Energy and Environment Update - March 20, 2011

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Energy and Climate Debate:

Following last weekend’s natural disaster in Japan and the subsequent nuclear explosions, U.S. legislators and administration officials on both sides of the aisle have come to the defense of the domestic nuclear industry, while some also begin to express the need for added caution.

The immediate policy ramifications may include delays in negotiations over a clean energy standard and Department of Energy loan guarantees for nuclear power plants. The long term impact is more difficult to predict, however. If one were to point to last April’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill as an example, in the weeks and months following, many pieces of legislation were introduced and debated to more stringently regulate the industry, and now House Republicans have returned to their drill now, drill here, message. Combined with rising conflict in the Middle East and higher gas prices, the disaster could also force debate toward more natural gas, renewable energy, and energy efficiency as near-term solutions.

Congress:

Senate EPA Regs Debate Still Ahead; House Committee Approves Legislation to Restrict EPA; ENR to Consider Varied Legislation; House GOP Launches Domestic Energy Initiative; OMB Loan Guarantee Information Sought; DOE Funding Increase Unlikely; Barton to Launch Air Permit Task Force; Industry Urges Ethanol Tax Credit Preservation; BUILD Act Forthcoming; and Legislation Introduced.

Department of Energy:

$12 Million for Hydrogen Storage and Upcoming Budget Cuts Ocean Energy.

Environmental Protection Agency:

Boiler Standards Forthcoming; Hazardous Air Pollutant Rule Proposed; GHG Reporting Deadline Extended; and Biomass Qualifies as BACT.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:

Demand-Response Compensation Rule Released.

Government Accountability Office:

Offset Use Complicated.

Miscellaneous:

NTU Urges Subsidy Elimination; Six States Approve GHG Lawsuits; NC Nuclear Financing Legislation Delayed; Natural Gas Report Released; Iceland May Export Clean Energy Undersea; China Puts Nuclear on Hold; EPA Regs Could Harm Cement Industry; Germany Closes Old Nuclear Plants during Safety Evaluation; EU to Test Nuclear Plants; and State Plans Alternatives to EPA Regs.

Please see full article below for more information.

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Published In: Administrative Agency Updates, Elections & Politics Updates, Energy & Utilities Updates, Environmental Updates

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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