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Proposed American Energy Renaissance Act of 2015

A bill has been submitted in Congress that if adopted will completely alter Federal energy policies and restrict or eliminate the ability of federal agencies to regulate activities that have potentially significant environmental impacts.. The so called “American Energy Renaissance Act of 2015” addresses everything from fracking, the Keystone XL Pipeline, drilling in the outer continental shelf, tribal lands and drilling for oil in Alaska to renewable fuel, the budget deficit and regulation of greenhouse gases.

The proposed act also restricts judicial review of actions pursuant to the bill, creates short statutes of limitation to seek judicial review, short periods for action by the applicable agencies to process permit applications and prohibits recovery of legal fees for challenges to actions.

While there are many aspects of the bill that would impact Climate Change policies, the sections below repealing renewable fuel standards,and preventing the EPA from adopting regulations that regulate greenhouse gases seem to be the provisions that most directly reject the concept of Climate Change. Moreover the bill proposes the “term ‘air pollutant’ does not include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfur hexafluoride.”

These are some of the more troubling provisions from a climate change perspective.

“Subtitle B-Repeal Of Renewable Fuel Standard
SEC. 6011. FINDINGS.
Congress finds that the mandates under the renewable fuel standard contained in section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545(o))-

(1) impose significant costs on American citizens and the American economy, without offering any benefit; and
(2) should be repealed.

SEC. 6012. PHASE OUT OF RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD.
(a) In General.-Section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545(o)) is amended-

(1) in paragraph (2)-

(A) in subparagraph (A)-

(i) by striking clause (ii); and
(ii) by redesignating clauses (iii) and (iv) as clauses (ii) and (iii), respectively; and
(B) in subparagraph (B), by striking clauses (ii) through (v) and inserting the following:

“(ii) CALENDAR YEARS 2014 THROUGH 2019.-Notwithstanding clause (i), for purposes of subparagraph (A), the applicable volumes of renewable fuel for each of calendar years 2014 through 2019 shall be determined as follows:

“(I) For calendar years 2014 and 2015, in accordance with the table entitled ‘I–2-Proposed 2014 Volume Requirements’ of the proposed rule published at pages 71732 through 71784 of volume 78 of the Federal Register (November 29, 2013).

“(II) For calendar year 2016, the applicable volumes established under subclause (I), reduced by 20 percent.

“(III) For calendar year 2017, the applicable volumes established under subclause (I), reduced by 40 percent.

“(IV) For calendar year 2018, the applicable volumes established under subclause (I), reduced by 60 percent.

“(V) For calendar year 2019, the applicable volumes established under subclause (I), reduced by 80 percent.”;

(2) in paragraph (3)-

(A) by striking “2021” and inserting “2018” each place it appears; and
(B) in subparagraph (B)(i), by inserting “, subject to the condition that the renewable fuel obligation determined for a calendar year is not more than the applicable volumes established under paragraph (2)(B)(ii)” before the period; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(13) SUNSET.-The program established under this subsection shall terminate on December 31, 2019.”.

(b) Regulations.-Effective beginning on January 1, 2020, the regulations contained in subparts K and M of part 80 of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on that date of enactment), shall have no force or effect.

TITLE VII-STOPPING EPA OVERREACH
SEC. 7001. FINDINGS.
Congress finds that-

(1) the Environmental Protection Agency has exceeded its statutory authority by promulgating regulations that were not contemplated by Congress in the authorizing language of the statutes enacted by Congress;

(2) no Federal agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under current law; and
(3) no attempt to regulate greenhouse gases should be undertaken without further Congressional action.

SEC. 7002. CLARIFICATION OF FEDERAL REGULATORY AUTHORITY TO EXCLUDE GREENHOUSE GASES FROM REGULATION UNDER THE CLEAN AIR ACT.
(a) Repeal Of Federal Climate Change Regulation.-

(1) GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATION UNDER CLEAN AIR ACT.-Section 302(g) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7602(g)) is amended-

(A) by striking “(g) The term” and inserting the following:

“(g) Air Pollutant.-

“(1) IN GENERAL.-The term”; and
(B) by adding at the end the following:

“(2) EXCLUSION.-The term ‘air pollutant’ does not include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfur hexafluoride.”.

(2) NO REGULATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, nothing in any of the following Acts or any other law authorizes or requires the regulation of climate change or global warming:

(A) The Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.).

(B) The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).

(C) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

(D) The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

(E) The Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.).

(b) Effect On Proposed Rules Of The EPA.-In accordance with this section, the following proposed or contemplated rules (or any similar or successor rules) of the Environmental Protection Agency shall be void and have no force or effect:

(1) The proposed rule entitled “Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” (published at 79 Fed. Reg. 1430 (January 8, 2014)).

(2) The proposed rule entitled “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” (published at 79 Fed. Reg. 34829 (June 18, 2014)).

(3) Any other contemplated or proposed rules proposed to be issued pursuant to the purported authority described in subsection (a)(2).

SEC. 7003. CLARIFICATION OF AUTHORITY.
(a) In General.-Neither the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, nor the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall-

(1) finalize the proposed rule entitled “Definition of Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act” (79 Fed. Reg. 22188 (April 21, 2014)); or
(2) use the proposed rule described in paragraph (1), or any substantially similar proposed rule or guidance, as the basis for any rulemaking or any decision regarding the scope or enforcement of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).

(b) Rules.-The use of the proposed rule described in subsection (a)(1), or any substantially similar proposed rule or guidance, as the basis for any rulemaking or any decision regarding the scope or enforcement of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) shall be grounds for vacation of the final rule, decision, or enforcement action.

SEC. 7004. JOBS ANALYSIS FOR ALL EPA REGULATIONS.
(a) In General.-Before proposing or finalizing any regulation, rule, or policy, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall provide an analysis of the regulation, rule, or policy and describe the direct and indirect net and gross impact of the regulation, rule, or policy on employment in the United States.

(b) Limitation.-No regulation, rule, or policy described in subsection (a) shall take effect if the regulation, rule, or policy has a negative impact on employment.”

-Steven Silverberg