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Energy

DOE May Back Away From Regulations On Appliance Efficiency

The Department of Energy (DOE) is likely to emphasize voluntary approaches to improving the energy efficiency of appliances, rather than the mandatory standards suggested by the president's national energy strategy, according to a department source. The move may prompt outcry from environmentalists, but DOE sources say that setting new regulations could be impractical and put a heavy burden on the department.

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Newly Formed California Power Authority Stresses Environment, Renewables

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Members of California's energy financing agency, which is intended to boost power production in the state, met for the first time on Aug. 24 and emphasized the need to ensure environmental protection and promote renewable fuels.

The five-member Consumer Power & Conservation Financing Authority -- authorized to dole out $5 billion to fund power projects over the next five years -- intends to boost state support for wind, solar and other renewable energy technology in its quest to build and sustain an expanded power reserve.

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Automakers Confident Bush Administration Will Ease Restrictions On Fuel-Efficiency Research Dollars

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Auto industry officials say they are confident the Bush administration will overhaul a Clinton-era program intended to promote the development of fuel-efficient vehicles by allowing automakers to use federal assistance dollars on technological refinements to large, commercially successful vehicles, such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs). A key anticipated change will be abandoning the goal of creating an 80-miles-to-the-gallon car, which experts agree is not technologically feasibility for SUVs.

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Environment Concerns Fuel Freeze On Power Plant Construction

Citing air quality and water consumption concerns, Tennessee has joined Kentucky and Georgia in placing a hold on issuing any new environmental permits for "merchant" power plants. Environmental regulators in these states have become worried that the region will have to bear the burden of pollution caused by power plants that sell their electricity for use in faraway areas.

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Senators To Stress Transportation Concerns In Opposing Nuclear Waste Disposal Site

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Senators opposed to the Department of Energy's (DOE) proposed construction of a national nuclear waste disposal facility in the state of Nevada are signaling a renewed focus in fighting the project by raising concerns about the shipment of radioactive wastes throughout the country to the facility.

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NRC Eases Restrictions On Nuclear Plant Components

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted an exemption to regulations on the handling of non-contaminated components at nuclear power plants as part of the agency's regulatory reform efforts intended to save the nuclear power industry millions of dollars in operational costs. The regulatory reforms have prompted concerns by environmentalists and nuclear power opponents who argue that easing industry burdens could jeopardize public safety.

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Interior Department Moves To Appeal Ruling Blocking Offshore Oil Drilling

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The Department of the Interior (DOI) has filed a notice to challenge a federal court ruling that blocked approval of four oil drilling projects off the coast of California. The dispute poses a major challenge to the Bush administration's energy strategy by possibly delaying hundreds of offshore drilling projects throughout the country.

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GAO Moves Closer To Possible Court Battle Over Cheney Task Force

Congressional investigators have moved one step closer to possibly filing litigation against the White House over its development of a national energy strategy. The threat of litigation was prompted by allegations from key Democratic lawmakers about industry influence in developing a strategy that critics say would benefit oil and other large energy companies.

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Settling Refiners Seek To Limit Competitors' Advantage In NSR Overhaul

Oil refiners that have settled enforcement cases for violating EPA's new source review (NSR) provisions are pressing the Bush administration to ensure that competitors that have not settled similar cases do not gain any competitive advantage in the event that the administration decides to drop its enforcement efforts or make other reforms to the NSR program later this fall, industry sources say.

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