President Obama nominates Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency
Eight leather chairs on the podium in the ornate Senate hearing room sat empty as Democrats took their seats on the dais. It was May 9 and the Environment and Public Works Committee had been scheduled for days to consider the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
But at the last minute, Republicans on the panel, led by ranking minority member David Vitter of Louisiana, announced a boycott. Without a quorum of 10, the committee could not vote. Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer fumed to reporters that she had talked to Vitter several times the evening before, the last time at 7 p.m., and he hadn’t mentioned the boycott. The California Democrat learned of it, she said, in a letter from Vitter delivered to her office an hour before the 9:15 a.m. meeting was set to start. Continue reading David Vitter: The Republican Senate Leader on the Environment
How They Saved Cheniere from Disaster to Dominate US LNG Exporting
Spencer Abraham, John Deutch, Vicky Bailey, Neil Bush
Five years ago, Cheniere Energy Inc. was losing tens of millions of dollars a quarter and slashing its workforce in half, as crippling debt threatened to force it into bankruptcy. Today it’s the undisputed leader in the nation’s promising new energy sector: exporting liquefied natural gas, or LNG. That remarkable turnaround followed its industry-leading decision in 2010 to reverse course and export, rather than import, natural gas.
Cheniere’s success in executing that costly and risky switch is a direct result of its ability to obtain a unique regulatory status. Federal energy regulators have awarded the company a combination of federal permits — so far withheld from all 20 competitors seeking similar treatment — that have worked like sprinkled pixie dust, attracting major customers and investors to Cheniere and giving wing to its stock. Continue reading Powerful Friends and Cozy Relationships Helped Cheniere Cut Through Regulation
Merits of Case Must Now Be Decided
A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to rescind a dumping permit three years after it was granted by the Army Corps of Engineers drew cheers from environmentalists.
The decision reverses a lower court’s ruling that would have allowed Mingo Logan Coal Co. to proceed with plans for one of the nation’s largest mountaintop mines in southern West Virginia. Mingo Logan is a subsidiary of Arch Coal, the second largest producer of fossil fuel in the country.
But the case is far from over. The decision, written by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, returns the case to District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. When Jackson sided with Arch Coal last year, she ruled on the company’s argument that the EPA lacked authority to rescind the permit but she must now rule on its contention that the agency was “arbitrary and capricious” in its arguments. Continue reading EPA’s Victory Moves Clean Water Act Fight Back to District Court