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House Geothermal Bill Would Expand EPA Role On Environmental Impacts

A House panel has approved a bill that would expand EPA's role in assessing the environmental impacts of geothermal energy production --- including the potential for drinking water contamination --- as part of an initiative to fund expanded research into the renewable energy source.

Geothermal energy is produced when water heated by the Earth's hot core is tapped to produce electricity without any greenhouse gases or other emissions, but the energy source could have other environmental impacts.

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Appropriators Cite High Court To Require Quick EPA Action On CO2 Rules

Citing a recent Supreme Court decision on climate change, the House Appropriations Committee is moving ahead with developing federal greenhouse gas (GHG) controls, by approving an EPA spending plan that includes language requiring the agency to devise regulations for global warming emissions from a slew of industries, including the transportation and utility sectors. The spending legislation also urges EPA to decide soon on whether to allow California to regulate GHGs from automobiles.

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Boucher's Draft Fuel Bill Draws Early Democratic Criticisms

Rep. Rick Boucher's (D-VA) draft legislation requiring EPA to regulate greenhouse gas levels in transportation fuels is drawing early criticism from Democrats and environmentalists, who charge it would undermine state efforts to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and "nullify" the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on the issue.

"If we aren't careful we could end up making our situation worse, not better," Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence & Global Warming, warned in a June 4 statement on the draft bill.

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Manufacturers' E-Waste Plan Faces Opposition Over Consumer Fees

A new proposal by electronics manufacturers to offer separate national recycling programs for televisions and information technology (IT) equipment is likely to face broad opposition from environmentalists, retailers and lawmakers who are all likely to raise concerns with language calling for consumer fees to fund some recycling.

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Environmentalists' Plan May Set Hill Agenda After Early Climate Focus

Environmentalists are outlining an ambitious legislative agenda for Congress to reform major environmental statutes --- including sweeping changes to clean air, clean water, Superfund, pesticide and toxics law as well as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) --- which lawmakers could more closely scrutinize once initial momentum dies down on climate change legislation.

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Key members of Congress are introducing legislation giving U.S. EPA greater authority over tracking and managing the federal government's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which could signal a clash over whether the agency or the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) tracks emissions in any future climate change control regime. The measure also could include a requirement that federal vehicles meet a controversial California GHG standard.

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Congressional Study Details EPA Options For Implementing CO2 Ruling

A recent study from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), lawmakers' public policy research arm, says EPA has broad discretion to implement the Supreme Court's landmark ruling authorizing the agency to address carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. But the study questions whether courts would uphold all of EPA's approaches. The report underscores the uncertainty EPA faces as it moves to implement the high court's April 2 ruling in Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al. v.

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Court Weighs 'Full Frontal' Industry Assault Over SO2 Portions Of CAIR

A federal appeals court is considering a landmark industry challenge to EPA's clean air interstate rule (CAIR), which threatens to bring down the agency's most significant regulation to reduce air pollution in the past 12 years, according to sources on both sides of the issue.

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Key Senators Seek To Stave Off Controversial OMB Risk Bulletin

Two key Senate committee chairs are urging the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to withdraw a controversial risk assessment guidance in response to indications the office intends to go forward with the guidance despite criticism from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), EPA and others.

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Democrats' Split On Energy Issues May Stall Action On Climate Change

Growing Democratic divisions on major energy issues could stall action this Congress on legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with one supporter of a GHG cap-and-trade program worrying that Senate leaders are starting to talk up incremental accomplishments as a possible political substitute for comprehensive climate legislation.

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