Energy and Environment Update - December 12, 2010


In This Issue:

Energy and Climate Debate: After a week of intense lame duck negotiations, most notably between the White House and Senate Republicans, the Senate and House will focus on a tax package this coming week, and the Senate will also address legislation to fund the federal government.

The Senate meets Monday, December 13th to resume consideration of the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), debating an amended version of the legislation that would extend the 2001 and 2003 income tax rates for all taxpayers until 2012 and unemployment benefits for an additional 13 months, as well as a two-year extension for the alternative minimum tax and a one-year reduction of the Social Security payroll tax, with an afternoon vote to invoke cloture on a motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to the tax bill.

After a considerable amount of lobbying from renewable energy and environmental groups and notable statements and letters from a handful of Senators and Representatives during negotiations on the tax package last week, a one-year extension of the 1603 Grants in Lieu of Tax Credits program was included in the package. The provision was in Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus’ draft tax package, and then was stripped out during President Obama’s negotiations with Republican leadership because of its affiliation with the Recovery Act. A few modest provisions on energy efficient homes and appliances were also included in the draft, as was the extension of the per gallon tax credits and outlay payments for ethanol.

Congress: Legislation Introduced

Supreme Court: Court to Hear American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut

Administration: Eight Agencies Launch Energy Initiative

Department of Energy: Plants Receive Energy Certification; Lighting Webinar Scheduled; and, Nuclear Energy Needs Government Support.

Environmental Protection Agency: Court Denies Stay of EPA Climate Rules; EPA Sends Tailoring Rule to Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and, Smog Decision Delayed; Boiler and Incinerator Rules Delayed.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Renewable Developers Urged to Partner

Personnel: President Obama plans to nominate Peter Lyons, who is currently serving as the Department of Energy’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, to replace Pete Miller as Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy.

Miscellaneous: Wind Turbines to be Upgraded; Washington to Require GHG Reporting; New Mexico Passes Cap and Trade Plan; EU to Assist Chinese Cities; Pew Releases Energy Report; China to Adopt Demand-Side Management; California Senator Resumes Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Push; and, Nuclear Unit to Close.

Please see full update below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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