraged power companies to invest in natural gas. The Obama administration recently proposed carbon emission limits on coal plants, which is expected to further raise the cost of investing in coal plants.
Nuclear power has remained stable in the last three years, making up about 10 percent of total power generation. Since 2012, five nuclear reactors at four nuclear power plants have been shut down. However, despite these closures, which have consisted of aging facilities, power generation companies are continuing to invest in diversified power sources, and build additional nuclear facilities, such as the Vogtle plant in Georgia. As a result, nuclear power is ex
House Republicans shift Obamacare demands to next fiscal fight VIDEO
Updated at 12 p.m. ET
Now that Congress has inched closer to passing a government spending bill without defunding Obamacare, House Republicans are shifting their campaign against the health care law to the next looming fiscal fight -- the debt limit.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Thursday that House Republicans are introducing legislation "that ties important spending cuts and pro growth reforms to a debt limit increase."
Those reforms include delaying parts of Obamacare for a year, tax reforms and provisions to reduce energy costs, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said. More specifically, the plan reportedly includes provisions that address the development of the Keystone XL pipeline, EPA carbon regulations, coal ash regulations, parts of the Dodd Frank Act and more.
Senate votes unanimously to move forward on spending bill
Constant deadlines create crisis mode in Congress
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned Congress that if the U.S. doesn't raise the debt limit -- its legal borrowing authority -- by Oct. 17, the U.S. will no longer be able to borrow enough money to pay its bills.
President Obama has repeatedly said he refuses to negotiate over the debt limit given the potentially dire consequences of failing to raise it. In the worst case scenario, the U.S. could default on its loans. In 2011, the stock market fell 2,000 points and the United States' credit rating was lowered because of the mere threat of a default.
"This is the United States of America, we're not a deadbeat nation, we don't run out on our tab," Mr. Obama said at an event in Maryland Thursday. "We are the world's bedrock economy, the world's currency of choice. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable. You don't mess with that. That's why I will not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America."
Ethanol Tumbles Versus Gasoline as Producers See Cheaper Corn
September 25, 2013
The spread, or price difference, widened 9.42 cents to 83.12 cents a gallon as ethanol dropped with corn, the primary feedstock for the fuel in the U.S.
Ethanol tumbled versus gasoline this week on speculation that producers of the biofuel are seeing lower corn costs as the harvest begins.
The spread, or price difference, widened 9.42 cents to 83.12 cents a gallon as ethanol dropped with corn, the primary feedstock for the fuel in the U.S. The harvest is usually from September to November.
"We see producers out here really pushing it down, they’re selling," said Jim Damask, a manager at StarFuels Inc., in Jupiter, Florida. "Corn must be showing up. They must be getting their hands on some cheap corn."
Denatured ethanol for October delivery sank 5.8 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.828 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures have declined 17 percent this year.
Gasoline for October delivery gained 3.62 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $2.6592 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract covers reformulated gasoline, made to be blended with ethanol before delivery to filling stations.
One bushel of corn makes at least 2.75 gallons of ethanol. Farmers responded to last summer’s drought that devastated yields by planting record acres of the grain.
Corn for December delivery slumped 4.5 cents, or 1 percent, to $4.4875 a bushel in Chicago. The December crush spread of corn to ethanol was minus 3 cents, down from break-even yesterday. All crush spreads through July 2016 were negative.
In cash market trading, ethanol dropped 60 cents to $2.375 a gallon in Chicago, 25 cents to $2.20 in New York, 5 cents to $2.275 on the West Coast and 0.5 cent to $2.325 on the West Coast, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Chicago’s premium to New York Harbor contracted 35 cents to 17.5 cents, while the West Coast’s discount to the Gulf wid
Staying the course: Our obligation to renewable fuels
By former Gov. Mark Schweiker (R-Pa.) - 09/26/13 01:00 PM ET
Imagine if Thomas Edison had given up on the light bulb after only trying 533 out of 1600 materials for the bulb’s filamentor or if Sergey Brin and Larry Page had abandoned their search algorithm only one-third of the way towards creating Google. Now consider this: what if these pioneers had never achieved their goals due, not to lack of vision or innovation ability, but because they were told in no uncertain terms—you’ll never succeed.
We find ourselves in a similar situation over America’s Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. As an industry and a nation, we are a third of the way to achieving an incredible goal: replacing 36 billion gallons of petroleum-based fuel with American-made biofuels by 2022. Remarkable progress has been made in the few years since the RFS was introduced by Republican President George W. Bush, and implemented with support of Democratic President Barack Obama. The RFS has driven a 19 percent reduction in American dependence on oil from unstable regions of the globe; while also providing alternatives at the pump that reduce GHG emissions by 20 percent.
