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Climate Policy Watch

DEMOCRATS EYE STRATEGIES OVER POTENTIAL 'JOB KILLER' BILL VETOES

Environmentalists and state Democratic strategists may attack Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's environmental record, if the governor vetoes key environmental measures included in this year's list of industry-despised bills known as "job killer" legislation. Schwarzenegger has been known to veto bills deemed by industry to be unfriendly to business.

Environmental bills on the 2006 job killer list include a landmark global warming bill that sources said would create a significant campaign issue if vetoed.

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ADMINISTRATION SEEKS CABINET OVERSIGHT, 'SAFETY VALVE' IN CLIMATE BILL

Cal/EPA Secretary Linda Adams said this week the Schwarzenegger Administration wants Democratic lawmakers to amend their landmark greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction legislation to require a cabinet-level panel to oversee implementation, as well as to include an economic "safety valve" to protect the state's financial well-being. Environmentalists and legislative staffers supporting the bill are raising concerns about Adams' comments, saying the administration may be seeking to undermine the groundbreaking measure by watering down key provisions.

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INDUSTRY STUDY FINDS HIGH COSTS, LOW BENEFITS IN CALIFORNIA CLIMATE BILL

An industry-funded study is expected to bolster claims by opponents of proposed legislation that would cap industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California, by showing that the bill would likely result in substantial costs that would drive businesses out of state while providing minuscule environmental benefits.

But environmentalists and clean-energy advocates supportive of the legislation are charging the study is flawed and driven by an overbearing oil industry protecting its own interests.

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MIDWESTERN STATES JOIN OTHER U.S. REGIONS IN EYEING CLIMATE REGISTRY

Midwest state officials are developing the region's first voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) registry because of what they consider deficiencies in existing federal and private climate change programs, joining the Northeast, the three Pacific Coast states and the Western Governors' Association in developing separate regional GHG initiatives.

The plan is already drawing opposition from industry officials who say it would duplicate other programs, while activists say they would rather see the states develop mandatory limits on GHG emissions.

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ANALYSTS SEE NUCLEAR POWER AS BIG WINNER UNDER FUTURE CLIMATE PLANS

A new report by an investment firm says electric power companies that invest in nuclear power will benefit in the event of future climate change legislation, particularly if it requires utilities to purchase emissions allowances from the government. The report also warns that the major losers under such a plan would be coal-fired utilities.

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HIGH COURT WETLANDS RULING COULD SHAPE ARGUMENTS IN CO2 SUIT

The Supreme Court's sharply divided ruling in a major wetlands lawsuit could help shape environmentalist, industry and government arguments in the landmark case the court agreed to hear this week over EPA's ability to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from mobile sources.

The high court announced June 26 that it will review the controversial appellate ruling Massachusetts et al. v. EPA, where a federal appellate court ruled that the Clean Air Act allows EPA to decide whether to regulate automobile and other mobile sources' CO2 emissions.

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High Court Suit Helps Advocates Of CO2 Rules Despite Uncertain Result

The Supreme Court's decision to wade into disputes over global warming does little to mitigate -- and could even intensify -- political pressure for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions controls, even if the high court upholds EPA arguments that it does not have to curb greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, observers say.

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DOE, Industry, Congress Grapple With CO2 Liability For FutureGen

Members of Congress, the Energy Department (DOE) and industry are debating ways of shielding participants in DOE's FutureGen power plant project from potential liabilities for storing the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions underground, as part of an effort to build a landmark near-zero emissions power facility.

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ON DIVIDED COURT, KENNEDY EMERGES AS KEY IN FUTURE ENVIRONMENT SUITS

The Supreme Court's divided ruling last week on the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) underscores sharp divisions among the justices since President Bush's nominees joined the court, a dynamic legal observers say will almost certainly elevate Justice Anthony Kennedy's role as the key swing vote in future environmental cases.

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Industry Study Finds High Costs, Low Benefits In California Climate Bill

An industry-funded study is expected to bolster claims by opponents of proposed legislation that would cap industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California, by showing that the bill would likely result in substantial costs that would drive businesses out of state while providing minuscule environmental benefits.

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