Since the recent transmission of the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) to the Office of Management and Budget, obligated parties and affected stakeholders continue to visit federal officials regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed 2014 RVO standard, which outlines the standards for the upcoming year.
The House of Representatives recently considered and approved the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act which, if enacted, would repeal the current proposal and establish a consultation process that would involve federal agencies and state and local officials, with a proposed rulemaking developed and later issued based on the consultation process.
After receiving numerous requests to extend the comment period on the New Source Performance Standards proposal for existing sources, Acting Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe recently announced a 45-day extension. The comment period on the proposed rule, which would regulate carbon dioxide emissions for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, will now close on December 1.
There has been more controversy surrounding the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013, which would impose a variety of new energy efficiency standards. Further, the Energy and Commerce Committee recently released its third Renewable Fuel Standard Assessment White Paper, focused on greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.
Continuing a message from his January 2013 inaugural speech, President Obama devoted a portion of his State of the Union address to climate change. He surprised many with his request that Congress enact "market-based" climate change legislation. In addition, Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer recently held a public briefing focused on the science surrounding climate change.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently focused on finalising various priorities. As well as releasing a progress report on its study regarding the environmental safety of hydraulic fracturing, the EPA issued its long-awaited boiler maximum achievable control technology rule and final amendments to the 2010 cement manufacturing clean air standards.
Two Republican bicameral lawmakers have indicated that they will introduce and advance a concurrent resolution that would express the sense of Congress that a carbon tax is not in the best interest of the United States. While non-binding, such a vote could publicly gauge the support for a carbon tax.
Health policy issues are high on the agenda of the new Congress. The stated priorities for the new House majority include reducing drug prices, defending the Affordable Care Act, addressing the opioid abuse crisis and investigating the pharmaceutical industry. Given the potential for at least some bipartisan cooperation on each of these priorities, stakeholders in the healthcare industry should be prepared for legislative and regulatory opportunities and challenges.