Still, those who fear progress have spent hundreds of millions of dollars hectoring renewable fuel investors and supporters in Congress every step of the way.
The RFS needs to be able to run its course in order to prove out, but the (self) interests who oppose the RFS and its impact on their bottom lines are hoping to thwart this vision in order to maintain the status quo – they might prefer a world in which the light bulb remained dim and the world was absent of search engines.
Congress must stay true to the original leadership and vision exhibited and recognize the opportunity the RFS presents and to protect it, in this, high-growth stage with more tangible impact. Otherwise we risk destabilizing the renewable fuel industry and the hundreds of companies that have st
State: Obama plan hits climate target
Ben Geman - 09/26/13 11:52 AM ET
President Obama’s climate plan would enable the U.S. to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, according to a new State Department report released Thursday.
The report arrives amid a big White House PR push to promote carbon standards for power plants, new appliance and equipment efficiency standards, interagency work to cut methane emissions and many other executive steps.
The report says Obama's second-term plan rolled out in June, combined with first-term actions, like auto mileage rules and work to boost green power generation, would help meet the emissions pledges that the U.S. has made in international climate talks.
U.S. emissions are already trending downward. Average U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in 2009-2011 fell to the lowest level for any three-year period since 1994-1996, the State Department said, but the report says more actions are needed.
“[S]ignificant new measures will be required to stay on track to reach the U.S. goal of achieving reductions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. By building on the success of the first term, the United States can achieve substantial further emission reductions consistent with this ambitious goal,” said the report, which is slated for delivery to the United Nations states.
Increased use of natural gas for electricity, which releases much less carbon dioxide than coal, has also driven down U.S. carbon emissions in recent years.
But environmentalists warn that stronger measures to control emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane from well sites are needed.
The State Department actually released two reports Thursday.
One is an every-four-years emissions report to the United Nations on emissions, which is based on existing policies. The second is a first-time, biennial report on planned climate actions to help meet U.S. pledges at recent U.N. climate negotiations.
John Boehner Refuses To Pass 'Clean' Bill To Avert Shutdown
Posted: 09/26/2013 1:04 pm EDT | Updated: 09/26/2013 1:11 pm EDT
WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) insisted Thursday that the government would not shut down, but he also flatly refused to pass a "clean" spending bill to keep Uncle Sam in business next week when the bank account runs dry.
"I do not see that happening," Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill after meeting with Republican legislators.
The House passed a measure last week to fund the government after Sept. 30 only if Democrats agree to strip spending from Obamacare. The Senate is in the process of removing the health care defunding and plans to send a simple spending bill back to the House by this weekend. That bill would keep the government running until Nov. 15.
Boehner declared, "I don't expect" the government to close. But he did not explain how he and his Republican caucus could amend the Senate bill, debate it, vote on it and send it back to the Senate for more action there before Oct. 1.
"There will be options available to us," Boehner said. "There's not going to be any speculation about what we're going to do or not do until the Senate passes their bill."
Many observers expect that the House will at least try again to delay Obamacare's implementation. Senate Democrats have repeatedly said they will not accept such a move, setting up another stalemate for Monday, the last day that the federal government can keep the doors open without a new bill.
Weekly Coal Production Data for week ended: September 21, 2013
Release date: September 26, 2013 | Next release date: October 03, 2013
For the week ended September 21, 2013:
•U.S. coal production totaled approximately 19.3 million short tons (mmst)
•This production estimate is 5.2 percent lower than last week's estimate and 0.7 percent lower than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2012
•Coal production east of the Mississippi River totaled 8.2 mmst
•Coal production west of the Mississippi River totaled 11.1 mmst
•U.S. year-to-date coal production totaled 727.7 mmst, 2.3 percent lower than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2012
comparable week in previous year
19,407 thousand short tonsWeekly U.S. coal production overview
Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report for week ending September 20, 2013
Released: September 26, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. | Next Release: October 3, 2013
Working gas in storage was 3,386 Bcf as of Friday, September 20, 2013, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 87 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 179 Bcf less than last year at this time and 30 Bcf above the 5-year average of 3,356 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 115 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 54 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 95 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,030 Bcf after a net injection of 25 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 50 Bcf above the 5-year average after a net addition of 8 Bcf. At 3,386 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.
EPA Selects Dominion Virginia Power As a 2013 Green Power Supplier of the Year
RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power has been named a 2013 Green Power Supplier of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The award recognizes green power suppliers that are leaders in offering voluntary renewable energy to their customers.
