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Bush Hydrogen Plan Would Redefine Renewable Energy Funding To Include Coal, Nuclear

President Bush's plan to spend more than $1 billion to boost the production of hydrogen fuel cells would have the net effect of restructuring the Department of Energy's renewable energy program by drawing away research funds from wind and solar development while shifting some funds to traditional energy sources such as nuclear and coal-fired generators for use in hydrogen production.

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EPA Seeks Funds To Launch Effort Demonstrating Effectiveness Of Programs

EPA is seeking new funds to demonstrate that key programs and regulations improve human health and the environment in response to a controversial assessment by the White House's Office of Management & Budget (OMB) which found that the agency lacked sufficient justification for these programs.

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DOJ Budget Signals Crackdown On Hazmat Shipments To Address Security Concerns

The Justice Department (DOJ) is seeking fiscal year 2004 funds to crack down on violators of hazardous material transportation laws in an effort to address heightened concerns about homeland security, a key DOJ source says. Government lawyers will be looking for initial cases to serve as models for more widespread prosecution, signaling a major shift in the government's enforcement of hazardous material transportation laws, since most violators are currently not subject to federal prosecution but given administrative fines instead.

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Administration Criticized Over Proposed Cut Of Agriculture Renewable Energy Funding

Renewable energy advocates are criticizing a Bush administration request to eliminate in fiscal year 2004 funding previously mandated by Congress under the 2002 Farm Bill that would help the agriculture industry produce wind, biomass and other forms of renewable energy.

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DOE Budget Includes Increased Funding For Carbon Sequestration, Coal Power

The Department of Energy's $23.4-billion request for fiscal year 2004 includes a request for increased funding for carbon sequestration and a greater emphasis on advancing fuel-cell technology.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Feb. 3 touted the request as a 25-percent increase from what was requested during the last year of the Clinton administration.

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Bush Officials Claim $1 Billion Boost In New FY04 Environment Budget

Bush administration officials are touting an estimated $1 billion increase in broad federal spending on the environment in their proposed fiscal year 2004 budget, while emphasizing ongoing interagency initiatives, voluntary conservation efforts and public-private partnerships.

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Battle Lines Drawn On Environmental Amendments In Upcoming Appropriations Debate

As lawmakers are gearing up for negotiations on an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2003, a number of provisions have sparked concern among environmentalists and some state officials, including plans to impose tougher federal oversight requirements on state air quality standards and an industry-backed to allow continued uses of an internationally banned chemical that has been linked with the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer.

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EPA, Mayors Seeking Fix To Brownfields Law To Expand Cleanup Funds

EPA and the U.S. Conference of Mayors are working together to amend language in the recently enacted brownfields law they say improperly prevents parties, including numerous municipalities, from qualifying for cleanup grants because they purchased contaminated property before the law went into effect.

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Dingell Targets Whitman In Attack On Enforcement Decline

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) is strongly urging EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman to avoid risking the same fate as disgraced former Administrator Anne Gorsuch and strongly boost the agency's enforcement efforts because figures for the past two years "show an extremely disturbing trend towards weaker enforcement."

As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the 1980s, Dingell led a congressional investigation that eventually forced Gorsuch and a host of other senior EPA officials to resign as a result of their efforts to limit enforcement.

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Farm State Lawmakers Seek Biodiesel Funds In Upcoming Highway Bill

Members of Congress representing farm states are hoping to rewrite the federal highway funding law to steer money aimed at cutting vehicle air emissions to the purchase of biodiesel fuels by public bus fleets and other diesel fleet operators.

Biodiesel, which some have touted as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional diesel fuel despite skepticism by environmentalists, is made from vegetable oils, such as soybean and grapeseed oils, so expanded use of the fuel could increases sales for farmers.

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