22.09.2022
House appropriators eye as much as $200M for Jackson water crisis

House appropriators are considering sending as much as $200 million to address the drinking water crisis in Jackson, Miss., as part of the stop-gap spending measure to fund the government past Sept. 30.

Documents obtained by POLITICO show draft language that would deliver the money directly from EPA to the city, bypassing the Republican-controlled state government. Democrats, including Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), have accused the state of withholding resources from the majority Black state capital.

The numbers: Thompson told POLITICO he is pushing for $200 million in emergency funds for a first phase to address the dilapidated water infrastructure in Jackson.

Jackson’s 150,000 residents were without drinking water for weeks this summer after flooding on the Pearl River caused the system’s water pressure to drop precipitously. The city has also issued a series of boil water orders throughout the year due to dangerous water quality.

Jackson’s water system, which was built in 1914, is in a dire state of disrepair, according to a 2020 EPA review. The total cost for upgrading it is unclear, but estimates have ranged as high as $1 billion. The city has not completed a long-term plan for addressing its problems. Thompson said $200 million is “what appears to be reasonable” now, in the absence of a plan.

Mississippi’s two Republican senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, have both voiced support for including additional funds for Jackson’s water system in the appropriations bill. Earlier this month, Hyde-Smith criticized the Biden administration for not including money for Jackson in its funding request.

Neither of their offices responded to a request for comment on whether they support the $200 million figure.

The details: The draft legislative language would not send the money through the federal government’s primary drinking water funding mechanism, EPA’s state revolving fund, but rather through a separate granting authority. That would allow EPA to work directly with the city, bypassing the state government.

The language also allows the funds to be used for more than just for capital projects, where federal water infrastructure dollars are typically directed. It could also be used to relieve the city of prior water debt and to pay for operations and maintenance — line items that federal funding is not otherwise allowed to cover.

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  • 55 минут назад 25.09.2022Energy & Environment
    Florida emergency declared as Tropical Storm Ian strengthens

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Saturday as Tropical Storm Ian gains strength over the Caribbean and is forecast to become a major hurricane within days as it tracks toward the state.

    DeSantis had initially issued the emergency order for two dozen counties on Friday. But he expanded the warning to the entire state, urging residents to prepare for a storm that could lash large swaths of Florida.

    “This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”

    President Joe Biden also declared an emergency for the state, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance to protect lives and property.

    The National Hurricane Center said Ian is forecast to rapidly strengthen in the coming days before moving over western Cuba and toward the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of next week. The agency said Floridians should have hurricane plans in place and advised residents to monitor updates of the storm’s evolving path.

    It added that Ian was forecast to become a hurricane on Sunday and a major hurricane by late Monday or early Tuesday. Ian on Saturday evening had top sustained winds of 45 mph as it swirled about 230 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica.

    John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist at the Miami-based hurricane center, said it wasn’t yet clear exactly where Ian will hit hardest in Florida. He said the state’s residents should begin preparing for the storm, including gathering supplies for potential power outages.

    “Too soon to say if it’s going to be a southeast Florida problem or a central Florida problem or just the entire state,” he said. “So at this point really the right message for those living in Florida is that you have to watch forecasts and get ready and prepare yourself for potential impact from this tropical system.”

    The governor’s declaration frees up emergency protective funding and activates members of the Florida National Guard, his office said. His order stresses that there is risk for a storm surge, flooding, dangerous winds and other weather conditions throughout the state.

    Elsewhere, powerful post-tropical cyclone Fiona crashed ashore early Saturday in Nova Scotia in the Atlantic Canada region. The storm washed houses into the sea, tore rooftops off others and knocked out power to the vast majority of two Canadian provinces with more than 500,000 customers affected at the storm’s height.

    Fiona had transformed from a hurricane into a post-tropical storm late Friday, but it still had hurricane-strength winds and brought drenching rains and huge waves. There was no confirmation of fatalities or injuries.