"This award speaks volumes about the 19,000 customers in Virginia who have chosen to support renewable energy development in Virginia," said Ken Barker, vice president – Customer Solutions and Energy Conservation. "We are proud to be able to provide our Dominion Green Power® program as an innovative way for our customers to have a positive impact on the planet and support renewable energy to meet some or all of their home's energy needs."
"EPA is pleased to recognize Dominion Virginia Power's Green Power® program with a Green Power Supplier of the Year award for its innovative leadership in expanding the nation's renewable energy industry," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Through its support and development of new renewable energy capacity, Dominion Green Power is taking action against climate change and putting our country on a path to a clean energy future."
Since the program's inception in 2009, participants have supported more than 593,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy. The generation of this green power has prevented the same amount of carbon dioxide from entering the air as removing 80,400 average cars from the road for one year, or the equivalent environmental impact of planting 10.7 million trees that grow to maturity.
The Dominion Green Power Program® offers customers the option to match their home electricity use with renewable energy by either usage or in fixed monthly amounts. The fixed option starts at $2 and can be increased in $2 increments up to the customers' total energy usage. Each $2 block supports 154 kilowatt-hours of green power. The option based on usage adds 1.
More Wind & Solar Can Reduce Utility Costs and Emissions
By Andrew Burger · Comments (0) · Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Those opposed to spurring development and adoption of renewable solar and wind energy resources continually assert that their intermittent nature not only reduces grid reliability and raises the cost of electricity, but negates the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that contribute so greatly to their rapid adoption in the first place.
While it’s true that bringing greater amounts of solar and wind-generated electricity on grids means utilities have to cycle more frequently – ramp down and ramp up or stop and start – fossil fuel generators to ensure a smooth, reliable flow of electricity, a study by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that the carbon emissions that result from cycling are negligible – less than 0.2% – of the carbon reductions realized by generating electricity from the sun and winds.
Not only that, but the research revealed that bringing “high levels of wind and solar power [on to the grid] would reduce fossil fuel costs by approximately $7 billion per year across the West, while incurring cycling costs of $35 million to $157 million per year.” That amounts to an increase in operations and maintenance costs of only $0.47-$1.28 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generation for the average fossil fuel power plant, according to a September 24 NREL press release.
How can this be? The explanation lies in the fossil fuel costs utilities avoid by making greater use of solar and wind energy generation.
Avoiding fossil fuel costs, and pollution
According to Debra Law, the project manager for NREL’s study,
“Grid operators have always cycled power plants to accommodate fluctuations in electricity demand as well as abrupt outages at conventional power plants, and grid operators use the same tool to accommodate high levels of wind and solar generation.
“Increased cycling to accommodate high leve
Just in the last week 24 new stations have started offering E85. This brings the total number of stations offering this ethanol blend up to 139 this year. The expansion comes on the...
Grassley asks EPA if ethanol credit market is being controlled by Wall Street
4:26 PM, Sep 25, 2013 | by Christopher Doering
As controversy swells over the cost of special credits tied to ethanol, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley asked the agency charged with overseeing the country’s renewable policy for details on what is being done to prevent manipulation and abuse.
Grassley, in a letter sent Wednesday to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, expressed concern that not enough is known about the role speculators play in the market for credits known as Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs.
The RIN credit is a special serial number given to batches of biofuels before they are sold to refiners and gasoline importers looking to comply with a federal mandate to use a certain amount of ethanol. The credit was created by Congress. Instead of blending ethanol, the refiner can choose to purchase RINs to comply with the mandate.
But there has been concern that the credits, originally seen as a way for refiners and others tied to ethanol to comply with the mandate, have been used as an investment tool for big banks on Wall Street, helping to inflate the cost of the RINs. The fear is that the higher RIN prices have made it more expensive to produce motor fuel with ethanol, costs the oil industry says have then been passed on to consumers at the pump. Most fuel today contains 10 percent ethanol.
“The EPA needs to provide assurances that this market is functioning for its intended purpose, rather than acting as a profit mechanism for Wall Street banks and other financial institutions,” Grassley said in the letter sent Wednesday.
Grassley asked the EPA head nine questions, including what safeguards the agency has in place to protect against RIN market manipulation and abuse by those not directly involved in renewable energy. He also asked McCarthy whether the EPA is working to modify the RIN credit market to eliminate manipulation and abusive tradin
U.S. senator presses EPA on biofuel market volatility
WASHINGTON | Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:39pm EDT
(Reuters) - A U.S. senator is pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to release more information on the market used to trade biofuel credits, known as RINs, after suggestions of manipulation by Wall Street banks.
