EPA regulations and programs are forcing major changes on the energy industry—from new greenhouse gas controls to permitting requirements for natural gas hydraulic fracturing and underground injection of carbon—and 2012 will present key decisions for energy and environmental policymakers.
- Despite Patchwork Of State Fracking Rules, Industry Resists EPA Measures
A growing patchwork of varying rules from states struggling to keep pace with the natural gas boom and gain public confidence in the safety of hydraulic fracturing is prompting activists to call for EPA intervention with national rules, but industry is pushing back against any federal rules, despite typically opposing a patchwork state regulations.
- Appeals Court Expected To Uphold EPA Authority To Limit GHGs In 2012
A federal appeals court is likely to back EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act by upholding the agency’s finding that GHGs endanger health and welfare, observers say, but the court could still strike down climate regulations EPA issued using the risk finding as justification, meaning EPA could have to redo all of its GHG regulations.
EPA’s UIC Permit Program Faces Major New Duties With Limited Funds
EPA’s underground injection control (UIC) program is seeing a major expansion of its responsibilities as regulators prepare to permit previously unregulated activities, including hydraulic fracturing, carbon storage and stormwater control, to protect groundwater but state officials say funding still languishes far below permit needs.
New Clean Energy Policy Initiatives Face Uphill Battle as Election Looms
An array of unfinished legislative initiatives on energy policy await Congress in 2012, with most observers predicting that enactment is less likely than a heated election-year debate over the role of government incentives and regulations in supporting clean energy policies.
Nuclear Industry Faces Litany of Regulatory Uncertainties Post-Fukushima
Nuclear power supporters face another year of regulatory uncertainties in 2012, with ongoing revisions to several EPA rules and guidance documents adding to the uncertainty stemming the Fukushima power plant crisis in Japan, which might be the worst disaster in the industry’s history.