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Climate Policy Watch

States Back New Energy, Sustainability Focus In EPA Strategic Plan

States are asking EPA to include new priorities in its next strategic plan that focus on integrating sustainability and promoting renewable fuels and energy efficiency to better address what they say are emerging issues not adequately addressed in previous years. In comments published on EPA's Web site Jan. 12, states call for new goals in the next agency strategic plan that focus on energy, sustainability and other priority issues such as mercury pollution, funding and enforcement.

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Carper Considers Changes To Clean Air Bill, Prompting Activist Fears

Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) is considering whether to alter his long-stalled clean air legislation that would reduce emissions of four key air pollutants, changes environmentalists fear could be concessions to the utility industry in an effort to win Republican support and the bill's passage.

Carper told Inside EPA in a Jan. 18 interview that his staff is meeting with the utility industry, environmental groups and other senators' offices in order "to see what changes if any we should make" to a 2003 version of his clean air bill.

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FORMER EPA CHIEF REILLY URGES PREPARATION OF GLOBAL WARMING POLICIES

Former EPA Administrator William Reilly is urging agency staff to lay the analytical groundwork for policies to curb global warming, saying such action could help the agency be "constructive" at a time when political will on the issue is lacking.

Reilly's comments came at a Jan. 18 EPA-sponsored event to mark the 35th anniversary of the agency's creation, where former agency administrators generally criticized policymakers, including the Bush administration, for not doing enough on global warming and other emerging environmental problems.

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Human Rights Finding On Climate Change Could Spur Activist Lawsuits

A recent human rights petition accusing the United States of inaction on global warming could encourage future lawsuits from environmentalists against government agencies or corporations by establishing for the first time an obligation under international law for the United States to address climate change, activists tracking the petition say.

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Former EPA Chief Reilly Urges Agency To Move On Global Warming

Former EPA administrator William Reilly is urging agency staff to lay the analytical groundwork for policies to curb global warming, saying such action could help the agency be "constructive" at a time when political willingness to proceed on the issue appears tepid.

Reilly's comments came at a Jan. 18 EPA-sponsored event to mark the 35th anniversary of the agency's creation, where former agency administrators generally criticized policymakers, including the Bush administration, for not doing enough on global warming and other emerging environmental problems.

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STUDY ON FORESTS' RISKS MAY HOBBLE POLICIES ON CO2 EMISSIONS 'SINKS'

A recently published study detailing potential water and soil damage caused by planting trees to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions -- which are known as carbon "sinks" -- could complicate EPA and other groups' policies to encourage the practice as a way to slow global warming, according to one of the study's authors.

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INDUSTRY CONFOUNDED BY CAL/EPA CLIMATE CHANGE COST ANALYSIS

Several major industry organizations tracking Cal/EPA's climate change initiative are struggling to decipher a draft economic analysis of recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, primarily because the document lacks specific data and appears to contradict itself, sources said. The cost analysis is considered critical not only to industry but to other stakeholders and lawmakers, who will consider potentially implementing some of the measures in legislation this year.

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INDUSTRY DISPUTES CAL/EPA CRACKDOWN ON LANDFILL GHG EMISSIONS

Waste industry sources are questioning Cal/EPA efforts to target greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions from landfills, claiming that officials are significantly overestimating the level of mostly methane emissions from the state's nearly 200 active dumps. The dispute is significant because the waste board and the state's Climate Action Team (CAT) have identified the reduction of methane gas from landfills as the board's primary, long-term responsibility in fulfilling its role as a member of the CAT.

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CLIMATE CHANGE, ENFORCEMENT TOP CAL/EPA PROPOSED BUDGET PRIORITIES

The governor's Fiscal Year 2006-07 budget proposes tens of million of dollars and dozens of new policies to carry out greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions as well as several enforcement initiatives at Cal/EPA. The proposed budget for the agency would be less than last year's spending levels, reflecting the exhaustion of previous bond issuance money for air and water quality programs. Environmentalists say these reductions should alert lawmakers working on massive new infrastructure bond proposals to make sure significant environment and resources funding is included.

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SEC RULING ON GE PLAN MAY SHAPE FIGHT OVER CORPORATE GREEN STRATEGIES

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) may influence the extent to which companies must disclose the nature of their sustainability efforts when it rules on a resolution demanding that General Electric (GE) justify its highly publicized "ecomagination" campaign to its shareholders.

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