EPA Cuts Scientists From Scientific Review Board, Considers Adding Members of Regulated Industries

The New York Times: EPA Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board

The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.

President Trump has directed Mr. Pruitt to radically remake the E.P.A., pushing for deep cuts in its budget — including a 40 percent reduction for its main scientific branch — and instructing him to roll back major Obama-era regulations on climate change and clean water protection. In recent weeks, the agency has removed some scientific data on climate change from its websites, and Mr. Pruitt has publicly questioned the established science of human-caused climate change.

The Hill: Trump to Nominate Two Energy Regulators

President Trump said Monday that he’s nominating two Republicans to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

If confirmed, Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson would bring FERC’s size to three commissioners, giving the powerful body a quorum for the first time in three months.

FERC is charged with approving key energy projects like oil and natural gas pipelines, gas export facilities and larger electric transmission lines, along with wholesale electricity rates.

But the commission has been unable to make most key decisions since February, when former Chairman Norman Bay resigned before Trump could nominate a replacement, leaving only two commissioners. At full operation, FERC has five commissioners.

The dwindling ranks at FERC have angered the energy industry, their opponents and lawmakers in both parties, since the decision-making process has largely been stalled.

The nominees must be confirmed by the Senate before they can serve. 

Power Magazine: Pumped Storage Geographies and Deployments (Graph)

The Guardian: Higher, Cheaper, Sleeker — Wind Turbines of the Future – in Pictures

Denver Post: Donald Trump’s Energy Policy Clouds Future of Colorado Energy Office

If state lawmakers don’t act fast, Colorado’s four-decade-old energy office may go dark.

The office sunsets July 1 unless lawmakers approve a bill to reauthorize the state agency and its 35 positions before the legislative term ends Wednesday.

A top Republican lawmaker is using the deadline to demand significant changes and realign the Colorado Energy Office with the priorities outlined by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Grand Junction Sen. Ray Scott wants to cut the office’s budget by $1 million a year, or roughly one-third, and shift its mission, arguing it concentrates too much on renewable energy sources.

Bloomberg: Germans May Face Higher Power Costs on Exit From Nuclear Energy

Germans already footing the second-highest electricity bills in Europe may face even higher costs from the country’s decision to exit nuclear power early next decade.

While there’s no risk of blackouts, costs could rise if transmission gaps emerge, according to Germany’s Bnetza regulator. Europe’s biggest power market is closing its last atomic plants in 2022 and is counting on a mix of mothballed lignite plants, wind and solar power expansion and grid stability measures to keep outages down.

“The lights will stay on,” Jochen Homann, president of the Bnetza regulator, told reporters on Monday in Bonn. “Yet there are two risks in bridging power gaps, namely redispatch and intervention in the market to drive generation up or down that may be cost factors.”

German consumer power costs are second only to Denmark, making lawmakers leery of countenancing further increases as September’s federal election looms. Consumers this year may pay about 24 billion euros ($26.4 billion) in compulsory clean-energy-support fees, levies that are added directly to power bills.

from GTM Solar https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/EPA-Cuts-Scientists-From-Scientific-Review-Board-Considers-Adding-Members

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