What Issues Will Shape U.S. Energy and Environment Policy in 2016

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 21, 2016  — Bloomberg BNA has released its Annual 2016 outlook on energy and environmental issues which includes an in-depth analysis on topics including climate change, chemicals, water, waste and air pollution.

Bloomberg BNA editors and reporters spoke to administration officials, Congressional staffers, attorneys, environmental advocates and corporate representatives for insights on key issues to watch in 2016.

A complimentary copy of the 100-plus page report, published in the company’s flagship environment publication Daily Environment Report, is available here.

“President Obama is seeking to defend and entrench a far-reaching environmental agenda,” said Larry Pearl, News Director, Environment, Health and Safety at Bloomberg BNA.

“This is a critical year for the administration as it faces legal challenges to key climate and water rules while putting in place a wide range of regulations to further address climate change, air pollution, solid waste and other issues. In addition, issues such as climate change and environmental regulation will likely play a role in the presidential election race this year, particularly depending on who ultimately garners the Republican nomination.”

Highlights include:

U.S. Climate: The 27 states opposing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan — the backbone of President Obama’s push to curb greenhouse gas emissions domestically — may know if it passes legal muster before the September deadline for all states to submit their initial compliance plans.  The EPA faces a daunting task of defending the rules from an onslaught of legal challenges from states and industry groups. EPA is also seeking to reduce methane emissions from new oil and gas operations and tighten fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, among other climate regulations.

International Climate: In the wake of the recent global climate change accord, nations will reconvene this year to address key details left unclear in the agreement such as how to verify the actions they have pledged and how to build on efforts to prepare vulnerable developing nations for rising sea level and other climate impacts.

Air Pollution: The EPA will address a Supreme Court ruling that it was required to consider cost when regulating power plant emissions of mercury.  It is implementing recently strengthened national ozone standards which will require action on the federal and state level.

Energy:  2016 could prove to be a busy one in the energy sector with the possibility of the first broad energy bill in nearly a decade, regulations in the works addressing energy efficiency and energy price formation and two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Oil and gas producers are hoping for fewer regulations, particularly in light of the price environment, and states will continue to take the lead in industry oversight.

Chemicals and Waste:  Chemical trade associations will work in 2016 to support the House and Senate as those chambers reconcile their bills that would modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act and pass a final bill the president would sign.  The 35-year-old Superfund hazardous waste law continues to provide fertile ground for litigation, with cleanup-related issues expected to be front and center in the coming year.

Water: The EPA will spend much of 2016 in court defending rules to clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction, exempt water transfers from permit requirements, revise wastewater effluent limits and regulate criteria for building or retrofitting cooling water intake systems at power plants.

A complimentary copy is available here.

Daily Environment Report provides original reporting on legislative and regulatory developments, court and administrative decisions, compliance news, and government policies that informs readers on how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental challenges of our times.

About the Author

Leave a Reply