Blog Archive

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

EPA government shutdown

Here's the EPA shutdown plan: Unfortunately, it's mostly a list of what the EPA will still do (not much), instead of the opposite.
Impacts on Existing Fossil Fuel Energy Infrastructure
  • The Interior Department has halted permits and permit reviews for onshore and offshore oil and gas leases. While existing permits would still be inspected, the shutdown is halting existing lease payments to the Treasury.
  • The Bureau of Land Management has stopped development of first-of-its-kind regulatory rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. It has also halted all law enforcement of existing regulations on drilling.
  • The EPA has stopped work on its recently announced greenhouse gas regulations for power plants, which could create increased uncertainty in energy markets.
  • The Department of Energy is slowing review of applications for exporting liquefied natural gas and may have to stop all reviews if the shutdown drags on.
  • DOE run Power Administration’s, such as Bonneville and Southeastern Power, would be run under previous budget allocations until fully expended, at which point each will use a skeleton crew unless a major storm or issue arises and requires additional staff.
Impacts on the Development of Next-Generation Clean Energy
  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has stopped all new offshore wind demonstration project permitting.
  • The Department of Energy’s leading research and technology development offices, such as the Office of Science and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, are currently being run by a skeleton crew, dramatically decreasing stewardship of the National Labs and program management of nearly $5 billion in clean energy innovation projects. The NNSA – which manages the countries nuclear stockpile – would continue to be managed by 343 essential personnel.
  • The shutdown will directly impact National Lab research if it prolongs. Most Labs have enough carryover funds from the existing 2013 budget to fund Lab staff for between weeks or up to a month, depending on the Lab. After those funds are exhausted, non-security-related research would need to be halted.
  • ARPA-E, the Department of Energy’s high-risk, high-reward breakthrough energy technology program is completely shut down. For example, it is not able to advance or manage the recentlyannounced 33 energy projects to advance low-carbon transportation technologies. Also completely shutting down is the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, which is working to advance the nations electric grid.
  • Research activities at NIST and NOAA, including climate and weather research, material science, nano-science, and energy science, have been stopped.
  • NASA energy and earth-systems research is halted, along with almost 98 percent of the agencies total staff.
  • The Patent and Trademark Office will be able to stay open for at least a month until it also has to shutdown, which would act as a significant barrier to innovation of all kind, including energy.
  • Non-essential research and procurement, at the Department of Defense, such as that largely invested in clean energy (roughly $1 billion worth), is halted which is slowing down development of next-generation batteries, microgrids, and power electronics as well as early markets for solar panels on bases. This includes DOD research contracts with external companies.
  • Non-federal scientists can continue working on existing DOE, NIST, and National Science Foundation research grants, such as those working in Universities, but no new research grants will be given.

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