Legal challenges and the recent U.S. presidential election have left the future uncertain for the Clean Power Plan, which regulates greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. If politics or litigation severely weaken or invalidate the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would retain its authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and stakeholders may litigate in an attempt to force the EPA to use other Clean Air Act authorities to regulate these emissions. A new working paper examines the opportunities and challenges associated with regulation of greenhouse gases under the NAAQS program, drawing a comparison with the Clean Power Plan's approach under a different section of the Clean Air Act. Though a program under NAAQS wouldn't mirror the Clean Power Plan, it could support many of its key provisions, including trading-ready plans. Although use of the NAAQS program would present challenges, such as permitting small sources, it is feasible, say the paper authors. 
A new Nicholas Institute working paper  describes U.S. power sector trends and relevant environmental goals. It examines obstacles to technology innovation, including those from far-flung disciplines, such as obtaining financing and overcoming risks and policy hurdles. It offers ideas from a range of experts on how to overcome these challenges to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and to accelerate innovation to advance low-carbon generation.        
A new article in the journal Science of the Total Environment co-authored by the Nicholas Institute's Lauren Patterson examines spill data associated with unconventional oil and gas wells in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2014. The authors used this data to evaluate the environmental risk of spills and their connection to drinking water in watersheds where spills occurred. Across all four states there were 21,300 unconventional wells and 6,622 reported spills. The average distance of spills to a stream was highest in New Mexico, followed by Colorado, North Dakota and then Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania spills occurred in watersheds with a higher relative importance to drinking water than the other three states.
The Nicholas Institute's Sara Mason writes about attending the A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) conference in Jacksonville, Florida. There, Mason says, the common theme was the critical importance of telling stories on ecosystem services that are framed to engage communities no matter what their political views.
Mapping Ecosystem Services for the Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks Region
January 17, Online
An Accounting Approach to Ecosystem Services for Public and Private Sector Decision Making in the U.S.
February 23, Online
Uncovering Connections Between Healthy Ecosystems and Healthy Communities
January 25, Arlington, Virginia
Incorporating Ecosystem Services into NEPA
March 28, Durham, North Carolina
The ChronicleResearch Maps Countries that will be Most Impacted by Large-Scale Coral Reef Loss
Herald Sun, Nicholas Institute Publishes Paper on CO2 Strategy ($)
EnergyWireCan Private Investment Make up for Trump-Era Policy Retreat? ($)St. George News, Proposed Carbon Tax Equals Higher Fuel, Utility Prices; Southern Utah Representatives Respond

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