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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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EPA Forms Group To Ease Western Power Crisis

EPA Region X has formed a task force to deal with the Northwest's power shortage by looking at ways to expedite environmental reviews of energy-related projects. The group is intended to bring together officials responsible for various aspects of permit reviews, such as air, waste and water regulation, to streamline the process and avoid potential misunderstandings.

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California Expedites Emission Standards For Ancillary Generators

California air regulators are speeding up by more than a year the process to develop a certification program and guidelines for local air districts to permit ancillary power generators. Because of the power crisis in the state, there has been pressure on state officials to establish uniform emission rules for the generators, and possibly regulatory exemptions, as well as pressure to lift costly fees that are assessed on the users of the ancillary generators by utilities.

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Senate Democratic Energy Bill Offers Fuel Efficiency Alternative To CAFE Standards


In an attempt to break a political standoff over auto fuel efficiency standards, Senate Democrats have offered an alternative to current corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirements that promotes greater efficiencies by capping fuel use.

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Congress Ponders Using Nuclear Subs As Emergency Power Source For California


Congressional staff are exploring the prospect of using the Navy's nuclear-powered submarines as emergency generators to supply power to California as a way to ease its energy crisis, though a Navy spokesperson says the idea is "impractical."

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Senate Budget Chairman Protests Bush DOE Spending Cuts

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) says he is concerned about President Bush's plans to slash funding for Department of Energy (DOE) programs, including nuclear waste cleanups and research into energy efficiency and renewables. But the senator says he intends to offer a budget resolution on the Senate floor that mirrors Bush's proposal, though he may offer an amendment to soften the blow to energy funding.

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Protests To California Power Crisis Response May Lead To Lawsuit

Activists are intensifying their protests of the environmental consequences of California's efforts to boost power generation, and are examining a possible legal challenge. The groups are calling on Cal/EPA Secretary Winston Hickox to explain in detail plans to implement several controversial executive orders issued by Gov. Gray Davis to ease air pollution rules and other environmental laws to fast-track power generation.

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