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GOP Leaders Show New Willingness To Raise Auto Efficiency Standards

Several key Republican House members say that in drafting a comprehensive energy strategy, they are now willing to consider mandatory increases in the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks that they have opposed for years.

"We will have to be willing to at least consider it," Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering ( R-MS) told reporters on March 20. Pickering has been assigned by House energy and air quality subcommittee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) to convene workshops for lawmakers on critical energy issues in preparation for drafting an energy bill.

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Energy Task Force To Brief Bush On Scope Of Supply Shortages

The White House energy policy task force is scheduled to brief President Bush March 19 on the scope of the nation's energy shortage, but the group has not yet begun to develop policy alternatives for the president to choose from, according to administration officials. In a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham emphasized the importance of increasing domestic production of oil and natural gas.

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State Approves First In Series Of Interim Nuclear Waste Storage Sites

California regulators have approved the first of four interim nuclear waste storage facilities to house wastes from the state's nuclear power plants until a planned permanent repository is built in Nevada.

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Expedited Power Plant Review Sparks Cries Of Environmental Racism

Efforts to speed approval of a new power plant in southern California have raised charges of environmental racism by public advocates. The activists claim the California Energy Commission (CEC) is violating state public notification laws and overlooking air pollution and human health impacts to quicken approval for the proposed power plant.

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California To Allow Utilities To Purchase Unrealized Emission Credits

In what may become one of the more controversial elements of California's efforts to ease environmental requirements on power plants, the state's air board is establishing an emissions credit bank to allow companies to pay cash up front for credits from emission reductions that in many cases will not occur until later this year.

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NRC Gears Up For First Nuclear Plant Construction In Decades

Faced with the prospect of what some are calling a "nuclear renaissance," the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is establishing a group to review anticipated applications from Exelon Generation, General Atomics, and other companies, for construction of the first new nuclear power plant in decades. The move reflects growing interest among policymakers and the industry to revive nuclear power as a viable energy option as the Bush administration and Congress work on drafting a strategy for easing the nation's power shortages.

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House Commerce Committee Targets Reformulated Gasoline In Energy Debate


Leading Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee may try to overhaul the Clean Air Act's reformulated gasoline program in order to keep gas prices low, sources say.

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New Bill To Ease Power Plant Restrictions Likely To Gain GOP Backing

A key Republican member of the House has introduced a bill that would suspend environmental controls to boost power plant capacity in states facing an energy crisis. Supporters of the measure say it will likely garner support from GOP lawmakers responsible for crafting a national energy strategy.

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