Sunday, December 01, 2013

White House releases agenda for hundreds of new rules

Federal agencies have a packed schedule for the coming year that includes expected rules targeting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, tightening control over hydraulic fracturing on public lands and updating efficiency requirements on a variety of appliances, according to a sweeping plan released by the White House today. The fall issue of the biannual "Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions" -- which typically is published in October -- was not nearly as delayed as this year's spring version, which came out in July instead of its traditional April release (Greenwire, July 8). At the same time, its publication right before Thanksgiving will dampen the attention it receives. The document contains the long- and short-term plans for every agency in the executive branch, detailing both the marquee and the mundane plans being carried out across the federal government...more

The article lists the plans for EPA, DOE, NOAA and others. Here are the plans for Interior:

The Interior Department's regulatory agenda contains few surprises.

The agency, which oversees energy development, wildlife protections and recreation on roughly one-fifth of the nation's land and nearly all of its oceans, is still working on rules governing hydraulic fracturing, Arctic drilling, oil shale management and endangered species, among hundreds of others.

High-profile actions include the finalization of the Bureau of Land Management's sweeping hydraulic fracturing regulations, targeted for May 2014.

The rules, released in draft form last May, would require operators to disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and demonstrate plans to maintain well-bore integrity and the management of flowback water.

BLM is also still mulling a new onshore oil and gas order that would establish limits for the venting and flaring of natural gas. The order, which would address the escape of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, could align with President Obama's plans to take executive action to curb global climate change.

A proposed rulemaking is scheduled for August 2014.

BLM by May 2014 also plans to release a proposed rule to implement a competitive process for commercial-scale wind and solar development on public lands. BLM has historically processed applications on a first-come, first-served basis, a process the agency has said stifles competition and has led to bureaucratic delays.

An advanced notice of the proposed rules was issued in late 2011.
BLM next May will also finalize a rule governing royalties for oil shale development in the West, the agenda says.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is mulling a bevy of Endangered Species Act regulations, including the near-term finalization of a draft rule to clarify the definition for when species qualify for "threatened" or "endangered" status.

By next month, the agency along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expected to issue a final policy interpreting the phrase "significant portion of its range" in the 1973 law.

The policy, which has drawn intense opposition from environmental groups and some Democrats, would essentially raise the threshold for when species can receive federal protections, but once they are listed, it would ensure those protections apply more broadly.

Fish and Wildlife next month is also scheduled to issue a proposed rule to redefine the ESA term "destruction or adverse modification" of critical habitat, which could largely influence which areas the agency sets aside for species' survival and recovery.

The bureaus of Ocean Energy Management and Safety and Environmental Enforcement in early 2014 are also expected to issue new rules updating standards for blowout preventers and codifying rules for oil and gas exploration off the Alaskan coast.

The article doesn't cover USDA, so nothing on the Forest Service.

E&E News

No comments: