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Fulfilling repeated campaign pledges to roll back the Obama administration’s climate change initiatives, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order yesterday targeting key Obama-era regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and emission standards for the oil and gas industry. The executive order states that it is in the interest of the nation to promote development of energy resources “while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.” The multi-faceted approach taken by the order makes it clear that this Administration views any regulation of climate change or carbon pollution as “unnecessary.” 
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Bob Horn
Adam Sachs
Adam Sachs

I’m Adam Sachs, a partner in Husch Blackwell’s energy practice and a registered DC lobbyist. I will be joined in these semi-regular blog posts by my colleague and longtime Washington lawyer, Bob Horn.  Bob served in the Ford administration, ran Detroit Edison’s federal affairs operations, co-founded the Republican National Lawyers Association, and most recently served as a member of the Trump transition team.  I have extensive Capitol Hill experience, having served in senior policy and legal positions since the mid-1980’s.  My most recent Hill gig was serving as committee counsel to now assistant Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina.
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Trump_&_ClintonAs the presidential election season enters its final, frenzied phase, it has become readily apparent that which of the two candidates is elected as the new the President of the United States on November 8 will have a monumental impact on the nation’s energy future.  Although Democrats and Republicans traditionally differ on their energy views, policy experts have stated that the sharp disconnect between Hilary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s competing plans concerning energy and climate change is nothing short of historic. 
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logo-cop21Last Tuesday, the European Union ratified the Paris Agreement, the landmark international agreement dealing with the mitigation, financing and adaptation of greenhouse gas emissions. With the EU ratification, enough nations have ratified the Agreement, representing a sufficient percentage of the worldwide production of greenhouse gases, for the Agreement to take effect on November 4, 2016. Presently, more than 190 nations have signed the Agreement, of which around 76 have ratified it. In September, the U.S. and China mutually announced that the world’s two largest economies – and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases – were ratifying the Agreement.
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Energy storageMassachusetts took a significant step to acknowledge that effective and efficient renewable energy storage – the commercial capture of renewable energy to offset demand at a later time – can aid in the growth of wind and solar power and save ratepayers money. Massachusetts may become the third state to adopt a renewable energy storage mandate, following in the footsteps of California and Oregon. In August, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill, titled “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity,” that gives the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) the ability to mandate what the energy storage targets.
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Electric power stationPower plants in 22 states will be required to further reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions under a new regulation finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on September 7. The final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Update establishes new statewide emissions budgets intended to address pollution that affects the ability of downwind states to meet and maintain the 2008 ozone standard of 75 parts per billion. This is the first time that the EPA has updated an existing program to address interstate transport of air pollution under a new air quality standard. The rule takes effect in May 2017.
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In the latest high-profile legal challenge to President Obama’s efforts to combat climate change, a coalition of 14 states and state agencies has filed a legal challenge to the final Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methane rule seeking to curb methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas wells. The petition for review, filed in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals on August 2, was brought by West Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin, along with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. A coalition of 19 independent oil and gas trade groups also filed a challenge to the methane rule on August 2. The rule had already been challenged in federal court by North Dakota and Texas. In response, this week nine states and six environmental advocacy groups filed motions to intervene in the lawsuits in support of the new emissions standards.
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