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Energy

Bush Takes First Steps Under Energy Strategy To Speed Regulatory Reviews

President Bush has directed federal agencies to expedite regulatory permit reviews, which includes environmental requirements, of any projects that will increase the production, transmission, or conservation of energy. Bush also ordered all agencies to study the impacts that any regulatory decisions may have on the supply, distribution or use of energy.

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Bush Plan Gives CEQ Authority Over Environmental Permitting Reforms

President Bush's energy strategy puts the White House's Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) in charge of an administration-wide effort to streamline the review and approval process of energy-related projects -- an initiative that could have major consequences for EPA's clean air permitting requirements and other environmental review responsibilities.

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Democrats Reject Bush Defense That Energy Task Force Is Legal

Senior Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee have set the stage for a showdown with the Bush administration over the legality of closed-door meetings at the White House in developing an energy strategy.

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Bush Backs Legislation Limiting EPA Authority Over Hydropower

The Bush administration has endorsed a report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that calls for legislation overhauling Clean Water Act (CWA) protections on the operation of hydropower dams. The endorsement has bolstered the optimism of hydropower lobbyists that legislation will pass this year to substantially reduce the authority of EPA and other federal agencies to impose environmental conditions on dam operations.

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House Committee To Move Bush Energy Plan Next Week, Starting With Conservation

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin considering elements of President Bush's energy policy recommendations as early next week, starting with proposals on conservation and energy efficiency, which are elements of the plan that attracted strong criticism by environmentalists and Democrats.

In a separate effort to blunt criticism that the proposals do nothing for the short-term, an emergency western energy bill that had run into resistance from House leadership and the administration will go to full committee mark up next week.

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Democrats Split Over Response To Bush Energy Strategy

As the White House is poised to unveil its much-anticipated energy policy, Democrats appear to be struggling to develop a unified response to the administration. A number of Democratic groups of different ideological stripes are pushing various energy proposals that differ on several key issues, including the need to increase drilling for oil and gas in wilderness areas.

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Bush Nominees Accused Of Ties To Big Energy Companies

Democrats have targeted ten high-ranking Bush administration nominees as having strong ties to the fossil-fuel and electric utility industries, vowing to raise concerns during upcoming confirmation hearings about the high-level access of energy companies that supported President Bush's campaign. The Democrats argue that the close ties of the Bush administration to the energy industry undercuts the White House's credibility in dealing with the nation's energy problems, and will cost consumers billions of dollars in rising gasoline, natural gas and electricity prices.

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GOP Energy Plans Would Allow Nuclear Power To Offset Costs By Sale Of Emission Credits

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Congressional proposals to classify nuclear energy as a zero-emission source of electricity, which is expected to be endorsed by the Bush administration's energy task force report, would make nuclear power plants eligible for state emissions trading programs and other financial incentives. Nuclear industry sources say the legislation would spur the construction of new power plants.

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Republicans Promise Swift Legislative Action On Cheney Energy Plan

Key Republican energy leaders from the House and Senate have promised quick legislative action to implement the White House's energy plan after it is released May 17.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK) said May 16 he hopes to have legislation out of committee by the July 4 recess.

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Conservative Democrats Draft Plan To Scrap EPA Clean Air Permits

Conservative Democrats are drafting legislation that may scrap EPA's controversial clean air permitting requirements with a cap-and-trade emissions control scheme that will include carbon dioxide (CO2) limits. The legislation is being developed by the New Democrat Coalition as part of a broader energy plan that the group hopes will attract the support of moderate Republicans.

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