Tag Archives: rule

Rule would boost solar and wind energy development

The Obama administration took action Thursday to boost the development of solar and wind energy on public lands.

A final rule announced by the Interior Department would create a new leasing program on public lands and encourage development in areas where it would have fewer effects on the environment.

The rule came a little more than two months before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, and a new Republican administration could reconsider it.

The Interior Department said the rule would help develop cleaner domestic energy.

“We are facilitating responsible renewable energy development in the right places, creating jobs and cutting carbon pollution for the benefit of all Americans,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

President Barack Obama has called on the Interior Department to approve renewable energy projects that generate 20,000 megawatts of power on public land by 2020. The department said the rule’s competitive leasing provisions will apply to 700,000 acres of public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

 

Obama touts federal overtime rule in Wisconsin

President Barack Obama put a political edge on his push for more overtime pay for U.S. workers on July 2 by touting it in Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker has made a name for himself by clashing with labor unions.

Walker, who is expected to officially announce his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination the week of July 13, greeted Air Force One as it landed in La Crosse.

They shook hands and chatted amiably on the tarmac.

But Walker has already criticized the overtime proposal Obama’s Labor Department made earlier this week.

The plan would make nearly 5 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay.

Early in his tenure as governor in 2011, Walker burnished his credentials with conservatives in his party by pushing for a law to limit the collective-bargaining rights of public sector employees. He survived a union-backed recall election in 2012.

Obama’s proposed overtime rule is widely opposed by businesses and could face legal challenges, but it was heralded by workers’ groups. Labor unions are a traditional ally of Obama, a Democrat, though that relationship was tested in June in Congress in a struggle over international trade.

Carrying the overtime-rule fight into Wisconsin gave Obama a chance to mend fences with unions, which last month unsuccessfully opposed his quest for “fast-track” power to craft a proposed 12-nation Pacific Rim trade treaty.

“The change in this overtime rule in a way that could potentially allow up to 5 million Americans to get a more fair paycheck, again, is an illustration that most of the time, when it comes to fighting for middle-class workers, the Obama administration and organized labor are on the same side,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on July 1.

Editor’s note: Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: EPA Clean Power Plan bad for business

The EPA closed public comment on its Clean Power Plan on Dec. 1 after receiving more than 1.6 million comments. Among them was one from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is opposing the increased regulation to reduce CO2 emissions.

The plan would cut carbon emissions from the power sector approximately 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and sets out state-specific goals for lower carbon emissions.

The Republican governor said the proposed rule would have a detrimental effect on Wisconsin’s manufacturing-based economy, as well as household ratepayers. Those ratepayers, however, already are seeing rate increases from the utilities under Walker’s watch.

Walker, in his statement, said, “We have made major investments to ensure we are providing our citizens with reliable, clean, affordable power. If enacted, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would be a blow to Wisconsin residents and business owners, and I join business leaders, elected officials, and industry representatives in opposing this plan. I urge federal officials to carefully consider our concerns and the adverse economic impact this plan could have on our state, as well as the nation.”

Walker said the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, which recently approved a rate hike for Milwaukee area electricity customers, said the proposed rule would cost the state $3.3-$13.4 billion. Walker also said a study by Energy Ventures Analysis estimated the average Wisconsin household would see its electricity bill increase by more than $485 in 2020.

The statement said the PSC and the state Department of Natural Resources “have spent months reviewing the rule and soliciting input from all affected parties, since its proposal in June of this year.  Among other items, their review uncovered a number of flaws with the development of the emission rate goals, which penalizes states that have taken early action to reduce CO2 emissions by asking them to reduce emissions more than states that have done less. Wisconsin has invested approximately $10.5 billion over the past 15 years to help reduce CO2 emissions, increase renewable energy usage and energy efficiency, and install air pollution control equipment.”

Walker asked the EPA to reconsider the rule.