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  • 1 день, 8 часов назад 23.09.2022Energy & Environment
    Manchin’s pitch to energy leaders: IRA without permitting reform a missed opportunity

    PITTSBURGH — Sen. Joe Manchin pitched his permitting reform legislation to a crowd of global energy leaders and private sector executives as essential to achieving the full goals of the Inflation Reduction Act he helped craft.

    The West Virginia Democrat also told the crowd at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh that the Senate would start voting on the permitting legislation next week, likely on Tuesday. But the legislation faces stiff opposition in both parties.

    Manchin’s appearance was disrupted by a handful of protesters seemingly opposed to the bill’s provisions aimed to help spur completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which the senator is a staunch advocate of. This followed a protest Thursday against permitting of natural gas infrastructure at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by opponents of efforts to build new fossil fuel infrastructure in the United States.

    Most of the developed world can build and permit infrastructure in a few years, but the U.S. permitting process can take as long as a decade, Manchin said.

    “Why should we be at a disadvantage and can’t compete?” he said. “We know what needs to be done. Why can’t we be able to do it?”

    In the Inflation Reduction Act, “everything’s based on a 10-year window,” Manchin added. “If it takes seven to eight years or longer to permit something, we’re going to miss the window for having those investments come to fruition and you miss that window, then you’re going to have money stranded out there.”

    Democrats’ party-line climate and clean energy spending bill was enacted earlier this year after more than a year of negotiations that were halted more than once by Manchin. The ultimate legislation that took the form of the Inflation Reduction Act included long-term investments in traditional clean energy sources like wind and solar through expanded tax credits, as well as new incentives for energy storage, domestic manufacturing, clean hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

    As part of a deal struck with Democratic leadership to pass the climate bill, Manchin introduced legislation this week attached to a must-pass continuing resolution to reform the federal permitting process.

    The permitting bill would set limits on environmental reviews and require the president to identify energy projects of critical national importance. The legislation also directed agencies to “take all necessary actions” to issue new permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a delayed project that would deliver natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina.

    But the legislation still faces tough odds with opposition from both progressive Democrats and staunch Republicans.

    “By next week, we’ll either have a permitting process that accelerates and lets us compete on a global basis of how we do things and bring things to market or not,” Manchin said.

    He added it will “take an awful lot of heavy lifting” in the next two or three days, but said he is hopeful the legislation will overcome opposition.

    “Everyone wins from this if they’ll look at it,” he said. “It’s not about one person. It should not be about one person. It should be about, ‘Is this good for our country?’”

    Clean energy supporters and Democrats who support the permitting bill have pointed to the climate benefits of the proposal, particularly for expanding transmission lines that will be critical to connecting the expected influx of clean energy projects to the grid.

    Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters Friday the Biden administration supports the deal that it took to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, including the permitting bill.

    “We are very excited at DOE about the potential for streamlined permitting on clean energy projects,” she said. “I think that holds the greatest promise for the goals we’d like to achieve which is, of course, to get to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.”

    The secretary said that “the amount of transmission and certainly clean energy capacity that’s needed” is what keeps her “up at night.” She added the process will need to include identifying public lands and rights-of-way that ease the process for transmission build-out in a way that respects tribal lands and through community input.

    Manchin, for his part, said Friday permitting reform was included in the bipartisan infrastructure law for traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges, and said the same type of reform will now be required for energy infrastructure.

    “If we were able to do bipartisan infrastructure, which is roads and bridges and Internet services, and all the things that we rely on, why can’t we do it on the energy that we deliver to each other? That doesn’t make any sense at all,” Manchin said. “If we get the politics out and get over our hurt feelings next week and do what America does best — lift itself up and continue to lead — I think we have an unbelievable opportunity.”

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  • 2 дня, 6 часов назад 23.09.2022Energy & Environment
    News The Buckshee

    President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs of Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Fiona for the next month.

    The move would expand the federal role just a day after Biden issued a major disaster declaration on Wednesday for Puerto Rico, unlocking additional federal assistance as island residents navigate the aftermath of Fiona. That declaration had made federal funds available to Puerto Rico on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal, emergency protective measures and other services.

