By one vote, Alaska House again fails to fix capital budget and reverse sweep
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, July 22, 2019
The Alaska House of Representatives on Monday again failed to approve a fix for the state’s capital budget and the reverse sweep. The 29-7 vote on Senate Bill 2002 was enough to pass the bill but not enough to fund it. Thirty votes are needed to spend from the state’s Constitutional Budget Reserve, and the bill was written to rely on funding from that reserve.
Our Take: It’s time to pass the capital budget and fund it. Kudos to the house minority members who broke from their group and voted to fund the capital budget and create some stability for our economy.
In the opinion, the Court:
- Found that the EPA’s interpretation of “risk” was reasonable and “nothing in [the statute] mandates the EPA to promulgate financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining industry, authorizing the EPA to decline to do so”;
- Was “unpersuaded” by the petitioners’ claims concerning the EPA’s evaluation of the financial risks of the industry, finding that environmental organizations “misread the record and the EPA’s analysis,” and found “no ‘serious flaw’ in the agency’s economic analysis;”
- Recognized that the EPA’s analysis “makes clear, existing federal and state programs impose significant financial responsibility requirements on the hardrock mining industry;” and
- Concluded: “That the EPA might choose not to promulgate financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining industry has always been a foreseeable possibility; our decision in the Environmental Groups’ previous mandamus action expressly recognized that the EPA “retains ‘discretion to promulgate a rule or decline to do so.’”
Our Take: Great to see the court rejecting environmental groups’ challenge to the EPA decision that new, duplicative financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining industry are unnecessary — hardrock mines are already subject to significant financial assurance requirements under other federal and state laws.
Energy regulators divided over natural gas and climate change
Amy Harder, Axios, July 23, 2019
Regulatory decisions about America’s bounty of natural gas are in the hands of an obscure and understaffed federal agency with a limited mandate to think about climate change. Why it matters: With America’s production of oil and natural gas soaring and Congress not acting on climate change, the once-sleepy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is finding itself at the center of protests and lawsuits. Interviews with all 4 FERC members illustrate their division over how to handle greenhouse gas emissions. Driving the news: Democratic FERC Commissioner Richard Glick wants to require companies seeking approval for pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals to offset significant greenhouse gas emissions, similar to the way companies compensate for more traditional environmental impacts like creating wetlands. The other side: “I just fundamentally disagree with Commissioner Glick on this matter,” said Neil Chatterjee, the panel’s Republican chairman. “The approach the commission has been taking is what we are statutorily obligated to do.”