A ‘Collective Shrug’ Over Supreme Court Stay of Pollution Rules

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Joby Warrick and Steven Mufson:In a town famous for news leaks, the Supreme Court managed to deliver a genuine surprise when it moved this week to freeze the Obama administration’s signature regulation on climate change, raising doubts about U.S. promises to cut pollution blamed for Earth’s warming.But although Tuesday’s ruling startled the White House and rattled U.S. allies, it appears to have had little effect on the electricity providers most directly affected by the Clean Power Plan. About 48 hours after the court’s decision, major utility companies are reacting to the move with a collective shrug.Executives for electricity producers and industry trade associations say they expect little deviation from what was already an industry-wide move from coal-burning to cleaner and cheaper forms of energy to produce electricity. The shift is likely to accelerate further in the near future, industry officials and analysts said, meaning that many of the administration’s carbon-cutting goals may be met regardless of what courts and lawmakers ultimately decide to do.“Electric utilities are investing in clean energy and pursuing energy efficiency,” Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, the largest trade association of electricity providers, a gathering of Wall Street investors less than a day after the Supreme Court announced its stay on the Clean Power Plan.Institute officials said the court’s 5-4 decision “doesn’t really change anything” in an industry in which nearly all new electricity generation is coming from wind or solar facilities or from hyperefficient generators that burn natural gas. “You can’t simply put the genie back in the bottle when it comes to major strategic investments that the captains of industry are making,” said Quin Shea, the institute’s vice president for environment.Full article: Move to cleaner power is proceeding, regardless of Supreme Court’s ruling A ‘Collective Shrug’ Over Supreme Court Stay of Pollution Ruleslast_img read more

FHFA Debt Reduction is Still Under Consideration

first_imgFHFA: Debt Reduction is ‘Still Under Consideration’ FHFA Director Mel Watt has been talking about mortgage debt reduction for underwater borrowers who have mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac almost since he took over that position in January 2014.Housing advocates and Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring Watt to offer some sort of principal mortgage reduction for underwater borrowers since Watt took office. Offering debt reduction to homeowners on GSE-backed loans would be highly controversial because taxpayers remain on the hook for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans while the GSEs remain in conservatorship. More than two years into his tenure as FHFA Director, Watt has still not made a move or a policy change regarding principal forgiveness.The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing “people familiar with the matter,” that FHFA had approved a plan to cut mortgage balances for thousands of eligible homeowners. When contacted by MReport, the FHFA did not confirm or deny the Wall Street Journal story; an FHFA spokesperson did, however, tell MReport on Monday that “The issue of debt reduction is still under consideration and we’re looking for a responsible solution.”The FHFA decided not to offer principal forgiveness to homeowners under the direction of Watt’s predecessor, Ed DeMarco, according to an announcement in July 2012, the FHFA’s website said.”FHFA announced that after extensive analysis of the revised Home Affordable Modification Program Principal Reduction Alternative, including the determination by the Treasury Department to begin using Troubled Asset Relief Program monies to make incentive payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we concluded the anticipated benefits do not outweigh the costs and risks,” FHFA said in the announcement. “We concluded the HAMP (Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program) alternative program did not clearly increase foreclosure avoidance while reducing costs to taxpayers relative to the approaches currently in place.”Watt has been reluctant to offer principal forgiveness due to the risk it poses to taxpayers, despite pressure from lawmakers and housing advocates. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) in particular drilled the Director in a Senate Banking Committee hearing in November 2014. Watt told the committee at that time regarding principal forgiveness that “We have to do this in a way that is responsible, otherwise we just reduce principal for everybody across the board.” Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Mortgage Debt Reduction 2016-03-22 Seth Welborn in Headlines, News, Secondary Marketcenter_img March 22, 2016 477 Views Sharelast_img read more