The Environmental Protection Agency is providing an opportunity to comment on additional data and potential options for reductions under the Renewable Fuel Standard program in the: (1) 2018 biomass-based diesel fuel volume, (2) 2018 advance biofuel volume, and (3) 2018 total renewable fuel volume; as well as the (4) 2019 biomass-based diesel fuel volume. The Environmental Protection Agency had previously proposed certain reductions in fuel volume requirements for 2018, and now presents additional data on 'production, imports and costs of renewable fuel.' and several options 'for how we may consider such data in establishing the final volume requirements.'
The Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering whether the greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles, produced in a January 2017 Mid-Term Evaluation Final Determination, 'are appropriate under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act and invites stakeholders to submit any comments, data, and information they believe are relevant to the Administrator's reconsideration and in particular, highlight any new information.' Per a March 2017 notice, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to coordinate its reconsideration with the parallel rulemaking by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 'regarding Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for cars and light trucks for the same model years.' The Environmental Protection Agency 'intends to make a Final Determination regarding the appropriateness of the model year 2022-2025 standards no later than April 1, 2018.' In this document, EPA is also requesting comment on the separate question of whether the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards established for model year 2021 remain appropriate.'
The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to rescind a 2015 rule entitled "Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands." The 2015 final rule 'was intended to: Ensure that wells are properly constructed to protect water supplies, make certain that the fluids that flow back to the surface as a result of hydraulic fracturing operations are managed in an environmentally responsible way, and provide public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids.' It was prepared 'in light of the public concern for and widespread use of hydraulic fracturing practices.' In March of 2017, the President published Executive Order 13783, which directed the Secretary of the Interior to review this specific rule 'for consistency with the order's objective "to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth and prevent job creation."' As a result of this review, the Bureau of Land Management is now 'proposing to rescind, in its entirety, the 2015 final rule.'
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is preparing a proposal to revise the Commission's regulations 'to require all newly interconnecting large and small generating facilities, both synchronous and non-synchronous, to install and enable primary frequency response capability as a condition of interconnection.' The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is currently seeking 'comments related to whether and when electric storage resources should be required to provide primary frequency response, and the costs associated with primary frequency response capabilities for small generating facilities.'
The most recent edition of building energy conservation standards were published in October 2016. When building energy conservation standards are established, the Secretary of Energy must make a determination whether the revised code would improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The Department of Energy has therefore conducted a preliminary analysis to quantify the expected energy savings associated with these new standards relative to the previous version (2013). The Department of Energy will accept any comments, data, and information regarding the scope of the Preliminary Analysis.
The Environmental Protection Agency, under the Clean Air Act, is proposing 'the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that apply to gasoline and diesel transportation fuel produced or imported in the year 2018.' The proposed volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel 'are below the statutory applicable volumes, and lower than the 2017 requirements.' This is a result of 'real-world challenges, such as the slower-than-expected development of the cellulosic biofuel industry, [that] have slowed progress towards meeting Congressional goals for renewable fuels.' However, the Environmental Protection Agency believes that these standards will still 'ensure these renewable fuels will continue to play a critical role as a complement to our petroleum-based fuels.'
The U.S. Department of Energy is initiating a data collection process to consider 'amending the Department's test procedure for small electric motors, and whether new test procedures are needed for motors beyond those subject to the existing Federal test procedures.' The Department of Energy is interested in receiving comment on several issues that it has identified to be associated with the currently applicable test procedure. 'The issues outlined in this document mainly concern applicability of the test procedure to additional motor categories (by topology, horsepower, non-standard construction, etc.), definitions, industry test methods, additional test procedure clarifications, and any additional topics that may inform the Department's decisions in a future test procedure rulemaking, including methods to reduce regulatory burden while ensuring the procedure's accuracy.' The Department of Energy welcomes written comments from the public on any subject within the scope of this document, including topics not raised above.
The Environmental Protection Agency is inviting comment on its analysis of the upstream greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the production of sugar beets (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris) for use as a biofuel feedstock. 'This notice describes EPA's greenhouse gas analysis of sugar beets produced for use as a biofuel feedstock, and describes how EPA may apply this analysis in the future to determine whether biofuels produced from sugar beets meet the necessary greenhouse gas reduction threshold required for qualification as renewable fuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard program...Based on this analysis, we anticipate that biofuels produced from sugar beets could qualify as renewable fuel or advanced biofuel, depending on the type and efficiency of the fuel production process technology used.'
EnerTime Energy Resources, LLC has applied for authority to transmit electric energy from the United States to Mexico for a five-year term, using existing international transmission facilities. The electric energy that EnerTime proposes to export to Mexico would be surplus energy purchased from third parties such as electric utilities and Federal power marketing agencies, pursuant to voluntary agreements. The existing international transmission facilities to be utilized by EnerTime have previously been authorized by Presidential Permits issued pursuant to Executive Order 10485, and are appropriate for open access transmission by third parties.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is renewing its information collection entitled "Material Control and Accounting of Special Nuclear Material*," which pertains to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's collection of mandatory fundamental material control plans from entities who possess and use certain forms and quantities of special nuclear material. This information collection establishes requirements for material control and accounting of special nuclear materials; specific performance-based regulations for licensees authorized to possess, use, and produce strategic special nuclear material; and special nuclear material of moderate strategic significance and low strategic significance. The information is used by the NRC to make licensing and regulatory determinations, and to satisfy obligations of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
*Special nuclear material is defined as as plutonium, uranium-233, or uranium enriched in the isotopes uranium-233 or uranium-235. It does not include source material. Special nuclear material is only mildly radioactive, but it includes fissile isotopes that, in concentrated form, could be used as the primary ingredients of nuclear explosives.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is soliciting information and requesting comments on the preparation of a new five-year National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024. This 2019-2024 Program will replace the current 2017-2022 Program, which was approved on January 17, 2017. The initiation of a new National OCS Program development process at this time is a key aspect of the implementation of President Donald J. Trump's America-First Offshore Energy Strategy. The National OCS Program sets forth the proposed schedule of lease sales for the subsequent five-year period, and enables the Federal Government, States, industry, and other interested parties to begin planning for the later steps in the leasing process. Comments are specifically requested on the following, among others: (1) National energy needs for 2019 to 2024; (2) equitable sharing of developmental benefits and environmental risks among the various planning areas; (3) other uses of the sea and seabed, including commercial and recreational fisheries, navigation, etc.; and (4) relative environmental sensitivity and marine productivity of the different planning areas and/or a specific section(s) of a given OCS planning area. The full list of requested information can be found here.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is inviting public comment on the renewal of an existing collection of information regarding "Licensing Requirements for the Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive Waste and Reactor-Related Greater than Class C Waste." This information collection regards applications, reports, or records concerning the transfer, receipt, possession, or use of nuclear material from licensees. The information included in the applications, reports and records is used to ensure the provision of an adequate level of protection of public health and safety, common defense and security, and the environment. The NRC is specifically asking for comments on whether the proposed collection of information necessary for the NRC to properly perform its functions; does the information have practical utility; and is there a way to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected? The full draft supporting statement on licensing requirements can be found here.