"I'm concerned about recent reports of manipulation or exploitation of the RIN market," Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a letter to U.S. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.
"Allegations that the opaqueness of this market is leading to abuse and exploitation by individuals or firms simply to generate profits at the expense of refiners, other obligated parties, and perhaps consumers is troubling," Grassley said.
Grassley is the second senator this week to raise alarm about the biofuel credits trading system.
RIN trading was created as a way to help refiners comply with their obligation under U.S. law to blend a certain amount of renewable fuels, such as corn-based ethanol, into their gasoline and diesel supplies.
Grassley, who represents the largest U.S. corn producing state, is a long-time supporter of that law, the Renewable Fuels Standard.
On Monday Debbie Stabenow, head of the Senate Agriculture Committee, asked U.S. futures regulators to investigate whether there was manipulation of the price of the credits, the formal name of which is Renewable Identification Numbers.
The EPA oversees the biofuels standard.
Grassley asked the agency to respond to questions about the RIN market in eight broad areas, including whether it is working to modify the trading system and whether the EPA has a strong enough oversight network to prevent abuses.
"The EPA needs to provide assurances that this market is functioning for its intended purpose, rather than acting as a profit mechanism for Wall Street banks and other financial institutions," he said.
Prices of RINs have been high and volatile this year, soaring from a few cents each in January to al
BIO Tells EPA to Just Say No to Big Oil’s RFS Waiver
Posted on September 25, 2013 by John Davis
Big Oil is trying to get out of its obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), but an organization with close ties to the biofuels industry is calling on the government to stand its ground. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is asking Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to reject the recent petition from American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers for a waiver of the 2014 volume obligations under the RFS. In an 11-page letter to the EPA, Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section said that Big Oil already enjoys great flexibility in planning and choosing how it will comply with the RFS, shooting holes in the petroleum industry’s argument that compliance would hurt the U.S. economy.
“BIO urges the EPA to deny the joint petition for several reasons. First, the petitioners do not meet the requirements to file the joint petition. The joint petition is also premature. The petitioners cannot demonstrate harm when the 2014 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) have not even been formally proposed.”
Erickson continues the 11-page letter, writing:
“The reality is that because they have blocked investment in infrastructure and created marketing challenges for higher blends of biofuels, the petitioners are now requesting the Administrator waive the 2014 RVOs to 9.7 percent of the domestic fuel supply. They created the very situation from which they are requesting relief.”
Erickson outlined the options Big Oil has, including accumulating Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) to meet its 2014 RFS RVOs. And he says “while some individual refiners may choose to restrict U.S. fuel supply as a compliance strategy, market competition and the increasing production of biofuels will work in tandem so such a restriction will not harm the U.S. economy or con
EPA publishes RIN data for August
By Erin Voegele | September 25, 2013
The U.S. EPA has published renewable fuels standard (RFS) compliance data for August, reporting that more than nearly 2.89 billion renewable identification numbers (RINs) were generated during the month.
No D3 cellulosic biofuel or D7 cellulosic diesel RINs were generated in August. However, on a year-to-date basis, 129,731 D3 RINs were generated, along with 85,313 D7 RINs. All cellulosic RINs have been generated by domestic producers.
According to EPA data, 97.34 million D5 advanced biofuel RINs were generated in August, accounting for 92.91 gallons of biofuel. During the first eight months of 2013, a total of 407.96 million D5 RINs have been generated. More than 12.29 million were generated for biogas, nearly 361.2 million generated for ethanol. In addition, 191,847 D5 RINs have been generated for renewable naptha, along with nearly 34.58 million RINs for renewable diesel. Approximately 61.93 million D5 RINs were generated by domestic producers. More than 346.35 million were generated by importers. No D5 RINs were generated by foreign producers.
Nearly 1.13 billion D6 renewable fuel RINs were generated in August, representing 1.12 billion gallons of fuel. During the eight month period spanning from January through August, approximately 8.64 billion D6 RINs have been generated. The vast majority, about 8.55 billion, have been generated by domestic producers, with 4.15 million generated by importers and 93 million generated by foreign producers. More than 8.55 billion D6 RINs were generated for ethanol, with approximately 4.79 million generated for biodiesel and 93.04 million generated for renewable diesel.
