Energy News Roundup: Industry groups fight federal emissions rules they say will hurt region

Energy News Roundup: Industry groups fight federal emissions rules they say will hurt region
May 16, 2024 Nicole Pollack, Great Lakes Now

A fuel industry group is spending $6.6 million on ads in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other swing states that take aim at the Biden administration’s tailpipe emissions standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule was in the works for years before being finalized in March. It aims to shift the majority of the country’s new car sales to electric and hybrid vehicles by 2032. The ad, paid for by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers as part of a $17 million campaign begun last fall, tells viewers that the regulations will “ban most new gas cars” and restrict drivers’ freedom.

Indiana joined 24 other states in a lawsuit challenging the strict new federal regulations on power plant emissions. The April 25 EPA rule will require coal plants to capture most of the carbon they emit by 2032, or shut down by 2039. New gas plants will be subject to similar emissions constraints. The lawsuit was led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association also opposes the rule and filed a separate lawsuit.

Michigan is the latest state to propose a constitutional amendment that would prioritize the health of the environment alongside other protected freedoms. The Michigan Green Amendment would treat access to clean water, air and soil, balanced ecosystems and a stable climate as “an inherent and inalienable right.” New York, Pennsylvania and Montana have already approved such amendments, and they have been introduced in 19 other states, mainly in the Northeast and along the West Coast.

The nearly-complete power line between Iowa and Wisconsin has completed the disputed land swap needed for the project to cross a Mississippi River wildlife refuge. After conservation groups sued, a federal judge blocked the exchange of about 10 acres within the refuge for about 36 acres to the south. The utilities companies who are building the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line were unable to finish construction until they completed the land swap. A federal appeals court voided that preliminary injunction earlier this month, clearing the way for the deal to proceed.

Ohio residents have a couple more days to weigh in on a federal environmental assessment that recommends allowing fracking in the Wayne National Forest, in the southeastern part of the state. The Bureau of Land Management is “proposing potential leasing of up to 40,000 acres of federally owned mineral estate,” according to the assessment. It has extended the public comment period, which opened on March 20, through Friday, May 17.

More energy news, in case you missed it:

  • Biden administration officials and former president Donald Trump have each sought to win over auto workers during recent visits to Michigan.
  • The Minnesota-based electric utility Allete will go private after it was sold for $6.2 billion.
  • Ohio’s state House recently passed legislation to let a facility that burns coal for steel production qualify for a renewable energy credit.
  • The Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority is taking a major step toward electrifying shipping with its $32 million modernization of one of the biggest ports in the Great Lakes Region.

As the U.S. coal fleet shrinks, efforts to repurpose the sites and replace lost jobs are making slow progress amid immense challenges.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: Federal money pours in to accelerate energy transition

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