    “We’re laser focused on what’s happening to the people of Puerto Rico,” Biden said. The damage of Fiona occurred five years after Hurricane Maria decimated the island’s power, water and health care systems.

    Disaster recovery expenses are often shared, with the federal government paying 75 percent — and in some cases 90 percent — of the cost and state and local entities covering the rest. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday urged the federal government to cover the costs, noting the Puerto Rican government’s precarious financial position.

    The new authorization will cover 100 percent percent of the costs for debris removal, power and water restoration and shelter and food for the next month.

    “We are with you,” he said. “We are not going to walk away.”

    Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi had asked the Biden administration on Tuesday for an expedited major disaster declaration, two days after Fiona deluged the island with heavy rainfall and knocked out its fragile power grid.

    “I hope you’re satisfied with the response so far,” Biden told the governor during a virtual joint press conference.

    Power outages continue to affect the island, with LUMA Energy, the private company managing Puerto Rico’s grid, saying it has restored power to 420,000, or 28 percent, of its 1.5 million customers as of Wednesday morning.

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  • 3 дня назад 22.09.2022Energy & Environment
    Biden declares major disaster in Puerto Rico to energize Fiona recovery

    President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration on Wednesday for Puerto Rico, unlocking additional federal assistance as island residents navigate the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.

    Gov. Pedro Pierluisi had asked the Biden administration on Tuesday for an expedited declaration, two days after Fiona pelted the island with heavy rainfall and knocked out its fragile power grid.

    “This ensures that [Puerto Rico] will have access to additional help from FEMA to recover from the damage caused by” Fiona, the governor said in a tweet Wednesday, thanking the president and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    Biden approved an emergency declaration on Sunday. But the major disaster declaration allows FEMA to directly help individuals pay for temporary housing and home repairs, provide low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and pay for other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the storm.

    Federal funds are also now available to Puerto Rico on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures as well as hazard mitigation measures.

    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday asked the FEMA administrator to prepare for the federal government to cover all costs for emergency protective services conducted in Puerto Rico rather than asking the territory to bear any of the costs.

    Puerto Rico’s “government doesn’t have the money to lay it out, and the people are suffering and they are our fellow citizens,” Schumer said on Tuesday.

    Power outages continue to affect the island, with LUMA Energy, the private company managing Puerto Rico’s grid, saying it has restored power to 376,000 of its 1.5 million customers as of Wednesday morning.

    “All across Puerto Rico, damage assessment, reenergization, and restoration efforts continue as LUMA, in coordination with [the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority], works around the clock to overcome the damages of Hurricane Fiona,” Abner Gómez, LUMA’s public safety manager, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are continuing critical initial aerial inspections of the island’s transmission system, clearing debris, processing repairs and restoring power to customers as quickly and safely as possible.”

    FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is on the ground in Puerto Rico assessing damage alongside Pierluisi and coordinating emergency response with the governor’s administration.

    “This storm is personal to FEMA,” she said at a press conference Wednesday. “We have hundreds of Puerto Rican employees and when Fiona impacted the island, she impacted FEMA too.”

    But officials with a group of community organizations across Puerto Rico on Wednesday criticized the pace of the recovery and launched the Fiona Community Response Fund to raise money. They noted that many Puerto Rico residents still do not have basic services, including nearly two-thirds of residents who lack drinking water.

    Floodwaters are still inundating new parts of the island, said José Díaz Pérez, who works with Casa Tallaboeña, a community organization that helps individuals living in neighborhoods in the community of Peñuelas. That community is in the southern part of Puerto Rico where the heaviest rainfall occurred. “Places that never got flooded before are now being flooded,” he said.

    “It’s unbelievable that after Hurricane Maria, after these earthquakes, that we still have these same problems,” he said.

    But Jose Reyes, the Puerto Rico adjutant general who commands the island’s Army and Air National Guard units, said Tuesday that he saw a “really big difference” in government preparations for Hurricane Maria in 2017 compared with those efforts ahead of Fiona.

