In the coming month and a half, E2 will engage in three advocacy areas linked by two common purposes: limiting greenhouse gases and promoting efficiency in energy production and use.
E2 Thanks EPA for Strong First Step Curbing Methane from New Sources and Urge Action on Existing Sources
On June 21, E2 sent our members an action alert thanking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for working to finish a new standard that cuts down on methane emissions from new or modified sources. These sources vary from fracking wells, which may be “flared” to burn off excess emissions to pipelines that may leak ‘fugitive’ methane emissions. The standard is a vital first step in controlling these emissions – which pound for pound can be as much as 80% more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon. Our action alert also encourages the EPA to propose a new standard on existing sources of methane – by far the largest sources of these emissions – as soon as possible.
Department of Transportation Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The second of our action alerts will focus on the Department of Transportation’s notice of proposed rulemaking, which would for the first time compel state and city departments of transportation to take into account carbon emissions when planning road and other infrastructure. This new standard – if fully implemented – could drive efficiency and innovation in transportation networks, with cities having to account for carbon emissions now choosing to invest more into public transit like subways and buses, as well as bike lanes and sidewalks over highways. Transportation emissions account for around a quarter of U.S. carbon emissions; therefore, as the Obama Administration works to implement the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first limits on electricity generation, it is only fitting that it works simultaneously to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. E2’s action alert will be submitted as a comment to the Department of Transportation to encourage the adoption of a final rule that will inspire much needed innovation in transportation planning.
Lastly, E2 will send an action alert before the end of July encouraging lawmakers in end-of-year tax bill negotiations – often called tax extenders – to be sure to include several technologies that were left out of last year’s long term ITC extension and provide for long term extensions of energy efficiency tax breaks. The end-of-year tax deal negotiations provided for a five-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that especially benefits solar energy. There were several technologies – namely fuel cells, biofuels, geothermal and small wind – that were omitted from the final deal.
Senate and House leadership have both promised that the technology exclusions would be remedied, but they have not been, as of yet. We are pushing for lawmakers to be sure and include these technologies in any end-of-year vehicle used to extend tax breaks – one of which is passed on an annual basis.
Another suite of items which E2 members will be encouraging lawmakers to provide is a long term extension for several tax breaks that benefit the energy efficiency sector – both commercial and domestic – which are set to expire at the end of 2016. In many states, the difference between compliance with the Clean Power Plan and failing to hit emissions targets will be energy efficiency, which is a crucial source of employment, a driver of innovation, and a very cost-effective source of emissions reduction.
These three issues represent natural areas for E2 members to makes their voice heard – as they are so essentially involved in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, innovation in products and planning, and expanding deployment of renewable energy technologies through smart incentives. Please contact me to sign each action alert, if you have not already.
Grant Carlisle is E2’s Director of Advocacy based in Washington, D.C.