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Senate Energy Chairman Eyes Quick Passage Of Nuclear Liability Bill

The chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is considering quickly advancing stand-alone legislation to renew federal liability coverage for nuclear power plants, which is currently part of a comprehensive energy bill. Quick passage of the bill could help the nuclear power industry to relicense existing plants, as well as in the construction of new nuclear power plants. The expansion of nuclear power generation is being promoted as part of congressional and White House proposals to alleviate the nation's energy crunch.

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Rep. Barton Told To Limit Clean Air Waivers In Energy Bill

House energy and air quality subcommittee chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) likely will limit environmental waivers during the mark-up of his emergency western energy bill (HR 1647), in part because of his committee chairman's desire to avoid the political damage of reopening the Clean Air Act. Barton said May 3 that Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) has promised to block any bill with permanent changes to the Clean Air Act or Endangered Species Act.

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House Energy Chairman Defends White House Role In Legislation On California Power Crisis


House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) took pains yesterday to dispel rumors that Republicans were split on legislation intended to fix California's energy crisis. In his opening statement on the first day of hearings on the state's power shortages, the chairman categorically denied claims that the Bush administration and House GOP leadership were trying to prevent an energy subcommittee from moving forward with the bill.

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Abraham Backs Away From Cheney Comments On Energy Conservation


Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham backed away from Vice President Dick Cheney's public statement earlier this week that conservation has little role to play in solving the nation's growing energy concerns.

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Cheney Touts Nuclear As Environment-Friendly Energy Source

Vice President Cheney in his first energy policy address promotes nuclear power as an environment-friendly approach to producing abundant electricity. The speech is being viewed as foreshadowing a major Bush administration energy strategy being worked on by a White House task force headed by Cheney. The task force is expected to release its recommendations within weeks, and Cheney said, "You can expect a mix of new legislation, executive action, and private initiatives."

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Water Quality Standards May Hamper Northwest Efforts To Boost Electricity Generation


EPA officials in the Northwest are bracing for controversy over the development of water quality standards that agency officials concede could hamper the region's efforts to boost electricity supplies. Agency sources say the anticipated standards may force hydroelectric dams to increase water flows, which would reduce power generation.

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California Officials Warn Ethanol Shortages May Cause Gasoline Shortages


California Energy Commission (CEC) staff is warning that because of limited and expensive ethanol supplies and other factors, the state faces a 6%-10% gasoline shortfall by 2003, which likely would result in huge price spikes. Limited refining flexibility to produce reformulated gasoline (RFG) with ethanol, potential shortfalls in ethanol production and expensive transportation of ethanol to California from the Midwest could result in RFG shortages and skyrocketing prices beyond California as well, according to the CEC.

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Major California Ruling Could Shut Down Coastal Oversight Commission


A California court ruled this week that a prominent and long-standing state agency overseeing coastal development is unconstitutional, a decision that environmentalists say will threaten coastal quality and may lead to expedited approvals of offshore oil drilling. The April 24 Sacramento Superior Court ruling finds that the California Coastal Commission (CCC) violates that state's checks-and-balances system and blurs lines between executive, legislative and judicial branches.

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Interior Department Panel Recommends Lifting Ban On Ocean Drilling

T> Drilling

A Department of Interior (DOI) report recommends that the Bush administration lift a moratorium barring ocean floor drilling for natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico, marking the first official indication by the new administration that it will likely lift a prohibition put in place by the former Bush administration nearly ten years ago, according to a copy of the report obtained by Inside EPA.

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