Public Power COVID-19 Information Hub
Updated: January 29, 2021
|Education & Training||Government and Industry Partner Activities||Government Relations and Policy Activities||COVID-19 Webinars||Resources|
As usual, there’s a lot going on in Washington, D.C., and at APPA including new Administration action around COVID-19 relief and environmental issues. So, I’ll be brief in my introductory remarks before jumping into the (many) updates.
Beginning Tuesday, February 2, APPA’s newsletter will be published Tuesday through Thursday as Public Power Current. We are excited to bring you more tailored content with a refreshed look and added features while maintaining timely sharing of news. For the first time, we are including the ability to promote your utility’s RFPs and RFIs to vendors and will continue to provide reminders about upcoming deadlines, and quick links to our new Public Power Now podcast and latest videos.
We recently released episode four of Public Power Conversations—our web series featuring my interviews with experts from a variety of areas. In the newest episode, I spoke to cybersecurity “warriors” from the City of Bryan, Texas. I urge you to check out the episode as it was a fun conversation featuring some great information.
As a reminder, you have just a couple days left to nominate your utility or a peer for APPA’s individual and utility awards. Take a look at the offerings at PublicPower.org/Awards. The deadline for entries is January 31.
APPA continues to produce a Member Resource Digest which provides highlights from this report with the top news stories and resources relevant to public power and that is easy to forward to your colleagues.
APPA is also seeking to have Congress provide public power utilities with access to payroll tax credits to offset the cost of federally mandated emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family leave imposed on state and local governments in COVID-relief legislation enacted into law last year
Outlook: Senate Republicans have expressed concerns with passing another $1.9 trillion relief package after just passing a relief package in late December. They have criticized the inclusion of an increase in the minimum wage that is expected to be included in the legislation. If there is not sufficient support for a bill in the Senate, Democrats may use the budget reconciliation progress to move a bill. Under budget reconciliation, a bill is privileged and cannot be filibustered in the Senate (thus only requiring a 51-vote margin to be adopted).
The D.C. Circuit’s vacatur of the ACE Rule and remand of the actions to EPA give the new Administration an opportunity to begin crafting a replacement rule without having to first propose to rescind the ACE rule. The Administration could conceivably move quickly to develop a new rule to address CO2 emissions from existing EGUs.
The majority opinion rejected the EPA’s interpretation in the ACE Rule, finding that the CAA does not unambiguously limit the best system of emissions reduction to measures taken at the regulated source. The court vacated all three of the EPA’s actions in the ACE Rule and remanded the matter to the EPA for action consistent with its opinion. The court also rejected the EPA’s policy-based arguments against allowing averaging and trading or co-firing biomass as compliance measures.
Outlook: The Biden Administration may find the majority’s supportive observations about generation shifting as well as averaging and trading as compliance measures useful as it crafts a replacement rule. The D.C. Circuit’s decision has followed years of rulemaking efforts and litigation. However, it remains to be seen whether petitioners that supported ACE will seek Supreme Court review. Further, a replacement rule under the new Administration could be reviewed by the Supreme Court where a conservative majority is likely to be skeptical of the breadth of the EPA’s regulatory authority under CAA section 111(d).
Outlook: A number of regulatory actions flagged for review are important to public power such as the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards Supplemental Finding Reconsideration and Residual Risk and Technology Review, Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, Reissuance of Nationwide Permits, Steam Electric Effluent Limitation Guidelines Reconsideration, a suite of rule related to the Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals and the Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of 'Waters of the United States.’ APPA is closely monitoring developments for our members.
Outlook: Although the CDC did not modify its guidelines in response to the FERC letter, APPA will continue to communicate to federal policymakers the importance of prioritizing vaccines for mission-essential electric workers. Additionally, former Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette sent letters to the governors of 55 states and territories asking them to prioritize critical infrastructure mission-essential workers for the COVID-19 vaccine. Brouillette specified in his letter that the critical infrastructure workforce in both the public and private sectors, “including those at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites,” should be included in vaccine prioritization. APPA acknowledges that vaccine prioritization for the electric utility workforce should be after that of healthcare workers and the most vulnerable. Please email Sam Rozenberg at [email protected] with any questions.
Education & Training – Last Chance to Register for the Joint Action Virtual Conference!
There’s still time to register for APPA’s Joint Action Virtual Conference which will be held next Thursday and Friday, Feb. 4-5.
The conference provides an opportunity to hear from the experts, catch up with colleagues and friends, and share your perspectives on the new and evolving challenges facing joint action agencies and public power utilities.
For more information, contact [email protected].
Federal Government and Industry Partner Activities in Response to COVID-19
We continue to work with you, others in the electric utility industry, and our government partners to gather and share up-to-date information, best practices, and guidance to help you and your fellow public power utility staff maintain safety and operational integrity during the pandemic. To that end, we have a COVID-19 listserv for members to share information pertaining to the pandemic. For more information, email [email protected]. And please refer to the page on APPA's website dedicated to COVID-19 activities, which also contains a link to the ESCC COVID-19 Resource Guide.
We remain committed to serving the public power community effectively. Please keep in touch and let us know what we can do to help.
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