Regulatory policy

Climate Policy Update: Methane Emissions, Social Cost of Carbon, Climate Week and More – Commentary

The carbon tax will accelerate the reduction of methane emissions
The “social cost of carbon” challenged in court
Climate targets uncertain if FERC chairman’s term expires
EPA seeks guidance on carbon standards for fossil fuel power plants
Climate Week takes place in New York
Denver climate fund raises $67 million
Newsom opposes taxing millionaires to fund air pollution reduction programs
CARB proposes new regulations to reduce emissions in the transport sector
Environmentalists win battle against construction of $9.4 billion plastic complex

This article outlines relevant legal and policy developments related to climate change in the United States over the past week.(1)

The carbon tax will accelerate the reduction of methane emissions

The Cut Inflation Act 2022 includes the Methane Emissions Reduction Scheme, which establishes a methane charge effective January 1, 2024. The methane charge applies to specific petroleum and natural gas companies that are currently required to report methane and other greenhouse gas emissions through the Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The charge applies to emissions from a facility that exceed 25,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The “social cost of carbon” challenged in court

On September 14, 2022, judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit questioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about its intention to use a social cost estimate to determine the climate impact of certain projects. Environmental advocates had urged FERC to use a social cost estimate, but the metric remains controversial.

Climate targets uncertain if FERC chairman’s term expires

Although FERC Chairman Richard Glick’s term ends at the end of the session of Congress, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee has not scheduled a reconfirmation hearing. Sen. Joe Manchin, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, previously pushed back against Glick’s ambitious climate program but recently praised its work, leaving Glick’s future uncertain.

EPA seeks guidance on carbon standards for fossil fuel power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking stakeholder input on the implementation of carbon standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. The EPA is expected to release proposals on limiting carbon from power plants in the first quarter of 2023.

Climate Week takes place in New York

“Climate Week NYC 2022” ran from September 19-25, 2022 in New York City, bringing together “the most influential leaders in climate action from business, government and the climate community.” The event covered 10 themes: built environment, energy, environmental justice, transportation, finance, sustainable living, nature, politics, industry and food. The organisers, Climate Group, aim to achieve net zero emissions globally by 2050.

Denver climate fund raises $67 million

Following Denver residents’ 2020 approval of a local sales tax increase, the additional 0.25% tax raised $67 million “to mitigate the causes of climate change,” including more than half goes “to Denver communities most affected by the impacts of climate change.”(2) So far, the measure has raised funds for:

  • more than 2,000 new trees;
  • a free micro-shuttle on request;
  • renovation of apartments; and
  • new positions in workforce development programs.

Newsom opposes taxing millionaires to fund air pollution reduction programs

Governor Gavin Newsom was featured in an ad against Proposition 30 – a ballot measure that “provides funding for programs to reduce air pollution and prevent wildfires by raising taxes on personal income over $2 million”. If approved by Californians, the measure would require the California Air Resources Board (CARB), among other agencies, to provide incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles.

CARB proposes new regulations to reduce emissions in the transport sector

CARB unveiled a proposal that prohibits manufacturers from selling new diesel or gas-powered medium and heavy-duty trucks by 2040. According to CARB, the proposals “will help meet state pollutant criteria and of [greenhouse gas] reduction goals as well as cleaner technology goals needed to protect communities,” and are expected to “save more than 5,000 California lives between 2024 and 2050.”

Environmentalists win battle against construction of $9.4 billion plastic complex

On September 15, 2022, Judge Trudy White of Louisiana’s 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge ruled in favor of climate activists, blocking construction of 10 chemical plants and four other major facilities in a highly industrialized section of the Mississippi River. . The decision is under review by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information on this subject, please contact Kenneth J Markowitz, Stacey H Mitchell, Dario J. Frommer Where Christopher A Treanor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP by phone (+1 202 887 4000) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] Where [email protected]). The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP website can be accessed at www.akingump.com.

Leila Fleming, Public Policy Specialist, assisted in the preparation of this article.

Endnotes

(1) For other updates, including upcoming congressional hearings, news and climate events from federal agencies, click here. For the previous week’s update, click here.

(2) “Climate Protection Fund”, Denver.