    “I see a very robust state-federal coordination prior and during the emergency,” he said. “And I see the results because it’s more expedited support for the people of Puerto Rico where it’s needed, more synchronized instead of stepping on somebody’s toes.”

    A feud over whether and how to shift Puerto Rico toward wind, solar and other renewable power is one factor in the years of wrangling over the direction of the territory’s energy policies.

    The American Red Cross said Wednesday during a news conference with FEMA officials that some residents were benefiting from an initiative that installed solar panels and battery systems at about 150 schools at a cost of $40 million after 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Now, after Fiona, more than 50 of these schools are being used as shelters.

    Hurricane Fiona was a Category 1 storm when it dropped about 30 inches of rain on the southern part of Puerto Rico, although it has since intensified to a major Category 4 storm after battering the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos on its way toward Bermuda.

    FEMA Assistant Administrator for Recovery Keith Turi said Wednesday that the agency does not have an official estimate of the damage in Puerto Rico yet. He also warned of “continuing hazards” on the island, including mud and rockslides, additional rainfall and extreme heat.

    Jonathan Porter, chief meteorologist for AccuWeather, said that “the risk of additional slides will continue for the next several days …because the ground has been loosened.” Mudslides can cause major property and additional infrastructure damage and delay aid to people in need in remote areas, he added.

    AccuWeather has projected the economic impact from Fiona on Puerto Rico to be about $10 billion, equivalent to 10 percent of the island’s GDP, an estimate that includes the effects of the power outage, job losses and loss of tourism.

    But “I still don’t think we have a good sense of the impacts in some of the most rural areas,” Porter said.

    Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring a tropical wave near the southern Windward Islands that it says has a 90 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or stronger as it moves toward the west-northwestward in the next five days. It said the Air Force Reserve was beginning reconnaissance flights of the system, which will aid forecasters trying to assess whether it poses a potential threat to the U.S. or other countries.

    “The good news for Puerto Rico is it looks like the threat from the next system is going to be well south of Puerto Rico,” Porter added.

    Marcia Brown contributed to this report.

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  • 3 дня, 4 часа назад 22.09.2022Energy & Environment
    News The Buckshee

    Sen. Joe Manchin released a bill designed to update the nation’s energy permitting rules on Wednesday, setting up the latest round of brinkmanship that will test whether the West Virginian can bend Congress to back his energy policy priorities yet again.

    The bill — which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to tie to a budget resolution that must pass by the end of the month to keep the government running — would put in place changes that Manchin has sought for years that would benefit both fossil fuels projects like new pipelines as well as the clean energy and power grid projects critical to President Joe Biden’s climate goals.

    Linking the bill to a continuing resolution was part of a deal struck by Manchin, Schumer, Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the result of a unique political compromise to win Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act. As well as its healthcare measures, that bill included the biggest package of climate spending ever passed into law — and mandates inserted by Manchin that tied oil and gas leasing to renewable energy development.

    As the most centrist Democrat in an evenly divided Senate, Manchin has been at the heart of the fights over key legislation for the past 18 month that has been critical to Biden’s congressional agenda — shaping and helping to pass the IRA, the CHIPs and Science Act to boost U.S. semiconductor production and last year’s bipartisan infrastructure act.

    Passing the permitting bill though may be his most difficult task yet. Manchin’s pressure to pare some climate policies in the IRA angered progressives and green-minded Democrats, who ultimately acceded to him. But Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has vowed he won’t back a bill to fund the government that’s tied to loosening permitting rules, and dozens of House Democrats have also urged party leadership to split the two, though they have stopped short of saying they would vote against it.

    A handful of Senate progressives led by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have also joined the chorus asking party leaders to separate the stopgap funding bill from Manchin’s permitting legislation, citing “extensive concerns” they’ve heard from environmental justice advocates.

