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NRC Eases Restrictions On Nuclear Plant Components

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted an exemption to regulations on the handling of non-contaminated components at nuclear power plants as part of the agency's regulatory reform efforts intended to save the nuclear power industry millions of dollars in operational costs. The regulatory reforms have prompted concerns by environmentalists and nuclear power opponents who argue that easing industry burdens could jeopardize public safety.

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Interior Department Moves To Appeal Ruling Blocking Offshore Oil Drilling


The Department of the Interior (DOI) has filed a notice to challenge a federal court ruling that blocked approval of four oil drilling projects off the coast of California. The dispute poses a major challenge to the Bush administration's energy strategy by possibly delaying hundreds of offshore drilling projects throughout the country.

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GAO Moves Closer To Possible Court Battle Over Cheney Task Force

Congressional investigators have moved one step closer to possibly filing litigation against the White House over its development of a national energy strategy. The threat of litigation was prompted by allegations from key Democratic lawmakers about industry influence in developing a strategy that critics say would benefit oil and other large energy companies.

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Settling Refiners Seek To Limit Competitors' Advantage In NSR Overhaul

Oil refiners that have settled enforcement cases for violating EPA's new source review (NSR) provisions are pressing the Bush administration to ensure that competitors that have not settled similar cases do not gain any competitive advantage in the event that the administration decides to drop its enforcement efforts or make other reforms to the NSR program later this fall, industry sources say.

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EPA Relaxes Strict Air Rules For Some Power Turbines To Boost Energy Supply


EPA officials have granted a power industry request to ease the Clean Air Act's stringent new source review (NSR) rules for certain types of steam-generating electrical turbines, which could pave the way for utilities around the country to boost their electricity generation without the threat of future enforcement actions from the agency.

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EPA, Industry Considering Easing Clinton-Era Mobile Source Toxics Rule To Maintain Fuel Supplies


Fearing curtailment of fuel supplies, EPA officials and petroleum refiners have quietly begun discussions on possible changes to a Clinton-era Clean Air Act rule setting a cap on mobile source emissions of toxic pollution, including postponing the rule's effective date for up to two years.

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Environmentalists, Labor Look To Trade To Patch Up Shaky Alliance

Environmentalists and labor unions are looking to a forthcoming campaign opposing new trade negotiating authority as an opportunity to solidify their shaky alliance, after environmentalists suffered a bruising defeat when key labor groups backed the Bush administration's energy bill that passed the House late last month.

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EPA-Commissioned Study Could Justify Air Act Exemptions For Energy Efficient Technology


EPA has commissioned a study with the aim of developing a new legal analysis that could be used to exempt electric generating facilities that install new energy efficient technologies from the new source review (NSR) and other permit requirements of the Clean Air Act.

The newly proposed study could conceivably recommend changes to almost any aspect of Clean Air Act enforcement, a source familiar with the research says. Aside from NSR, another area it could touch on is the procedure for granting air quality permits for small-scale improvements to a facility.

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EPA Expands Voluntary Energy Efficiency Program To Focus On Renewable Fuels


EPA is expanding its voluntary energy efficiency programs in order to encourage the use of renewable fuel sources as part of its effort to implement the Bush administration's energy plan.

The agency recently announced a new "green power" program, in which a group of corporations, universities and local governments have agreed to purchase a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, which include hydropower, wind, solar and biomass.

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State Lawmakers Oppose Administration Delays To EPA Diesel Rules

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is urging EPA to prevent any delay in implementing strict new rules limiting diesel emissions, fearing that the White House may bow to industry pressure to amend or delay the rules before they take effect over the next few years.

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