In the news today…
- E&E News PM reports Montana voters have rejected ballot measure I-186 that would have effectively ended mining in the state. Polls showed 57 percent of voters went against I-186, which would have required the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to ensure that new hardrock mines have reclamation plans “sufficient to prevent the pollution of water without the need for perpetual treatment” before granting permits.
- Washington Examiner and POLITICO Pro report the EPA took steps Wednesday morning to clarify federal regulations that have in the past made it harder for coal power plants to make efficiency upgrades without triggering environmental reviews. The change to the New Source Review permitting program has been “long-delayed” for nearly a decade, EPA said in its announcement.
- Inside EPA reports a just-filed Supreme Court petition could provide a vehicle for the justices to set a new standard on the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) scope or even strike down a notoriously vague provision that governs federal jurisdiction under the law, which could end a “thicket” of litigation on the issue and short-circuit EPA’s rule to clarify the law’s reach.
- E&E Daily reports soon to be the Senate’s last staunchly pro-coal Democrat after North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s defeat, Joe Manchin turned miners’ union support and energy industry donations into a narrow win over Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who made a career of opposing regulations that could hurt mining and burning coal.
- E&E News PM reports President Trump’s much-touted $1 trillion infrastructure plan failed to clear Congress last year, but next year could be different. Since the midterm election results started coming in, leaders of both parties have signaled they are ready to work together on infrastructure.