    The text of his permitting bill — clocking in at 91 pages — hews closely to leaked summaries that have circulated in recent weeks. It would set time limits on environmental reviews for projects, and require the president to identify energy projects that are the most critical for the country. Most controversially, it would direct federal agencies to “take all necessary actions” to issue new permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project delayed by legal setbacks that would deliver West Virginia’s natural gas to Virginia and North Carolina.

    While it does not legislatively approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline, it would accelerate the re-permitting of the project, and it would give the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit jurisdiction over all future legal challenges to the project, taking the case away from the Fourth District, where environmentalists had found success in delaying its construction.

    Democrats who support the bill say the pipeline measures are overshadowed by climate benefits from enabling the construction of new clean energy projects and the power lines to ship the green power long distances.

    “The Manchin-Schumer permitting bill is a compromise, and there are things in the legislation I won’t agree with, but the bottom line is the net carbon reduction we are able to get in total,” Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a leading climate hawk, said in an interview. “When we think about the massive build out of clean power and massive expansion of wind, solar, and carbon capture that is going to happen, we can’t allow that capacity to just sit unused because we are unable to cite transmission lines.”

    But Republicans, who have widely backed calls to overhaul federal permitting rules, aren’t looking to hand Manchin another win after he switched his position and backed the IRA in July. GOP support for the CHIPs and Science Act had been contingent on Manchin not supporting the IRA — which he publicly backed after striking the deal with Schumer just hours after the semiconductor bill passed Congress.

    While Republicans have said they’d consider Manchin’s legislation, they’ve also backed a rival measure pushed by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito seen as a messaging bill that would codify some environmental permitting changes put in place by former President Donald Trump, and which Biden has moved to undo. That GOP bill would boost oil and gas projects, and it contains no language helping clean energy projects. And with time running short to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government, Republicans have insisted that they play a role in shaping any permitting legislation that gets tacked to it.

    “We [Republicans] are in favor of permitting reform,” Capito said in an interview. “I’ve been working on it for years. Certainly having the pipeline [Mountain Valley] in there has a parochial interest for me and others. But we need to have a discussion. That’s the problem. We haven’t been included in the process.”

    Manchin has sought to downplay the personal stakes of his permitting push, describing it as a “balanced” effort to boost domestic fossil fuel projects that can help ensure lower energy costs during a period of high inflation. But convincing enough members of his own party while attracting Republicans will be difficult.

    While Republicans say his proposals don’t go far enough to change environmental laws, many progressives have also resisted the permitting changes, arguing that easier approvals for clean energy projects are not worth the cost of locking in the fossil fuel emissions associated with new pipelines.

    “I don’t think it is such that all progressives are fighting any permitting reform. People understand there may need to be some reforms, but it should be thoughtfully done,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the House Progressive Caucus, said in an interview.

    The permitting bill would move through the regular order process, meaning it has to earn 60 votes in the Senate — requiring Democratic and Republican support — to pass.

    It would set a two-year target for agencies to complete environmental reviews for “major” energy projects, and the time in which lawsuits can be filed would be limited to 150 days after the final action. As well as designating a lead agency to coordinate the permitting process for projects, it would direct Biden to identify 25 high-importance energy infrastructure projects that would have to be balanced among various types, covering critical minerals, nuclear, hydrogen, fossil fuels, electric transmission, renewables, and carbon capture.

    Democrats who support the legislation say the permitting bill’s most important reforms would give the federal government more power to plan, build and spread out the costs for transmission lines that often face delays of a decade or more due to public opposition at the local level and are critical to spreading clean energy around the country.

    The bill would allow the federal government to take over the approval process by unilaterally granting a construction permit for a transmission line that the secretary of Energy has determined to be in the national interest, regardless of any state opposition. That is a step further than new authorities granted in the bipartisan infrastructure law that enabled the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to overrule states that oppose a new line, but only after states have done their own reviews.

    The permitting legislation also addresses a sticky question of who pays for interstate transmission projects by directing FERC to allocate the cost of building lines between regions in proportion to how much those regions benefit.

    “This is not just part of the deal in the sense of being an obligation to fulfill our end of the bargain to Sen. Manchin, but this is part of our national clean energy strategy,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in an interview. “We just simply have to make it easier to build these climate saving projects.”