EPA data also indicates 271.32 million D4 biomass-based diesel RINs were generated in August, with 1.6 billion D4 RINs generated during the first eight months of the year. Most D4 RINs, 1.37 billion, were generated for biodiesel production. Renewable diesel accounted for approximately 2
EPA Inspector General recommends improvements to RFS monitoring
By Erin Voegele | September 25, 2013
The U.S. EPA Office of Inspector General has released a report recommending ways the agency should improve monitoring activities for the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program. According to the report, the audit was conducted in response to the generation of millions of dollars of fraudulent renewable identification numbers (RINs), and aimed to determine if EPA has assessed program risk and designed necessary controls in the RFS program.
According to the report, the EPA did not track submission of third-party engineering reviews or annual attest engagements because it does not have an electronic monitoring system for those reports. Until these materials are tracked, the Office of the Inspector General said the agency can’t be sure that program participants are complying with regulations. However the EPA recently implemented electronic reporting requirements for attest engagements and said it intends to do the same for engineering reviews by the end of the year.
The report also notes the investigation was unable to determine if there is overlap in parties completing the third-party engineering reviews and attest engagements. In addition, it specifies that regulations currently do not preclude the same third party from completing multiple requirements and other reporting responsibilities, allowing for potential overlap. This could result in a conflict of interest if the same third party reviews its own work.
The Office of Inspector General recommends that the EPA Office of Air and Radiation modify existing systems to track the submission of reporting requirements, and recommends requiring electrical submittal of all reporting requirements for the RFS, including third-party engineering reviews and attest engagements. It also suggests the EPA revise regulations to include specificity on independence requirements.
The EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation has agreed with
House GOP Debt Ceiling Offer To Include Pro-Wall Street Provisions, Health Care Cuts
Posted: 09/25/2013 11:21 am EDT
WASHINGTON -- House Republicans plan to demand major perks for coal companies and Wall Street banks, alongside healthcare and social service cuts and a one-year delay in the implementation of Obamacare, in exchange for raising the debt ceiling until the end of 2014, according to a source close to the House GOP leadership.
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have repeatedly stated that they will not negotiate over raising the debt limit, saying they will not make a political football of the U.S. government's creditworthiness.
The Republican plan, which would also constitute a significant overhaul of the environmental and financial regulatory system, would cut pensions for Federal employees and raise taxes on immigrant families with parents who do not have a Social Security number. The document claims $7 billion in savings from restricting the child tax credit to immigrants who do have a number, and up to $84 billion from "reform" to the Federal Employee Retirement System.
The plan would increase Medicare means testing, and would eliminate social service block grants and a fund for preventative healthcare in the Affordable Care Act that conservatives have characterized as a "slush fund." Block grants are a capped entitlement program given to states to help fund services like daycare, transportation and home-delivered meals. The Prevention and Public Health Fund has included funds for training primary care doctors and supporting healthy corner stores.
Coal and oil companies would benefit from provisions to expand offshore drilling and drilling on federal lands. The proposal blocks the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and coal ash, and would give Congress the power to veto any "major" regulation issued by a federal agency (because an affirmative vote would be required, Congress could
Senate votes to proceed with funding bill VIDEO
By Paul Kane and Ed O’Keefe, Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 11:26 AM
The Senate moved Wednesday to take up a House-passed temporary spending bill that defunds President Obama’s health-care law, despite Sen. Ted Cruz’s more than 21-hour attempt to delay the legislation.
Shortly after 1 p.m., the funding bill passed its first procedural hurdle in the Senate, which voted unanimously to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed on the House’s continuing resolution. The Senate now is scheduled to hold up to 30 hours of debate on the funding bill.
The development came after Cruz (R-Tex.) ended his marathon talking attack on the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law more than three years ago, at noon Wednesday when he ran into a deadline imposed by Senate rules, allowing the body to take up the funding bill aimed at averting a looming government shutdown.
The Senate then essentially choked off the first filibuster hurdle on its own version of the funding bill, marking the first step toward allowing Democrats to include funding for the health-care law that had previously been stripped out by the House.
But Cruz’s feat of stamina, which lasted 21 hours and 19 minutes, threatened to complicate House GOP efforts to pass the funding bill after the Senate modifies the House version.
Speaking on the Senate floor after Cruz ended his talkathon, Sen. John McCain blasted the freshman senator from Texas for suggesting during his speech that Republican lawmakers had not fought hard enough to stop the health-care law before Congress passed it in March 2010. McCain also vigorously objected to Cruz’s comparison of “pundits” who say that Obamacare cannot be defunded to politicians who appeased #$%$ Germany before World War II.
“I resoundingly reject that allegation,” McCain said. He said Cruz had told him that he was not comparing U.S. legislators to #$%$ appeasers, but McCain called that “a difference without