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Democrats Split Over Response To Bush Energy Strategy

As the White House is poised to unveil its much-anticipated energy policy, Democrats appear to be struggling to develop a unified response to the administration. A number of Democratic groups of different ideological stripes are pushing various energy proposals that differ on several key issues, including the need to increase drilling for oil and gas in wilderness areas.

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Bush Nominees Accused Of Ties To Big Energy Companies

Democrats have targeted ten high-ranking Bush administration nominees as having strong ties to the fossil-fuel and electric utility industries, vowing to raise concerns during upcoming confirmation hearings about the high-level access of energy companies that supported President Bush's campaign. The Democrats argue that the close ties of the Bush administration to the energy industry undercuts the White House's credibility in dealing with the nation's energy problems, and will cost consumers billions of dollars in rising gasoline, natural gas and electricity prices.

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GOP Energy Plans Would Allow Nuclear Power To Offset Costs By Sale Of Emission Credits


Congressional proposals to classify nuclear energy as a zero-emission source of electricity, which is expected to be endorsed by the Bush administration's energy task force report, would make nuclear power plants eligible for state emissions trading programs and other financial incentives. Nuclear industry sources say the legislation would spur the construction of new power plants.

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Republicans Promise Swift Legislative Action On Cheney Energy Plan

Key Republican energy leaders from the House and Senate have promised quick legislative action to implement the White House's energy plan after it is released May 17.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK) said May 16 he hopes to have legislation out of committee by the July 4 recess.

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Conservative Democrats Draft Plan To Scrap EPA Clean Air Permits

Conservative Democrats are drafting legislation that may scrap EPA's controversial clean air permitting requirements with a cap-and-trade emissions control scheme that will include carbon dioxide (CO2) limits. The legislation is being developed by the New Democrat Coalition as part of a broader energy plan that the group hopes will attract the support of moderate Republicans.

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Federal And State Officials Oppose Plan To Limit Public Utility Data

A wide coalition of governors, state energy regulators and federal environmental officials are rallying against a proposed plan by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to reduce the amount of information power plants are required to make public. The officials say the plan would, among other things, restrict the ability of EPA and states to develop emissions inventories and conduct monitoring of the electricity market, and to develop any future credible power plant regulations.

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Industries Point To EPA Permitting Dispute To Argue For Changes In Clean Air Requirements


The electric utility and oil refining industries are pointing to an EPA crackdown last year on proposed modifications to a Midwest power plant to support their claims that the agency's clean air permit program prevents existing facilities from expanding energy production to meet current demand.

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House Democrats Launch Preemptive Strike On National Energy Strategy

House Democrats have launched a counter-offensive against the Bush administration's upcoming energy policy report by releasing a set of "principles" they intend to uphold as the debate continues.

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Hydropower Lobbyists See Building Momentum To Reduce EPA Authority Over Dams


Hydroelectric lobbyists are optimistic that legislation will pass this year that would substantially reduce the authority of EPA and other federal agencies to impose environmental conditions on dam operations. The legislation is part of a broader effort to streamline the relicensing of hydroelectric dams by granting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sole oversight of the process, which is expected to be endorsed by the Bush administration's upcoming energy strategy.

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