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Energy

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Senate Energy Chairman Tasks Refiners With Drafting Legislative Fix To Oxygenate Debate

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Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK) has asked a panel of refinery industry executives to draft a legislative solution to anticipated fuel shortages that the industry blames on a federal mandate for oxygenates in cleaner burning gasoline. Such a legislative plan could involve reopening the Clean Air Act, which established the oxygenate mandate, and initiating a political battle that both House and Senate energy leaders have so far sought to avoid.

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EPA Region IX Allows California Power Plants To Exceed Emission Caps

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EPA Region IX has begun issuing special orders that give emergency power plants in California federal approval to exceed pollution limits. The revised emission limits are to be spelled out in " administrative orders on consent " that protect power plants from federal enforcement under the Clean Air Act, and possibly third-party lawsuits.

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Murkowski To Introduce Voluntary Climate Change Bill

The chair of the Senate energy committee plans to introduce shortly a bill that would create voluntary incentives for power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill may also call for some version of the federal panel on climate change that has already been proposed in Democratic legislation.

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New Barton Energy Bill Gives Little Ground On Clean Air Act Waivers

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Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce energy subcommittee, has decided to keep intact controversial provisions of his draft California energy bill allowing for select Clean Air Act waivers in order to provide additional emergency power generation. But the new bill reduces the maximum duration of the waivers from two years to one.

Democrats say Barton's bill will be defeated in part because of the air act waivers.

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