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  • 3 дня, 6 часов назад 22.09.2022Energy & Environment
    News The Buckshee

    The Senate ratified its first international climate treaty in three decades on Wednesday, approving an agreement worked out in 2016 that will phase down refrigerant chemicals that are among the most potent climate pollutants.

    While the Senate is badly divided on most climate issues, strong backing from the business community to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons, known as HFCs, aligned with environmentalists’ agenda to help secure enough Republican support to meet the Constitution’s requirement of two-thirds support.

    The Senate voted 69-27 to approve the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, joining 136 other nations and the European Union in approving the deal.

    “The transition away from HFCs is expected to stimulate literally billions of dollars in economic investment in this country … create tens of thousands of jobs and significantly increase U.S. exports while using technology developed in this country,” Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said on Wednesday.

    Originally approved in the 1980s, the landmark Montreal Protocol successfully brought down emissions of chemicals that harmed the ozone layer, but in turn prompted manufacturers to switch to a new family of chemicals — hydrofluorocarbons — that do not harm the ozone layer but are potent greenhouse gases. Today, HFCs are used in refrigerators and air conditioners, as well as foam and aerosol products.

    Depending on its makeup, a pound of HFCs can have as much warming potential as hundreds or even tens of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide. That makes capping their use a critical part of combatting near-term warming; the Kigali Amendment will stave off 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming this century, according to the Biden administration.

    The amendment requires countries to reduce their use of HFCs by 85 percent over 15 years. It was negotiated at an international gathering in Rwanda in 2016 by John Kerry, then the secretary of State and now President Joe Biden’s international climate envoy, and Gina McCarthy, then the EPA administrator, who just recently stepped down as Biden’s national climate adviser.

    Congress already did the hard work in late 2020, when the Senate reached a deal on legislation empowering EPA to more forcefully regulate HFCs in order to meet Kigali’s goal.

    Since then, major business interests have lobbied for ratification, partly because U.S. manufacturers are poised to play a leading role in selling next-generation refrigerants with much less climate impact. Not ratifying the treaty also would have led to trade restrictions in the 2030s.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce made ratification a “key vote” and in a letter this week argued that approving it “would enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers working to develop alternative technologies, and level the global economic playing field.”

    “The Senate is signaling that Kigali counts by ratifying the amendment,” Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, said in a statement. “It counts for the jobs it will create; it counts for global competitive advantage it creates; it counts with the additional exports that will result and it counts for U.S. technology preeminence.”

    Despite having already given EPA the authority to effectively enforce the treaty, many Republicans still opposed ratification.

    “Many of the benefits and jobs being touted are from U.S. innovations and our domestic legislation, not ratification of Kigali,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “We did it here, we did it right. We don’t need to get entangled in another United Nations treaty.”

    Lawmakers overwhelming voted to back a GOP amendment that calls for China to stop being classified as a developing nation under the United Nations’ main climate convention, and instead to be identified as a developed nation with more responsibilities. The amendment made ratification of the Kigali treaty contingent on the State Department filing an amendment with the UN reclassifying China as a developed nation — though not on successful passage of that amendment.

    In the meantime, EPA has acted quickly to flex its new HFC regulatory muscles.

    The agency last year issued a major regulation capping the U.S.’s HFC usage and ramping it down over the next 15 years in line with the Kigali Amendment’s timeline. EPA will dole out annual allowances to companies, which can then be traded or sold. That regulation attracted only narrow legal challenges, particularly over EPA’s ban on the use of disposable HFC canisters, which the agency said is a key part of its enforcement efforts.

    EPA is also considering a litany of petitions filed by states, environmentalists and industry groups seeking specific end-use restrictions on certain HFC substances in various products.

    EPA is also planning to restore a rule requiring HFC leak inspections and repairs for industrial and commercial refrigerators that was rolled back during the Trump administration, though final action isn’t expected until 2024.

    Ben Lefebvre contributed to this report.

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