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PG&E Bankruptcy May Fuel Opposition To Price Caps

"font-size: 14pt;" COLOR="#000000" FACE="Times New Roman">PG&E Bankruptcy May Fuel Opposition To Price Caps

The decision last week by Pacific Gas & Electric to file for bankruptcy is being jumped on by key Republicans in Washington in opposing efforts by Democrats to impose price controls on wholesale power in California. The announcement also has raised doubts about Gov. Gray Davis' (D) ability to manage the California power crisis, according to informed sources in Sacramento and in Washington.

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Environmental Requirements Stall Key California Energy Bill

Concerns over environmental requirements has led California lawmakers to stall one of the most substantive bills proposed during the state's emergency energy legislative session. The lawmakers are concerned that the environmental provisions will restrict power when the state needs it most, and that out-of-state power generators will gain considerable advantage in the market because of the environmental protection requirements.

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DOE Plans Conservation Cuts While Awaiting White House Energy Strategy


The Bush administration has proposed scaling back Department of Energy funding for research into energy-efficient and renewable sources of energy until a White House task force releases its long-term priorities for alternative energy research. The cuts are part of an attempt to refashion the DOE and make its programs more effective, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham says.

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City Drops Opposition To California Power Plant Project

Lawyers for the city of Huntington Beach are dropping most of their objections to a proposed power plant expansion on the coast, based on environmental mitigation measures added to the energy commission's proposed project certification, according to sources. But city officials and environmentalists remain concerned that no provisions have been added to the certification requiring the power generated at the facility be used only in California, despite the applicants benefiting from streamlined and fast-tracked environmental reviews.

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California Lawmakers Reject Waiving Environmental Controls To Speed Approval Of Energy Projects


A committee in the California Assembly has rejected two bold requests by lawmakers to waive the state's premier environmental protection law for energy-related projects, a move that may increase pressure on Gov. Gray Davis (D) to take action through executive orders.

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Democrats Promise Fight Over Barton Plan To Weaken Air Act

Democrats are vowing to kill any emergency California energy legislation authored by House Energy & Air Quality Subcommittee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) that would create a waiver for Clean Air Act permitting requirements for new power plants, congressional sources say.

In fact, partisan sparring over the issue of energy legislation has intensified sharply in recent weeks, and sources say the increasingly ugly tenor of political discourse on Capitol Hill could doom any serious efforts for a congressional fix to California's energy problems.

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Draft White House Energy Report Silent On California Power Crisis

While a White House energy task force is expected to offer a long-term strategy to deal with the nation's energy shortages, the group is not considering immediate steps to ease California's power crisis. Yet the White House has formed a separate group to deal with the state's energy needs, some sources say.

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Environmentalists Threaten Litigation If Bush Retreats On Energy Efficiency Standards


Environmentalists are preparing to file a lawsuit in anticipation that the Bush administration will attempt to roll back an energy efficiency standard on air conditioners and heat pumps, which was approved on the final day of the Clinton presidency. Also, Democratic members of Congress are urging the administration to implement the standard, arguing that any attempt to ease energy efficiency requirements would undercut efforts to address the nation's growing energy crisis.

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Bio-Tech Firms Offer Steps To Ease Power Crisis

The biotechnology industry is crafting a legislative response to the nation's energy crisis that sources say could offer a boon to the development of genetically-engineered crops and enzymes. The legislation would encourage greater use of burning agricultural and forestry wastes for electricity generation, which would use the enzymes to convert the wastes into high-energy biomass fuels.

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Utilities May Seek Tax Incentives For Renewed Voluntary CO2 Emission Cuts


Electric utility officials say the industry is considering renewing a voluntary program for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but that the advent of a competitive power market may make tax incentives from Congress a necessity. Some industry sources are raising concerns that a unilateral decision by a company to cut emissions would put it a competitive disadvantage.

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