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Scientists Slightly Back Off Recommendation For CAFE Increase

A panel of scientists at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has backed away slightly from an earlier recommendation on how tough federal fuel economy standards can be without adversely affecting the price of cars. The new recommendations, which call for standards that are slightly lower than previously suggested, are a minor victory for industry officials, who have derided federal fuel economy standards as being too costly to industry and consumers.

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Hydrogen Fuel Program Seen As Bush Response To Kyoto Treaty

Bush administration sources say the president will tout the development of a domestic hydrogen energy economy, spearheaded by fuel-cell vehicles and the recently announced "Freedom Car" program, as his response to the Kyoto climate-change treaty. The administration has been under pressure for months to offer an alternative approach to Kyoto after the president's surprise decision last year to abandon the international treaty.

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State Waste Officials Grapple With How To Regulate Waste-To-Energy Technology

With California seeking alternative sources of energy to avoid a repeat of last year's power crisis, proponents of technologies that convert solid waste into energy are seeking an expedited permitting process to help this technology succeed in the marketplace. Because conversion technologies (CTs) are relatively new, it is unclear if they are governed by solid waste standards or if completely new state regulations are needed.

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California Officials Plan Legal Challenge To Mexico Power Plants

California's congressional delegation and local air officials are planning to counter federal approvals related to the construction of two power plants to be built in Mexico near the U.S. border, which they claim will have dramatic impacts on the state's air quality.

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Interior Department Files Appeal To Block State Review Of Coastal Drilling

Despite objections from environmentalists, the Department of the Interior (DOI) has filed an appeal of a court ruling that granted states the authority to review proposed drilling projects before they advance. Environmentalists and others who oppose coastal oil drilling had tried to pressure DOI to abandon the appeal.

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Appeals Case May Force Tougher Environmental Controls On Hydropower Dams

Hydropower industry officials are closely following a federal appeals court lawsuit initiated by environmentalists that could have serious national implications for privately owned hydroelectric dams by making it more difficult for owners to get interim operating licenses while waiting for long-term approvals from state and federal regulators.

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Clean-Car Announcement Hailed As Bush Backing For Hydrogen As Emissions Solution

Auto industry officials are hailing a major announcement by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on the restructuring of a government-industry partnership as an indication that the administration believes a hydrogen economy is "the answer" to transportation-sector air pollution. Abraham announced that the administration will be replacing a Clinton initiative, known as the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), with a program that will focus exclusively on the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology and infrastructure.

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Leading Senate Democrat Says Bush May Face Political Backlash Over Nuclear Waste Repository

Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-NV), joined by his home state colleague Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), has gone on record this week saying there is a "real possibility" that President Bush "may step forward and do something that surprises everyone" by rejecting the Department of Energy's (DOE) just-released recommendation that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license Yucca Mountain as the nation's permanent repository for nuclear waste.

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Slumping Power Demand Bolsters Challenge To California's Expedited Plant Approvals

City officials and environmentalists have filed suit challenging the proposed construction of a power plant approved by California under an expedited review process intended to ease the state's energy crisis last summer. The litigants claim that the slumping demand for power makes the plant unnecessary, and that expedited approval process violated the state's environmental laws.

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State Power Purchases Make California Liable For Emission Control Costs

California's state auditor says that substantial power contracts made between the state and power companies last year may force the state to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for air emission credits necessary for power generation over the next several years. The auditor also says that the state's relaxation of air pollution requirements in an effort to ease power shortages may eventually complicate the state's "legal relationships" with the federal government.

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