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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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Efforts To Boost California Power Supplies Likely To Override Local Land-Use Decisions


Local officials in California fear that regional land-use authority will be undermined if the state decides to override a local decision by allowing a contested power plant to be built in south San Jose. Construction of the power plant is part of the state's efforts to boost energy supplies to alleviate worsening state-wide shortages. Local officials say other municipalities are watching the action closely for impacts that may be seen across the state if energy officials take the expected step of approving the 600-megawatt Metcalf Energy Center despite local opposition.

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Latino Groups File Civil Rights Challenge To New Power Plant

Lawyers representing Latino farm workers and residents in California's eastern Riverside County have filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), arguing that the state's approval of a new power plant constitutes environmental racism. The lawyers allege that the plant will drain much-needed water for orchards in the region, putting workers out of business, and that the plant poses several health threats to residents.

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Effort To Boost Northwest Hydropower Supplies Prompts Litigation Threat From Environmentalists

A novel plan by Northwest energy officials to boost regional power supplies while protecting endangered salmon in the Columbia River has prompted environmentalists to consider a legal challenge. The officials have drafted a plan to dramatically reduce water spillage over hydropower dams that is normally used to help juvenile salmon migrate downstream, while proposing to ship captured salmon downstream in trucks and barrages.

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