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Energy

Possible Rollback Of Clean Air Permitting Assailed As Costing More Lives

Environmentalists are warning EPA against revising its clean air permitting requirements as part of the Bush administration's energy strategy. The activists are arguing that the review is failing to fully take into account the benefits of the program, which could save thousands of lives each year if the agency takes tougher enforcement action against power plants.

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House GOP Renews Push To Pass Legislation Before August Recess

The House is slated this week to rush a flurry of energy bills through committees in an effort to meet the Republican leadership's goal of passing comprehensive legislation before the August recess. After months of slow moving on the issue, GOP lawmakers have taken up a frenzied pace in drafting legislation. A series of anticipated energy bills have yet to be introduced, making it uncertain what legislation will emerge from committee markups in the next few days.

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House Energy Committee Offers Scaled-Back 'Consensus' Bill In Anticipation Of Markup

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Under pressure from the White House to take action on portions of the president's energy plan by July 12, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee this morning floated a "consensus draft" of legislation to be introduced by chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) at a markup on Wednesday. But hours later the committee yanked the draft from its website, raising questions about its bipartisan support.

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California Offers Subsidies For Installation Of On-Site Generators

California utility regulators have launched a novel energy subsidies program that is expected to boost renewable sources of power. The California Public Utilities Commission is offering financial assistance to companies and residents that install small electricity generators at their businesses or homes. The credit could amount to $125 million statewide each year through 2004. Photovoltaic, wind and fuel cells operating on renewable fuel will be granted the highest subsidies, up to $4.50 per watt or 50% of the installation cost.

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White House Expects House Passage Of Energy Legislation Next Week

White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer has indicated that the administration is expecting the House to pass key elements of the president's energy strategy by July 12. The expectation was revealed July 6 during Fleischer's daily press briefing.

The statement was made in response to reporters' questions about whether energy legislation was slipping as a top priority for the White House. Fleischer asserted that President Bush continues to urge quick action from Congress on his proposals.

The following are excerpts from the exchange.

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House Firestorm Over Florida Drilling May Spread To Senate

A contentious battle in the House over offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is likely to spread to the Senate later this month when the junior senator from Florida offers a plan to ban oil and gas extraction off the coast of Florida.

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Bush Concessions On Florida Drilling Seen As Smokescreen By Environmentalists

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Environmentalists are worried that a recent highly-publicized decision by the Bush administration to limit offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico may divert attention from an upcoming ruling on another portion of the gulf that activists say is much more ecologically sensitive.

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Utility Seeks Permission To Sell Outside California After Gaining Speedy Approval To Ease Power Crunch

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After having been granted expedited approval for the construction of two power plants to ease California's power crunch, AES Corp. is now petitioning the state's energy commission to modify the plan by allowing the company to sell electricity outside the state. The power plants were approved under the state's efforts to speed power plant construction by easing environmental requirements, among other measures.

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House Republicans Split Over Streamlining Reformulated Gasoline Standards

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Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have split with Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and other GOP leaders over how to limit the use of so-called boutique fuels, setting the stage for a battle over the best way to simplify reformulated gasoline requirements -- which many legislators now believe is necessary to increase supplies and keep gas prices low.

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House Kills Plan To Inform Public About Nuclear Waste Shipments

The Republican-led House defeated a provision that would have required the federal government to publicly release the possible transportation routes of radioactive waste headed for a propose national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Opponents to construction of the site, which includes environmentalists and leading Democrats, have argued that public resistance to shipments of wastes through neighborhoods throughout the country would effectively kill the project.

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