Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee 2020 Spring Webinar Series

3/24/2020

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NCSL's Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee is pleased to present you with its annual Spring Webinar Series. This year the committee will host a total of five webinars beginning April 23, and concluding June 18.

NCSL Webinars allow attendees to participate in meetings taking place around the world from the comfort of their desks. They are collaborative, interactive and easy to use.

Most webinars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend the live meeting.

Who Decides a State's Energy Mix?

​That question is on the minds of policymakers after two recent decisions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). According to the Federal Power Act, decisions about the energy mix are left up to the states, although a state's ability to shape the energy mix—through mandates and financial incentives—could be harmed by FERC's recent decisions. The Commission's Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) has garnered the most attention due to its potential impact on the nation's largest electricity market. The MOPR order requires that state-backed resources bid into regional capacity markets at inflated prices, which will raise prices for resources like renewables and nuclear, while making others, such as coal plants, more competitive. The debate over how regional markets should interact, and whether they should counteract, state policy has been raging for years. Join us to hear more about how the order impacts states and what actions they may be taking in response.  ​

SPEAKERS:

  • Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel, Advanced Energy Economy 
  • Hon. Jason Stanek, chairman, Maryland Public Service Commission
  • Romany Webb, senior fellow and associate research scholar, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

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New WOTUS Rule & States Response to Jurisdictional Changes

​The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the “The Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” which updates the federal definition for a “Waters of the United States,” more commonly referred to as a WOTUS.​ The now final rule outlines four clear categories of jurisdictional waters that would be considered a WOTUS, significantly reducing the number of waters under federal jurisdiction. Join us as we learn a bit about the new rule, and how states are responding.

SPEAKERS:

  • Mindy Eisenberg, associate director, oceans, wetlands & communities division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
  • Stacey Jensen, assistant for regulatory and tribal affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) 
  • Krista Osterberg, surface water quality improvement value stream manager, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Owen McDonough Ph.D., senior science advisor to the assistant administrator, office of water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Solar on Agricultural Lands–Preserving Pollinator Habitat and Soil Health

The interest in using farmland for solar development has grown in recent years, spurred by a rapid decline in solar prices and an increase in aggressive state renewable energy standards. As interest in farmland solar has grown so has the concern over its potential environmental and food impacts, and in particular its impacts on pollinators. One-quarter of U.S. agriculture production relies on bees, which have seen record declines in recent years, pushing many species close to extinction. Fields that are cleared for solar installations can harm pollinators that depend on vegetation for habitat and food. Solar installations can also harm soil health by increasing erosion. Can agriculture, solar and pollinators coexist in a way that benefits all three? This webinar will explore this question, highlighting state efforts to implement environmentally friendly solar siting policies for agricultural lands.​

SPEAKERS:

  • Maggie Clark, state affairs senior manager for the southeast, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Jordan Macknick, lead energy-water-land analyst, Strategic Energy Analysis Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Gerry Palano, energy coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

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State Legislative Trends: Traffic Safety 

​How are state legislatures responding to the 37,000 or so deaths on American roadways each year? Join NCSL experts for an overview of notable legislative trends related to impaired and distracted driving, school bus and bicyclist safety and automated enforcement and more. ​

  • Samantha Bloch, policy associate, National Conference of State Legislatures

  • Joe DeLorenzo, acting associate administrator for enforcement, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

  • Doug Shinkle, program director for transportation, National Conference of State Legislatures

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What’s Exceptional? State Efforts to Meet Clean Air Standards

States are required to meet clean air standards established under the Clean Air Act (CAA), even as they combat increasing air quality issues due to unusual, or naturally occurring events. In order to help states determine if air quality monitoring data has been influenced by such an event, the Environmental Protection Agency established the Exceptional Events Rule in 2016. That final rule, which not only outlined the criteria for EPA’s approval of the exclusion of event-influenced air quality data, but also issued requirements for air agencies to take appropriate and reasonable actions to protect public health from exceedances or violations of the national ambient air quality standards, was updated by the agency this past February. The update revised certain sections that govern the exclusion of event-influenced air quality data as the CAA recognizes that it may not be appropriate to use data influenced by “exceptional” events such as wildfires, high wind dust events, prescribed fires and volcanic and seismic activities. Join us as we look at the tools states have in their toolbox to meet clean air standards and protect human health as they address emissions from increasingly frequent and severe wildfires, other natural events and from various industries.

SPEAKERS:

  • Brad Busby, air monitoring and assessment manager, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Mike Koerber, deputy director of office of air quality planning and standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Beth Palma, environmental engineer in the office of air quality planning and standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Mary Uhl, executive director, Western States Air Resources Council

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