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Kerry Energy Plan May Define Pro-Environment Agenda

A broad national energy plan unveiled by presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) could be an important element in framing an upcoming Senate debate by offering the outermost edge of a pro-environment agenda.

In response to a question by Inside EPA, the senator acknowledged that while he is working with Senate Democratic leaders in crafting the proposal, many portions of his plan go further in promoting renewable fuels and other environment-friendly initiatives than a legislative package being developed under the direction of Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-SD).

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Senate Attempts To Forge Compromise With Activists, Industry On Hydropower Licensing Reform Language

Hydropower industry officials and environmentalists are working with congressional staff to include new language in the Democratic energy bill that would allow these groups to propose alternatives to environmental conditions currently placed on dam owners by federal resource agencies.

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CO2 Control Critics Emphasize Enron Role In Climate Change Policies

Critics of greenhouse gas regulations are attempting to use the recent collapse of energy giant Enron to discredit any attempts by the Bush administration or Congress to reduce carbon emissions, arguing that various climate change proposals under consideration were developed with input from the failed company. The issue is intensifying as lawmakers are returning to Washington to consider possible legislation on the issue, and President Bush readies his annual State of the Union address with some expecting him to address climate change.

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NRC Reverses Stance On Security Threat Posed By Environmental Data

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has backed off an earlier plan to withhold key environmental information regarding the proposed construction of a spent nuclear fuel dump in Utah, averting a possible lawsuit by state officials who were outraged over the omission. The information was originally withheld by the NRC over concerns about terrorist threats, but after an additional review, sources say the commission decided that much of the information was available elsewhere.

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California Officials Blast Air Impact Of Bush Push For Offshore Drilling

The Bush administration's plans to extend the leases of 36 oil drilling operations off the California coast will have serious negative impacts on air quality in regions such as Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, Cal/EPA Secretary Winston Hickox said at a Jan. 14 press conference in Sacramento.

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Scientists Slightly Back Off Recommendation For CAFE Increase

A panel of scientists at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has backed away slightly from an earlier recommendation on how tough federal fuel economy standards can be without adversely affecting the price of cars. The new recommendations, which call for standards that are slightly lower than previously suggested, are a minor victory for industry officials, who have derided federal fuel economy standards as being too costly to industry and consumers.

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Hydrogen Fuel Program Seen As Bush Response To Kyoto Treaty

Bush administration sources say the president will tout the development of a domestic hydrogen energy economy, spearheaded by fuel-cell vehicles and the recently announced "Freedom Car" program, as his response to the Kyoto climate-change treaty. The administration has been under pressure for months to offer an alternative approach to Kyoto after the president's surprise decision last year to abandon the international treaty.

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State Waste Officials Grapple With How To Regulate Waste-To-Energy Technology

With California seeking alternative sources of energy to avoid a repeat of last year's power crisis, proponents of technologies that convert solid waste into energy are seeking an expedited permitting process to help this technology succeed in the marketplace. Because conversion technologies (CTs) are relatively new, it is unclear if they are governed by solid waste standards or if completely new state regulations are needed.

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California Officials Plan Legal Challenge To Mexico Power Plants

California's congressional delegation and local air officials are planning to counter federal approvals related to the construction of two power plants to be built in Mexico near the U.S. border, which they claim will have dramatic impacts on the state's air quality.

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Interior Department Files Appeal To Block State Review Of Coastal Drilling

Despite objections from environmentalists, the Department of the Interior (DOI) has filed an appeal of a court ruling that granted states the authority to review proposed drilling projects before they advance. Environmentalists and others who oppose coastal oil drilling had tried to pressure DOI to abandon the appeal.

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