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Federal Climate Actions

The Georgetown Climate Center strives to strengthen state-federal partnerships and to maximize efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop the clean energy economy at all levels of government. The Center works closely with federal officials and informs stakeholders about the potential effect of federal actions on state revenue and programs.  As part of that effort, the Center tracks and analyzes federal climate legislation and regulation.

News and Updates

On June 26, 2012, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld four EPA rules related to the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The rules and related actions were challenged by state and industry petitioners in four related cases. (Lead case: Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA,  D.C . Cir., No. 09-1322).

In a unanimous unsigned opinion, the three-judge panel denied challenges to the EPA’s Endangerment Finding, Light Duty Vehicle Rule, and application of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program to GHGs. The court found that the agency’...

On March 27, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed greenhouse gas emission limits for newly constructed power plants. The New Source Performance Standards would specifically limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity produced.

The proposed standard applies to fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units larger than 25 megawatts, but would not apply to existing power plants or new permitted plants that start construction within the next twelve months.

EPA expects that new natural gas combined cycle power plants will be able to meet the proposed standard without additional...

The U.S. Senate passed S. 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), on March 14, 2012.   MAP-21 is a two-year transportation reauthorization bill with $109 billion in total funding. 

The Georgetown Climate Center has a prepared a summary of the bill, with particular focus on provisions that affect states.  To view the summary, click here.

The House must still take action on a bill, which may not happen until mid-April, according to...

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument on February 28th and 29th in four cases where petitioners challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of greenhouse gases and related actions under the Clean Air Act. 

The petitioners challenged EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) endanger public health and welfare, as well as GHG regulations “triggered” by that finding, specifically regulations for new motor vehicles in the “light duty vehicle rule” and for very large new and modified stationary sources in the “tailoring rule.” Taken together these regulatory actions represent EPA's response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, where the court held that GHGs are...

On January 11, 2012, EPA launched a new online data publication tool that provides the public with information on reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2010.   The database currently covers nine industry groups, including 29 source categories, that directly emit large quantities of GHGs, as well as suppliers of certain fossil fuels and high global–warming-potential gases.  Power plants, petroleum refineries, and chemical plants were the largest sources of emissions required to report. As mandatory GHG reporting expands to more sources, the data from these will be...

On December 29, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Goldstene, holding that California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.  The court also granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction, prohibiting enforcement of the LCFS until the litigation is completed. 

Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill acted in response to summary judgment motions filed by California and by two groups of plaintiffs – one associated with corn ethanol producers and led by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), and one associated with petroleum producers, refiners and users led by the...

On December 30, 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay against implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).  The CSAPR sets emissions budgets for 28 states whose emissions of SO2, NOx, and/or ozone currently represent a significant impediment to another state’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) attainment in an average year.  The rule was finalized by EPA on August 8, 2011, with technical revisions proposed on October 6, 2011, and was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2012.

The case in which the...