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Climate Policy Watch

FORMER EPA ATTORNEYS ACCEPT HIGH COURT MAY BACK AIR ACT CO2 AUTHORITY

Former high-level EPA attorneys who served during the Bush administration's development of legal arguments in a landmark Supreme Court climate case are conceding that the justices appear skeptical of agency claims that it lacks Clean Air Act authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2), one of several arguments EPA has used to defend its controversial decision not to curb greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

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GOP SHUFFLE ON INTELLIGENCE PANEL COULD END WARNER BID FOR EPW SLOT

A Republican shuffle on the Senate intelligence panel may create an opening for Sen. John Warner (R-VA) to take the panel's ranking slot, which would end the Virginia senator's ongoing fight with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to take the Senate environment committee's top minority slot next year.

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BOXER MAY HOLD MULTIPLE WEEKLY SENATE HEARINGS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Incoming Senate environment panel chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is planning an "intensive" round of global warming oversight hearings next month that could occur several times a week, according to one environmentalist.

Boxer told reporters at a Dec. 5 press conference that she will hold a series of climate change hearings when she takes control of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee in the 110th Congress, and plans to call EPA officials, activists, state and local officials, scientists and others as witnesses.

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NEW MEXICO CLIMATE PLAN WILL HELP SET FLOOR IN UPCOMING FEDERAL DEBATE

An aggressive climate change agreement between stakeholders in New Mexico will pressure the state's two senators -- who are both expected to play key roles in next year's federal climate change debate -- because the state plan sets a floor that the lawmakers will not be able to cross, sources say.

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FORMER EPA ATTORNEYS SAY HIGH COURT MAY BACK AIR ACT CO2 AUTHORITY

Former high-level U.S. EPA attorneys who served during the Bush Administration's development of legal arguments in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court climate case are conceding that the justices appear skeptical of agency claims that it lacks Clean Air Act authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2), one of several arguments EPA has used to defend its controversial decision not to curb greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The case has significant bearing on California's litigation and regulation of CO2.

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BOXER MAY HOLD MULTIPLE WEEKLY SENATE HEARINGS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Incoming Senate environment panel chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is planning an "intensive" round of global warming oversight hearings next month that could occur several times a week, according to one environmentalist.

Boxer told reporters at a Dec. 5 press conference that she will hold a series of climate change hearings when she takes control of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee in the 110th Congress, and plans to call EPA officials, activists, state and local officials, scientists and others as witnesses.

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ACTIVISTS: GHG SEQUESTRATION PLAN FAILS TO SWEETEN DELTA BILL

Environmentalists are unlikely to support a new bill proposing a conveyance system that would transport Bay/Delta water directly from northern California rivers to southern California water users, despite the addition of a novel proposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through wetland sequestration, sources said. Using carbon sequestration to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from islands located in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta may be a good idea, these sources said, but they blasted the bill's overall aim to divert water from the delta.

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INDUSTRIES FEAR STIFF PENALTIES UNDER AIR BOARD GHG-REDUCTION PLAN

Industry representatives fear companies may be hit with substantial fines and penalties if they fail to meet future air board greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting deadlines required under the state's climate change law, AB 32. Because the new climate law incorporates existing state air pollution control penalties, which can include daily fines of more than $1,000, some business groups are calling for the air board to observe some type of compliance "grace period."

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POSSIBLE DISTRICT ROLE IN GHG-EMISSION VERIFICATION SPARKS QUESTIONS

Air board officials are considering a potential role for local air quality districts to help verify accurate accounting of facility greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the state's climate change law, AB 32. But the local districts' possible involvement is raising new questions among stakeholders about regulatory consistency statewide, future costs on businesses and whether independent third-party verification will be required.

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DOE Officials Urge Changes To Bush Climate Research Budget

Department of Energy (DOE) officials are suggesting the findings of an expert panel on climate change will influence the administration's research budget plan due to be unveiled early next year, noting that experts are emphasizing long-term strategies to fund cutting-edge technologies such as carbon sequestration.

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