State Policy Program News

Environmental Groups: How U.S. Supreme Court's EPA Ruling Could Impact North Carolina

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency erred by not accounting for the economic cost of the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, which required coal-fired power plants to install scrubbers that limit the release of mercury and other pollutants. Jonas Monast, director the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, tells the Triangle Business Journal that the immediate effects of the ruling on North Carolina are likely to be limited because many power plants in the state have already moved to comply with the EPA regulations.

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Water and Big Data: 21st Century Solution to 21st Century Droughts

In the Contra Costa Times, the Nicholas Institute's Lauren Patterson and Martin Doyle write that California should be taking the lead in water management—much like it's led on climate issues—by using smart water metering, sensors and data analytics for utilities. They say that investing in water metering and data analytics could help California better manage the water it has in times of drought and beyond.

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To Meet Obama’s Carbon-Cutting Goals, States Work Together

States may be suing the Obama administration over a new effort to slash the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but they’re also exploring the most efficient ways to comply with a rule that will accelerate the displacement of coal and alter the energy sources of utilities. One major theme that’s emerging: finding ways to work across state lines. This article in Governing mentions the Nicholas Institute’s work ongoing series of workshops for Southeastern officials to explore compliance pathways and to weigh their tradeoffs.

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Virginia, Coal Country for Centuries, Now Embraces Carbon Regulations

This Inside Climate News story notes that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is already preparing for the Clean Power Plan’s final release by this summer. Officials have been meeting with stakeholders, including utility companies and green leaders, as well as with climate and energy experts at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University.

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EPA Clean Power Plan Reenergizes the U.S. Climate Policy Debate

For the first time this summer, the nation’s fleet of existing power plants will face limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Depending on whom you ask, the release of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan is either an important step in addressing the challenge of climate change, an example of overreach by the federal government or largely insignificantUnderstanding the structure and potential impacts of the Clean Power Plan requires some context, which the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Jonas Monast discusses in The Conversation.

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Utilities, Enviro Groups Find Some Common Ground on Clean Power Plan Compliance ($)

EnergyWire reports on a conference held just weeks before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release the final version of the Clean Power Plan, starting the clock for states to develop compliance plans. At the conference, there was also strong consensus that state implementation plans that enable trading of emissions allowances could reduce costs of complying with the rule. And trading would be more easily achieved among states that adopt mass-based standards.

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FERC Advances Reliability Safety Mechanism In Final Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan proposal aims to reduce power sector emissions 30 percent by 2030 relative to 2005 levels. It provides state-specific, rate- or mass-based targets to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions and guidelines for state plans to meet the targets. This Breaking Energy article mentions some recent efforts by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions to develop tools for state compliance plans.

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Why Have Carbon Markets Not Delivered Agricultural Emission Reductions in the United States?

In a climate change-focused issue of Choices Magazine, the Nicholas Institute's Brian Murray explores why carbon markets have not delivered agricultural emissions reductions in the United States. Beyond the political failure of a national, economy-wide, cap-and-trade program, he points to the minor role of agriculture in the carbon markets that do exist and to unforeseen adoption hurdles and transaction costs. He suggests that the sector’s GHG mitigation could ramp up as part of recently broader use of carbon markets and with the support of targeted public and private sector programs.

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Galik to Discuss the Future of Environmental Resource Management on 90.7 FM

Christopher Galik, a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will appear on the show “The Measure of Everyday Life” on WNCU 90.7 FM at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 31. Galik, whose work looks at issues surrounding on-the-ground implementation of climate and low-carbon energy policy, will discuss forest management and the future of environmental resource management.

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States Could Slash Clean Power Plan Costs with Mass-Based Standards, Regional Plans -- Study ($)

States could halve the costs of implementing U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan if they work with other states and use a mass-based standard to cap emissions outright, according to a new study from Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. ClimateWire reports that researchers examined three major choices regulators must make as they craft proposals for cutting carbon emissions from power plants to meet their states' individual goals. They looked at the effects of choosing rate-based vs. mass-based standards and regional vs. individual plans, as well as incorporating new natural gas combined-cycle plants into the targets.

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