In the news today…
- E&E Greenwire, Argus, News 18 and Deseret News report EPA raised new barriers to protecting public health with a thicket of cost-benefit forecasting requirements for future climate and air pollution regulations.
- DeSmog reports the new cost-benefit rule is a gift to industry and must be overturned.
- Politico Pro and Inside EPA report EPA finalized a rule on Wednesday that requires the agency’s cost-benefit analyses to segregate and downplay co-benefits and international benefits for Clean Air Act regulations, a move environmentalists and other critics say is aimed at making future regulations harder to justify.
- Argus reports the US House of Representatives approved a bill authorizing spending on river and port infrastructure, including more than $765mn to expand the Houston Ship Channel and Matagorda Ship Channel along the Texas Gulf coast.
- Mining.com reports gold miners must rapidly switch to renewable electricity generation if the industry is to curb emissions sufficiently to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7-degree Fahrenheit) global warming target, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Wednesday.
- Argus reports emissions from US coal-fired power plants are expected to fall to historic lows this year, with natural gas and renewable generation cutting into the use of the fuel, the US Energy Administration (EIA) said.
- Billings Gazette reports citing a need to “level the playing field” on energy taxes, Montana’s majority Republican Legislature will consider raising taxes on wind and solar developments as the coal industry struggles.
- CNN reports President Donald Trump promised he would save the US coal industry. But as his tenure winds down, the industry is struggling through some of its darkest days, plagued by falling demand, bankruptcies and job losses.
- E&E News PM reports environmentalists are strongly disputing the Fish and Wildlife Service’s conclusion that white-tailed antelope ground squirrels destroyed thousands of rare Nevada wildflowers at a proposed lithium mine site.
- E&E Greenwire reports the Forest Service is on the verge of trading an Apache holy site in Arizona — Oak Flat — to a pair of major mining companies that want to extract the copper beneath it.
- Politico Pro reports as the incoming Biden administration and like-minded leaders around the world try to wean the world off fossil fuels, they’re relying on a non-renewable resource: the rare earths and minerals needed for the production of rechargeable batteries, wind turbines and solar panels.